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Extend swim season & pool heater life

By Marcelle Dibrell

Although the swim season has come to an official end, there are thousands of pool and spa owners who are just not ready yet to call it quits on the year’s backyard fun.

And with so many homeowners still working from home, and many of their children not yet returned to school and extracurricular activities, the backyard pool has come to be one of the few luxuries families can enjoy together.

The pool and spa industry is well aware of the increase in pool use over the last year.

During a time of social distancing, it’s been a simple fact that those with the means have invested in their backyards to retreat from the stresses of the day. According to all estimates, new pool construction is up.

In their last quarterly report, Pool Corp reported that in the last year, the new pool installed base grew by 2%, representing 96,000 new pools in 2020. They further anticipated that for 2021, new pool construction will exceed 110,000 pools.

It’s hard to imagine that all those new pool owners will be ready to close up their pools for the season.

No, after spending all that time and money on a brand-new swimming pool, they are going to want to eke out just about as much backyard entertainment as they can.

But fall has arrived and it can’t be denied that the temperatures will grow colder. And even in places where the weather is mild, a night’s chill can take over. It can lower the water temperature beyond help from the day’s warmth.

In Florida, for example, the average daytime October temperature is about 84° Fahrenheit – a perfectly reasonable swimming condition.

However, when the nighttime temperatures drop to 60°, the evening chill may leave the pool just a little too bracing to be inviting. And a difference of only a few degrees can make the difference in whether the pool gets used.

If the water is too cold, no one is getting in the pool, and that is where a pool heater comes in handy.

This fall and winter, we can assume that pool and spa heaters will be used more than ever.

And to keep clients happy, pool service technicians are going to need to make sure those heaters are working as efficiently as possible.

That might mean upgrading to a new heater, which may be an option for some lucky pool owners with service pros who can actually find them.

But with the economy the way it is, shortages abound on so many fronts, and pool heaters are among those items pool pros are having a hard time getting their hands on.

With longer than usual lead times on new pool heaters, rather than trying to upsell pool owners on a new heater, it may make sense to offer a complete heater service maintenance package to maximize the efficiency of their existing heater.

By stressing that greater heater efficiency leads to shorter heater cycles, pool service techs can help their customers keep their pool water warmer, while simultaneously lowering their energy bills.

But to get the most out of an existing heater, it is necessary to understand what factors interfere with heater efficiency, and there are many.

Certainly, proper water chemistry plays a role in the long-term life and efficiency of a heater. Heater exchange tubes tend to build up with chemical residues such as scale, particularly if the LSI is off. Ensuring proper water chemistry balance is the best way to prevent against this.

But there are many other factors that affect heater efficiencies.

In this issue of Service Industry News, we will explore some of these in detail.

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