Have you looked at MagnaPool. http://promo.magnapool.com/index.html
Australian design (Poolright) and now process patented in 120 countries
Magnesium 'Mineral water' Pools
We have been installing them here in Australia for 2 years and they are top class units. Still produce chlorine but at a vastly reduced rate .... but the clarity of the water and the feel of the 'swim' is like nothing I have ever felt. Also installed in Asia, British Virgin Islands, Mauritius and Europe. Top class for my vote.
If we are talking tile... LightStreams is truly like nothing else in the world!
Also BeadCrete has an amazingly spectacular alternative to PebbleTec.
I agree with Dave. Light streams is great. High quality tile and installation standards.
Most of all.......Customer service !
I can name some high profile companys with terrible customer service. That is what drives me to certain products.
Great examples below, Clint. I concur on pooltools as well. They are willing to manufacture a tool even if there is a small need. I told them about an idea I wished they would make at the Western Pool And Spa Show one year. It was an idea for a tool with a cam like a telepole that would fit into a stuck diverter valve to free it up. Not much of a market for it exists, but lo and behold, it was there for sale at the following year's show. Good company.
Clint Combs said:
Innovation seems to be rare and is not associated with any single company.
StaRite was innovative when they designed the Max-E-Therm from the ground up while the other heater manufacturers were adding fans and monkeying with existing designs. It was so innovative that Pentair reportedly purchased the company so they could sell the heater as their own.
Pentair was innovative a few years later in designing the Intelliflow. The other companies are still struggling to catch up.
Jandy was innovative when they first created the Aqualink control system years ago.
Balboa's M7 technology spa packs are innovative in differential temperature sensors and off peak switching.
Both Hayward and Pentair have innovative LED lights -- a big improvement over halogen color pool lights
Allen Industries' Tight Watt 2 doesn't use higher technology than other timer manufacturers, but their design shows a good understanding of the real world. (They make a pool timer that adjusts with the season.)
It is a small design tweek, but Hayward's DE filter has innovative "legs" that let the manifold stand up while the grids are assembled.
Jandy's sweep plumbing is innovative, but not very practical in real world installations.
There have been many innovations regarding VGB, but it may be too early to see which ones are the real gems.
It would be interesting to interview the engineers who were responsible for these innovations. In this climate of mega companies purchasing smaller innovative companies I wonder what the real story of innovation has been and what the future of innovation will be.
If the stuck diverter still has a directional tab on it, I use a PVC pipe with a notch cut out for the tab. This pipe gives you an extension so that you can turn the diverter and break it loose.
Good tip, Clint!
I've used a sink basin wrench with pretty good success. If it's really stuck, it just compresses the plastic diverter though. By the way, these extremely stuck valves are usually on pools where the homeowner is caring for the pool. I started service on one pool where the kid used to do the pool and they hired me because the kid could no longer keep it clean and algae free. It had a brass diverter in a concrete skimmer. The valve was stuck in about an 80% main drain, 20% skimmer position. It must have slowly turned each time he pulled off the hose or something and sand and corrosion eventually caused it to get stuck. That's the one where I figured out the basin wrench. Even then, I could only move it about a quarter inch a week using all my force on the wrench. Once I freed the valve, cleaned the filter, and replaced the weir, the pool stayed very clean and was easy to vacuum. They cancelled service about two month's later; said the kid was going to start cleaning it again! Oh, well. At least I made money on the filter teardown, weir blade, 50 Lb. bucket of tabs and Yellow Treat! Another good reason to not do a flat rate, chemicals and teardowns included monthly rate for weekly pool service!