Ray Cronise's Posts (12)

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A New Look At Pool Circulation...

Recently on the solutions for suction entrapment group on PGN, we had quite a lively debate on circulation. It was actually great to see this intellectual engagement and like all great debate, sheds light on why people believe certain things - what do they base their "opinions" on?What was clear from the overwhelming amount of email traffic response, is that there are many more builders today that "get it" than just 5 years ago. We are certainly progressing as an industry. As well, it is clear that we still have a way to go before our states completely reverse the incorrect codes and decisions made in the last 20-30 years. These changes have resulted in mass confusion and misunderstanding about how and why pool water is circulated. There are several other blogs I have written recently that you may want to read if you need to catch up, but all of the basics for today are contained within this post.On June 20th, I responded to builder, Brian (and Jan) McGarry, who DARES to experiment with the removal submerged suction outlets (drains). What is great about Brian is that in his doubts he is willing to actually perform tests. That is very admirable and his business is probably thriving, because these sorts of habits tend to carry over into other places in life.What I have found in the industry when it comes to technology is builders generally fall into two categories: Those with "20 years experience" and others with one year of experience 20 times. One never learns anything if thinks aren't broken every once in awhile to see how they work. Many times you may be surprised to find out they are not working the way you THINK they are....Brian is a great of example of someone trying to learn - and that is why we we are all here at PGN.So let's turn a tried and true belief in the pool industry on it's ear. This is a GREAT example, because doing it "incorrectly," works many times, but doesn't others. Doing it "correctly" works EVERY time. I got slammed for using correct and incorrect, because one can do it incorrectly and make it work, so I have changed the labels to protect the innocent and hopefully the new labels will meet everyone's requirements.Before we get started, let's review a section from the pool construction standard language that dominated from 1918-late 1940s. It also is still present in many codes today.H. In a few cases pools have been designed for fresh water or re-purified water to enter at the deep point and overflow through outlets or skim gutters in the shallow portion. It is believed there may be some advantage in having flow through the pool in this direction, thus permitting floating matters and dirtier waters from the more crowded shallow area to be carried off more rapidly. The committee suggests that in designing piping systems for recirculation or flowing through pools, cross-connections be provided so that flow through the pool may be in the direction which experiments may prove most desirable. It is also suggested that the question of having skim gutters serve as overflows and outlets in recirculation or flowing through systems be studied more carefully, as it appears that such design may have certain material advantages.So what did these engineers know in 1918 that we seemed to have forgotten today? Well, I think this paragraph above basically says it all. First, let's introduce our new terms for "correct and incorrect." Also, take a moment to clear all of your diagnosis bias and consider that you may have been taught wrong, or what you have observed might have a different explanation.If you look at the first image below, it describes the two different circulation paradigms: Circular and Rolling. You are probably very familiar with the circular, but rolling may be something quite new. In the case the Rolling circulation patterns are "3-dimensional" as we are trying to create lots of smaller circulation circuits that capture debris as soon as it hits the water's surface. In the Circular paradigm, it's more of a merry-go-round approach - round and round until the debris gets off at an exit. Note that in BOTH cases, sanitizer is distributed throughout the pool. This is not, however, the only goal of the circulation system - what EVERYONE agrees (old and new) is that proper skimming is necessary to keep a pool clean. Even codes that require drains still require the majority of the water off the surface (80/20, 60/40, etc...). I am not aware of any state code that requires more water off the bottom of the pool, than from skimming. If you find one, let us know.

FIGURE 1: Circular vs Rolling Circulation DesignAs you can see, the image on the left represents a typical pool circular circulation paradigm where the thought is that we are pushing the debris using the inlets towards the skimmer. On the right, we have a rolling paradigm and in this case, we are creating individual circulation "pairing" with each inlet/skimmer combination. Any additional inlets are used to stir up dead spots. As well, the inlets could be on the floor, or low wall, but in this approach you don't get as much attraction toward the skimmer. For rolling to work, each skimmer must have a return under it (laterally with in +/- 12" of center is probably close enough. As well, commercial builders are probably quite familiar with gutters (typically stainless) that go around the entire pool that have holes around the entire perimeter that act as angled inlets down into the pool. This has the same effect on the gutter as a skimmer.So what is happening here? Let's focus in on the detail show in Figure 2

FIGURE 2: Circular vs Rolling Circulation DetailIn this case we have to compare what is happening at the surface and under the surface. This is the part of circulation that is not very easy to visualize. During my days at NASA as a material scientist, we looked at the effects of the weightless environment on materials processes like gelation, crystal growth, and alloy solidification. One of the nice advantages of weightlessness is there is no up or down. Gravity gets temporarily turned off. This allowed us to eliminate buoyancy driven convection - i.e. hot air (or liquid) does not rise in space and creates a quiescent environment for doing science on solutions. You can see this effect in a very visually presentation by looking at this dye test. Here is another great visual demonstration on convection by a student.Now, the take away from this is three things: first, that the hot water rising and cool water is falling due to thermal convection - heating the water. The second point is to note that we can also drive these same flows by using the inlets of a pool strategically located. Third, is we can use this rolling pattern to our advantage to drive debris directly into a skimmer.As a related side note, It is common for our industry to believe that heating a pool from the bottom somehow is an advantage. Realize that these convection flows are miniscule compared to what we find in the velocity of the inlets, however; a pool with radiant heat will continue to flow this way even when the circulation system is off. Reverse flow works (heat, chemical distribution, or otherwise) because it distributes conditioned water (heated, cleaned, sanitized) to the bottom, not because of these convective currents). A inlet has an effective area of at least 15 feet (the entire pool when one considers the back stroke) and when pointed toward the deepest end has no problem propelling conditioned water into the deepest pools. Similarly, in-floor systems work in a slightly different manner in that they sweep debris to an outlet and randomize the circulation pattern: every time the valve turns, you get an entirely new pool current produced - i.e no eddies stay around long. We can discuss this issue later in a future blog, but for now, just register this rolling pattern in your mind vs the merry go round pattern of the circular paradigm.Now, let's take a look at what is happening at the skimmer in the traditional circular approach. Look at FIgure 3

FIGURE 3: Circular Circulation - close up of what goes on at the skimmerOk, this is where I am going to lose some of you, but hang in there. In science we often use little arrows to show various resulting water currents. Look at closely at the diagram. For simplicity, I aimed the inlet directly toward the skimmer as it creates a much more dramatic example of what is happening. These results are skewed when we aim it at an angle across the pool. Water that enters the pool has a high velocity (like a pool cue). It hits the other water like in balls in billiards and they all go crashing to the other side. Note the fan pattern on the illustration. Now, look at what happens when it gets to the skimmer. On the other side of the pool (maybe this is why we call billiards - Pool? LOL), we have a much larger amount of water moving slower in comparison to what is moving at the inlet. In other words, when water enters the pool there exists a little moving fast and when it exits, it is transformed into a lot moving slow. By the time all of this reaches the other side, much of the moving mass is below the skimmer opening, so it must also hit the wall and move up/down - it cannot stop. This water contributes to the "water curtain" created on the pool surface in front of the skimmer.We all will agree that water hitting the opening of the skimmer goes directly back to the filtration system. But what happens to the majority of moving water that hits the wall on either side of the opening?It bounces off - just like in billiards. As you can see in the illustration, this creates an invisible "force field" that you can actually see on a calm day or early in the morning at low sun angle. Debris being carried along the wall gets pushed out into the center of the pool just as it approaches the skimmer - attempts to aim the inlet more towards the skimmer just makes the issue worse. What you will also find is that when the circular force is enough to dominate and overcome this outward surface current, the debris will more often fall to the bottom in the center of the pool and eventually becomes a "vacuuming event." This is no different than creating a whirlpool in an above ground pool. The edges are whipped around and the center is still. Heavier material moves to the edges at high enough flow, but we typically don't have circular pools.With in-floor cleaning systems they are typically rolling the water up the wall and across the surface, so statistically any time the nozzles are pointed away from the skimmer (more often than not) the drive debris into the skimmer. For the short time that they are rotated toward the skimmer, the nozzles create a some of the same describe effect seen in a circular-type pattern, but this is temporary. Btw, if you install in-floor and have the skimmer volume for your pump (most do), try turning off the drain for a while and watch what happens with grass clipping on the surface of the water. This is also very visual in the spring with pollen or using a dusting of DE.Finally, let's look at the Rolling Paradigm in Figure 4. We have to look under the surface to see what is really happening in this example.

FIGURE 4: Rolling Circulation - close up of what goes on at the skimmer (top and side)Note that in this example, the water is directed into the pool and down toward the space between the wall and pool centerline. Also see the optional floor returns that are located along the long axis centerline for the pool. This creates a roll of the entire pool. Again, invoke our billiard analogy, but NOW also remember that as the water pushes away from the wall, the surface water fills in the "hole" created by pushing the water away from the wall. It works a lot like the wake on a boat, but the hole fills in so fast you cannot see the roll. It is sometimes noticed as small vortex above the inlet (especially on down jets). All surface is eventually headed toward, the inlets. Not what one expects - we want to believe that water is headed toward the outlets and yet, outlets do not cause any significant movement in the pool (with exception of whirlpools). It is the INLETS that move water and since water is moving away from the wall, the water has to come back on the surface. Conversely, if you point the jets all up to the surface, you are pulling a lot of water off the floor.I know, it is strange and uncomfortable, but it is what is happening - check it out for yourself with die.In the rolling case, the inlet just creates this nice racetrack loop. Clean water in and to the bottom, encounters water moving toward the center from the opposite side, and debris is forced back across the top surface to the wall. Notice that viewed from the top, this motion toward the inlet happens in ALL directions; once you build a pool inlet located in this fashion and you sprinkle grass/DE on the surface, you will see the debris heading into the skimmer from all directions. As important, no "force field" is sending water to the center of the pool. All surface flow should be toward a wall. For existing pools, you can sometimes dampen the circular motion by aiming all the returns down toward the floor, and then look at any one of them to observe the effect. While it may or may not work, at least you can see it happening. I have been able through trial and error to drive material in a skimmer with an inlet that was a foot or so away. It's not perfect, but can be done. I typically "break" the circular pattern first, be certain that inlets "shine" on the floor of the pool like spotlights, then try to make minor adjustments and attempt to push debris into the skimmer. It will not always work, which will mean a little more vacuuming, but you will typically see some improvement over circular flow.This should provoke a lot of discussion and thought. As well, it's pool season, so give it a try on next week's install. Put a return under a skimmer and you will see what happens. It is VERY visual and very impressive for customers. If you want to wow them with something the competition is NOT going to get, this is one of those great wow moments.Hope this LOOOOOOOONNGG blog spawned some good thought. Rathe than just blast the idea (there are many of us that KNOW it works) try a new approach, dare to do something different. Go do some tests and report back results. Take some video. Take some photos. Most of all, challenge those things that you thought before were unchallengeable and make sure that when you create a hypothesis about this or that, you find a way to test your hypothesis and confirm or deny it.Btw, these same basic prinicples play out in above ground pools (1 inlet 1 skimmer), Pool Genie, and Myrtha Pools. Each takes a very similar approach in one way or another and they all work.In close, one should ask, what was the origin of this circular motion in the first place? How did we get here? I have the answer for you and history once again left a very clean trail of how we started this whole circular circulation, but that will be held for a future blog.
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Circulation, Coffee, and Tea

I live in the south and we drink ice tea and eat at cracker barrel. It's just a way of life. As well, I like my ice tea and coffee sweetened...just never developed the taste for black coffee, but sometimes take it with cream.What does this have to do with circulation? The coffee and tea Police. These are unscrupulous servers walking around with a pot of java or pitcher of tea, just waiting to pounce on your cup. You see, its easy to get the right amount of cream and sweetener in the coffee, but if they catch you half cup, while you are not looking...you just can never get it right again. Just can never guess, or may not remember just where that glass was when they sprung a "warmer" or topoff.you see, its a problem of dilution.One thing finally occurred to me by reading some of the historic work of Stephen DeM. Gage. You may not know him, but most of the standard practices of the pool industry owe their origination to his work. From very early 1900s to about 1928, Mr. Gage was THE defining person on circulation, sanitization, and filtration What I can say unequivocally is nothing he wrote then was incorrect and there is no doubt that Health Departments and Trade Organizations lifted his work, and the work of the American Public Health Association, and then changed it, or simplified it, to the point that it was no longer correct.Which brings us back to Dilution and some of Mr. Gage (and Bidwell's) Best work: water circulation and turnover. When we talk about 6, 8 and 12 hour turns, it all falls back on the statistical work of Gage and Bidwell. What is exciting is if we take suction COMPLETELY out of the discussion, it's far easier to understand how our pools are cleaned and sanitized and the key is sequential dilution.

gage - father of pool circulation

Stephen DeM. Gage - He just looks smartHere is how it works. Start with a dirty pool and turn on the filtration equipment. Dirty water exits, and clean, sanitized water returns. No arguments there? Now, the clean water mixes with, or better dilutes, the dirty water and the pool becomes a "tad" more clean. Remember the coffee and tea police? This process continues until eventually, all of the dirt has been remove that was suspended in the water. What settles on the bottom, is removed by vacuuming or in-floor...or brushed to the "drain."That is how it works, and here are the numbers they came up with nearly 100 years ago. They expressed the volume of water entering the pool in terms of the "volume" of the pool and called it turnover rate or "T." So when the amount of water in 24 hours was equal to the volume of the pool, T = 1. If it was twice the volume, T = 2 and so on.What they demonstrated experimentally and mathematically is that it takes 7 turnovers to remove 99.9% of the dirt present. The numbers for pool purification look like this:T = 1 - 63% removedT = 2 - 86%T = 3 - 95%T = 4 - 98%T = 5 - 99.3%T = 6 - 99.7%T = 7 - 99.9%what is interesting is to go from 99.9% to 99.99% (0.09%) requires TEN turnovers! That last...almost .1% requires three more turnovers. Of course, all of this assumes no more dirt was added to the pool - not likely, those dirty people just won't stay out. They went on to model dirt coming into the pool and how many days it took for the system to "catch up" with the increasing load.Their conclusion by 1920?The recirculation system should be designed for a minimum of 2 turnovers and for heavy bather load, 3 or more. They suggested:" It is evident that the recirculation system should be kept in operation continuously and that the filters should be operated in the most efficient manner. If the Filters have an efficiency of only 50%, or the recirculation system is operated only half of the time, the effect will be the same as though the recirculation system were only half the size."that sums it up. Water is cleaned through sequential dilution and sanitization. Nothing is happening when the filter is off or the pool is stagnant. Doesn't matter where you take it from, so long as you put it back throughout the pool.I think the best part of the entire committee work was the slogan of the day:

Wouldn't it be great to say this today?
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It's Happened, Again...

What if drains are NOT contributing to circulation? How might that change your world?Most of the content of this blog was supposed to appear next week, but I received a tragic email this morning and it's been troubling me...A man (husband) was killed on the drain of a pool on April 11th in Pittsburgh. We don't have many details yet, but this appeared today on the newsfeed:Wife of man who drown at athletic club files wrongful death suitIt will be interesting to see if this pool actually NEEDED a drain other than the great state of PA mandating one. Time will tell, but history records and sometimes it is history that teaches us the best lessons.So let's take a look at language on circulation for all, but about 9 states in 1928:VII. Inlets and OutletsA. All pools should be provided with an outlet at the deepest point of sufficient size to permit the pool to be completely drained in four hours or less. Outlet opening in the floor of the pool should be at least four times the area of the discharge pipe ,to reduce suction currents. This opening must be covered with a proper grating.B. In rectangular pools with deep water at or near one end, multiple outlets should be provided where the width of the pool is more than 20 feet. In such cases outlets should be spaced not more than 20 feet apart, nor more than 10 feet from side walls.C. Proper pipe connections must be provided in recirculation pools to permit water being drained directly to the sewer, as well as to recirculation pumps. In making connections of pool outlets with sewers proper care must be taken to prevent any possibility of sewage from the building or from outside backing up into the pool.D. Inlets for fresh or re-purified water should be located to produce as far as possible a uniform circulation of water throughout the entire pool. In semi-artificial pools of irregular shape a careful study should be made of probable circulation currents and inlets located and spaced to provide as complete circulation as possible. All inlets should be located at the shallow water portion of the pool and not more than 1 foot below water line, except in case where reverse circulation is used as discussed in paragraph H.E. Where the distance across the shallow portion of the pool is more than 20 feet, multiple inlets must be provided, so spaced that each inlet will serve a linear distance of not more than 20 feet. At spoon shaped rectangular pools where the outlets are located more than 5 feet from the end wall, inlets should be placed at both ends of the pool. At large pools with outlets near the center, inlets should be placed at the specified intervals entirely around the perimeter of the pool.F. In small rectangular pools with only a single inlet and a single outlet, inlet and outlet should be located on a line drawn lengthwise through the center of the pool. Inlet orifices located at or below normal water level should be covered with a grating having openings of at least twice the orifice area.G. Each inlet should be designed as an orifice and proportioned to supply the volume of water required at that particular point to obtain the best circulation. Inlet piping should be designed to provide at least, twice the area of the inlet orifice. In large pools the inlet pipe system should be designed in sections with gates to permit regulation of the flow to different inlet orifices.H. In a few cases pools have been designed for fresh water or re-purified water to enter at the deep point and overflow through outlets or skim gutters in the shallow portion. It is believed there may be some advantage in having flow through the pool in this direction, thus permitting floating matters and dirtier waters from the more crowded shallow area to be carried off more rapidly. The committee suggests that in designing piping systems for recirculation or flowing through pools, cross-connections be provided so that flow through the pool may be in the direction which experiments may prove most desirable. It is also suggested that the question of having skim qutters serve as overflows and outlets in recirculation or flowing through systems be studied more carefully, as it appears that such design may have certain material advantages.Can you imagine that? it's concise, it's accurate, and best - it does not conflict with the know physical laws of fluids. Oh yeah, this was a day when circulation systems were circulation systems and a drain....was a drain.Just imagine if we built pools like this today? How did we get the 80/20, 60/40, 50/50 nonsense mandates? Where did we forget what was happening and why? These are all the questions I have and I am spending some time digging in to find out. Pools were SAFER by these design standards than they are today. When you think of something new, like ANSI/APSP-7 and know how many PAGES are included to deal with drains only to find out that we could eliminate ALL submerged suction like they did at the turn of last century.As you may have seen in Solutions for Suction Entrapment forum on PGN, we recently had a debate and I offered what I believed to be a simple thought experiment. Take a 100 ft x 85 ft x 4.5 ft (ave depth) public pool. Its 286,130 gallons. A 6 hour turn would yield 795 GPM, which can be handled (volume) by a single 18 x 18 drain cover that has been tested to ASME A112 19.8 (2007) as SAFE as a single suction. The drain is less than .026% of the floorSo let's propose the following question:Assuming ALL flow is going to the drain for this particular pool, what are the chances that debris on the floor will find such a small spot?Before you answer, consider that the drain has an area on the floor of 2.5 sqft and the pool is more than 8500 sqft (did not include the slope).We all know that a drain is going to have little influence on dead spots some 100 or more feet away, it doesn't have significant effect at ELEVEN INCHES. What is also suspiciously missing is any nonsense about "circular motion of the water." In fact, the writers went to great lengths to attempt to create "plug flow" where drains WERE used. They put LIMITS on where the returns would be to encourage the water to flow towards the pool - entraining dirty water on the way to the drain. It was a North American standard so they did not consider coriolis effect and toilets flushing in Australia either. [Side note: if you think the rotation of the earth has an effect - read this]. We know that the number of inlets scale with a pool as does the turnover in GPM, but we need only one drain at the "deepest point" for proper circulation? No, we don't and now we know why it ended up there. We need not go past its legacy name, DRAIN, for the answer. It was to drain the pool. Today, we don't use drains to drain pools, we you submersible or deck mounted pumps. They are faster and save the pool equipment from needless wear and tear associated with draining a trash-ladened pool on season startup.I find it amazing that not only is this language COMPLETELY accurate AND concise, it counters MOST if not all of the folklore that plagues our industry today. Antidotal evidence of cloudy pools associated with no drains, etc...don't really stand up when one actually goes out and measures what is going on - there are always other explanations. I don't want anyone to feel embarrassed by the blatant statements that go counter to what you are taught. While this is important, in the grand scheme of construction schedules, plaster, steel, gravel, tile, piping, can you save my sod...and the prized butterfly bush you just demolished, knowing the details and physics behind circulation is really a LOW priority. One can't really do much with it in the field and we are working now to include some of the basic guidelines in our next generation standards.What I do have a problem with, especially in light of someone's husband, daughter, son, grand daughter, etc...dying, is the complete unwillingness to LEARN. Folks, this is not debatable with any merit. There is not one person that is actually competent in fluid flow that would argue this point.Drains don't move water, inlets do. It's really that simple. Drains can be used to RECEIVE water, but as we can see from our well thought out standards of yesterday, it's going to be difficult with the type of pools we build today and most of our standards would not let us BUILD the pools above - they were right then, we are wrong now.Benjamin Franklin's first TWO patents were swimming devices and he also wrote a book on swimming. He once said,"Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn."Nothing could be further than the truth.
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Early Thoughts on Entrapment

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is in full swing and Pools across the country will once again, become safe...right? As it turns out, it’s really not that easy. While creators and sponsors of this legislation were really trying save lives, an unintended consequence resulted. Today, millions of dollars are being wasted by throwing the proverbial “good money after bad.” Many of our Health departments, state pool codes, and even legislative processes attempting to “do good” are pressing on the economy of public pools when funding for these facilities is at an all time low. We are well beyond the day of Buster Crabb, Ester WIlliams, and Johnny Weismuller. Swimming will see a bit of a rise, with the phenomenal performance of Olympic Champion, Michael Phelps, but there once was a time when swimming was one of the top ten most popular activities.I hope it comes back.No one wants children to die in swimming pools. No one wants people to get sick in swimming pools. We repaired Hubble Space Telescope this week, surely we can stop entrapment. As it turns out, the solution to this issue is really nothing new and the very sad part is that public pool codes in 1928 were actually better in many ways than they are today. I really don’t know of another single industry where I might say that. We are not just joking and saying less regulation is better; what is irrefutable is that our pools were actually SAFER using building practices in 1928, than what states are legislating and mandating all over the country today.First, let’s review an actual entrapment case I recently found:Held for Girl’s DeathHarry H. Bond Jr., well-known sanitary engineer, and member of the A.S.S.E. and A.S.M.E., has just sent us the following newspaper clipping:Maxwell Berk, manager of the Ostend pool in Far Rockaway, Queens, was arraigned on a technical charge of homocide in Far Rockaway court yesterday in in connection with the drowning in the pool last summer of Helen Flynn, 18.Miss Flynn, who lived in Rockaway Beach, was sucked under by the suction from an open drain and was drowned before lifeguards could reach her.Magistrate Frank J. Giorgio released Berk in $5000 bail pending the actions of the grand jury.This is a warning to all pool operators. Certainly Mr. Berk would give much to bring this girl back to life, but, unfortunately this is nothing that can be done in the way of restoration.If in addition to these efforts in the interest of a clean pool the water is sterilized by some recognized system of sterilization, there need be no concern as to the quality of the water in the pool.All pool operators, however, can prevent a like tragedy. They should not, under any circumstances, permit a drain to be opened until the pool has been closed to patrons. And the guards should inspect the premises to make sure that ALL are at a safe distance from the pool.Drownings in swimming pools are very, very few. But even the few must be eliminated.- January 1930

Can you believe this? nearly 79 years to the DAY, that Kiah Milsom was killed in a tragic death in a Kentucky pool with an unnecessary drain, we find pool operators being instructed to never “open a drain” unless bathers are at a safe distance from the pool.Ironically, I found this article by accident while researching pool codes at the turn of the century. After nearly a decade in this industry, there are still many scientifically unsubstantiated requirements in state pool codes and no one really seems to know how, or cares, about where these rules came from. What absolutely floored me was that pool codes about circulation were more correct in 1928 than they are today.What will find is that in all but NINE states at that time, drains were not only unnecessary for circulation, but more importantly it was recognized that "reverse circulation" was actually SUPERIOR.
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2009 A New Year for Pool Safety

As cliché as it may sound, where did 2008 go? It was certainly a fast-paced year and extremely busy in terms of swimming pool and spa safety. In some sense, using a child analogy, it’s as if we stepped out of industry adolescence and jumped right into the frenzy of college freshman mayhem. Perhaps not all of you gained too much weight...The state of our industry from a safety perspective is actually quite good. While we all felt the pinch of the economic downturn, these times tend to have a culling effect and in some ironic twist, many of those that fail, didn’t need to be around in the first place. 2009 will provide some interesting challenges for us as we now try to take a collection of “consensus” derived rules and laws, and turn them into understandable, repeatable, operational practices for our companies.This will involve CHANGE and change is never easy.There will be those that say we went too far, and perhaps we did. There will be those that say we haven’t done enough, and maybe we haven’t. There will be a lot of comments, but there is only one test that in the end will really matter:Are the rules, standards, and codes we have put into place technically accurate and based on sound science and engineering principles?That is the test. It is this very action that will ultimately decide if the thousands of hours of volunteer work, the millions spent collectively by distributors, manufacturers, and pool builders, both in cash and opportunity cost, will actually save a life. While there is no way to put a price on any life, certainly there is a way to put a face on it. I can assure you if any of the faces below...Alexia, Erin, or Danner Cronise were on that list, the outrage and dedication everyone has come to expect from me would be but a small shadow of what would happen in the wake of that death. That being said, every word of suggested improvement I offered would be first challenged by the scientific method of Observation, Hypothesis, Prediction, and Testing. Our industry is way past “daddy-did-it engineering.” It matters not how long you have been in business - some have 30 years of experience and others have one year of experience 30 times.

Pool Safety starts with the people you love most - your family. Ray Cronise, former Nasa Scientist and father of three has dedicated numerous hours to eliminate suction entrapment hazards from swimming pools and spas.

Our collective industry dedication to safety has angered a few, created excitement in others, and most importantly - I know we have saved a life. We'll never hear a word about those that didn’t drown, but we can be assured they are out there - and will have at least one more round of birthday candles to extinguish. We can be certain that not one suction entrapment has, or will, occur on a pool without submerged suction. I know of no reported cases of Cryptosporidium, E. coli, giardia, or legionellosis traced back to pools built and operated with no drain. In fact, I suspect most of pools with these reported health issues had a drain as these problems are more commonly associated with public pools. In any case, let's not be paralyzed by the fear of what MIGHT happen, let's act on what science and testing says DOES happpen.If you want to learn more about Recreational Water Illness (RWI), you can find some fantastic fact sheets at the NSPF website. At this point it is just a matter of time and these legacy devices will be displaced by safe, overflow alternatives. Until then, we will still have to build submerged suctions in our pool safely, with correct covers, properly sized piping and pumps, and following the ANSI/APSP-7 Suction Entrapment Avoidance Standard. Finally we will all want to verify, as a matter of standard industry practice, that what we install IS and REMAINS operational and safe - this is no different that testing the water for chlorine. The new ASSP-7 Field Verification Addendum will give us these tools.While we have spent countless hours and industry resources on this important, but single issue over the last 5-6 years, each year more children die through preventable drowning than ALL ENTRAPMENT CASES OVER THE LAST 20 years combined! The U.S. CPSC estimates there are about 260 drowning deaths of children under 5 each year. Suction Entrapment related deaths are completely preventable, but relatively rare. Many more drowning deaths (thousands) happen in natural bodies of water, but there never seems to be any real rush to fence and install alarms on all the rivers, ponds, oceans, and lakes. I’m not making light of this very real safety issue, but rather pointing out that our actions are a reflection of our values and many more hours and resources are being poured into a relatively small percentage of the overall problem problem. Perhaps we should all reconsider.Rather than continue down this divisive, contentious legislative path, what can WE do collectively in 2009 as an both a construction and safety industry to continue to build the pools and beautiful water features our customers are demanding? How can we come together on these issue and be certain that our customers are aware that “children aren’t waterproof?” How do we promote the pioneering work of Dr. Harvey Barnett and make sure more of our customers teach their children to swim? What can we do to improve our understanding of circulation in swimming pools and remove the myth that a drain or some arbitrary 80/20 skimmer/main drain flow split is going to assure proper distribution of sanitizer?There are so many ways our industry can make positive changes and all of them start with an awareness of facts around pool injuries and deaths followed by a focus on sound scientifically validated solutions. To succeed we MUST move beyond our our safety product-driven legislative habits and onto solving the problems one by one. Yes, selling plastic can be lucrative, but selling pools and lifestyle is so much MORE profitable and meaningful.Don’t we all remember the story of Thomas Edison and the Phonograph? Remember the notebook in which he wrote every possible problem and then one by one he checked them off?

Thomas Edison used inventive ways to solve problems by listing them all and checking them one by one. Swimming Pool safety is no difference, suction entrapment, children drownings can all be prevented by using a similar approach

Why don’t we take that approach in our industry? We are hindered in our efforts for increased safety by special interests and fear of change - our technical problems are not particularly difficult to address. It’s NOT rocket science - we are just trying to keep pool water clean and healthy and design structures that are both aesthetically appealing, but safe.To the Pool Builder, Service Tech, Retailer and Manufacturer - Do what is right, whether it is legislated or not. Stop resisting change and understand that new innovations and ideas will continue to make your business THRIVE. Safety is a great SALES TOOL that creates a win-win for you and your customer! As well, the job is not complete when you receive the final check - it is when your customer knows how to operate equipment and maintain a safe environment. What if your last visit for "pool school" were as enthusiastic and exciting as when you were trying to sign the contract? Think about it.To the Safety Advocates - Help us all make consumers aware of preventable drowning accidents, but understand we will never achieve 0 death rate. Even if we fill in EVERY pool, the drownings will still number in the thousands every year in natural bodies of water. Let’s join forces to use our limited resources to educate pool owners, and their neighbors, on ways to prevent these avoidable drowning deaths and continue to let them build beautiful pools. Help encourage ALL STATES to require certification to operate a public pool. Many lives are at risk from RWI and other issues, and yet only 20 states require some type of Pool Operator Certification for public pools.To the State Health and Building Officials - Be sure your laws/codes are based on sound science and engineering. We all understand that many offices are understaffed/underfunded. Your jobs are not often appreciated by everyone; however, don't let tradition and habit get in the way of safety progress. Like every positive improvement in all of our lives, progress necessitates change and your codes are no different. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act allows various options. Join the APSP, U.S. CPSC, CDC, NSPF, and many more in promoting: ALL States. All Options. Don't cave in to those that pedal fear over fact. Emotionally based decisions are where most mistakes are made. See above note on Pool Operator Certifications.In close, I would like to see my children, and all children, live out the great life of my grandmother, Marie Cronise, who died in October 2008 only 5 days after this picture was taken. She lived a full life (incidentally hated water), but every child or adult that dies in a pool should be so lucky. We won’t make pools perfectly safe, but we have a lot of room for improvement.

marie cronise and grandchildren Alex Cronise, Erin Cronise, and Danner Cronise - all advocates of swimming pool safety

Let’s make a great effort in 2009 for Swimming Pool Safety! Add something below that can make a difference with YOUR customers! If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to email or call.Ray
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Pool Genius Meets Blues Genius....

One of the great advantages of my previous job at NASA and now in the pool industry, is we all tend to meet some really great people along the way. Make no mistake about it, I am just not a "fan" sort of guy. I don't get autographs and rarely take photos of celebrities.I know so many fellow Pool Genius Members that have built amazing swimming pools for various celebrities. It's fun to talk about with friends, family and customers and it makes one feel good to give back. Recently, because of some major life-changing events that were dumped on me to "deal with" I had a LOT of friends come out of the woodwork to check in to see how they could help. It is these networks that ARE our success. We must strive to build and maintain them. As I have heard frequently from the Genesis 3 cadre, you have to "speak their language." Don't always assume it is their business. Genesis does the wine and cheese gig and that is great (when I'm not dieting).But this chance meeting this weekend here in Madison, Alabama was just a great experience and it has some DIRECT bearing on our industry and the Pool Genius Network. I was sitting out watching a blues band on friday evening to unwind a bit and on a complete lark, sent an email to Billy Gibbons (ZZ-Top fame) with a photo of the band and a note about some good guacamole I was munching (he's a BIG TexMex fan). At that very moment, he was sitting with his laptop just 5 miles away from me and replied back - Hey....let's get together tomorrow and hang out!A quick background, we met over 10 years ago, and have been friends since. it is based on our LOVE and passion for space travel - we rarely if EVER talk about music. In fact, we don't talk about ZZtop. They are a company, true they are buddies, but the bond is the group's business and what each of the three of them brings uniquely to the table. They have some knock-down arguments, not unlike your family business, but in the end it is the dream of keeping the vision and life of ZZ Top alive that ALWAYS drives them to work through the issues and work on the big picture. Very few bands make it to this level and so I have spoken frequently to Billy about business and overall success at keeping it together as he is an AMAZING businessman.We discussed the economy...the issue with purchasing houses or swimming pools and financing, he even had a pool sketched out that he wants to build someday. But his eyes just went WIDE open, when we whipped our macs and went onto Pool Genius Network. he reads some blogs, looked at pages, and could not believe this all launched on October 20th! He saw immediately the power we all share in this sort of neutral forum to exchange and push ourselves to the very best.Later saturday we both had appointments at the Apple Genius Bar so we were off doing our thing (did you think I wasn't going to mention a mac???). He understood clearly the accidental industry and related very well to how we can become so passionate about our art, and making family members - there are a lot of parallels. As well, we remain VERY fortunate that we can stay in touch with the many families where our pools are located - that is something he has no way to accomplish with millions of fans and yet, it was that very personal touch with his fans 39 years ago that eventually made him who he is today - one of the legendary rock blues guitar players of the last century.So I invite you to do three things today:1) Make a plan on how you are going to stay in contact with your customers and create "raving fans" that will be with you year after year - Rex says if they wouldn't have you over for dinner, you haven't gone far enough.2) Take the holiday season to write each of them a card - no mass mailing, skip the fruit basket - reach out to those you can and write it from your heart;3) Finally, look within your company and see the petty disagreements, arguments and control struggles for what they are - COMPANY KILLERS - just let go, pull the team together, and make success and customer loyalty your prime directive.now for the funny ending. I am a HUGE Jeffrey Gitomer fan and as I was pulling my mac out of the backback, my stack of "customer satisfaction is worthless cards," spilled out on the floor in the Apple store. One separated from the pack and on it, a GREAT quote (hey they are all good, but consider situation I was in ):Treat every customer asthough they were your favoritecelebrity, hero, friend, neighbor,or your grandma.Where might that get us if we internalized and lived it EVERY day? Definitely get the Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Book. in fact, buy ANYTHING Gitomer - he is amazing. Work through your company differences diligently to make the biggest impact for your customers, and take advice from a Rock Legend that has been everywhere and seen everything - partnerships succeed and fail, because of the choices we make every day. Err on the side of ethical decisions.oh, yeah....and finally, take some advice from a a Pool Genius and Blues Genius. Buy a mac. The quality of life will never be better!

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A very Important Thing to Consider

A few years ago I stumbled upon a book, The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakahni. It is a fascinating book about what an hour of "fearsome focus" on a project can really do to accelerate progress and success. It is about making progress and plans that create forward momentum. For those that don't know me, I am a reader; at least one book every 1 1/2 weeks. For those that do know me, you get the calls, emails, and pleads "you just have to read THIS book." So I made my typical calls to michelle, rex, steve, etc....and then one week later, I get a call from Rex, "Ray, you'll never guess who I am at dinner with?" Yep, Dave Lakahni.Dave came from an interesting background having grown up in a cult. As such he was able to experience and learn first hand how people manipulate and brainwashing people into doing, well cultish things. Emails were exchanged, then phone calls, and now he has become a good friend. He has spoken at corporate events and he has an amazing insight to sales, marketing, and business success.His most recent blog post is a REAL winner and I want you to take the time to read it carefully. It outlines the questions you should be asking about your swimming pool company. If you can't answer these questions, you need to really make an effort to do so.Take a look at: The Recession and Small BusinessThere is a lot of information here and EVERYONE will get something out of this.
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Is Your Glass Half Empty?

Last year I reacquainted with a friend that attempted to climb Everest this past year. We first met in 1998 as he trained to operate my first space shuttle experiment as a "Principle Investigator." It was a very exciting time for me, both Scott and John Glenn studied with intensity as we worked our way through the operations and procedures. There is a lot of training time and complexity in planning a space mission. Our Aerogel payload was just a tiny part. He has since flown in space 5 times and I am envious of his great adventures.At the same time, I have always longed to climb Everest.Ever since I heard David Brashears speak in 1998 (coincidently, the same year scott and I worked together), I just wanted to go. It wasn't about the fame or notoriety of having done it; it was about pushing myself through the menial, self-inflicted pity we often use to fool ourselves into thinking that what we really want in life is hard, difficult, or just out of reach and unobtainable. I wanted to do something that truly is at the limit of what I am mentally and physically capable of accomplishing. It is the same sort of drive for my life-long quest to fly in space.It was, after all, one of the saddest days of my life, December 17, 1999, when I walked away from NASA to start a new company and a new life. I knew that once I left, I would never go back. I had worked closely with the astronaut selection office for 6 years making it to "highly qualified" and would have likely received and interview the following year. I withdrew my application midstream to the dismay of many that had worked so hard to get me to that point.What was I thinking?Since 1995, I'd kept a short email posted on the wall of my office. It is from a very successful entertainer. He has been a great inspiration to me along the way. It took him decades of perseverance and hard work to achieve the success he enjoys today. He wrote:"My Words of wisdom.You have but one life. Figure out the bottom line, the worst-case scenario. if the worst thing that can happen is something you can live with, dare to do what the Muses are telling you to do.I hedged my bet when getting in to showbiz. I took a year's "leave of absences" from teaching. if, after a year, had been starving in the an alley, I could have gone back. I knew in a week I'd never do it.I'm betting you are plenty employable, and it's generally so much more fun to work in the private sector than for the government."What I have learned and the people I have met since leaving the government is simply unbelievable. I've had an amazing time in the pool industry, despite its lack of "glamor," and have met some of the best friends of my life. What is happening here at Pool Genius Network is equally exciting to be a part of and together we will all profit by this online community. Sure, there are times I long to be back in a lab at NASA, but then again the very lab I worked in every day for a decade is now long gone - mothballed. In an ironic twist, I left what once was my "dream job" and rose to even higher levels of financial and personal success, when it would have been far easier on me to just stay in the comfort of what I thought would be there forever.In reality when I think about being back in those labs, what I really long to get back to is no different than my desire sometimes to be a kid in college again. It is a special yearning back to a time that seems less stressful, less demanding, and yet when I honestly think back, I still in those moment had some level anxiety about what I was going to do with my life in the future.Things are never perfect and if you live in the glass half empty mindset, these dwelling thoughts of insecurity become overwhelming and crippling, not just fleeting moments contemplateion considered in perspective of a bigger picture.There are those that jump and swat, because a single bee circles their head. Still others that obsess about bee stings in general, and then my friend who wrote the letter above that has covered himself with thousands bees for a stunt. Does he get stung? You bet he does and it hurts, but he is not going to die and it isn't "that bad." And to eat a live madagascar hissing +!@#$ roach in camera...wow, that takes willpower, but how bad can it be? Probably tastes like chicken.So when we suddenly have life cast upon us and things seem to be in a real dire straights, it is time to ask about the risk reward benefit. Should I drop everything I am doing and start over? or should I find a way to see what I have now and make the best of things? My choice to start over and leave NASA was not because things were not happening fast enough or my life was miserable there, it was because I was up against a huge bureaucracy and there was simply no way to change it. I could live within in it or work around it, but no amount of personal effort could have changed its direction - it has infinite inertia. One must look at ALL of their goals as a whole. If they are not going to harmonize, or worse, if they cause mutual destruction or are cannibalistic of one another, something must go.There are many of you right now reading this feeling uncomfortable in your every day life or situation. This is not unlike my friend covered in bees or eating Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Neither of which did he actually enjoy, but in some strange paradox, both seemingly meaningless acts have made him amazingly successful. If analyzed in the vacuum of the bigger picture, a glass half empty analogy, why bother; I'm not going to eat a Madagascar Cockroach or subject myself to 10,000 bees - are you kidding?What ever you are facing, career changes, business struggles, our swimming pool industry's down economy, it really doesn't matter in the end. You must focus intensely on what goal YOU want to achieve. Envision how YOU want this successful journey to proceed and simply take a positive step in that direction. I consider myself a risk taker, and yet when I look back, some of my best opportunities were when my legs were cut out from beneath me. In those times, there is no comfort to retreat. There is no safety line or lifeboat. When this happens one must engage in a little "fearsome focus" and execute, or you will fail. I would say most are not in that situation and changing is much more analogous to hanging on to two gymnast rings at the same time. Eventually you have to let go of one - or you will fail clinging to both.My friend's lifelong dream to scale Everest did not end exactly as he had expected. After years of planning, 5 successful space flights, and extreme physical training, the morning had arrived. It was 6:30 am, May 21, 2008 and he was 24 hours from the summit. As he lifted his backpack, a sharp pain in his back, caused him great alarm. After 10 steps, he turned to his climbing friends and simply said, "I'm done." He knew to push on might not only jeopardize his life, but the safety and the success of others on the climb. Most people that die on Everest do so on the way back down.Not all journeys end in success, but all who achieve as magnificent career as Scott has encounter failures and setbacks along the way and they are never paralyzed by the instinctual Human fear that comes with every failure. They move on and the put it behind them.Surely your decisions in the pool industry will place you in no immediate threat of death. I'm betting if you made the choice to move forward for what you really want, its not likely your decisions today are of the same life-threatening magnitude of Scott's decision not to press to summit Everest. There is very little chance you will die in the day to day activity you fret about right now. Perhaps you will feel embarrassment, a little loss in pride, or even anxiety, but to reach your goals pick up that half-empty glass, drink it with vigor and demand it be filled again.In the end, true success requires a commitment to achieve, a dedication to persistence, and most importantly, never allowing your internal self-drive to go fallow.
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Replacing Drain Covers - Part 2 Velocity

This was a rather long response to my previous blog on replacing drain covers to member, Casey Treese in Las Vegas. If you haven't read part 1, you might want to do that first by clicking here.Casey's response was:Excellent article! I liked that you included field built sumps too. I have virtually no experience with these but it got me thinking about how I would go about hydraulic calcs and determining velocities for these custom sumps. Let's say the shapely design was the easy part and I'm good with the above diagrams but, after that, how would I approach the the system design as a whole? Does the numbers game change with a field built sump? Is it easy or hard to "lasso" the dangerous flows that lurk in the more volumonuous pools?The key to eliminating suction entrapment world wide is for us all to better understand what submerged suctions do and don't do. As we replace covers, there are several important issues we must keep in mind. The three most important are:1) flow rate (measured in GPM)2) flow rate (measured in GPM)3) flow rate (measured in GPM)As it turns out, we are rapidly moving beyond the entire velocity concept in safety for piping and drains. It served us well for years, but you will see that the only real number we need is the system flow rate which is measured in GPM, not FPS. Velocity was a good start, but it does not tell the whole story and often velocity alone can lead us down a wrong path. Historically we have placed far too much importance on TDH estimations. They are just that estimates. Velocity, estimates, and rules of thumb are very rapidly falling aside as we describe accurate performance criteria that can be measured and verified in the field.Let me give you an example. It was long held by many state codes that if we limited the velocity through a grate to 1.5 fps (velocity) that made the drain safe. The velocity does not directly effect the suction, so this requirement is related to hair entrapment/entanglement. While it was the a great start, we found there are unforeseen issues with this approach.When we started testing covers with a FULL HEAD of hair in the new ASME standard, rather than just a "pony tail" in the old ASME standard, we found something very surprising. The hair would begin to spread out, or mat, on the surface of cover resulting in the velocity of water through the remaining cover opening increasing. Where the velocity increases is the place the hair will ultimately become entangled or trapped in the cover. We found that while our 1.5 fps velocity was a great start, it was NOT as good as actually testing the cover. Ironically, the geometry for covers that have the highest flow rate rating and DO NOT trap hair often have velocities far in excess of 1.5 fps. In other words the safest drains we TEST for hair entanglement, out perform these existing "rules of thumb" we have worked with for years.We are very quickly moving into a new realm in swimming pool circulation system design safety. Verifying through direct measurement that your as-built swimming pool is safe is always better than any piles of plans or calculations that suggest it is safe. An accurate measurement in the field always trumps a general rule of thumb. Always. It also uncovers the situations when we make mistakes. Our in field measurement is the SYSTEM FLOW RATE in GPM. We cannot practically measure velocity directly, so why bother with them in the first place.The second, and most IMPORTANT step, is all professional pool builders should always attempt to eliminate the hazard completely in every pool. We will cover this more later, but suction ports provide little to no contribution to pool circulation. A vast majority of submerged suction ports (not all), dual outlet or not, can simply be eliminated. Remember, it is maintenance of the cover, systems not built to standard, or systems that were modified after the fact that caused most reported suction entrapment cases. If we ELIMINATE the hazard, not just MITIGATE it, we are moving beyond our habits of yesterday and into a realm of suction entrapment free swimming pools. As an industry, we've have taught circulation incorrectly for so long that there is a lot of confusion, but as I travel the country and meet more and more people that have given it a try, they are AMAZED to find how well drainless pools work.We continue to need submerged suction (drains) for high volume water features, in floor cleaning systems, and raised beam spas among other things, but drains do little for water circulation or distribution of sanitizer. And when we do use them, let's all commit to measure and verify they are working correctly and safely.On the other hand, If you believe your pool has a dead spot (diving hopper, steps, coves and swimouts) - place a floor return or directional return to push clean water into that spot. Consider reversing the flow through existing single main drain pools.In the end be sure you always try to first eliminate the hazard and when you can't eliminate then be sure to verify installed submerged outlets are safe.
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Does Your Pool Have the Right Drain Cover?

As many of you know, I am often hailed as the “no main drain guy,” because for the last 6 years I have been pushing for the option (not the mandate) to build pools without a drain. You can read more about this concept in the November 2008 WaterShapes Magazine. If you want the full technical scoop, you can download it here. I still believe that many pool drains can be eliminated and completely remove the hazards of suction entrapment.For now, I want to talk to you about pools that HAVE drains or existing covers you may have to replace due to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Our industry is under mandate to replace all public pool drain covers by December 19, 2008 or the first day the pool is open after the next season. These new covers must be tested to an updated National Standard: ASME:A112.19.8(2007). This standard was a significant upgrade in safety from the previous cover standard. It added three very important testing components: Full Head of Hair, Body Block, and Material UV tests.These tests are all designed to make sure that the cover is not only safe, but that it will remain in tact. Most accidents happened because covers become broken or missing for a plurality of reasons. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is the enforcer of this particular congressional act and has come up with a standard label to place on all of these cover “VGB 2008” by designation of this letter.On the residential side, the CPSC will disallow the sale of covers that do not meet the the new standard. This will slowly eliminate these covers on existing pools. While there is no mandate to replace the existing covers in residential pools, it is a good idea for safety to do it - whether required by law or not. It's the right thing to do. There will be more information on the legal aspects of this and your responsibility offered by our Pool Genius Adviser Stephen Getzoff in the weeks to come.Here is one thing that likely no one has told you and it will be VERY important as we replace covers on existing pools. “Suction Outlets” as are being tested in the above ASME standard are defined to include: cover, attaching screws, and the sump. In other words, simply having a cover that’s stamped with “VGB 2008” is not enough - the manufacturer must have specifically tested and specified that this cover is intended to work with your manufactured or field manufactured sump. As well, the screws are the weak link - remember broken or missing covers up above? If you replace an old cover with a new cover, but in the process strip the screws, you have decreased safety, while appearing that you are technically complying. It is imperative to be certain that NO SCREWS are stripped, the cover is SECURELY in place, and the flow rate does not EXCEED that which is printed on the label.
Equally important for field fabricated sumps, you should remember that in the absence of a manufacturers specification, you will need 1.5 x diameter of the pipe underneath, at the center (where the pipe comes through the shell) and 1 diameter at the edge of the grate. We don’t typically plaster in grates with this sort of clearance, but no one is talking about it. Here is a diagram from the ASME standard on field fabricated sumps:

sump designs for drain covers to meet ASMEA112.19.8 for suction entrapment

Figure 2 from ASME A112.19.8(2007) ©2007 ASME all rights reserved.Take a look at this public spa I recently visited. It has at least 4" (maybe 6"?) piping and that appears to be a 12 x 12 flat (it perhaps is a 9 x 9 hard to tell and I did not measure it - if you can identify the cover please add a comment) In any event - exactly what needs to be replaced. Now look at the clearance between the drain cover and the sump - 3.4 inches? I certainly does not meet the 1.5 diameter called out in the standard. So a cover for this sort of installation would either need to be rated for this shallow clearance or the sump must be modified to meet requirements in the table above.

Example Spa Cover with Field Fabricated Sump - This is a tough call on what cover to useFinally and most important is to measure the flow rate on your system. This is primarily to ensure hair entanglement protection. Each of the dual outlets must be rated with a number ABOVE the maximum system can flow. If the covers are rated at 125 GPM, and there are 2 drains, you CANNOT flow 250 GPM through the outlets. For dual outlet installs, the maximum flow through the pair is the lowest number printed on the cover. Flow rate can be easily measured in the field and a standard testing protocol should be released in the next 2-3 weeks from the ANSI/APSP-7 committee.Recently I traveled with several National Award-Winning builders in Florida and visited about a dozen pools. (if any of you chose, please comment). EVERY pool tested had 4-8 times the necessary water for circulation! We were astonished to find out that they had been over pumping pools for this long. We performed a very simple measurement of flow rate (I’ll cover this completely in a later webinar) and it was enlightening to him to say the least. The smallest pump we measured was a ¾ HP and it was producing 75-85 GPM depending on piping configuration. That is not a lot of water, but it was on a 7000 gallon pool or a 1.5 hour turnover! Wonder what those 1 ½ and 2 HP were pushing? I think you get the point.In closing I want to be certain that you take away two very important thoughts:1) The pool cover you are servicing MUST be designed to work with the manufactured/field built sump you are replacing in order to meet the standard.2) The cover must also be rated for the MAXIMUM flow rate on your system. Most pumps are moving a LOT more water than you think. The days of “selling on HP “ are gone and we need to focus on the pumps flow rate, which is tied to the specific piping of the pool. IF you don't measure the flow rate, YOU DON"T KNOW what it is - measure it!We will cover this subject in much more detail over the upcoming weeks. Until then, let's all keep swimming pool safety at the forefront of our business and the industry.
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Life is Full of Color

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, and/or, desire according to Aristotle. One is pressed to argue with this even 2300 years later. There are those in life that do not reflect and just walk around existing, not living. Like shadows, they can be found attached to any exciting event, but something inside just doesn't allow them to actually live and experience the world in a first hand way.I don't live this way.In true Aristotelian fashion, I like to experience life first hand. I love ideas and I like great minds. When one strives to surround themselves with interesting and intelligent people, life generally has so much more meaning. The problem is that not unlike the formula for a really cheesy soap opera, the script most people audition for almost guarantees a boring and predictable story.Consider a wedding photographer: is he there to capture a wedding or is he there to create photos of a wedding that never really happened? The people were there and one shouldn't suggest this is some sort of Steven Spielberg conspiracy, but we all know that basically the bride and groom are lead by the nose from one posed photo to the other. Ok, perhaps he gets a few spontaneous shots, but for the most part, all wedding albums are basically the same pictures, different people; no one really wants to look at them either. Can't the same be said about man people's lives?Perhaps the key to avoiding this in your pool business, should you desire avoiding it, is to follow what the Muses in your head tell you to do. What can you do this week to change something about your business, customer experience, or sales message that you have been thinking about for years, but just haven't found the time, erh, uhm, nerve, to do? Why not try something you've thought about for years? Watch carefully this week and try to notice and WRITE DOWN opportunities that are right in front of you, but somehow you always find a good reason not to go after them. If you have questions, send a message to someone on pool genius network and see what they think. They are outside of your situation and worldview and will probably offer a fresh and exciting perspective.Living on the edge is not about cheating death, it is about taking life to the limit. If one is to experience everything life has to offer, then he must take those chance opportunities and make something of them. People with crazy ideas and thoughts just like these are everywhere, and even in a crowd of 1000 people, I always find them or they find me. What we make of these chance meetings is always a matter of Aristotle's call to action: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.Have a crazy idea? GO FOR IT! Live on the edge and taste the sweet victory of success.
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Think Different!

A few years back the people at Apple Computer asked us to “Think Different.” It was catchy, memorable, and to the point. Steve Jobs and the rest of the creative genius were doing just that - thinking different. Could we ever have envisioned that apple would have sold 22,120,000 ipods in the last quarter of 2007? Twenty two million ipods in a single quarter. That is enough to to supply every man, woman and child in the state of New York and iPod, with enough left over to throw a bonus round to everyone in Kansas.Even though Microsoft was clearly the dominator just a few short years ago, during last quarter 2.5 million macs representing 2-3x the market rate of growth for computers were sold. There are 400,000 Apple retail store visitors a day. 50% of all mac sales are first time mac users. They have out grown the retail market for the last 14 of 15 quarters with retail sales moving from single digit to 17.6% of all U.S. sales. At the same, they are 31.3% of all retail computer revenue….one out of every 3 dollars spent are spent on a mac And, in education they are 39% of unit share in notebooks - surpassing dell. Who might have guessed this could have ever occurred in the shadow of the great Microsoft giant?Am I trying to sell you a mac? honestly yes, but it is more important to sell you on what macs represent: an unbridled commitment to excellence, dedication to innovate, and courage to be different. In 1985, the visionary leader, Steve Jobs, that has fueled this revolution lost a power struggle with the board of directors of Apple and was thrown out. He was brought back in 1997 and has revolutionized not only the computer user experience, but the entire music industry and the mobile phone as well. When Apple is at its best, it is focused on what is profitable and in the consumers best interest. They are unyielding on detail and design. They care not just about the product, but most importantly the entire product experience. By sticking with that and not trying to spread themselves out in 18 different markets, they have created a user experience that so far exceeds any other computer, it is almost a class of it’s own.One of the most influential thinkers in my life is aeronautical maverick, Burt Rutan. He ascribes to the same sort of “think different” mentality. For those that don’t know him, Burt is the genius at scaled composites behind the Voyager that flew nonstop around the world, SpaceShipOne - the worlds first private spaceship, and most recently the partner of Sir Richard Branson in Virgin Galactic that will commercialize space flights for the masses. Burt says, “you got to have confidence in nonsense if you want to innovate.” He realized at a young age every great and innovative idea, when introduced, appeared as nonsense to the majority of population. We can’t fly. We can’t cross the Atlantic. We can’t land man on the moon.It is amazing that the secret is not some mystical wave that permeates the universe with positive thought. It is much more basic:If you think you can’t, you can’t.What If you think you can? Well, maybe it doesn’t work out, but at least you push through and fail. The most common characteristic of any innovator is failure, lots of failure. One must see failure as a step to success, else they will be paralyzed by fear and never try. Many times when this happens one may think they can’t when actually...they can. I have worked with people that always make their decisions after surveying the room - they never innovate, but they often feign a dedication to innovation. True innovators do it, because that's what they do, kind of like climbing Mount Everest, there isn't really a good reason to do it other than it is there.So what do you most want out of life? Would you rather everyone think you’re perfect and not try anything that might end in failure or controversy? Or would you rather fail every now and then, but taste the sweet reward of victory often? It is a simple choice. What’s even better is every failure creates a new opportunity to succeed. Once one decides to embrace failure as a step to success, great things happen. When one experiences the inertia of success, it is apparent, exhilarating, and contagious. Everyone wants to be associated with successful people and yet the irony is those that those that succeed typically have higher than average failure rates. Statistics say how often not when and your chance to succeed is probably well within reach today.Aristole, Rutan, von Braun, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, and Einstein all failed many times in life, and history doesn’t focus on any single failure. In fact, a quick look at DaVinci’s notebooks reveal page after page of inventions that flat out won’t work. Yet everyone looks and comments: “wow, he was ahead of his time...what a truly brilliant mind of the Renaissance.”If one want to taste the victory, one must think they can.We have a lot of really great ideas in our pool industry ready to take off. On average, boats and RVs kick our collective butts when it comes to extracting discretionary dollars from the consumer. Those of us that are part of the pool genius network revolution will reject these worn out thoughts. The days of kitchen table sales with about as much excitement as hearing about life insurance policies are over. It's all changing so fast and those that don't embrace the change, will be left behind.What is the price you are paying right now not taking risks? You end up living in a state of inactivity and in one word become: stagnant. Think pond scum, septic tanks, and sewers. It stinks, it is disgusting and no one wants to hang around it long. When you find yourself steeped in stagnation and inactivity take a lesson from the Apple play book, and Think Different. There are probably no words that do this idea more justice than those of Albert Einstein,“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”What can you fail at tomorrow? Maybe it is a question that is long overdue. Oh yeah, if you have some extra time while business is down, go visit an Apple store with open eyes and really pay attention - they have mastered the art of Thinking Different.
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