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Gone are the days of manually vacuuming and doing a strip test. As all homes and workplaces become ‘smarted’ it is high time the backyard pool follows along. This revolution is helping make our lives that little bit easier. Automation isn’t just about convenience though, even if that’s key from many of us time poor people.
Some of the many things that are taking the market by storm are heaters, robotic pool cleaner, chlorinators, Magna pool hydroxinators and the blue Connect Plus.
Lets dive right in. What are they like and are they worth the money? This question comes down to a few things and a major one is what are you willing to spend on it. Most automation items don’t come cheap. Another thing to consider is what tech do you want? Do you want to control everything on your phone or via a control panel or even from a remote? Are you willing to change your system completely to achieve full automation? I have mentioned some main systems below to help you get a feel of where I believe the industry is heading.
Zodiac for some time has had the Magna pool Hydroxinator and EXO units that connect via Bluetooth and offer upgrades that monitor your ORP & PH. With these models you can also upgrade and connect a light control relay box giving you the ability to have your lights controlled with this unit. When you enter your pool shop you can be in our store……or somewhere else 🙁 testing your water and changing your settings without forgetting when you get home; handy little thing. You then have the Viron chlorinator by Astral that has Bluetooth control which allows much the same as the Zodiac’s version. Auto or direct manual control, Schedule and adjust timers plus you can also control compatible AstralPool pumps and lights. The big dog of the Astral range would then be the Viron Equilibrium, a unit for total pool control as they say: Bluetooth control with Chlorinator APP. If you are looking at something to control it all the Zodiac EXO pro or Equilibrium Ai Mode for control of pH balance, chlorine and water flow for complete swimming pool experience is for you.
If complete automation is your thing, Zodiac has always had the Aqualink and Astral the Viron connect which connects your system to your phone/remote or touch panel. These systems have always run great but do need a bit of set up. Items are needed like Jandy valves and you do need to work out what you can and can’t include on the system as some things just wont work, including some lights. Once set up using either of their apps/remotes or touch panels are great and you can turn on and off lights, water features, swim jets and blowers with the ease of your smart phone. I would say this is the most expensive way to go, you will not only need to purchased the control box but also the valve(s) and certain upgrades dependent on how the pool is set up.
Halo lite 2
A fun little device that has just hit the market for all light enthusiasts. As all pool owners know it’s just plain annoying going to the shed to switch that pool light on and then trying to get to the colour you want, well lets not dive in a too deep hole here. The Halo lite 2 has changed this. The Halo lite 2 is app controlled and very easy to install with its built-in transformer. Best thing is: connect as many Halo Lite 2’s as you want to your app and control all your backyard lighting not just your pool lights, but also backyard and other low voltage feature lights. Fairy lights here I come 🙂 . Bear in mind it does not work with all brands and sequences, best to check if you are looking at buying.
Some of the other light controllers that have been brought to market in the last few years are the Aquaquip Insta touch and the Spa electrics Iris. Both are great and work with only their own branded lights. Both are also controlled via remote and this system plugs into your transformer onsite, not an app version or linkable, unlike the Halo Light 2 which includes a transformer and works on a smart devise.
Robotic pool cleaners
The robotic pool cleaner such a huge name in the pool industry. When these first came out many moons ago customers were cautious but over the years these items seem to have entered every back yard, its not too say they haven’t had issues just simply look online. Models have been worked over and manufacturers the likes of Zodiac, Maytronics and Astral have supplied some good all round models, but still lets be clear robotic cleaners should not be left in the pool (even if they have a 7 day timer). Over the many years i have seen the Polaris, TX, CTX, VX and many other brands and models change. The new models on the market and our main seller are the Evolux and its 3 models all with Bluetooth connectivity. The units also come with a handy light for its need to see in the dark. I should say the handy LED light that shines through a transparent window, making it easy to spot in the pool and how much debris it’s carrying. The app allows you to monitor the cleaner’s progress or take control and drive it yourself. These units come with a 100 micron filter allowing you to clean finer debris out of the water, you can also buy finer cartridges. All models clean floors, walls and waterline which using the app can direct. Overall a great option which will leave your pool sparkling.
Now my fav, the blue connect plus. This baby is more testing than automation but i though since we are on the less time more convenience topic lets add it in. In an ideal world all my customers would test there pool weekly but lets be honest who does that, i don’t even do that… maybe i shouldn’t admit that :). So the Blue connect plus floats around (you can also put inline) your pool and tests 4 key components, meaning you should still test your water in store once a month to keep an eye on everything else. It will monitor PH, OPR (chlorine), conductivity (salt levels) and temperature. It take’s the guess work out of the question “what should i add” and “i don’t feel like going to do a test in the pool shop”. You can monitor your test results on your phone daily to help keep your pool in top shape. It can also be linked with your local pool shop or us for monitoring :P. Check out my Blue connect blog for more juicy details.
Heaters are becoming widely popular now that most families are stuck in lockdown unable to travel out of there own state. Heating the pool is necessary to keep the use of it up for the slight winter we have in QLD at least. Like everything else most heater now have wi-fi abilities and can be controlled from your smartphone via an app. Dependant on the heater brand You can then remotely set and consult its different modes of operation: water temperature, heating/cooling, standby, silence mode and more
Just like our phones and upgrading to the latest model we believe a time will come when updated to the most advanced model with be sought after. We see more and more manufacturers bring out better automated models, models that are quite easy to use and set up. Since we have been speaking to siri and alexa for years and asking “hey google” a few random questions here and there. It doesn’t take long for the new to become the every day normal, which is why getting on board with automation is inevitable especially for pool owners. Let all start enjoying our pools more and start the automation journey.
I hope i have helped and as always hit us up if you have any questions. We are here to help.
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