The next generation of pool technology offers control at the touch of a button.
Manage your outdoor living ambience at the touch of a screen with Control4.
Photo courtesy of Control4
It goes without saying that a beautifully designed pool can bring untold pleasures to homeowners. But the joys of relaxing poolside with family and friends also come with the challenges of controlling, maintaining, and cleaning the often-complex equipment.
Thankfully help is at hand. A new generation of cutting-edge technology, fully automated controls, and innovations in residential pool management are putting owners in command—in many cases at the touch of a button.
“A pool is no longer just a place to hang out in the summertime,” says Teri Wiltshire, special projects manager at Master Pools Guild in Richmond, Virginia, an international consortium of 110 outstanding pool builders.
“It’s now much more of a year-round experience, and savvy homeowners want integrated and customized pool design rather than technologies added on as an afterthought.”
WATCH THIS SPACE
Want to control your pool from your wristwatch? Pentair has introduced the world’s first wearable pool and spa automation interface, specifically engineered for Apple Watch.
The new ScreenLogic for Apple Watch interface allows pool owners to control a host of Pentair products, including IntelliTouch and EasyTouch automation systems, locally or remotely and via Wi-Fi or cellular.
The app can control water temperature, lighting, fountains and waterfalls, among other features. And if your pool is equipped with Pentair’s IntelliChem Water Chemistry Controller, the app can also monitor sanitizer levels and extends to the firm’s IntelliChlor Salt Chlorine Generator.
“The ScreenLogic interface reflects Pentair’s ongoing drive to give pools owners the control they prefer on the newest devices,” says senior product manager David MacCallum.
Users can customize their Apple Watch face with a ScreenLogic “Complication” to display pool temperature and active heating mode as well as water chemistry information.
A swipe upward on the watch face accesses a pool system “Glance” displaying a summary of multiple conditions. Users can tap on the Complication or Glance to open the app itself and adjust temperature and heat mode or turn lighting, fountains or other pool features on or off.
“Like our interfaces for iPhone and iPad, the app for Apple Watch supports expanding pool owner mobility expectations, offering easy access and control whether they are relaxing by their pool or in an airport thousands of miles away,” MacCallum adds.
The new interface is included with the SceenLogic Connect iOS app, available free from Apple’s App Store.
IT’S ALL UNDER CONTROL
Hayward’s OmniLogic—a collaboration with home automation provider Control4—is also setting standards in pool technology, integrating pool and spa with fully automated home systems.
“The ability to tie pool, outdoor audio, deck lighting, and even the entertainment system together with the touch of a button delivers a really compelling and cool outdoor experience,” says Paul J. Williams, Control4 vice president lighting and comfort.
“People don’t want complicated controls. They just want them to work effortlessly, and that’s the experience we’ve delivered.”
OmniLogic’s user interface features touch screen menus with tap and swipe navigation. Switch the pool heater on or off, crank up the spa jets, control filters, or adjust water temperatures from the sleek controller, your iOS and Android devices or an onscreen TV interface.
Compatible with Hayward’s Sense & Dispense system, OmniLogic can also program the balancing of salt and pool chemical levels to a regular schedule.
One particularly clever application allows programming of up to 25 unique themes customizing lighting, water features, temperature, music, and even poolside fire features.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Another cool tool is iRobot’s Mirra, a pool-cleaning robot developed by the creators of Roomba, the self-driven home vacuum cleaner.
“Mirra is designed for daily use,” says iRobot senior product manager Jeff Karlson, “It’s very easy to use with minimum set up, taking one of the messiest pool cleaning jobs—debris management—and making it a breeze.”
Weighing 20 pounds, the robot is simply plugged in a safe distance from the pool and, with its fully sealed 60-foot floating power supply cord, is lowered into the pool where it embarks on a thorough cleaning mission.
“Mirra uses a gyroscope and advanced software to size up the most efficient path across a pool’s bottom, sides and steps,” adds Karlson, noting that the robot’s scrubbing bristles can clean right at the waterline, a notoriously difficult area.
“In addition to large format debris, Mirra filters out foreign material as small as two microns, the width of a human hair. That means algae, sunscreen and oils that build up over time are swept free from the pool,” Karlson says.
Disposal is a snap, too. When Mirra is done, typically a three-hour cycle, it shuts itself off and rests on the pool bottom, waiting to be reeled in, before debris traps are tamped free of waste.
Solar Eclipse by DEL Ozone brings an advanced oxidization process (AOP), combined with low-pressure germicidal ultraviolet light, to offer the gold standard in pool sanitation, according to Jeff Jones, vice president of residential and commercial pool national sales.
“The process has been used for treating waste water for 30 years, and we’re now bringing the technology to home pools, essentially creating drinking water for your pool,” says Jones.
“You’ve never seen water clarity like this. It is as close as you can get to a chlorine-free pool,” he adds.
Jones says 75 percent of chlorine used in pools is for oxidation and disinfectant purposes. With Solar Eclipse generated AOP, owners will use 60 to 90 percent less chlorine, resulting in a much more enjoyable pool experience.
Twinscape’s Hydrofloor increases outdoor living space with a moveable sub-floor within the pool.
Photos courtesy of HydroFloors
ALL BASES COVERED
A durable and efficient covering is an essential feature of a home pool, but what if the cover could also double as a dance floor or extra entertaining space?
Two firms are revolutionizing automated pool coverings and other associated features, adding a whole new lifestyle dimension to pool decks.
Twinscape, headquartered in Morgan Hill, California, is the driving force behind Hydrofloor, a moveable sub-floor within a pool or spa that allows users to maximize their pool space by completely sealing off the vessel.
“The resulting load-bearing floor can be utilized just like any other portion of a patio or floor—for parties, dancing or entertaining,” says president Paolo Benedetti.
“The floor can be submerged and stopped at any elevation for use as a children’s wading pool, exercise, aquatic games, or full-depth for swimming,” he adds.
“And our moving floor insulates the water, controls humidity and condensation, providing the utmost in security and safety as well as additional usable square footage.”
The firm also offers sliding planter beds and retractable covers for retrofit applications, as well as a new retractable clear acrylic fence.
In the up position, the fence provides a safety barrier around the pool while allowing unobstructed views of the scenery. At the touch of a button, the fence panels retract into the deck, disappearing and allowing unencumbered access and use of the terrace.
Montreal-based Akvo Spiralift is also making a splash with Spiralift, its automated technology that provides pool designers and builders with a high-load-capacity solution for movable pool floors.
With a movable pool floor, you can reconfigure your home environment exactly as you please, transforming your pool into additional patio or floor space and back again in just minutes. What’s more, the mobile floor accommodates a wide range of architectural finishes to perfectly match homeowners’ outdoor living spaces.