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Apartment, Condo and Hotel Chemical Automation

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Categories: Chemicals, Alternative Sanitizers, Hot Tubs & Spas, Automation & Controls
 
Maintaining what is commonly referred to as a commercial facility can be a daunting task. The proper equipment and a good understanding of how it all functions can mean the difference in success or failure. This article will hopefully provide an education on the automation options and guide you through making the right equipment choices for your commercial facility.
 
Alternative Sanitizers
Automation for small complexes could mean a simple installation of an Ozone or Ultraviolet system. Either one of the products listed below, will save you on chemicals and labor. The cost is reasonable, and they pack a powerful punch in sanitizing water. If I could only install a single piece of automation for a small commercial application, an Ozone or UV system would be it. One of these systems have always been my first choice.
 
If you have a high use spa that you are constantly draining due to soap scum, green cloudy water and high chemical use, consider an alternative sanitizer. Chemical use is easily reduced by 50% to 70% and they help with that offensive chemical smell! The need to drain and refill your pool or spa along with cleaning your filter constantly is greatly reduced; a savings not only of energy costs but your labor as well. In many cases the installation of one of these units will pay for itself within a year.
 
Delta UV's sanitizing systems can be sized based on flow rates and they offer a wide selection for you to choose from for your application. These are easily installed in-line with your system and the addition of a 3-way valve flow can be adjusted without losing vital GPM needed for turnover filtration. I recommend the “E” and “ES” series from Delta UV. The E-31 cab easily handle a large spa up to 11,000 gallons! The ES series can take on up to 110 gallons per minute for large pool applications. These are the way to go for below grade equipment installations.
 
Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) combines both Ozone and UV. These systems sanitize water to impeccable cleanliness. If you have a high use pool or spa this may very well be your choice. These are becoming more popular especially in hotels that demand perfect water due to liabilities. Take a look at the DEL AOP 25 for pools and spas up to 25,000 gallons, and the DEL AOP 50 for pools up to 50,000 gallons.
 
For more detailed information about UV or Ozone, check out our blog post on Alternative Sanitizers - Ultraviolet vs. Ozone.
 
Automatic Chemical Dispensing Systems
The next step in automating your equipment room is adding an automatic chemical dispensing system. These range in price from just under $1,000 to over $3,000. If you have a small complex and your budget is tight, a basic unit that monitors just the sanitizer ORP level can be installed for under $1,500.
 
*What does ORP stand for and what does it mean? ORP or Oxidation Reduction Potential is a measure of the cleanliness of the water and its ability to break down contaminants.
 
If you have a larger complex and your needs are greater you can take a step up to a system that will control your sanitizer by ORP and PPM, as well as your pH and alkalinity levels. Some of these systems will allow a technician to monitor and control your pools remotely. As these control units progress in price the ability to monitor, dispense, log data and communicate also increase. Your commercial complex may benefit from some of this technology.
 
The Chemtrol 230 ORP with sensor is a great choice for a basic unit that will control only your sanitizer. Its versatility, low cost and reliability are well known and comes with a 5-year warranty. It can be used with peristaltic pumps for liquid chlorine and erosion feeders for tablets like bromine and chlorine. This controller has been my first recommendation to HOAs and hotels that have a tight budget but want a reliable way to control sanitizer levels. Pair this controller with an Ozone or UV system and you have a killer setup at a reasonable cost.
 
A competing controller made by Pentair is the IntelliChem. This controller takes it up a notch with the ability to monitor and control pH as well as ORP. The complete IntelliChem system includes chlorine and acid tanks. This controller is all you need for a complete system, and it can take on larger pools and spas. You can add an erosion feeder to this set up for sanitizers like liquid chlorine, bromine and chlorine tablets; as well as the IntelliChlor salt systems. The addition of an acid pump allows for dispensing acid or CO2. The commercial version of the IntelliChem controller includes ScreenLogic integration so that you can control your chemistry remotely. It is mounted onto a 2’X 2’ backboard along with acid and chlorine feed pumps. An acid tank and chlorine tank can be purchased separately along with a CO2 kit. All the IntelliChem controllers are impressive and the menus are easy to understand.
 
To step up your automation you should consider one of Pentair's EasyTouch, IntelliTouch or IntelliCenter systems. Any of these systems will interface with the IntelliChem controllers. Installed with the ScreenLogic Wireless Connection Kit will allow you to control your pools and spas remotely via your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod or Android device.
 
Chemtrol makes a controller, the CH250, that has the same ability and versatility as the IntelliChem with a slightly larger price tag. It has an outstanding 5-year warranty and can be outfitted with peristaltic pumps, erosion feeders and CO2.
 
If you desire a more sophisticated controller, Chemtrol can take you up to PPM monitoring in conjunction with ORP and pH. The price tag for these controllers gets up near $3,000 for just the controller. The tanks, feed pumps or erosion feeders with all the needed accessories will take you up into the $4,500 range very easily.
 
Water Level Controllers
Something that gets ignored by many builders is a water level controller. The need for a system to automatically add water, especially with spas, is really a no brainer, yet it is not accounted for very often. We sell four different brands of essentially the same system - SuperPro, CMP, Pentair and Poolmiser. These include a float valve assembly in a canister with a deck lid. All are designed to be installed before the deck of the pool or spa is installed. They can be installed after the deck is in place, but it requires you to saw cut the deck and bring in a supply line for water and drill a hole in the side of the pool for the water level canister.
 
Another choice is the Jandy Levelor. While the directions state it can be installed after the deck is placed, it still requires a conduit to be run to the equipment area. It is presumed that a fresh water source is available in the equipment area. Again, a saw cut into the deck to allow a conduit to be placed and a hole in the side of the pool for the leveler canister are required.
 
What Would I Choose?
Now that I've presented several options and configurations, I'll tell you what my favorite automation package is. This ideal installation includes these components:
I have installed all of these controllers and use them on commercial spas that see upwards of 40 people in a 6-hour period. I come in Monday after a busy weekend and find the spas crystal clear with no scum or foam and the chemistry needing only a slight adjustment. The 36” sand filters do not get clogged and a backwash every two to three weeks takes care of them. The savings to the facility owners on chemicals and down time to drain a spa is easily cut in half.
 
We have experienced staff on duty seven days a week, give us a call at (888) 836-6025. We can help you design a system for your budget, and if you have questions about installation I would be happy to tell you the secrets.
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Pool Supply Unlimited is an e-commerce company that loves water. We love to pump it, filter it, heat it, chlorinate it, light it up and stare at it while we're barbequing a fat, juicy steak. There are real pool professionals working here. Our guys have seen thousands of pools in their careers, no exaggeration. We are based in Southern California and can land most products to your door (within the 48 contiguous states) in less than a week.
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