At first glance, one might not think that a neighborhood pool supply shop would be on the cutting edge of technology. The traditional wisdom is that pools and spas in general don’t need much sophistication beyond the chemicals that keep the water clean. However, Blue Wave Pool Supplies (7543 Hwy 64, next to East End Grill in Bartlett) is one of the local pool shops that aims to change people’s minds about what it means for a pool supply shop to be “state of the art.”
For them, technology is the key to ensuring their customers receive the most variety and efficiency for all their pool and outdoor recreational needs.
“For example, let’s look at how technology has improved pool water testing,” said Todd Heins, co-owner and general manager of Blue Wave Pool Supplies. “In the old days, you brought in your water sample and we would add testing agents and read color charts to see what was going on with your PH, your alkalinity, etc. But because the test depended on the human eye to read what was going on with your water, the results could vary. With ‘Spin Lab,’ those days are gone.”
Blue Wave’s state-of-the-art spin lab looks like something out of a science fiction movie, and the owners say its test results are far more accurate than traditional methods.
“With this new water testing machine,” Heins said, “we have essentially eliminated all the guess work. The spin lab provides incredibly accurate and consistent water test results every single time. This allows us to provide the customer with exactly the right chemicals they need to keep their pool looking great!”
Head sales associate, Chad Pitcock, said, “The new pool trends are really interesting. The types of sanitizing systems we can offer, for example, have definitely changed. Chlorinated pools have been the standard for decades but are no longer the only option for customers. One of the more popular alternatives is the salt water pool. Because these pools contain salt, which is broken down into sodium and chlorine, our customers don’t need to use as many chemicals to keep their water clean and beautiful. Of course, we’re happy to work with whatever the customer needs. There are pros and cons to both types, really.”
According to Chad, salt water pools are great because they use less chlorine, won’t bleach hair, or burn the eyes with harsh chemicals, and they don’t smell like chemicals; however, salt water pools have a chlorine generator which must be replaced every 5 years, can also be hard on the pool equipment, can bleach concrete decking over time, and also cause issues with rusting patio furniture. Another high tech addition to the sanitizing arsenal is the UV Light sanitizer. With this system, the water flows through a tube with an ultra violet light which kills bacteria and then is filtered out.
“Really nice for the customer who demands optimal sanitation,” Chad said.
Technology has even helped to revolutionize what was once a tedious aspect of pool ownership: cleaning. Traditional vacuum cleaners tend to be very labor intensive, as the pool owner must operate the vacuum by hand and setup can be difficult.
Dee Karcher, co-owner and sales associate, said, “Thankfully, we have an entire line of vacuum and cleaning systems to meet the customer’s needs as well as their budget. The Polaris cleaner came into standard use about 30 years ago, and is still a good system but the system we love the most is called The Dolphin. This vacuum will climb and clean every surface of your pool with ease, and The Dolphin can even connect to the internet, allowing you to operate it straight from your cell phone or computer!”
It’s easy to see how modern pool technology can really help the average pool owner keep their pool sparkling clean — even from the comfort of their couch or on family vacation.
Pool safety is a high priority for pool owners, and safety covers are a big part of that. The old way was with tarps and water bags, but the latest technology is the safety cover. This cover is stretched tightly over the pool by springs and straps attached to the pool deck and cannot be lifted by wind, pets, or children, meaning there is one less thing to worry about during the off season. There are also pool alarms that notify the owner when something or someone has gotten into the pool without their knowledge, whether it be a pet, child or mischievous teenagers. The high-tech alarms are attached to the homeowners’ wi-fi and can alert their phone while they’re away.
Blue Wave Pool Supplies’ owners said they are committed to helping customers get the most out of their pool with the least amount of effort.