Size DOES Matter…for Aquatic Equipment

In Blog by Cathy Erntson

“Size doesn’t matter” is a phrase that many of us hear throughout our lives for various reasons. Being the industrious creatures we are, we have proved it on many levels; we have felled trees so big cars could drive thru, built structures that rise higher than our line of sight and moved mountains. And then there’s aquatics. The way we have been able to accomplish all these amazing feats was by using the right tools for the job. The railroads weren’t put in place with ball peen hammers and mountains weren’t tunneled thru with gardening spades. Equipment can only handle what it was designed to handle; you don’t filter a competition pool with a single little cartridge filter that you pick up at the local hardware store, you don’t heat your commercial spa with a residential hot tub heater and you don’t chlorinate your olympic size pool with a 5lb erosion feeder. All the equipment in a pump room is rated to work within certain specifications. If you have money to burn, you can oversize equipment and keep your facility running under the correct parameters; ie, water chemistry, turnover rates, etc. But what happens when your equipment is undersized? You ARE going to fall behind on something that is more than likely going to affect your ability to stay within regulations. Even with years of experience as an operator, when purchasing new equipment an expert is the one who should be doing the sizing. Someone with training and knowledge whose job it is to take the whole picture into consideration when deciding between the $10 grand sand filter and the next size lower for $6 grand. Many operators have not had extensive training on individual brands and pieces of equipment, and they usually have to answer for the cost of the equipment. Many facilities have found themselves in a hard spot when their brand new chlorinator couldn’t keep up with demand because some inexperienced company promised that a cheaper system would be more than sufficient…”See, it says so right here, will treat 20,000 gallons….” Only to find that the minute you put people into the pool your Cl level drops out and hand feeding is required. When a professional sizes your equipment, they are taking into consideration how many people you will have in that water daily. They are considering the volume of water you have. They are taking into consideration the size of the PVC piping in the pump room and the flow rates you have. They are taking into consideration all these things that will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your equipment. Saving money upfront going with smaller or lower grade equipment could very well result in increased operating costs and losses of revenue down the road. Having to buy chems to make up for lagging levels, having to pay employees to scramble to keep the pool open when they have a million other tasks around the club to concentrate on, losing memberships due to down time or uncomfortable water, and even having to buy replacement equipment that was still in its warranty period but got denied all because it was never designed for your particular operating situation. There are many knowledgeable equipment providers out there. Ask questions, ask for explanations. Put in the effort to understand why someone is recommending to you the equipment that they are. If they can’t give you answers as to why they chose that equipment to use, they might be the wrong supplier for the job.  You should even research the provider themselves. I’m sure they have references or other sites you can contact. At the end of the day, having the right SIZE tool for the job can make all the difference in your day.