Water Lab Improvements

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Our Water Lab Manager, Mia has been working since September in order to improve our water testing ability, efficiency, and how we review tests with you.  She’s been re-training us, because consistent technique is a major factor in getting you accurate results.  She developed written tests, and double-blind practical tests (yes – a water test-test) to judge everyone’s technique.  Mia is also evaluating a new software program from Arch, and has been working with their software writer on improvements.

In December, Mia and Anne- Marie created some great research reports on how you folks use our labs.  It’s kind of like a report on how Americans eat – it’s just not right!           

Swimming pool water inNew Englandshould be computer-tested three times a summer:  at opening, before closing, and mid-summer.  Hot tubs should be tested at each fresh fill:  around three or four times a year.  However, people doing only one test a year far outnumber those doing two or three tests.  The curves are bell-curves, and the high end last summer was at nineteen tests for one person just by early August.  So here’s the take-away:  most of you don’t test often enough.

Computerized water balance tests are worth $10 each, and you can do six of them a year for FREE.  If you only test once a year, you are throwing away $50 in free testing! Note, that’s per body of water, so if you have a pool and a hot tub, that’s six each. 

No one says you have to buy something just because you had a test done, but you’ll definitely be buying something if unbalanced water ruins your liner, plaster, pump seal, heater, or more.  You may find yourself adding ten pounds of Calcium Hardness Increaser twice a year, instead of twenty pounds once a year, but that doesn’t cost more.  It just means you spend more time with everything working better.  The rain dilutes your pool whether you are testing or not.

If you want to understand more about why you balance pool water, pick up a copy of our Pool Tips™ on Water Balance (it’s the orange one) in the store or find it in the “Pool Tips” section of our web site.

We have also brought in all-new Reusable Water Sample Bottles, a great idea to preserve the environment.  What’s new about them?  Well, they’re green, and they say “Reusable” on them.  See, for the last twenty-five years, I thought they were all reusable.  What I couldn’t figure out was how we could do 8,000 water tests a year, for basically the same people every year, and go through 3,000 to 4,000 bottles every year.  Certainly, some of you have been using the same bottle for years, and we do see the “2004 New Hampshire Store of the Year” label on some.  Or the quart bottle from the 1990’s, but still…

Then, Mia told me how the trash barrels in the store entrance have used water sample bottles in them when she empties the trash (Mia’s great – she will do anything around here).  I was speechless!  Seriously, my mouth opened and nothing came out!

So here’s the deal – we’re not testing for bacteria.  You can just rinse the bottle out and re-use it.  If you want a fresh one, leave yours with us, to give to someone else.  The money’s not going to kill us – it’s only a couple of thousand dollars a year (ok, $15,000 just since we moved into this building).  However, it’s a lot of space in a landfill.  I can show you how much room 4,000 bottles takes up – so 35,000 bottles in ten years is serious landfill space.

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