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 Options for Operating
Pool Equipment

Swimming pools and spas have at least one piece of electrical
equipment, the pump. Most newer pools have other equipment as well that
must be turned on and off. For the best and most economic operation
of a pool or spa, a timer or electronic control system is needed. There
are 3 basic options for controlling a pool.


with single pump or light , single body of water

most basic method of turning equipment on and off is with a simple switch.
Some spa and above ground pumps can be connected to a wall switch or
may have a built-in switch on the pump motor. There are also air switches
and buttons that may be used for this purpose.

 Manual operation is the least desirable of switching
methods. It requires a person to turn on and turn off the equipment.
It is not a good use of a person’s time and can result in excessive
use of electricity and possible chemical problems that may result from
an irregular pumping schedule. Most pools and spas need circulation
only a few hours each day to stay clean and sanitary, but they do need
it each day. If an emergency occurs, such as freezing weather or a clogged
pump, a person would have to be present to turn the pump on or off to
avoid damage to the pool equipment.


and Digital Timers

Use with one or 2 pumps,
light, single body of water

Single enclosure pool timersMechanical
and digital timers are designed to serve as an on/off switch. They can
be set to operate single electrical devices such as pumps, lights, and
air blowers. The timers can be set to turn the equipment on or off at
a pre-determined time using a mechanical or digital clock. In areas
where freezing may occur, the mechanical timer can be equipped with
a freeze protector. A heat delay, or Fireman’s Switch, can be added
to ensure the heater does not come on unless the pump is running and
pumping water through the heater.

For very simple pools with only one or 2 pumps, mechanical
timers are a good choice. The mechanical timer can be set, usually using
pins or tabs, to turn equipment on or off multiple times per day and
every day of the week. These timers are also equipped with a manual
switch that can be used to disrupt the pre-set tabs when required.

If there are more than 2 pumps, lights, salt or other
sanitizing systems that use electricity, a mechanical timer may not
be the best solution.


Electronic Automated Control Systems

Customize to work with
any installation

Pentair SunTouch Controls
Controls are devices that work with printed circuit boards, relays and
multiple control systems to perform a variety of diverse functions in
the operation of a pool, spa or water feature. They can turn equipment
on/off, operate valve actuators to change the setting of valves and
monitor temperatures, flow rates and chemical balances in the water.
Controls may include freeze protection and heater protection functions
as well as light and water feature shows. 

In the last 10 years, design of automated pool control
systems has begun to include every possible use of equipment in a pool,
spa of water feature as well as outside equipment like landscape lighting.
The controls are sold in menu format so the equipment on any pool can
be highly customized for that specific pool and the controls can be
integrated with other equipment for seamless operation.  Most new
pools and spas have an automated system and remodeled and up-dated pools
are getting them as well. The advantages of these systems include generally
worry-free and more energy efficient operation of the pool.

All major pool equipment manufacturers have a complete
line of automated equipment controls.



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