Talking Pool Chemistry Apps


I am Rudy with Aquatic Facility Training and Consultants and this is POOL TALK There’s a lot of different apps out there on the market i know we’ve seen them i know we’ve heard about them which ones are good and which ones aren’t. i decided to reach out to Scott of Pool Shark H2O to find a little bit more about his. Scott Trafton is Trafton correct? that’s how we say that? Scott: yes that’s correct Rudy: and you are with Pool Shark H2O Rudy: So scott what exactly is Pool Shark H2O? Scott: Sure, so thanks for having me on by the way Pool Shark H2O Shark is a simple fast efficient record-keeping system for swimming pools to make it easy to stay in compliance with those health department regulations So instead of using a paper log look you use a smartphone which is typically in everyone’s pocket these days and you enter the information right in right into your smartphone so the benefits to this is we create electronic records for you that can’t be lost or misplaced It also we also do the water analysis for you instantly specific to your pool and you get to eliminate that math calculations that everyone everyone needs to do so We make it a lot faster that way. you Rudy: so the person that has this program would enter in the readings basically submit it to you, complete the analysis and tell them what they need to add? Scott: Correct so it happens pretty much instantly so they enter in the readings from there the pool water test and when they hit Save it actually stores the information securely our cloud-based servers and does the water analysis tells you Specifically exactly what chemicals if any you need to put the bowl to bring the water back into balance other benefit if you have multiple pools or you have multiple staff that actually are testing your pools We have an alert system so anytime that pool or the test shows the cat the pool needs chemicals we send out notifications to know everybody know the staff that wants them so if your the aquatics director if you certified pool operator is taking care of a lot of pools you have lifeguards testing the water anytime they test that water your phone or device and you’d actually get an alert to tell you that you know Here’s what’s going on with this pool you may have to go take care of it either an hour on your regularly scheduled routes depending on what it is Rudy: All right so let me ask you this and so Scott: Sure pool operators they enter the doses in you tell them how much of what they need to add is This program really just for somebody who’s too lazy to do the calculations themself? Scott: No. That’s a great question we are working on trying on trying to make it easier and faster for people that manage pools so my background and kind of how we got started here i’m a software engineer by trade i’ve been building record-keeping systems like this for the last 20 years for financial companies and startups but my family owns the campground and Maine. We have a commercial swimming pool which we’ve had for 20 plus years or so in there and the state of Maine changed their laws a few years ago requiring commercial pool owners to be certified pool operators and then keep logs So long story short we had several people seasonal staff testing our pool and the logbook got misplaced health inspector showed up looking for the logbook and it wasn’t pretty Rudy: That’s how that goes something disappears that’s when you have the inspection it’s just murphy’s law Scott: Yeah, exactly you know they have esp or radar so anyway my brother called me up after they got you that and said hey all my staff has smartphones in their pockets is there a way that we can have want everyone enter pool tests using their smartphone and have it all in one place So we don’t have to deal with trying to track down a paper law because our pool is actually in the middle of the lawn so there’s no real good Place to put Rudy: So you can’t just tack it to a tree? Scott: Yeah, you can’t just tack it to a tree you can’t really leave it outside because it rains Rudy: They can print these forms if needed. There’s an electronic copy obviously showing the health officials the water test log sheets on a tablet not gonna be ideal for most health officials. They can print these out as well? Scott: Exactly, so so with this, to help the health officials help everybody essentially we’ve made it so you can email your test log to you health official if you want you can print it out you can download it you know excel something like that keep a record right there we’ve actually made it even easier and you, can we have a Link that you can turn on and you could actually if you if you so desire give that link To the health inspector and then they can see the logs right online on their phone or on their device. Rudy: Okay Scott: that’s that’s purely up to you we don’t we never give anything out, to anybody it’s it’s up to the Administrator on that account to do that Rudy: So, you are not telling on people? Scott: Exactly, we are not looking to be big Rudy: So, I enter my information my pools all out of whack nobody picks up the phone and calls the health official and says hey you better get out there that just does not happen Scott: No, no, no. These ar yours. these are your records you’re the only one that sees those Rudy: okay, now you guys you guys offer a free trial we correct at one-month trial and you know that i signed up for that so i could play around on the side a little bit and i’ve set up my mock pool and i’ve entered in some doses and i can tell you just from playing around with it and i did double-check your math on quite a few items not every single thing but on the items where i did double check your math i Can tell you that it’s it’s accurate as far as what you’ve calculated compared to mine so kudos to you Scott: Thank you! Rudy: I can tell you guys worked hard on that. I do have some questions though When looking at things and i know there’s settings available so this is not automatically based off of your local health department’s you guys don’t have that information in the system i have to put that information in correct? Scott: Correct. That may be an enhancement at some point Because each state and in some places each county has different regulations we had to make the system flexible enough to support everybody so by default we turn on The common s test features for each pool But, we have i think now 30 different options that you can turn on and off per pool so if you have an indoor pool you can turn off the cyanuric acid You know if you and you can turn on things like Air temperature and humidity if you want to track that but there’s there’s several different options that you can turn on and off per pool and Rudy: The person who uses this program they do have to be able to know how to do some math because i noticed Even in setting up the mock pool i have to know how much water is in that thing there’s there’s no way that i could just enter measures and you guys calculate the gallonage or is that something that’s on the horizon as well? Scott: Ah, so absolutely there is some there’s a little bit of math you have to be able to do you know the volume of your pool or spa in order to do this and that’s actually critical because all those math calculations for your dosages are dependent on that number so the more accurate you can get that more accurate to system is So that math you know at some point, we may add a calculator to help out but At this point we’re gonna leave that to you and that’s something you only add once you put that in the system once and you select the chemical that you use to forward for your sanitizer whether it’s bromine or very different different types of the common chlorine people use. Rudy: So the goal here is not that the program is for somebody without knowledge so that they can operate a pool that you actually have to have some knowledge this is just to make their lives a little bit easier going forward is that is that the plan or do you want the novice who has no idea what they’re doing can’t figure out doses or a little bit of both, so Scott: A little bit of both actually we’re trying to I don’t know too many pool operators and maintenance staff who only their only job is to take care of the pool We’ve tried to make this fast so they can they can spend less time in their day but also Get the information correct so if you’re running around doing a whole bunch of things it’s unfortunately often common that they may not be doing those dosage calculations and they’re just guessing and throwing in chemicals Rudy: So, just a pinch of this and a pinch of that Scott: Exactly, we’ll throw something in and we’ll come back and check it later. Rudy: let me ask you this then, and this is based off of the statement you just had, you said folks they got a lot of things going on maybe their apartment complex, they’re doing maintenance. Is that your target? Is the pool professional not the person that you have in mind for this? is it specifically maintenance, condos, hoas, that type of thing? Scott: So, currently our focus is on the commercial pools So any anyone that has that state health department compliance, to be able to do that but that said we do have a few residential pool companies system they have a lot of and we have some features specific to them also not advertised as much right now but it is there so they can they can schedule their pool and it will show up in a daily calendar know if they go to that pool every friday and they can also take photos of the pool and then automatically email or one-click email their customer and let them know that hey i was at your pool at this time this is what we put into the pool and here’s the picture of when we left or when we came home when we left one of the things i Rudy: One of the things I tell folks when they asked me you know how should i market, i just asked them simply – why should i hire you? Tell me something that helps me make that decision and whatever that is that should appear in Your website, every piece of material that you send out, it should be the answer to every question you get on the phone. It should not be something that Is the same thing everybody’s gonna tell me. Don’t tell me that you’re always there when you’re supposed to be, because whether people are or not They’re gonna say that they are. So with that one of the things i used to do was actually to take a photo of every single pool after i completed the job and i had those and i got to a point where i would just automatically forward those to the landlord’s the vacation rental homes the owners of what have you where they wouldn’t get To see their pool on a regular basis and that became a huge selling feature for my business just Simply because when i talked to the landlord’s that was something that set me apart it was low cost or actually no cost but Now they had a set of eyes in that backyard and that was very very appealing to them so that’s that’s actually a pretty cool thing Scott: It’s also a kind of a security thing because, as I am sure you know, a lot of places use those door hangers so if you happen to be taking care of vaation home or something like that and they would normally be putting a door hanger Rudy: Right. Scott: On their door the next thing you know there’s five door hangers on there hey look, no one has been there for five weeks because there are five of these things blowing off and floating around the lawn Rudy: and that makes perfect sense okay So now just jumping around well first off why pool shark how’d you come up with that name i’m kind of curious about that was this Childhood fear of going in the ocean that you’ve developed and switch to a pool thing i mean jaws stuck in your mind that whole dah-dun dah-dun dah-dun-dah-dun-dah-dun type of thing so where did you come up with pool shark? Where’d that come from? Scott: I wish there was a really good story about that, but unfortunately we were just trying to come up with names for this something that would stick in peoples minds and, that one seemed to stick in peoples minds Rudy: Shark Scott: Yeah, Pool Shark H2O were gonna make sure we get it right and make sure its clean I wish there was a good answer to that Rudy: you, know you need to make one up Scott. It’s all about that never let the truth get in the way of a good story my friend just make one up Scott: That’s right I got to make up a good story for the Pool Shark H2O Rudy: I saved somebody from a shark attack back when i was five and I carried that forward and that’s why i’m in to swimming pools so much because i don’t go in the ocean. Something along those lines Scott: Yes, perfect. I may use that. Rudy: There you go we feel free to do that definitely all right other Questions i have for you there’s a couple of things like we said there is the free one-month trial that’s cool i did check the doses. I was looking at the shock calculator because you can set the amount of combined chlorine that you want to be acceptable in the settings i saw that i did that just going through some doses i noticed that the shock calculator does not seem to have an adjustment for the sodium hypochlorite I see that everything seems to be a dry measure calculated out in pounds or is this some setting that i missed somewhere? i It may not they and that maybe that is good to bring up and we appreciate it so a lot of When we have been building the system and still today it was a lot of research talking to commercial pool owners and people like yourselves to build this and figure out what the need was we didn’t really want to just build something that You, know we thought we knew what everybody wanted and because i never really works well so we talked to a lot of people so The shock calculator what we found out ourselves a lot of people are going, to the pool store ever and buying the bags of shock and they come in various degrees and trying to figure out what each there’s no didn’t seem to be a commonality there so with that calculator we kind of put the the idea in there so you could read off your particular Rudy: you guys are located in Massachusetts right? Scott: Southern Vermont Rudy: Southern Vermont, okay so you’re up in that in the Northeast and the Northeast is definitely cal hypo country. That’s a fact and that’s what your doses are based off of and a good portion of the country i know uses that but i’m down here in Florida and Florida is definitely a good mix. I’d say there’s just as many if not more people using sodium hypochlorite then are using calcium hypochlorite and i can calculate, if i put in the dose into your calculator for sodium hypochlorite it does give me ounces which i could convert two gallons myself but it does automatically convert to pounds instead of gallons in that type of a that type of a scenario. One of the other things i wanted to ask you about i noticed that if i enter in a number a high cyanuric acid or a high calcium hardness, something that involves draining the pool. If there’s something else that needs to be corrected kudos To you because it does recognize That i need to drain the pool you actually even give me the amount of water that i need to replace to make the change happen which i think pretty neat, but if i have another dose like let’s just say for example my cyanuric acid is at 120 parts per million but my pH is at 7.0, so obviously i need to lower my cyanuric acid but i also need to bring up my pH. The instructions when i click calculate Tell me that i need to replace water but then i also need to add so many pounds of soda ash one of the things i would look for is order of application. Of course we don’t want somebody to adjust the pH and then drain the pool because that wouldn’t make much sense. But then also we don’t want to drain the pool and then just automatically put in a certain amount of soda ash because i know when we replace that water that’s gonna change all the chemistry anyway. So, realistically what i should do is retest everything Scott: Yes, and that’s always a fun one, because when we’re tellin people hey you need to drain x percent of your pool this many gallons to do it to your point if they do that then they have to retest because that’s going to throw off all of your chemicals people don’t like to drain their pools and, you know there are places like California that’s a big issue with the drought, so Rudy: where they have water restrictions that’s definitely something that’s gonna be problematic then we’d have to put either you know replace this much water if you’re not gonna do that add this much soda ash or When we replace the water retest everything some type of a note in there Scott: Yeah and yeah, you know, that’s a valid point that’s a good idea for enhancing because, you’re right unfortunately, this is you need to drain x amount of water out of your pool to get these levels down that’s a hard Rudy: Don’t get me wrong Scott: It’s a hard thing for people to accept often times and a lot of times Rudy: I’m not trying to put you on the spot or anything like that i mean the program what i went through the Calculations are good the doses are good and i definitely get what you’re doing. It’s just i have to be me and in being me, i’m gonna put your program to the test. So i did see how the system would handle it. Scott: Sure Rudy: I would say for the norm we’re good. I’d put that disclaimer in there or half order of application rather as far as if you’re gonna drain it retest, versus add this much soda ash like the example we had. I also was taking a look just at some other things i noted that when i put in a low total alkalinity and a low calcium hardness reading that i did get instruction on how much sodium bicarbonate to add, how much calcium chloride to add and the doses were correct. What i would really like To see though is something in there that tells me to wait a certain timeframe in between those two just simply because if bicarb and calcium chloride are added within two close of a proximity to one another there can be a little bit of a chemical reaction in which case you actually produce calcium carbonate which would cloud the pool horrificly if they added one dose right on top of the other, or are we counting on the fact that gals/guys that are using the program they do have a certain amount of knowledge and they should know to wait in between doses Scott: Yeah, we’re we’re hoping hoping that they have some knowledge and you know as we grow you know as the we make additions to the software we’re hoping to put some a lot more logic type data Rudy: Okay Scott: that’s in there for notifications and different things like that but, to your point. We’re hoping that they have some knowledge if they’re taking care of your pools. That said unfortunately there’s still many places in the country that they’re saying the health departments are saying yes you need a pool log and my state being one of them But there’s no requirements To actually have any training on taking care of a pool Rudy: and that’s and that’s what i mean realistically to your point there’s only 24 states in the country that actually require pool operator certification. The remainder of those either require some knowledge, but not necessarily a certificate and then there’s a few that really have no requirements whatsoever.You can wake up one morning and decide that you’re a pool guy and go out there and start taking care of stuff which is a little scary Scott: That’s a lot of scary and that’s probably why the Center for Disease Control released their statistics a few years ago they didn’t, looked at the Rudy: I did see that there was a hundred something thousand pools that were tested and good 75% of those actually had some type of violation so… Scary stuff. Scott: I was going to say yeah there is an organization of health inspectors, county health inspectors who did another study too there was a direct corelation between staff turnover rate and how often they found violations in the pool and a lot of that you can theorize a lot of that comes to do with the training Rudy: Absolutely Scott: Anything we can do training is super important everybody should get it anything we could potentially do to help with that learning curve especially for a specific pool you know we’re Rudy: Scott, are you a certified pool operator? Have you gone through the certification course? Scott: I am, yes. my whole staff is Rudy: okay. How long has Pool Shark, or Pool Shark H2O I guess is the full name, how long has Pool Shark H2O been in business? Been a company? Scott: So, we started we came up with the idea about 2012 we started talking to a lot of people and then first Summer because we’re, our campground seasonal business. We ran it just for us not, to see how it would work and Continued discussion so really that that next year we started with a beta program so it’s been slow slow go process but the last will be two years in june that we’ve done this full-time and we’ve made a lot of lot of enhancements we just actually translated our system to support both spanish and english Rudy: Okay, so that was my next question was it available in spanish as well. Is it available in any other languages? aside from spanish in english? Scott: Not yet but, as the need arises its something we can definitely, defintiely do Rudy: You’ve been in business for two years obviously you’re out there promoting this and i see your name come up from time to time let’s drop some names now who’s who’s using pool shark h2o Scott: Aha! Yes! we have a lot of it runs all over the country we are in 25 states right now. we’ve hotels some Ramada hotels we have the Gaylord Opryland Rudy: Have you been to that facility? Scott: I have not but, someday I’m gonna get down there for a few days, because Rudy: I’ll tell you what, It’s huge like next generation in the future type of stuff you’re like a humungous biodome with an entire city and it’s just Something really to take in that that one specifically is pretty amazing so they’re using this system how long have they been using it? Scott:This is the second year they’re actually building a waterpark as part of that, which I think is opening this Rudy: inside there? Scott: Inside, yes. Indoor waterpark that their building as part of that Rudy: Amazing Scott: we have ymcas several scattered across the country Rudy: Okay Scott: in boston area with a few goldfish swim schools We have in there and then parks and recreation department’s brushy creek municipal district in Texas we had for i think one of us one of our first Beta customers and carried on for four years or so so Rudy: All right like i said when i took a look at it i liked it i like what i see it’s it’s it Does do the calculations i can definitely see a place for this i don’t know if it’s something that personally i would use Servicing pools because i like to do the math and i like to do my own calculations What i’d like to see that it currently doesn’t have is a more advanced approach to chemistry Something that answers the harder questions and correctly and maybe that’s something we’re heading toward in the future Like i said it’s not i wouldn’t say that the program is basic because it goes beyond that but other things like for example i entered a low pH extremely low and with that i entered in an extremely low total alkalinity and when i pressed calculate the instructions came back saying that i could add either soda ash sodium carbonate or baking soda sodium bicarbonate to get the desired result one of the things that i was looking at specifically i wanted to test if your pH is less than 5.5, if you add bicarb, to the water sodium bicarbonate The sodium bicarbonate will instantly turn to carbonic acid and you will not, see an increase Now if they go with the soda ash alone that would be the recommendation to bring it up to that point where then they could make those or fine-tune the adjustments but it doesn’t take into consideration things like that so is there somebody that were are we working on getting it to that advanced level because in this case i mean realistically if i added the bicarb nothing would have changed i’d be in the same boat and would have entered the same adjustments again and again it would tell me more bicarb Are we going to look at bringing it to that advanced level of chemistry? Scott: Yeah, absolutely We’d like to you know make it as simple and as accurate as possible across For all air pools you know some of the and you know For some of the cases like that you know we definitely like to talk with you work with you to have people with more advanced knowledge Than we have the industry to be able to do do things like this you know that’s that’s some of the things that were always we’re always Talking with people and you know learning we like learning learning more to be able to get things Get the system update like that do you have a means right Rudy: do you have a means of accepting feedback? from, the folks who do the trial that signed up and as what would be the process there? Scott: So, we speak with pretty much everbody that signs up for the trial. You’ll get a phone call to find out more about your facility what your doing but we love feedback from our clients and pretrial users just by email and just let us know hey and That’s how a lot of our system has been built so a lot of features is by things that Rudy: User feedback Scott: user feedback and what makes sense you know
we obviously can’t put in everything for everybody happens Rudy: I assume what would happen is hey i add the dose of bicarb nothing happens I send you an email and then if we don’t have the answer we find the answer and then implement whatever change is that what we’re doing? Scott: exactly Rudy: Okay Scott: largely how we’ve grown you know, how this business has been built for things like that like we had a client that had an indoor pool i’m not going to name names but they were having they’re having an argument with their maintenance Because the maintenance team said they had pool chemistry all wrong in the pool people were saying it was hvac ventilation system that was all wrong so we Added added an ability to track the humidity in the air temperature for them Rudy: How many users do you have in total right now? Scott: Well you can have Rudy: No, You as a company i mean how many folks are using this system i guess that’s what i’m asking not How many users can i have but how many users do you have? that have accounts or free trials that of folks that are using this Scott: Right well there’s probably close to eighty companies right now but that said we’re at about four hundred pools accross the country Rudy: Okay Scott: and were potentially growing really quickly cause we’ve started talking to some corporate places that have many pools because we have the ability for them to Oversee so if you for instance if you are You, know hotel chain or things like that you could actually have all your individual hotels underneath the account and then underneath that umbrella and do auditing and see whats going on accross all of your different properties remotely Rudy: Well i definitely i definitely like the pool shark name because that’s that is catchy I grew up jaws was definitely a part of my life so i have that whole and if for those folks that are listening that weren’t around in the 70s and 80s hadn’t been born yet jaws is a movie about a really big fish that you could probably catch on netflix and get caught up if you wanted to but in either case i do like the name it’s catchy i Like the direction you’re going i definitely think there’s a need for it i know i asked you some hard questions i do appreciate you answering them and not balking and definitely providing good feedback and i like the fact that it’s open to The suggestions from your users so scott i don’t really have any questions left, so why don’t you tell everybody how to find you Scott: The easiest way if you go to our website poolsharkh2o.com and right on there there’s some additional information and there’s a free trial link you can sign up take you less than five minutes to get an account created and You, know we don’t we’re not asking for a credit card upfront or anything like that so there’s really no Obligation so i recommend you click on it and try it out for yourself and see how it works for you Rudy: okay and with that really quick what it what is this cost that the user beyond the free trial? Scott: right, so we charge by the body of water so it’s $16.25 a month so it comes down to less than half the price here a cup of coffee a day 53 cents and that’s Rudy: That’s per pool, correct? Scott: Yes, per body of water and you only pay for the months when your pool is active, so a year round pool is $195 dollars a year when it comes to. if you have seasonal pool like most of the northeast but it’s open for memorial day labor day it’s about sixty-five dollars a Year, so we try to make it you know cost-effective because we want as many people on there as, we can to try and keep that pool water clean it helped reduce the incidence from those cdc cdc Numbers Rudy: and i think that’s what we all want we all want safer and healthier pools so it’s nice to see that other folks are making efforts, to make water safer and healthier also Scott i want to thank you for talking with me i Definitely appreciate it did you have anything else that you wanted to add before we go Scott: I think we’ve covered it all just go try it. Set up for the free trial and thank you for your time and keeping pools clean Rudy: Thanks for talking with me! Everybody that’s Scott with Pool Shark H2O. My name is Rudy, I’m with Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants and thank you for listening.

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