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Pool Owners Advised to Look for Safety and Listen for Savings
07.28.2009
  • Top industry experts respond to consumer concerns about the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act and the threat of swimming pool entrapment with an easy three-point visual inspection designed to spot entrapment red flags.
  • These experts advise that energy efficiency is another critical issue pool owners should take into consideration when examining pools for safety.
  • A one-step "listening" inspection can identify opportunities for energy savings.

RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 28, 2009-- Experts from one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of pool equipment are advising pool owners concerned with safety and energy efficiency to take a few moments to “Look for Safety” and “Listen for Savings.”

“There has been a great deal of media coverage concerning the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act and the dangers of entrapment in public swimming pools,” said Steve Barnes, Safety and Compliance Manager for leading pool equipment manufacturer Pentair Water Pool and Spa, referring to the new federal law that has required public pools nationwide to make upgrades to prevent entrapment or cease operation. “The law does not currently apply to residential pool owners, but all the publicity has left a great deal of pool owners wondering whether their backyard pools require similar attention.”

Barnes is chair of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals Technical Committee and a member of the team that wrote the technical standard referenced in the new law. He explains that swimming pool entrapment is by definition any accident that traps a swimmer underneath the water. While non-suction entrapment can occur in any type of pool, suction entrapment is limited to pools that have drains, which includes in-ground pools and some above-ground pools.

“For the average pool owner, a quick look at their pool will tell them if they should be considering additional anti-entrapment measures,” said Barnes. “In most communities, residential pool owners are not obligated to make any required improvements, but they should at least determine if the following conditions exist.”

Barnes advises owners of pools with drains to Look for Safety by asking themselves:

1. Can I see two or more drains in my pool?

2. Are the drain covers secure and in working order?

3. Was my pool built within the past two years?

“Answering ‘no’ to any of these questions is a red flag and you should consider calling a pool professional,” said Barnes. “If there is a broken or not securely attached drain cover you should call a pool professional immediately and not use the pool or spa until the problem is corrected.”

Barnes said that pools built before 2007 did not require the latest safety drain covers required by federal law, those certified to help prevent entrapment. Pools with a single main drain and no safety vacuum release system (SVRS) allow a possibility for swimmers to be caught in a vacuum seal, the cause of suction entrapment. In most cases, installing new drain covers and/or anti-vacuum technology such as SVRS will not require the pool to be drained and can be accomplished in only a few hours.

Barnes said that pool owners requiring SVRS should consider options that provide energy efficiency savings in addition to the safety benefits, such as the IntelliFlo® and IntelliPro® VS+SVRS variable speed pump from Pentair Water Pool and Spa.

“Pool pump motors can use more energy than all other home appliances combined,” said Barnes. “Safety should be the top priority, but don’t forget about efficiency. Take the time for a simple examination of your equipment with this in mind as well.”

Jeff Farlow, Manager of Energy Programs for Pentair Water Pool and Spa and a member of the APSP Committee on Energy Efficiency, says that in addition to Barnes’ safety test, pool owners should Listen for Savings.

“This means you should listen to your filtration system,” said Farlow, who works with industry leaders, municipalities and utilities nationwide to promote pool energy efficiency. “If the pump is loud that means it is straining to perform, either because of inefficient design or because it’s nearing the end of its service life. Not every quiet pump is an efficient pump, but a loud pump will always offer substantial opportunities for efficiency gains. The single-speed pumps that have been banned in some states due to inefficiency are by far the loudest. A high quality variable speed pump can save up to 90 percent of the energy used by inefficient, single-speed models. At low speeds, it is quieter than a whisper.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council has determined programmable variable speed pool pumps to be an ideal solution for making pools more energy efficient, with estimated average annual savings of $250 to $500 each year, depending on climate and utility costs. Pentair customers have seen savings of $1,360 per pump and more. For comparison, the average total annual savings for an Energy Star®-labeled home compared to a standard efficiency home is $250 to $700.

Farlow noted that there are additional opportunities available for lowering the operating costs of a pool through better equipment, including more efficient lights, heaters and alternative sanitization technologies. More information about swimming pool entrapment and swimming pool equipment efficiency can be found at www.pentairpool.com or www.delicious.com/greensafepool.

About Pentair Water Pool and Spa

Pentair Water Pool and Spa Inc. is the world's leading manufacturer of premium pumps, filters, heaters, controls, cleaners, lighting systems, water features, and maintenance products for swimming pools and spas. Pentair Water Pool and Spa Inc. is part of the Water Group of Pentair, Inc. (NYSE: PNR). Headquartered in Minnesota, Pentair, Inc. is a global diversified operating company serving the commercial, industrial, municipal and residential markets through innovative solutions under strong brand names. With 13,400 employees worldwide, Pentair Inc. generated 2008 sales of $3.35 billion.

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Source: Pentair, Inc.

For Editorial Information:
Public Relations for Pentair Pool
Daniel Schoonmaker, 616-559-2291
greenerpools@gmail.com

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