The Independent Pool & Spa Service Association
has commissioned new research geared specifically toward service
technicians and salt chlorine generators.
The research was performed by scientists at the National Pool
Industry Research Center at California Polytechnic State
“IPSSA has backed the research center in the past, but this
has been the first time [the group] has donated a set amount of
money to commission a specific research program,” said Lance
Sada, IPSSA’s liaison to NPIRC.
The study was designed to determine if weekly service calls can
adequately maintain the chemical balance in a salt-chlorinated
To learn this, scientists at the Cal Poly facility monitored
salt-chlorinated pools over set time periods, simulating service
visits with weekly chemical adjustments. Aside from their chlorine
generators, the pools used no automated chemical feeding and no ORP
controller. Instead, scientists made all chemical adjustments
manually. They then recorded the effects on various components of
the system over time.
IPSSA will release a more detailed description of the research
protocol, and will announce the results of the study, in the
December issue of the IPSSAN newsletter.
“Salt-chlorine generators are still fairly new in the
industry,” Sada explained. “There are a lot of opinions
floating around about how to maintain a salt pool — but
having an opinion and having scientific proof are two different
things. Based on this data, we may find that we need to adjust our
ranges for chemical balance, and things like that.”
Within the ranks of IPSSA, the response to the research has already
been positive. “I’m pleased to hear that this is
happening,” said John Bettencourt, president of John
Bettencourt Pool Service in Hemet, Calif. The former IPSSA board
member added that scientific studies performed for the service side
of the industry have been a long time in coming. “It’s
great to see someone commissioning research that pertains
specifically to pool service people,” he said.
The IPSSA board also has expressed interest in continuing to work
with the research center. “We [at IPSSA] have plans to
continue this research on an ongoing basis,” Sada said.
“We’re also hoping to commission more research projects
from the NPIRC in the near future.”
Some in the industry perceive NPIRC as a research arm of the
National Plasterers Council, but the reality is
more complex. Though the research center was launched out of a
partnership between NPC and Cal Poly, the Plasterers Council worked
with the university to create a separate foundation (NPIRC) to
which all fields of the industry would have access.
“[The NPIRC board] is actually made up of mechanical
engineers, chemical companies, manufacturers, servicepeople, and
plasterers,” Sada explained. “Its members represent the
whole scope of our industry. They commission research that’s
done by Cal Poly scientists at the Cal Poly facility.”
Despite the IPSSA board’s help, though, scientific research
is never free. Sada emphasized that for service techs,
today’s moderate investment in research could pay major
dividends in the long run.
“Even if this research only ends up saving you $5 a
day,” he said, “that’s around $1,800 you saved
over the course of a year. Plus you’ve bettered yourself, so
you can offer better service to your customers.”