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    All in one: Service technicians give high marks to the compact Leatherman, which features an array of practical tools.

Service techs turn to these trusty tools time and again when on their routes:

  •  Bucket This is as basic as it comes. Most techs carry a variety of essentials (net, test kit, lube and the like) to the pool in a bucket of some sort. Also, if you need to add algaecide (such as a copper-based one) to the water, you can dilute it in the bucket before adding it to the pool — and avoid staining the plaster.
  •  Hose Available in 10- to 100-foot lengths most techs carry several lengths, especially if they care for pools of varying sizes.
  •  Hose adapters Adapters come in handy when your hose doesn’t fit perfectly into the lines or if you’re dealing with larger pools. Cone-shaped adapters work well when you’re trying to fit the hose into a smaller opening. Adapters also are used to connect two hoses together — for example, in the event a 50-foot hose isn’t long enough to handle a commercial-size pool.
  •  Hydraulic drain flush If you have difficulty priming the pump, check out a hydraulic drain flush (also called a hydraflush). To remedy a pump that won’t prime on its own, you can attach the mechanism to a garden hose and slip the end of it into the skimmer inlet. Then, with the pump turned on, turn the garden hose on high. The higher water pressure jump starts the pump and helps prime it. 
  • Note: Don’t keep the hydraflush in a bucket with chlorine tablets. If the concentrated chlorine tablets come in contact with water and the chlorinated water comes in contact with the hydraflush, it will eat through its fabric.

  •  In-line leaf trap An in-line leaf trap is a canister with a strainer inside. The canister attaches to the end of the vacuum hose; on the other end is a 3-foot hose, which is plugged into the skimmer. This way, the leaves, dirt and debris you vacuum up are trapped in the leaf trap before they can get to (and fill up) the pump pot.
  •  Leaf bagger Also called leaf eaters and leaf masters, they all do the same thing. They use water pressure from a garden hose to suck leaves and other debris into a mess bag similar to that of a net. The device attaches to your pole. These baggers are useful during the fall or windy months when large amounts of debris end up in the pool.
  •  Leak repair products When dealing with vessels that hold water, you will occasionally encounter a leak. If you’d prefer not to call a specialist, leak-detection equipment ranges the gamut in complexity and cost. Also, there are several products on the market, from liquid compounds to patches, designed to permanently seal holes.
  •  Lubricant Many techs lubricate their O-rings to ensure optimal results. You should always lubricate your O-rings on the pump lids — and filters if you’re doing a filter cleaning. There are several varieties on the market, including Teflon and silicone styles. Read the product’s instructions before applying it to ensure it’s the right lube for the job.
  •  Net Sometimes called a skimmer, leaf rake or leaf net. It’s attached to a pole and used to skim the top of the pool, removing leaves and other debris from the water. 
  •  Pole, telescopic The standard two-piece telescoping pole goes from 8- to 15 feet, but can be set to any length in between. A variety of maintenance items attach to the pool, making it a multiuse product. The pole is the first thing pool techs grab when they step out of their trucks.
  •  Pump lid wrench These tools are specifically designed to open pump lids. Sometimes plastic pump lids (which are quite common) that haven’t been opened for a while and or have had their lube harden become difficult to open without a wrench.
  •  Squirt bottle Squirt bottles have a variety of uses at the job site. Here’s one nifty trick: When cleaning pools, put a little tile soap in the bottle, dilute it with water and squirt it down the middle of the pool. The soap suds push the debris from the center of the pool to the edges, making it easier to net the leaves out.
  •  Test kits You cannot tell what is going on in the water of a swimming pool by looking at it. No matter how many years you have in the business, you must test the pool water every time.
  •  Tile brush Take hot summer days with numerous swimmers, multiply that with sun block, and it equals a lot of gunk on the tile of the pool. This tool, which clicks into any telescopic pole you already have on hand, is designed to remove the buildup.
  •  Vacuum head This gadget rides along the bottom of the pool and collects leaves, dirt and debris so it can be sucked up into the filter. It fastens to your pole for ease of use. 
  • Wall brushes The brushes, which attach to a telescopic pole, come in all sizes and several shapes. But they all have the same job, which is to brush off (remove) dirt, algae and other debris from pool and spa walls and floors.

MORE INFORMATION

  • Useful Tools
  • Turn to these indispensable tools when on your route.

RELATED LINKS

  • Ultimate Tech Manual: Tool Organization
  • Tips for properly storing the gear on your truck.

  • Rough & Ready
  • Sometimes, the best tool for the job comes from the last place you’d expect.