Automation is a No. 1 priority for today’s consumers. In Sunbelt states, builders report that nearly 90 percent of their new pools have in-house controls. Many customers also demand the ability to rest in lounge chairs while controlling waterfeatures, spa jets and colored lights.

Folks can do just that, thanks to wireless controls. “They started becoming popular three years ago, and they seem to work well,” says Russ Watters, owner of Watters Aquatech Pools & Spas in Las Vegas. “The new wireless controllers are like microprocessors. They’re state of the art.

“People are calling us with problems on pools we installed 10 years ago. It’s not worth fixing. It’s like trying to fix a 10-year-old computer. We encourage our customers to upgrade,” he adds.

Hard-wiring a control system into the home is slowly becoming obsolete. “It’s about going wireless, but it’s also about continuing to evolve the simplicity of controls,” says Kevin Potucek, vice president of marketing at Hayward Pool Products in Elizabeth, N.J. “There’s a tremendous value proposition if the consumer chooses to add pool and spa controls, and chemical automation at the same time. The wireless provides an extra upgrade.”