Where did the Great American Backyard go?

According to The Atlantic, the median U.S. yard has shrunk by more than 26 percent since the late 1970s. Larger house sizes and rising land prices have forced developers to squeeze homes into ever- tighter parcels to maintain affordability.

Another result you already know: Shrinking backyards make it complicated to include multiple water features as part of a pool and spa environment because they require multiple return lines and electrical conduits. The growing list of water features includes deck jets, spillovers, spills, bubblers, cascades, and fountains.

New Equipment Pad Normal

To make the most of the space available, pool builders have turned to the side of the home for equipment pad placement. The resulting elongated format creates an impressive tangle of conduits and pipes between the heater, filter, pump, motor, and other equipment. The stretched and narrowing pad even places new demands on something as simple as electrical conduits and cords. No owner wants the eyesore and safety concerns of extension cords linking critical equipment.

What to do?

The industry is responding by condensing and bundling equipment functions, helping minimize equipment pad issues. One swimming and spa systems equipment maker has taken the challenge to heart. Illinois-based Intermatic, a maker of energy controls for commercial and residential pool systems, has come to the rescue of service techs with a pair of devices that are designed to do more in less space.

“The long, narrow equipment pad on the side of the house is here to stay,” says Jon Payne, regional sales manager for Intermatic. “The ability to take the pad wider has been eliminated by shrinking lot sizes. You must go long and narrow.”

Upgraded Solutions, Improved Efficiency

Keeping backyard real estate a top priority, the COMBOConnect™ Junction Box Transformer (patent pending) combines a pair of pool system functions, a standard junction box and low-voltage transformer, to streamline pool and spa setup. Great for overall aesthetics, the solution requires 20 percent less space than traditional components. “COMBOConnect saves space on the wall next to the equipment pad for the salt chlorine generator and other accessories,” reports Payne.

Similarly, the ReadySet™ Electronic Valve Actuator offers pool service technicians a fast, easy way to establish valve position set points. No more time-consuming fumbling with the casing or hit-and-miss manual adjustments. The new 24-volt electronic actuator mounts to 2-way and 3-way diverter valves and can reduce service calls by up to 20 minutes. What’s more, ReadySet is equipped with the longest electrical cord in the business – a robust 30 feet. “Now you can reach all the way down to the end of some of these equipment sets,” says Payne.

Payne likens the equipment pad challenge to bedroom closet organization. “Anytime you can consolidate space and make it work better for you, it’s a plus. The average pool is a more complicated system today. ReadySet and COMBOConnect are engineered to simplify pool maintenance at the same time they save space,” Payne says.

You may not be able to grow the Great American Backyard, but now there’s a way to make it even more efficient. Learn more about ReadySet and COMBOConnect.