New Product proposal

Pool pump controllers are RIPE for disruption. They are high priced, of poor quality, and expensive to operate. Pool pumps, poorly run, are a significant waste of money, consume massive amounts of electricity, generating pollution and greenhouse gases.

Rachio has revolutionized a sprinkler market sharing a similar story.

In my imagination there would be a web connected controller, maybe with a temp probe and flow meter to dynamically run a pump more when hot, less when cooler, none below 60F until constantly below 35F. It would also do variable speed control or run times to optimize flow rates, minimizing cost. It could send alerts if there are flow control problems, suggesting filter backlogs or general flow problems. This could generate significant customer value, disrupting another staid industry.

I would be happy to answer any questions if you are interested.

I believe, with a few fudges to the settings, Flex Daily could work great for this application. It’s been talked about before, and there are some sites with information on how quickly pool water evaporates (depending also on activity, splashing, etc.). It wouldn’t be perfect: wouldn’t have variable speed, or the alerts you mention, and work best if filling every few days or so (you may want daily top-offs).

If you’re interested in setting up a zone for this and would like some help, let me know; I think we could figure something that works reasonably well.

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@Dsgnai - I believe @Gene has designed product that determines low water level based on pump electrical surges (if I understand it correctly)->

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Yea, my product is still in development stage, mainly fine tuning leak detection with data from beta users and finalizing the final retail design. But yes, I know a thing or two about the subject matter.

First, pool evaporation doesn’t match closely to irrigation calculations, so I’m not quite sure what settings you could tweak on Rachio to get a good estimate of evaporation from a pool. Irrigation evaporation tends to be much higher vs the pool, due to active water use by plants undergoing photosynthesis as well as relevant water table being much closer to the surface temperature vs the pool (pool tends to have enough mass of water to do a good job of averaging the day & night temperature).

During the rain seasons, water retention of the earth is also considerably different to the pool. Whereas water can drain to depths where roots can’t reach it (thus the reason why Rachio doesn’t allow more than 110% of zone moisture), pool retains the water much better (thus you’d need to track rainfall which can often add over 100% of water it would take normally to go from low to a normal level).

After spending about 5 years on the developing a pool leak detector which takes evaporative losses into account, I can honestly say that the problem has too many variables (wind, humidity, air and water temps, pool shape, shade percentage throughout the day, pool chemistry, usage patterns, etc…) to accurately calculate out of the box. Even my solution can’t provide a high degree of certainty for initial measurements, it relies on gathering as much data as possible and building a unique model for each individual pool.

Sorry for a lengthy response, this has been a thorn in my side for quite some time.

Crop Coefficient is actually a percentage to be applied to the FRET values provided by the NOAA National Weather Service, and the FRET values are defined as the evaporation of water in an open pan (I thought, simulating a small, shallow pool). I therefore figured that pool evaporation would approximate the Rachio calculated ET value, using a CC of 1.00, but probably more due to activity and splashing. If that is the case, then water level would go down about equal to the ET, and water to be added could be calculated based on the pool size. Have you found that not to be true?

I’ve yet to have a client who is in close proximity to one of those evaporation pans to really get a good sense for their losses vs those observed by NOAA. I do use their data to set a sort of upper limit that a region should be seeing since a shallow pan, free of any shade and usually situated in a clear area with higher winds, would naturally be heated up faster & loose more water.

A small disclaimer, I’ve not tried to develop a system of refilling the pool based on evaporation / weather data, rather my system maintains levels based on physical measurements at the pool. In my case the evaporation & weather data are used to provide a probability measurement that abnormal water losses are occurring and providing an estimate of what these unexpected losses may be.

Any errors within a system which uses only evaporation data to maintain the water levels are cumulative. Even if you manage to get it 99% accurate (which would be worth millions to NOAA), that last 1% will soon cause your pool to fall below operating range or overflow. Keep in mind that when talking about accuracy, I don’t mean precision (as in being 99% accurate is not the same as 100% accurate +/- 1%). Errors due to precision tend to average out, accuracy errors do not.

Granted, you can keep an eye on the pool and develop a manual feedback whereas you correct for accuracy errors, but that will be a never ending quest.