“Pool automation” sounds kinda futuristic – like something out of The Jetson’s – but like any automated system, the software is designed to make your life as a pool owner easier.
Bringing your pool or spa on par with the technology available today is simpler than you may think. Let’s jump in and learn what kinds of pool automation there are, and whether or not you need to automate all of your systems for seamless integration.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is pool automation?
- How do I automate my pool systems?
- What pool systems can I automate?
- Automating individual systems
- Full smart system automation
- How much does full pool automation cost?
With that, let’s dive in!
What Is Pool Automation?
Pool automation puts the controls for your pool system in one place. It connects pool systems that you’d otherwise have to control manually to a control panel, and you can manage everything from there.
Automating your swimming pool has the practical benefits of saving you time and money on your energy bill, but it also has fun uses as well. Programming routines that fit into your lifestyle for pool parties or date nights, with your music and lighting synced is as easy as selecting the options on a system app that suits you and your pool best. The possibilities are endless and advancing as fast as technology is.
Automating pool systems means that you don’t have to worry about turning on your heater or filter before you decide to go for a dip. With pre-programmed routines, you can control whatever aspects of your pool you want, including ‘vacation’ routines that ensure your pool stays healthy while you’re out of town.
Pros and cons of pool automation
- Save money on energy cost and equipment wear.
- Simplify your pool ownership: no more remembering to turn things on (or off).
- Automation systems are flexible and easy to upgrade.
- Pool owners need to be moderately tech-savvy.
- Professional installation (recommended).
- Can be expensive.
How Do I Automate My Pool Systems?
A reliable internet or wifi connection is necessary for flawless integration and automation. This may require you to purchase a wifi booster for your pool area to ensure no gaps or blackouts in your wifi connection.
A control panel can be a smart hub within your pool house, a remote device such as a phone or tablet, or it can mean a physical panel.
Integrating all of your systems all at once can get expensive. You also might not want or need all of your pool systems to be automated. The amazing thing about pool automation is that you don’t have to upgrade everything all at once: you can pick and choose which systems are important for you to automate, leaving room for future system upgrades and automation.
What Pool Systems Can I Automate?
Well, what systems do you want to automate? The options are truly endless with today’s technology. You can automate just about anything that you’d otherwise have to do manually.
There are two ways you can go about automating your pool systems: by upgrading individual systems as you need them, or by purchasing an entire smart pool system.
Automating Individual Systems As Needed
With this method of pool automation, you can pick and choose which systems would work best for your specific needs. It’s not necessary to automate all of your systems at the same time, and systems can easily be upgraded or added on at a later date.
Pool heating and temperature control
Pool heating and temperature control can be programmed to vary based on your needs.
This control can be used to prepare your pool before you get home from work, or when you go on vacation. The program options are endless, and you can program specific sequences like ‘date night’, ‘party time’, relaxing after work’ or ‘vacation’ – it all depends on you and how you choose to use your pool.
Pool pump and filter system
The amount of times your pump runs in a day varies based on your pool size and the number of swimmers you have in your pool.
Automating this system takes the hassle out of remembering to turn on your pump and filter any time you take a swim or take the cover off your pool.
How do I automate my pool pump?
There are three ways to automate your pool pump:
- Purchase a pool pump that has built-in smart technology, and begin your journey toward automating the systems by following the instructions or hiring someone to install the system for you.
- Purchase a pool pump with built-in technology to integrate into an already existing smart system (smart hub).
- Use a pre-built system for automating your existing pool pump. You’ll need to have knowledge and experience in working with electrics and technology for this option.
Adjusting pool chemical levels (dosing)
Automating your dosing system saves the time and headache of figuring out your chemicals every time the levels are off. It will also help to ensure that there are no chemical or PH level mix-ups.
Installing an automatic dosing system is relatively easy, just follow the instructions and have a basic understanding of electrical systems. Contact your local pool supply company or where you purchased the dosing system if you require help with installation.
TIP: We recommend automating your dosing system, even if you decide not to automate any of your other systems. If you have to pick one kind of automation, this is probably the best one!
Automating your pool lighting system means programming a routine or subroutine that turns on at the desired time, or when you specifically request it. Some systems will integrate with existing lighting systems.
Retractable pool covers
It’s not recommended to automate your pool cover opening and closing – for safety reasons, the cover must be operated via a switch that’s in line of sight of the pool. That way, nothing can be trapped under the cover when it’s closing, which could happen if the cover was closed remotely.
Automated pool cleaners
Why wrestle with cleaning your pool manually or paying a pool cleaner when you can purchase a programmable robotic pool cleaner to do it for you?
Check out our article The Best Robotic Pool Cleaner [Product Comparison] to learn more about automating your pool cleaning process.
Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or other voice assistant devices make engaging routines or subroutines within your pool automation easier. It’s simple to integrate into current systems and add your pool automation to your voice assistant tasks.
If This Then That (IFTTT)
IFTTT is a software cascade system that integrates cause and effect, meaning that pool systems are integrated, automatically turning on or off based on other occurrences within your pool system.
For example: If you connect your favourite weather app to your smart hub, you can program your pool heater to turn on if the temperature drops below a certain level.
Another example is connecting your GPS in your phone to your pool systems, causing your pool jets and heater to turn on when you’re close to home after a long day at work.
TIP: If the system requires electrical or technological knowledge that you are unfamiliar with, be safe and hire a professional to install the system for you.
The good news is that you can upgrade your pool automation systems at any point in time.
Systems we recommend automating
There isn’t a hard and fast rule for which systems you should automate first, but we do have a few favourites:
- Pool pump and filtration system
- Pool Cleaning (robotic cleaner)
- Dosing system
Full Smart Pool System Automation
Automating all of your pool systems simultaneously involves either planning for a smart system when building your pool, or upgrading your current systems to be integrated into a single smart hub.
The latter option is perfect if you want to automate more than one system, and you want all of your systems to be accessible from one spot.
- Easy to upgrade an older pool.
- Low-cost upgrade with significant results.
- Improves efficiency.
- Saves money on electrical and plumbing costs.
- Can connect to voice assistant or through individual systems apps.
- Complicated and technically challenging to install without assistance.
- Adds to the upfront costs of pool installation.
- Individual products associated with full automation can be pricey.
How Can I Control My Pool From My Phone?
Virtual assistants like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Smartwatch or other virtual assistants make activating pre-programmed routines using wifi and voice control simple to do from your phone.
Most newly purchased systems come with an app for just this scenario, meaning that you can control individual systems through the app, or through a single app connected to a smart hub.
How Much Does Full Pool Automation Cost?
The cost of automating your pool system varies depending on if you’re planning on installing an individual system or automating all of your pool systems.
The brand and model of the system you choose to install will have an impact on your overall costs, as well as whether or not the system includes an app.
To give you a ballpark though, pool automation can cost anywhere up to $7,000 – depending on what level of automation you require.
The upfront cost for full pool automation varies depending on pool type, size, and complexity. It also varies depending on whether or not you have a spa you wish to integrate with your system.
The Omnilogic allows you to control the entire backyard. It will talk to and control other pieces of Hayward equipment like the heater or multi-speed pump, run water features, garden lighting, pool lighting, chlorinate your pool and look after the pool’s pH levels, allow you to run a pool and a spa on the same set of Hayward filtration and heating equipment and give you access on your phone or tablet.
The cost of installation depends on your geographic location, the number of items or systems to be connected, and your pool equipment layout.
Hayward Aquarite +
The Aquarite + Salt Chlorinator gives you the option of upgrade kits which can start you on your automation journey. The kits can be bought when the base unit is installed or can be added later to give you more control of your pool.
- pH control.
- ORP control (keeps your chlorine under control).
- Temperature kit (for controlling a heater).
- Wifi module (for control of your pool via app).
- Spa flow switch (controls the chlorinator output if it’s used on a pool and spa).
- Valve control (for diverting water flow to a spa or water feature).
- Remote display (an additional screen for inside the house).
SplashMe Pool Automation
SplashMe is designed for adding to an existing system.
- It allows you to control your pump and filter.
- Comes with the option of a variable speed drive to turn your existing single speed pump into an energy efficient variable speed pump.
- Can operate an existing salt chlorinator to give better control over chlorine levels.
- And comes with a range of other features, such as controlling backyard lighting, sprinkler systems, controlling the pools pH level and giving you the option of running water features and pool lighting remotely via SplashMe’s app.
As SplashMe is designed as an addition to your existing system it means you don’t have to have the same brand pump or heater as the automation system to get the best results.
Automate Your Pool Today!
With the convenience of pool automation, you can control almost every aspect of your pool, spa, and backyard from a single device.
Automating your pool and/or spa doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Talk to a Dolphin Pacific professional today about bringing your pool systems into the future.