Origins of “The Water Geek”
When you love what you do, there’s nothing wrong with being known as a geek for it – to fully “geek-out” as the saying goes. In my case, I am the ultimate geek for water quality. It’s my passion, my guiding light, the reason I get up in the morning and a constant source of fascination. The quest for “gourmet water” has propelled everything I’ve done throughout my career in the pool industry and I’m always learning, experimenting and basically taking this obsession to new levels.
Four years ago, I published a book titled The Water Quality Professional in which I chronicled my experience in the industry and many aspects of my ongoing pursuit for the best water available – anywhere, in any setting. Looking back, I might as well have titled it The Water Geek, because that’s exactly what I am – a complete fanatic for all things that touch water quality. That has been the case for more than 30 years.
Although an entirely apropos describer of my role in the universe, I’ve only recently started to refer to myself as a “water geek” after a local homebuilder introduced me that way to a prospective client. Although I was taken aback for a brief moment upon hearing this new moniker, (who’s calling who a geek?) the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I am a water geek and should be proud of it. Call me a water nerd, fanatic, enthusiast, guru or conscientious water quality practitioner — it all means the same thing. I am obsessed with making water quality an art form.
Frankly, it’s all fine by me because the terms “pool service technician” and “pool builder” never really fit. Our company does service pools and we also build them, but to my way of thinking, the distinctions between those sides are unified first and foremost by water quality. Everything else flows from that prime objective.
Both in service and in construction, we take a “systems” approach: everything from the hydraulics to the treatment systems to the interior finishes are designed and selected to work together to create chemical synergies that enhance water quality. Especially the treatment systems themselves – the major players are ozone, UV, and activated glass filtration media. There is no one measure that does it all, but an aggregation of systems and solutions.
This is why I always prefer servicing the pools we build, and building the pools we service. That way, the systems are designed to be as reliable, effective and maintenance-free as we can make them. And no one knows better than we do how to utilize our systems in order to sustain superior water quality. The labor involved in taking care of our own pools – versus those built by others – is striking. With many of our pools, we mostly just jet vacuum, empty the filter baskets and pump strainers, and let the systems do the rest.
That already cosmic level of efficiency has been further enhanced in recent years by the suite of remote monitoring systems we have in place on a number of our service accounts. This advancement really stirs up my inner geekiness. Now we are able to monitor all key functions of a pool in real time: sanitizer levels, water balance, water temperature, filter pressure, ORP, ozone/UV output, pump speed, and others.
If we see a drop in pressure, an uptick in energy consumption – or a change in any one of more than a dozen operational factors – we are able to either address the issue remotely or dispatch a technician to the site immediately. Either way, we are almost always able to correct the situation before the client is even aware there is an issue.
The upshot is the client only ever experiences perfect water quality conditions without ever having to think twice about it. That’s the standard we work to – that we insist upon – and to get over that bar, you have to be dialed in on a spectrum of specific technical details. You have to be, in a word, kind of a geek.