Wading Through The Rules

California Energy Commission Title 20 Appliance Efficiency regulations have attracted the attention of the pool industry and equipment manufacturers. The Florida Energy and Conservation Code for residential pools has been adopted, and now allFloridapool contractors must comply with the new code byMarch 15, 2012. This code requires all circulating-pool pump motors of 1 horsepower or more to be two-speed or variable speed. The standard includes sizing parameters and pipe-diameter as related to flow rate. Florida also mandated that all heat pumps have a Coefficient of Performance (C.O.P) of 4.0 or greater. Fossil fuel/gas heaters must have 78 percent minimum fuel-efficiency with no standing pilot lights. All heaters must have an outside on/off switch. A clause further requires covers to be installed on in-ground spas and for heated pools to reduce heat evaporation. Liquid pool heat chemicals are included as acceptable heat retention.

Some people will say the aquatic industry is being over-regulated. Others embrace their role in helping to reduce energy usage and expense. A number of states and local utilities are encouraging pool and spa facilities to purchase the new energy-efficient equipment, with some offering rebates. Aquatic-facility operators should attend the numerous energy-efficiency seminars offered throughout the year to discover regional rebate programs.

To learn more about the energy-efficiency standard, visit www.apsp.org/Public/StandardsTechnical/Standards/index.cfm#3.

VGB Pool & Spa Safety Act

The first mandate from theU.S.government came in the form of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush onDecember 19, 2007, with a mandatory compliance date ofDecember 19, 2008. Called VGB or the Pool & Spa Safety Act, the law was written to protect pool and spa bathers from the danger of entrapment.

Most people agree the intent of the law is good, yet the implementation was flawed, and continues to cause confusion. The good news is that, since the law was enacted, there have been noU.S.entrapment fatalities and no serious injuries. The pundits continue to debate the particulars of the law, and seek to change its scope. Managers and operators should stay aware and informed of any developing changes in the law. Vigilance and attention are the best protection against liability. Operators should follow current compliance requirements, and continue to retrofit and install approved anti-entrapment main drains and additional layers of protection.

It is the aquatic manager and pool operator’s responsibility to stay current with the ongoing industry initiatives. With better knowledge, operators will be more prepared to meet changes, answer questions from management, and avoid liability. 

Connie Sue Centrella is a professor and Program Director for the online Aquatic Engineering Program atKeiserUniversity eCampus. She is a five-time recipient of the Evelyn C. Keiser Teaching Excellence Award “Instructor of Distinction.” Centrella is an industry veteran with over 40 years experience in the pool and spa industry. She is a former pool builder with extensive knowledge in pool construction and equipment installation, as well as manufacturing.

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