I am writing this blog as I sit on a long flight back from Athens Greece to the United States. On this particular trip I visited Spain, Amsterdam, Italy and Greece, including many Greek islands.
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to visit existing LeakTronics and Torque Lock customers. I also like to visit retail pool stores, check out their leak detection equipment, and maybe even stop and talk to a pool guy if I see them. Not only do I enjoy seeing the cultural differences, (work habits and work ethics) , I also enjoy seeing the different equipment, material types, structural layouts, pipe diameter, gunite thickness, coating types and the list goes on forever
While visiting Bilbao Spain, I was given a personal tour of of a residential construction project by Carlos of Aqua Azul Piscina. Aqua Azul has been a good customer of both Torque Lock and LeakTronics for many years. One of the many issues they run into is the fact that they sometimes build the pool before the house. Cross construction projects can cause many issues that sometimes can’t be avoided
After a pool is shot and plumbed, chipping and digging in nearby rock to pour a foundation can often lead to breaking plumbing lines, electrical conduits and can sometimes lead to structural issues in a pool shell. As Carlos explained, they use marking stakes and warn the foundation contractors but they still make mistakes. He later took me to a leaking pool, broke out his Complete Pro Kit and asked me to show him how it’s done. After honing in on skimmer line leak with the Pipe Mic, I went to my rental car and pulled out the FLASH System that I planned on showing him. After a 15 minute set up and leak detection, I marked the ground at the exact location of the leak. Carlos made a phone call and five minutes later, 3 of his guys were digging up the area. I couldn’t have been more accurate and Carlos wouldn’t let me leave without purchasing the leak detection equipment right then and there
P.S. The line had been hit with a chipping hammer
On to Amsterdam
While there are not too many pools in the Amsterdam region, I was able to perform a leak detection on an indoor commercial hotel pool. Typically, indoor pool leaks are easy to locate because they are quieter and don’t have as much background noise as an outdoor pool. Not in this case. Sven from Dutch Pools was my guide on this one and explained that most of the background noise was from water traffic on the nearby canals. While the noise did pose a challenge, the filtering device on the LT1000 really came in handy. While it took us a while, we found the leak using the Poolscope. The leak was located at the light niche and we were able to fix it right hen and there.
Outside of Florence I was able to see some really old school European pool construction. The pools are built like tanks, some being 16 inches thick and 10 inch on center rebar. The finishes were penny tile which makes for a pretty expensive pool. Italian contractors are trying to stray away from the old school way due to high demand and fast turnover. I had traveled to this region in 2004 after training Franco Gravanio and Antonio DiFalio in installing exposed aggregate finishes. The problem that they are now running into is structural cracks due to soil conditions and thinner shotcrete thicknesses. They took me to a two year old Torque Lock job that was holding up just fine. I was also able to perform another Torque Lock job with them and give them some hands on tips.
The Greek isles
Aside from being one of the most beautiful places that I’ve traveled to, both Mykonos and Santorini are two great islands with many pools and great people to work with. Because of seismic activity, the pools are built strong yet there were many leak issues that they are dealing with. A common leak found in this area is in plumbing lines. Considering that everything is rock, many pressure side lines had wear marks in them after the leaks were found. Turbidity and actually backfilling with rock didn’t help. The leak detection equipment we used to find these leaks were the FLASH System, the Pipe Mic and Pool Scope. Because of the rock landscape, water has a tendency of showing itself but there is a lot of guesswork for contractors who don’t have the LeakTronics leak detection equipment.
While this trip was great and filled with learning experiences for both myself and the kind generous people that I worked with, I look foward to many more wonderful trips
Ps. I’m looking forward to Sven coming to train at our Calabasas facility in December 2015