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Equipment & Products

How Do Duck Plugs Compare to Competitor Blow-Out Plugs?

As the popularity of no-drain winterizing grows, it’s no surprise that there are new plugs to facilitate this process on the market. To help you understand how to evaluate these options, we set up a simulated pool plumbing system and tested the Duck Plug against our primary competitor’s blow-through plug. The tests were designed to imitate three key elements of the blow-out process and each test was performed using the Big Blue Blower. Check out our findings!

Water Purge Rate

At the initial stages of the line purging process 2-5 lbs of pressure is required to push water from the lines. During this phase Duck Plugs purge lines more than twice as fast as competitor’s plugs because the duck billed valve opens to a much larger unobstructed aperture. The competitor’s plug does not even open at lower pressures. This is especially a problem if using a lower performing blower and/or when some lines start blowing air and back pressure is reduced for the remaining filled lines.

 

Air Flow

Because Duck Plugs open to a larger aperture, and do so at lower pressures, they also allow substantially more air flow as lines begin blowing air. Air flow is important to clear all water from lines even in low spots. As more lines begin blowing air, the flow rate increases at the main line (trunk) but decreases at each spur (branch). To increase flow at spur lines, Duck Plug valves can be easily blocked with simple paper clasps whereas competitor plugs have no way of being blocked.

 

Back Pressure

The lower flow rate of the competitor’s plug creates a higher back pressure during the clearing stages of the process for a longer period of time. The blower therefore labors harder and longer to clear lines. This will cause the blower to heat up faster and wear out sooner.

 

Seal

A final important difference was noted consistently during testing. The competitor’s plug slowly leaked water back into the purged line after the blower was turned off.  This resulted from the conical seal being pulled back into the funnel shaped opening at a slight angle. Duck Plugs, on the other hand, have been tested in thousands of pools over the toughest of winters without any known case of valve failure.

 

 

Want to see the Duck Plug in action? Check out this video to see for yourself how Duck Plugs and the Big Blue Blower work together to clear plumbing lines quickly and effectively.

 


Common Skimmer Repair Solutions

Skimmers are one of the more complex plumbing components in the pool and when they leak many contractors default to suggesting a full replacement. But if you have the right repair materials you can offer repair options that will save your customers this big expense and build their trust in you for future jobs. We’ve outlined repair solutions for some of the most common skimmer leaks below.

Mouth

On concrete pools, epoxy putty is a versatile option for repairing small cracks where the skimmer mouth meets the shell of the pool. Leakmaster Quick Set or Pool Repair putties are a cost-effective, convenient choice, while the color selection and workability of A+B Putty makes a good choice when aesthetics is especially important.  Putty is so inexpensive that many leak detectors include putty repair as part of the detection cost.  It is, however, a somewhat temporary repair and may have to be replaced seasonally.

A more permanent solution for skimmer mouth issues is to use a foam injection process to seal the cracks and fill voids around the skimmer body.  Closed cell urethane foam fills and stabilizes voids around the skimmer body to make sure that further damage doesn’t occur while also sealing leaks around the mouth. Our complete Crack Repair Starter Kit includes everything you need to to do a skimmer injection plus tools to expand into concrete crack injection, or our Skimmer Injection Kit provides the materials you need to inject 2-3 skimmers without an investment in the more expensive tools needed for crack injection.

Throat

For a cracked fitting or pipe within the first six inches from the bottom of the skimmer bowl, the Skimmer Saver is a unique and easy option. Part of the popular Fitting Saver line, this device allows water to bypass the cracked area of the plumbing while still maintaining regular circulatory function. It can be used as a permanent repair or as a temporary solution until another repair can be done.

Bowl/Body

Due to movement in the ground around the pool, skimmer bowls are especially susceptible to cracks that can be particularly challenging to repair. Leakmaster Pool Glue  provides a versatile solution. The two-part glue hardens like an epoxy putty but is much more adhesive, meaning it will be able to weather the movement of the pool without coming loose. While it’s able to seal smaller cracks on its own, it can also be used with fiberglass mesh strips for extra reinforcement on large cracks. Check out this video to see how the repair is done.


Leakalyzer Tip: How to Edit Data in the Reporter Program

Did you know that you can crop data in the Leakalyzer reporter program to make your reports clearer and more accurate? While seeing how the graph responds to a variety of environmental factors is helpful most of the time, there may be situations where an otherwise good test goes awry. Say a diver gets in the pool toward the end of a test and causes the water level to rise, but you still want to be able to include the test in a report for the homeowner. To avoid confusion you can remove the affected data from the .TXT file before it uploads into the reporter program. Here’s how it’s done.

Below is a good, clear test but it wasn’t stopped before a diver got in the water at the end of the test to make a repair. You can see the sharp rise and drop toward the end of the test – this is the portion we want to cut out.

The same test in the Leakalyzer reporter program is below. Note that the detail information is inaccurate due to the surge when the diver was in the water.

To create a reporter file without the misleading data at the end you can cut those data points out of the .TXT the Leakalyzer creates to upload the tests.  Open the .TXT file, which should look similar to below:

Find the points that correspond with the data you don’t want on the test and simply delete and re-save.  The portion below is what was deleted from the test:

An additional 30 lines of data were also removed

Save the new text file and import the updated version into the Leakalyzer Reporter Program. This will produce a much more accurate report of the water loss in the pool.  This is what the report looks like after the data was cleaned.

The estimates for inches per day and gallons per day are now more accurate and the graph is more indicative of what was actually happening to the water level of the pool.


Time Saving Products and Tips for Leak Jobs

 

Too many leaks and not enough time? Check out this list of time-saving products and tips to help you cruise though leak jobs as efficiently as possible.

 

1. Avoid callbacks by confirming all leaks have been found and fixed with the Leakalyzer.

Leaks can be deceiving, and even though you may think you’ve found the only leak in the pool there could be other smaller ones still hiding. Avoid having to return to a job site multiple times by running a Leakalyzer test before leaving to confirm the water level is no longer dropping. This ten minute step can save you hours of time!

 

 

 
2. Use Dye Testing Cones to quickly isolate problem plumbing areas.

Dye Testing Cones are a quick way to identify the flow of water in and out of pipes before starting a full pressure test. They can also be used with the Leaklyzer to isolate the shell of the pool or different lines while running tests. While they shouldn’t be a replacement for the definitive information pressure testing can provide, they can quickly help narrow your search area.

 

 

 
3. Spend less time inspecting vinyl liners by pinpointing leaks in minutes with the LeakTrac 2400.

There is no better way to find tiny punctures and tears in vinyl liners than with the LeakTrac 2400. Over the last 25 years, LeakTrac users have saved thousands of hours that they otherwise would have spent diving and dye testing.

 

 

Man uses LeakTrac 2400 near skimmer
4. Make sure to get complete and accurate information from customers before even arriving at the job site.

Asking the right questions of pool owners can save a lot of time during the information gathering step of a leak detection and lead you to to the leak faster. Check out our blog post for a guide to how to have a conversation that will make your actual time on the job more efficient.

 

 

 
5. Choose repair materials that are versatile, convenient, and work fast.

With a cure time of only 5 minutes,  Leakmaster Quick Set Putty is a great option for when you have limited time to make a repair, but still want something durable and long-lasting. Also, check out our pre-cut, clear Vinyl Paches that come in a variety of sizes and are the thickest on the market.

 

 

 
6. Avoid the extra step of purchasing and filling SCUBA tanks by using a Super Snorkel Tankless Dive Unit.

The Super Snorkel tankless dive unit makes diving a breeze and eliminates the need for extra stops to refill bulky air tanks. As much as many of us wish it wasn’t, diving is always going to be ultimately unavoidable in performing consistently successful leak detections, so it’s worth it to have a nimble, easy dive setup to make it as pain-free as possible.

 

 

 
7. Quickly determine if a light is leaking with the Light Isolating Dome for dye testing.

The Light Isolating Dome for dye testing is used to quickly determine if there is a leak in the light without diving or removing the light. Dye is ejected just outside of a small hole in the dome and and will be pulled in through the opening if the light is leaking.

 

 

 
8. Use Anderson Manufacturing to quickly guide you to the solutions and equipment you need.

Save time by calling us to help you determine what products will work best for your specific needs instead of spending time researching on your own. We’re driven by finding the best solution for you to be effective and profitable! We are also able to ship most orders on the same day they’re placed – so you can rely on us to fulfill orders fast.

 

How To: LeakTrac Tune Up

Use the following steps to tune up your LeakTrac for a busy season or to address performance issues.  If you’re stumped or would rather have us do a complete tune up you can send your unit into Anderson Manufacturing to be serviced. Just call and give us a heads up that it’s coming!

What You’ll Need

  • Electrical Contact Cleaner
  • Canned Air Duster
  • Volt Meter / Continuity Tester
  • Clean Cloth
  • Small Phillips Screw Driver
  • Small Brush
  • Steel Wool

 

Float and Ground Cables

The best place to start is a visual inspection of all cables for any nicks or breaks. The black float cable and the red ground wire are both single wire, so they are especially susceptible to damage. If there are any problems with these cables, replacements can be bought here.

The metal spring clips on the banana plugs at the end of the cables can get dirt under them after continued use and cause a poor connection. To clean, spray the banana plugs with contact cleaner, then squeeze the plug with a clean cloth and twist back and forth. Repeat this process a couple times then spray them off with the air duster.

Next, using some steel wool or a wire grinding wheel, clean the brass plate and the red alligator clip. Both of these can get rust or corrosion on them and cleaning can improve the connection.

Finally, using the continuity tester check the cables by placing the tester leads on each end of the cables to make sure you have a good connection on each end.

Probe

Remove the PVC caps from each end of the probe. Using contact cleaner, spray the gold contacts and wipe off any dirt or corrosion with a clean cloth.

Next check the 1/4” plug and the cables. Using a volt meter on the Ohm’s setting, check the continuity between plug and the gold contacts. Place one of the meter leads on the tip of the plug and the other meter lead on the non-directional end of the probe (the end without the black band). If the wire and connections are good then the meter will give you a reading that there is resistance. If the meter indicates a zero reading then the probe has a broken wire or loose connection and the probe should be replaced.

Repeat the above process to test the other side of the probe. Place the meter lead on the second or middle contact on the plug and the other lead on the directional side of the probe (the one with the black band).

The last step is to check the ¼” plug for any shorts. Using the meter, place the leads on each of the three plug contacts in different combinations: i.e the tip and the middle, the tip and the base and the middle and the base. If you get any type of resistance reading for any of the combinations, you have a short in the plug and you need to replace the probe. There is a chance that the short is caused by moisture in the plug. You can try heating the plug with a hair dryer to dry out the moisture. If you get no resistance reading from the test after drying the plug then the probe is still functional.

Signal Processing Units

LT2100 and LT2200 Models

To check the unit, start by removing the screws and the top like you are changing the batteries. Remove the batteries and check the voltage using the volt meter. The batteries should read 9+ volts DC. If the batteries are lower replace them with new ones.

Next, check the battery holders for any corrosion. Clean the holders with contact cleaner if needed.

Using the contact cleaner, spray the main part of the rotary switch to clean any corrosion on the switch contacts.  Turn the switch back and forth 10 to 20 times. Blow off the switch with the canned air. Repeat the process one more time.

Check for other corrosion on the circuit board, especially on the ends of the wide ribbon cable that connects the main circuit board and the front panel. If there is any corrosion, spray with contact cleaner and clean with a brush or cloth.

Tighten any of the cable connectors on the back panel with a wrench.

Reinstall the batteries and the top of the box. Turn the power switch to low, medium and high. You should get a clicking sound an all three positions. If you do not, rotate the switch 10 to 20 times to see if that cleans off any corrosion and improves the clicking.

LT2400 Model

This model has digital circuitry and components and therefore doesn’t require as much maintenance.

Check the 2 AA batteries to make sure they are 1.5+ volts each. Also check the battery clips to make sure they are not rusted or corroded. Turn the unit on to make sure you can switch between all three positions.

Booster Box  

Remove the screws and the bottom panel.

Check the batteries, battery holders, and clips. The battery holders and clips should not have any rust or corrosion on the springs or contacts. If they do, you can try to clean the corrosion but it is best to replace the battery holders. These are standard 8 pack AA battery holders. If you cannot find them locally give us a call, we have them in-stock.

With the batteries reinstalled in the holders, use a volt meter to measure the voltage. Each battery pack should measure 12.5+ volts DC for each pack.

For the LT2100 and LT2200 models, remove the white plastic divider and examine the circuit board for any corrosion. Clean any corrosion with the contact cleaner and a brush or air duster.

Reconnect and replace the battery packs into the booster box.

Next we will check the output voltage of the booster. Turn on the SPU and the booster by using the stitch or button on the top of the booster.  (If you have a LT2100 model you will need to plug in the long booster cable before turning the unit on.) Using a volt meter set on AC current, place the meter leads in the two small plugs on the top of the booster. These are the red and black plugs where the float and ground wire connect. You should measure between 10 and 12 volts AC. If you do not get this voltage reading give us a call and our repair technician can help determine the problem.

 

A video explanation of this process is also available on YouTube. It features a LeakTrac 2100, but much of the process is still applicable for newer versions. Part One covers the Booster Box and SPU and Part Two covers all of the cables and the Probe.

If you run into any issues as you’re performing the tune up don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’re happy to trouble shoot with you over the phone.


Built to Last

We rarely toot our own horn, but sometimes we get feedback that’s too good to keep to ourselves. We recently got a LeakTrac 2100 back for service that had been used in the field for 20+ years! After a quick tune up we were able to get it ready to keep finding leaks.

LeakTrac2100 sent in for service, over 20 years old

This is actually a  common experience here at Anderson Manufacturing. We build our equipment to last, so you can depend on it for year after year. If something isn’t working quite right for you, send it in for service and we should be able to get it running like new in no time.

Investing in quality pays off!


Introducing the Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch – The Latest Innovation in Crack Reinforcement

Concrete crack repair can be a daunting task – between the high cost of repair materials and the large time investment, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best products and processes to get the job done right. To help you do just that, we’re introducing the new Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch, the latest innovation in concrete crack reinforcement.  This new product maintains the exceptional strength of a traditional Carbon Fiber Staple, but features a much easier installation process.

Carbon Fiber Grid Stitches are designed to add value and strength to concrete crack repairs by distributing load beyond the fault. The stitches are comprised of high tensile strength carbon fiber and molded into a unique grid-like, woven formation. This grid design allows for the epoxy to move through the stitch, providing a superior bond with the staple epoxy. These time-saving stitches install perpendicularly into a single saw cut, eliminating the need for chiseling away material from the staple bed and drilling extra holes.

Key Features:

  • Grid structure provides exceptional adhesion with epoxy
  • No drilling or chiseling, just one simple cut
  • Provides a strong fix for a low cost
  • Can be cut to a shorter length for use on curved surfaces
  • For use with Leakmaster Staple Epoxy

The Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch is available for individual purchase, or as complete 15 or 30 staple kits.


Inflation Pressure Matters

Although inflatable plugs are extremely convenient and versatile, they’re also less durable than other types of plugs.   To keep them in proper working order and avoid unnecessary replacement it is important to use them correctly. Be careful to inflate the plugs only to the specified PSI (pounds per square inch) designated for each one. While it may be tempting to overfill a plug to try to fill a slightly larger line, you’ll save money in the long run by using the appropriate plug for the pipe being tested. The best way to ensure proper inflation pressure is to use a hand pump with an attached gauge. Since not all sizes have the same required inflation pressure, we’re provided a chart below for easy reference:

Inflation pressure for inflatable plugs


Trade Shows and Retail Products

Trade show season is here and to help you get ready for it Aqua Magazine put out an article titled Tips for a Better Trade Show.  We couldn’t help but notice the nice picture of Anderson Manufacturing’s Lance Anderson in the booth talking over retail products with a customer.

Anderson Manufacturing at the International Pool Spa and Patio Show.
Anderson Manufacturing at the International Pool Spa and Patio Show.

In the post Ted Lawrence highlights tips from good notetaking to beating the traffic.  Much of his article, however,  was directed towards finding new products.  While lots of our time, energy and promotion is spent on the leak detection equipment side of things we have many innovative and time tested leak detection and repair products that make great retail intems.  Here is a highlight of a few retail items that you could sell to customers or stock your service crews with:

  1. Leak Locating Dye
    Florescent Dye Tester
    This dye tester is a crucial tool in leak detection both for the experienced leak detection crew or the homeowner that wants to try to locate themselves.  It is a low cost but  high value product that can move on a retail floor. Try the new florescent if you haven’t used it before.
  2. Leakmaster Quick Set Putty
    Quick Set Putty
    Fast Curing, two part epoxy in a convenient single stick format.  Quick set putty is great for cracked skimmers, cracked in the pool shell and has thousands of applications outside of the pool as well making it a desirable purchase.
  3. Vinyl Pool Patches
    vinyl-patches-sm
    Peel and stick patches work above and below water.  Patch fast and effective.  Works in cold water.
  4. New Leakmaster Pool Glue – Stop by the booth this year to get more details on the new Leakmaster underwater all pool glue.

We have lots of retail and repair items available. Make sure read the article to prepare for the show and plan to stop by our booth!

 


LT2200 vs LT2400

We often get asked from current users of LeakTrac 2100 or 2200 units about the differences in the new LeakTrac 2400. The new device operates in a very familiar way yet offers a number of advantages which are the result the more robust, energy efficient, and feature rich digital circuitry.

Here’s what’s new:

1. Touch pad controls will reduce problems related to corrosion build-up on knob contacts.

Updated SPU helps limit corrosion build up.
Updated SPU helps limit corrosion build up.

2. Digitally controlled speaker enables pitch variation as well as click rate variation when you’re zeroing in on a leak. In addition to helping to pinpoint problems this feature also enable you to perform Jimi Hendrix-like LeakTrac solos when the audience demands.

3. The new unit uses a more robust and conventional wireless frequency (2.4 Ghz)  for communication between the Booster and the SPU. This change will be especially important to our international customers who can now be assured that the unit conforms to international wireless standards.

4. The Power requirement of the Booster has been reduced from sixteen to eight AA batteries. These batteries can be more easily changed with brass knobs on the bottom of the unit rather than the  screws on older units that were prone to stripping.

New Thumb Screws makes changing batteries more convenient.
New Thumb Screws makes changing batteries easier and faster.

5. The SPU now uses 2 AA batteries which can be easily replaced by opening a snap-on access panel. No more awkward dis-assembly of the entire unit in order to replace batteries. One supply of AA batteries will keep you prepared to replenish both the Booster and the SPU.

Overall the LT400 provides the same accurate and dependable results our customers have come to rely on over the last 20 years to help build their leak detection businesses and find leaks in vinyl liners.


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