The History of Unicel – Originally Printed in Swimming Pool – Spa Age, July 1997

On a spring evening in 1956, company president and founder Dick Meissner sat down in his garage to begin work on his first sewing contract. Phil Anthony of Anthony Pools had just given him his first order to produce the Anthony McIntosh filter bag. Working alone and at night, Dick laid the foundation for the company that has grown to become the largest manufacturer of swimming pool and spa filter elements in the world.

In those early years, residential DE filtration was in its infancy. As the market started to grow, Dick received additional sewing contracts, first from Swimquip, then from Landon, Pac-Fab, and Paddock of California. By 1959 this part-time venture had grown into a full-time business. The fledgling company hired two employees and quietly moved into a 2,000-square foot building in Van Nuys, Calif. Within one year the young company doubled in size and by 1962 it occupied 6,000 square feet and had five full-time employees.

With the advent of the cartridge filter, the company saw its next opportunity. Early cartridge elements were made of a paper-type material that did not hold up well in the swimming pool environment. Realizing the future potential of cartridge filtration, Meissner set out to develop a manufacturing process to enhance this new medium. In 1964, the research and development yielded the industry’s first cartridge element made with a new spunbonded, 100% polyester material called Reemay¬¨. Developed by Dupont and adapted to cartridge filtration by Meissner, Reemay has become the primary filter material used throughout the pool and spa industry.

The period from 1964 to 1972 saw steady growth of the new Reemay cartridge systems. At that time, however, individual cartridge size was limited to only 6 square feet. The filter system achieved its total surface area by manifolding numerous small cartridges. These early cartridge filters worked extremely well but were difficult to clean and maintain due to the number of small elements involved. Then in 1972, Meissner, working with Purex, developed the industry’s first extended surface, single element cartridge. Meissner’s new manufacturing technology yielded a 100-square foot filter system using only three individual cartridges. This concept quickly caught on and single element 25-, 50-, and 75-square foot filter systems utilizing Meissner’s cartridges soon were introduced by American, Baker Hydro, Hayward, Premier, Sta-Rite and others.

Throughout the early 80′s Meissner continued to work as a supplier to the brand name pump and filter producers to develop and improve cartridge filtration. By 1984 Meissner elements, both DE and cartridges, were being utilized in virtually every major brand name filter system. To meet this growing demand, the company developed state-of-the-art high speed production equipment. Unique to Meissner, this manufacturing capability allowed the company to carve a niche for quality and delivery that is unsurpassed today.

1985 became a pivotal year for Meissner when several brand name companies began producing their own Reemay elements. Faced with a loss of business, but having tremendous production capacity, the company re-invented itself. Retaining its core OEM business under the Meissner label, the company introduced and promoted the Unicel brand of replacement filter elements. For the first time, the entire range of replacement elements built to O.E.M. specifications was made available to wholesale distribution from a single source. Dealers and service technicians could easily obtain replacement cartridges from their local distributor, even if they did not carry that particular brand of equipment.

By staying focused and specializing in filtration, Unicel has developed expertise in a very critical area of the pool and spa industry. Today, Unicel services both the spa OEM market and wholesale distribution trade. Whether it is media development or cartridge design, Unicel is recognized as the industry leader.

Calcium Hardness in Swimming Pools

Calcium hardness or CH for short, is the measure of the amount of dissolved calcium content present in your pool water. Calcium as we know it is a mineral that is naturally present in water and it is usually found in high concentrated levels. Whenever your pool or spa has high concentrations of calcium present, you have what is called hard water. On the other hand when the calcium level is low, you will have what we call soft water. to properly manage your pool water chemistry, you must remember that total hardness and calcium hardness in a spa or pool are different; although, they are related entities.

Total hardness is the sum of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and other elements found in your water facility. It is usually expressed in grains of hardness (i.e. 1 grain = 17.1 ppm).The calcium hardness in swimming pools and spa water systems is ordinarily measured as calcium carbonate. However it is not in solution, calcium carbonate is exhibited in your pool and spa as scale. This is a white scale formation that is also a type of natural salt. This scale like salt can be found in nature in the form of one of the following

Chalk.
Calcite (check spelling).
Aragonite.
Limestone.

Calcium carbonate is not very soluble in water and unless your pool water chemistry is properly maintained, it can drop out of solution very easily. Another concerned behavior that pool owners and operators have with calcium, is that unlike most other pool chemicals, it becomes less soluble as the temperature goes up. Because of this basic understanding, proper management of hot water systems become more perplexed.

In order for you to maintain proper water chemistry in your swimming pools, your calcium hardness level should always be in the range of 200 to 400 ppm. If the level of the hardness in your calcium content rises above 400 ppm, you must take extreme measures to maintain your total alkalinity and pH at lower levels. This is a precaution that will help you avoid any scale formation in your pool and spa. This is an absolute must if the water in your aquatic facility is heated. You will be faced with an impossible task of maintaining your pool or spa water balance, if your Calcium level reaches 1000 ppm.

When your calcium hardness is too low!

Whenever the CH level in your swimming pool or spa is too low, the water in your facility will become very aggressive or very corrosive. Low levels of calcium is also a major contributor to foaming in spas or hot tubs. This is a pool water problem that is not good for the plaster or concrete surfaces in your pool or spa. The truth of the matter is that you should test the calcium content in your water regularly and if it is too low, take the necessary steps to correct it at once. Failure to take action, will result in your water having the capacity to leech or dissolve calcium carbonate from your pool and spa surfaces.

Pool and spa water that is corrosive, will lead to some very costly damages to their surfaces. Some of the problems that can occur are as follows:

Etching or pitting of your pool and spa surfaces. This water problem can occur in a very short time period if you fail to monitor your pool water chemistry.
Staining of your pool or spa surface walls.
Failure of your pool or spa heating system.

Raising your CH levels

It is reported that low levels of CH or soft water is a major contributor to a lot of surface damage to pools and spas around the country. So once you have done a calcium hardness test and determined that you have to take immediate steps to raise it, the required pool chemicals must be added. The recommended pool chemical of choice for this task is calcium chloride. This pool chemical comes in two different forms which are sold at different strength as well.

Hydrated Chloride is the first of the two that we will mentioned. This pool chemical can be purchase at 77% strength.
The next one is the anhydrous calcium chloride. This is one of the two pool chemicals that you can get at full strength if you so desire. It is sold at 100% full strength.

It does not matter which of these two pool chemicals you choose, just remember to read the manufacturer warning and instructional labels. This is for your safety because both of these calcium chlorides can generate a significant amount of heat when they are added to water. For this reason a good practice to get into is, to dissolve either one of these pool chemicals in a bucket of water and thoroughly mix them prior to slowly adding them to your pool and spa.

Now depending on which one of these two calcium chlorides you decide to use, the rate at which you will added it to your pool/spa, will be determine by the their strength. For instance, if you use the 77% strength hydrated calcium chloride, your rate of addition will be at 1.25lbs for every 10,000 gallons of water. A calculation for this dosage will help you achieve a 10 ppm increase in your CH level.

On the other hand, if you decide to use the 100% strength anhydrous calcium chloride your rate of addition will be a little different. For this chloride your dosage will be 1.0lbs for every 10,000 gallons of water. Again the calculation for this dosage will give you a 10 ppm increase in your calcium content level.

When your calcium hardness is too high

High levels of calcium in a swimming pool or spa can be just as problematic as low levels. Truth be told, balancing your pool or spa water is not an easy task but nevertheless this is vitally important. Not only for your pool but also for the many swimmers that will be using your water facilities. We have found that it is much easier to lower the pH or total alkalinity in your pool than it is to lower your calcium content.

Lowering your pool/spa calcium content can be very difficult. Why? Because it usually involves you partially draining and replacing your existing pool water. To help maintain a low level of calcium after partial drainage, you have to use a source or make-up water that has a low level of hardness. However if you conduct a calcium test to determine the hardness of your make-up water and found that it is too high, you can allow the water to pass through a water softener prior to entering your pool/spa. Once the water passes through the water softener, it will reduce the level of hardness found in the water before it enters into your pool or spa.

Problems caused by high calcium content

High levels of calcium will result in scaling water. Other problems include the following:

Your pool or spa surfaces will become very rough. This condition can harbor bacteria or scratch the skin of your bathers.
Your pool or spa filters can become clogged very quickly; thus, reducing your filtration capabilities and increasing your backwashing (filter cleaning ) frequency.
Your pool water will become or look very cloudy. This is the same condition that is experienced when your alkalinity is too high.
Your pool spa heater element can become clogged as well. This problem can eventually cause you to replace your pool heater system.
You will experience a reduction in your pool or spa water circulation. This will lower or reduce your pool or spa turnover rate considerably.
Your swimmers will complain about eye and skin irritations.

When it comes to balancing the water of a swimming pool/spa, the pH is will be the most influential variable in the CSI; however, the calcium content is the most important. This means that a significant amount of calcium present in your pool water is an absolute necessity. Therefore you have to maintain a well balance saturation index at all cost.

If the case of hardness of calcium levels that are too high, you can lower your pH range and your total alkalinity levels to compensate for it. Also, to prevent any type of scale formation or keep your calcium content in solution, you can use some sort of sequestering agent. This chemical will help by interfering with the development of calcium carbonate crystal (scale) formation. Again, please remember to read and follow all the directions found on the labels of all pool chemicals.

That way you will learn the potential dangers of the chemical you are about to use and the necessary safety procedures to avoid any miss use of it. And remember that you should never add water to pool chemicals. Instead add pool chemicals to water, especially when dealing with pool chemicals like calcium chloride.

Enjoy Hassle-Free Summer Fun When You Call a Swimming Pool Professional

You can have a well-maintained swimming pool without taking time out of your schedule. Call your local pool company to keep your pool ready for summer fun!

Nothing kills the thrill of the upcoming summer like a dead possum in the pool. As you clumsily reach for it with your skimmer, while your children wait with the trash bag in hand, you think, “This never would have happened if I had closed the pool properly last autumn…”

Pools are a staple of sunny weather fun, but they can sometimes be a lot of work, especially when you’re not properly educated on maintenance, or if your pool requires special repairs. Sometimes you just might not have the time to perform all of the necessary swimming pool maintenance procedures and chores. But you can enjoy a clean, fully functional swimming hole without having to take time out of your busy schedule when you call your local swimming pool company.

The professionals at your local swimming pool company have the knowledge and experience to perform a variety of routine pool maintenance tasks, such as pool openings and closings, with speed and efficiency. From cleaning off the cover to refilling the pool to winterizing and dewinterizing your equipment, your local professionals can do it all. Attention from an expert can mean the difference between a pool that lasts season after season without incident, or a pool that requires many repairs throughout its lifetime.

3D Design and Your New Swimming Pool

The time has arrived; we have decided that we are going to build a new swimming pool. What should we do first? Here are some ideas to get you started down the right path and on your way to your new fun filled backyard.

The best way to start the process is to locate a property survey, if available, to determine the amount of space available for your new swimming pool. Once you have reviewed the survey, scope out your property and decide the best area and location for your new pool. Try to determine the shape of your pool, where you would like the shallow and deep end, location of the steps, location of water features, equipment location and size and area of the deck. Also think about fencing which may be required, landscaping, outdoor kitchen areas, entertainment areas and yard lighting.

What is next?

The next item for consideration is which contractors will you have visit your property and offer a proposal for your new swimming pool? This is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. Choose swimming pool contractors which can offer ideas and suggestions for your new backyard oasis. Contractors should not be afraid to offer corrections and improvements to your ideas if necessary. Review contractor’s licenses, insurance and background before selecting any particular builder for your project.

One of the most important items to consider in today’s pool market is, choose a contractor who can offer 3D design pictures of your new backyard swimming pool in the completed stage. Computer software is now available to design and show your new swimming pool, spa, water features, landscaping, planters, outdoor furniture, equipment location, outdoor kitchens and deck areas. Pictures should also show fencing, the house in relationship to the pool, rivers, lakes or ponds in the surrounding areas. 3 D images and pictures can show different colors of tile, decking, pool interior finishes and lighting. Contractors should also offer different views of the pool and also be able to show various shapes and designs which would function on your property.

3D design pictures are a great way to see and predict how your new backyard is going to look. Don’t settle for a flat sketch or drawing, demand to see your new pool in its completed mode. Use the pictures to help consider other items such a landscaping and fencing which should be considered when costing out your project.

Once your contractor has been chosen and the construction has begun, have fun watching your 3D design turn into reality.

Benefits of Chlorine Tablets in Swimming Pools

If you own a swimming pool, spa or Jacuzzi, then, if you haven’t done so already, you will need to sort out how you keep it clean and free from harmful bacteria and algae. The most widespread method today of keeping your facility sparkling clean and good as new is to use chlorine, usually in the form of tablets or granules. When used properly, chlorine tablets or granules dissolve in the water thus rendering it safe for you and your family to swim in.

Chlorine tablets or granules are the most cost effective and popular way to make your swimming facility a safe place to paddle. Just think how grimy your bath water is when you get out after a long soak. Now imagine all the germs that would be floating around in a pool after tens or even hundreds of people had been using it. Lovely thought isn’t it?

Chlorine is such an essential and widely used method of sanitizing public pools nowadays, that it’s pretty much taken for granted. When used properly, chlorine will do the following for your swimming leisure facility;

Destroy all harmful germs
Maintain a good ph water level (it should be the same ph level as human tears)
Stop algae from growing round the pool
In general keep the pool and its environs clean

Chlorine tablets usually come in a large bucket and should be kept away from pets and small children. They are, however, quite safe to use providing you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. A dispenser or chlorinator can be used in conjunction with the tablets and if all goes according to plan, they should dissolve safely in the water.

Again refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long it should be before you take to the water after using the tablets. You will have to measure your pool and work out the volume of water it holds (if you don’t know this already). You should be able to work out these details with the use of a yard stick and simple arithmetic.

You should get into the routine of checking your water once a week. It is advisable to check the ph balance. Lastly, it’s quite rare for swimmers to have adverse reactions to chlorine although cases of skin rashes, irritable eyes and breathing difficulties have been noted on some very rare occasions. All I can say is that the benefits of chlorine far outweigh the risks when it comes to cleaning your pool or Jacuzzi. After all, just imagine fifty people in your bath. Not a nice thought!