By Jim McCloskey
There’s nothing like a good breeze to turn swimming pools and other watershapes into magnets for debris – especially if there are still plenty of leaves on the trees.
We had gusting winds of record strength here in Southern California the other day – enough, in fact, to make the national news. When I walked out into my backyard the next day, the skimmer basket was full and the pool cleaner had taken to whimpering in the corner. I started by restoring both to working order, then devoted some time to sweeping the surface with a net, figuring the skimmer and cleaner would need my help again in an hour or so anyway.
The experience made me think a bit about Andrew Pansini, the founder of Jandy Industries, who passed away recently and left as his legacy the first automatic pool sweep. Where I’m always a little too ready to pick up a net and scoop up the mess by myself, he was impatient enough with the process to invent his way to a landmark solution.
Net in hand, I also thought about other innovations that have taken so much of the monotony out of maintaining pools – auto-fill devices, chemical feeders, automatic covers, pump actuators, valve controls, automation systems and all the rest of the components that make it possible for pool owners not to mind doing the occasional bit of manual labor to keep up with devil winds.
I know we’ve come a long way toward making pools, spas, ponds, fountains and other waterfeatures relatively maintenance-free. Still, we have a way to go to include as “standard equipment” all the systems and devices designed to produce that happy outcome.
Long ago, the car companies learned the value of making everything but the most deluxe features “standard.” The good thing for car companies is that consumers simply absorb the extra cost; the great thing is that consumers are happier with their vehicles and keep coming back for more.
Would the same approach work for watershapes? I can’t see why not.
What do you think? Would consumers accept the concept (and cost) of a standard, no-exceptions package of features that will make their watershapes easier to manage? Share your thoughts below!