As any ocean homeowner knows, a pool can be both a blessing and a curse. The joys of long, lazy days poolside with family and friends often come with the headache of controlling, maintaining and cleaning the complex equipment.

But help is at hand. A new generation of cutting-edge technology, notably with fully automated controls and innovations in pool cleaning and water sanitation, are putting owners in control at the touch of a button.

Here are four cool tools which will change the way you operate – and enjoy – your prized pool:

Control Systems

Pentair’s IntelliTouch is a market leader in automated pool controllers. The advanced system supports many styles of swimming pool designs, delivering intuitive programming that’s easy to use and adjust.

Menu-driven touch screens allow homeowners to control everything from water temperature to salt chlorine generation and pump system settings, and set up remote monitoring from afar via the internet.

Pre-programmed configurations eliminate the need for memorizing operating sequences or resetting time clocks or thermostats, and the system’s ScreenLogic2 interfaces are designed for use with iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android devices, and PC or Mac.

“Our system allows settings for up to eight different pools,” says David MacCallum, Pentair Aquatic Systems’ product manager.

“As owners go from their summer to winter homes, they can adjust pool settings remotely and have the pool and spa set just as they like it upon arrival.” IntelliTouch’s built-in diagnostics continuously monitor the water and pool operating systems, and there’s even a handy email notification feature to alert owners when things are amiss.

And for special pool lighting effects – think red, white and blue for Independence Day – Pentair’s IntelliBrite system can mix and match individually colored LED lights, projecting brilliant, crisp color and a rainbow of hues to set the mood.

Hayward’s OmniLogic – a collaboration with home automation provider Control4 – is also setting new standards in pool technology. Introduced late last year, the system integrates pool and spa with fully automated home systems.

“The ability to tie pool, outdoor audio, deck lighting, and entertainment system together with the simple touch of a button is a really compelling and cool outdoor experience,” says Paul J. Williams, Control4 vice president of lighting and comfort.

“People don’t want complications with controllers. They just want them to work effortlessly, and that’s the experience we’ve delivered,” he adds.

OmniLogic’s user interface is elegantly simple, using touch screen menus with tap and swipe navigation. Switch the pool heater on or off, crank up the spa jets, control filters, or adjust water temperatures from the sleek controller, your iOS and Android devices or an onscreen TV interface.

Display screens feature water-in-motion animation graphics showing pool or spa pump and heater status. Compatible with Hayward’s Sense & Dispense system, OmniLogic can also program balancing salt and pool chemical levels to a regular schedule.

One particularly clever application allows programming of up to 25 unique themes customizing lighting, water features, temperature, music, and even poolside fire features.

Pool Cleaning

Another cool pool tool this season is iRobot’s Mirra, a pool-cleaning robot developed by the same people who created Roomba, the popular self-driven home vacuum cleaner.

“Mirra is designed for daily use,” says iRobot senior product manager, Jeff Karlson, “It’s very easy to use with minimum set up, and takes one of the messiest pool cleaning jobs – debris management – and makes it a breeze.”

The clever robot, weighing 20 pounds, is simply plugged in a safe distance from the pool and, with its fully sealed 60-foot floating power supply cord, is lowered into the pool where it embarks on a thorough cleaning mission.

“Mirra uses a gyroscope and advanced software to size up the most efficient path across a pool’s bottom, sides and steps,” adds Karlson, noting that the robot’s scrubbing bristles even clean right at the waterline, a notoriously difficult area.

“In addition to large format debris, Mirra filters out foreign material as small as two microns, the width of a human hair. That means algae, sunscreen and oils that build up over time are swept free from the pool,” Karlson says.

Disposal is a snap, too. When Mirra is done, typically a three-hour cycle, it shuts itself off and rests on the pool bottom, waiting to be reeled in, before debris traps are tamped free of waste.

Water Sanitation

Solar Eclipse by Del Ozone brings an advanced oxidization process (AOP), combined with low-pressure germicidal ultraviolet light, to offer the gold standard in pool sanitation, according to Jeff Jones, North American sales manager for Del Ozone.

“The process has been in use for treating waste water for 30 years, and we’re now bringing the technique to residential pools, essentially creating drinking water for your pool,” Jones says. “You’ve never seen water clarity like this. It is as close as you can get to a chlorine-free pool.”

Jones notes that 75 percent of chlorine used in pools is for oxidation/disinfectant purposes. With Solar Eclipse-generated AOP, pool owners find they use 60 to 90 percent less chlorine, resulting in a much more enjoyable pool experience.

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Image Credits: Photo courtesy of Control4.