swimming pool association

Education and licensure

Ray Pearen
Fresh Finish Pools

Who of us out there hasn’t seen a bad equipment installation?  Pump motors right up against the wall, 90° PVC in front of and straight out of the pump, heaters before filters and salt cells before heaters, the list could go on and on. As installers, sometimes we are forced into less than ideal circumstances due to the budget limitations of our customers or spacing constraints. Sometimes, however, it is just plain ridiculous and totally avoidable.

I went on a warranty call for a major OEM only to find a dangerously installed salt system which exploded on the house of a single mom with two children. It had been installed by her pool guy, who was not licensed to perform this type of work, but “thought it would be pretty straightforward” and “had electrical experience.” He installed it for just over cost to make a few bucks and do his customer “a favor” to stay within her budget. The panel had melted from improper wiring and could have easily started a house fire. Her pool guy certainly wasn’t helping her out when he put her home, and most importantly, her family’s life at risk.

On occasion, I have had the opportunity to ask “bad” installers why they performed work a certain way. The typical response is either a shrug because they hadn’t thought about it, a “that’s how I was shown”, or worse yet “no one ever showed me.” When I have come to jobs that I bid and lost only because of price, and then see terrible work that was clearly performed to get “in and out,” I’m ashamed of my trade. I might get irritated, but the truth is, it is the customer who loses. Our industry can do better.

License holders and their staff are far more likely to do better quality installations at relatively competitive prices. They are the ones in the continuing education courses and product labs. They are the ones with logos on their vehicles and professional appearances to the public. We must care about what we do and we must care about doing it right. Over the past year or two it has been welcome to see equipment manufacturers placing stickers on their products warning of potential warranty limitations if installed by anyone unlicensed.

The FSPA has information and education to facilitate the transition into becoming a licensed pool contractor.  We should encourage those who don’t have the appropriate license to reach out and take that step. The FSPA offers the Swimming Pool & Spa Certification Course which is a 60 hour course that substitutes for three years of experience. You can also invite them to the Everything Under the Sunsm Expo where there are a multitude of education courses on many topics. Encourage education to the industry and explain its importance to homeowners.

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