So I had a pool installed this year. The pool opened on Memorial day and all was good.
Included in the pool was something I’ve been working toward for about 10 years, an Endless Pool system.
This particular system is called a “Fastlane” and it’s intended to be installed in a normal pool. i.e. the original endless pool was a self contained unit that has water return conduits and is focused on being essentially a “water treadmill”.
My system has brackets that fasten to the pool wall and the Fastlane is attached to those brackets with hydraulic hoses leading out to a pump that powers the unit from a safe distance away (keeping the electrics and the pool apart).
Note the Stainless Steel handle showing just above the water level.
Overall I’m really happy with the unit. I’m a reasonably aggressive swimmer and this unit is easily able to meet and exceed my capabilities.
I’m finding out now that Endless Pools is not really happy having their units in a salt water environment. The unit comes with a sacrificial anode (basically a hunk of zinc that you attach to the unit to attract electrons that would otherwise corrode the unit). Anybody who maintains a boat in a salt water environment will know what this is. When I tried to sign up for their “Sacrificial Anode Club” a few months ago I found that they’d already given up on that idea as they were encountering problems due to the vastly different rates at which the anodes are consumed for different pools. Temperature and pool chemistry varies a lot between pools and it was just too much of a hassle trying to work it out.
My first anode actually looked fine for about 3 months and then I began noticing some rust around some of the screws on the bottom cage (water input for the unit), on touching the anode it just crumbled immediately. Which meant it had been spent for probably at least a week or so. I immediately picked up a honking big anode from a motorboat supply house and ordered 3 more “official” units from Endless Pools to have on hand.
New here’s where my mystery comes in.
The stainless steel handle of the unit has pretty rapidly turned black. It’s some kind of corrosion but I have not been able to figure out what it is. If you touch it with your hand some will rub off on you and it’s a bit messy that way. So it’s not just a cosmetic thing, I don’t really want guests touching it and possibly messing up their swim suits.
In retrospect we are VERY lucky that we ordered the blue colored unit rather than the entirely stainless steel one, I shudder to think how awful it would look with the entire unit turning a coal black color like the handle.
I contacted Endless Pools and the first thing the rep offered to me was to change to a chlorine based pool system.
I told him to take that off the table since it was not really an option. He explained that they’ve been encountering issues with Salt water systems lately and he didn’t really know what to say. Apparently the adoption of salt water by individual consumers such as myself has caught them off guard.
Of course I had checked this before I ever determined my pool chemistry solution, their own website FAQ says use of a Fastlane with a salt system is A-OK so I was not expecting any issues:
Although as I search today I see this somewhat light warning out there, I would not have noticed this in my initial research in any case.
So I asked him to get my request for assistance in front of one of their techs and to please contact me by next Wednesday. If I don’t hear back I’ll be following up with them anyway.
I am posting this as a warning to other Fastlane owners that have or are considering a salt water system so that they can be informed. I will post any solution I find here as an update to this blog entry.
**Update** Even though I posted something as a reply below, I realize that it just gets lost in the comments. I found a solution and you can see this subsequent blog entry to check it out. Basically a simple and inexpensive cleaner plus being careful about what I introduce to the pool does the trick.