The Orenda Startup™ originated from an idea shared with us by a plastering company in San Diego, California, called Blue Moon Pools. We want to share their story and how they helped change our industry.
Covered in this article:
- Pioneers of the calcium-based startup method
- Documentation with photos
- Evolution into the Orenda Startup™
Documentation and Photos
When we met Lupe Mariscal and his San Diego-based company, Blue Moon Pools, they did several things differently than other plaster companies we had met. One thing that stuck out was the fact that they document every single project with photos and detailed notes. This was probably the single biggest differentiator we saw with Blue Moon Pools.
Lupe showed us his computer, which has a folder for every job they have done in the past 16 years or so. Every folder has photos of the pool before, during, and after. Not just a few photos, but photos from multiple angles. Photos of the field survey that his employees fill out. Measurements, pre-existing conditions (like broken tile, or a cracked concrete deck), and anything else is documented thoroughly. This way, they have a record of every job, front to back.
When we got to a job site prior to filming our interview with Lupe, his supervisor was already there, taking pictures and writing notes on a clipboard. We strongly encourage anyone who remodels or even services pools to keep a log of each job, and include photos.
Documenting everything allows Lupe to control his costs, be more accurate in quoting customers' pools, and more efficiently schedule his plaster crews. If they know the variables before they arrive, they will be better and faster on the job site. His people know what to look for and can identify problems before it's too late. Sure, it takes more time and effort up front, but it has dramatically reduced warranty work and call-backs for the company.
Pioneers of the calcium-based startup method
For years prior to meeting Orenda, Blue Moon Pools was doing their best to protect new pool plaster surfaces from the beginning. They were adding a few pounds of calcium while the pool was filling to get the calcium levels up over 200 ppm. They had been experimenting with adding calcium during fill-up for years, with mixed results.
When they added calcium too fast, the small amount of water in the pool would cloud up and calcium carbonate would fall out of solution. In other words, if they added calcium too fast, they would over-shoot the LSI, and it could lead to scale or calcium dust. And if they did not add calcium fast enough, they would get the standard plaster dust that everyone has been dealing with for decades of pool startups.
Evolution into the Orenda Startup™
We learned the idea of adding calcium during the fill-up from Lupe and Blue Moon Pools. But it soon evolved beyond thinking about calcium alone. Over time, we learned that successful startups aren't about just calcium, they are about the LSI. Once we evolved into aiming for LSI targets, the probability of success on startups skyrocketed. With just calcium, we had a better than 50/50 chance of having no dust...and that was way better than the traditional startup methods. But now that the process is focused on an LSI target between +0.20 and +0.30, we estimate our startups have a better than 90% chance of having no plaster dust.
That's the power of evolving a process with field experience and learning from mistakes.
And sure, most often, our startup requires adding calcium during the fill-up. But we also may need some acid in the startup barrel, and surely some SC-1000 to chelate the pre-dissolving calcium. The process evolved from an initial idea shared with us by Lupe and Blue Moon Pools. Without them, The Orenda Startup™ may have never been conceived.
Now, our startup process is a proven method, made possible with SC-1000 and the Orenda Calculator. And we want to give credit where credit is due. Thank you Lupe and Blue Moon Pools!