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As California makes the shift away from reliance on gas-powered technology, state officials have begun actively addressing challenges posed to the electrical grid. A recent decision by the California Energy Commission focuses on the systems and equipment powering swimming pools.
Effective September 2025, all new pool equipment sold in California must be equipped with controls that optimize energy usage during non-peak hours.
Andrew McAllister, the lead commissioner for appliance standards, stated that, for Californians, swimming pools represent the largest energy consumer and cost in the residential sector. Managing the demand from these pools, according to McAllister, contributes significantly to the reliability of the grid.
Justin Wiley, Vice President of Government Relations for the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, emphasized California’s status as one of the leading states in terms of the number of swimming pools. He noted that California currently boasts over 1.3 million in-ground pools, with an annual addition of over 15,000 new pools.
Wiley characterized the new standard as a “positive step in helping save consumers money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” This regulation aligns with California’s broader objective of making up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity available through energy-efficient technologies. To provide context, one megawatt can power approximately 750 homes simultaneously, according to California ISO.
McAllister pointed out that technologies adapting energy usage to non-peak times not only contribute to demand management but also ensure cleaner energy sources. Given the absence of a federal standard for flexible-demand technologies, California sees an opportunity for innovation in this area.
McAllister explained that by utilizing energy during cheaper and more convenient times, California can optimize its use of intermittent but cleaner sources like solar and wind. The state aims to continue adopting flexible demand technologies across various sectors to enhance the overall reliability of the grid.
Highlighting the significance of clean electricity in achieving a zero-carbon future, McAllister emphasized the need for adapting to new electric loads that were historically non-electric.
Wiley acknowledged that California is the first state the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance has collaborated with on a standard of this nature. He anticipates other states will look to California as a blueprint for implementing similar measures, observing the process and outcomes closely.
Couple Falls Victim To $31,000 Pool Scam on Zelle
Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine’s own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine’s home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you’d like to share with Pool Magazine? Email [email protected] your story idea.
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One couple in Massachusetts who were hoping to build the pool of their dreams found themselves victims of an online scam perpetrated by parties that still remain unknown. Devin Friedman reported the pool scam to Business Insider. He said initially he envisioned transforming his backyard into a backyard oasis with a beautiful swimming pool. However, the journey took an unexpected and distressing turn that ultimately wound up costing him substantially.
The tale started back in April 2020, with the Friedmans signed a pool construction contract with Gary Kruglitz, the purported owner of Royal Palace Pools and Spas. Pandemic-induced delays and then freezing ground in the off-season halted their plans. When construction activities resumed in 2021, Friedman began calling Kruglitz to request to be first in line once the ground thawed. Kruglitz said he’d try, and Friedman took that as a promise.
Calls in April and May went unreturned. The Friedmans were anxious. They let their feelings be known, about how they were promised to be first in line to build a pool in the spring and could no longer get ahold of Kruglitz. Expressing their discontent via email, the Friedmans finally received a response on July 5, with Kruglitz stating that he was finally ready to begin construction of their swimming pool. The catch? A payment exceeding $30,000 would be needed to start construction, as stipulated in their contract. Navigating closed bank branches due to COVID-19, Kruglitz suggested Zelle for transactions, advising incremental transfers due to daily limits.
Submitting to this guidance and eager to get their pool project underway, the Friedmans Zelled $3,500 on the 6th, $3,500 on the 7th, $5,000 on the 8th, and another $5,000 on the 9th. As money was being paid, Kruglitz’s responsiveness increased. They asked if he had all the materials needed to build the pool. Yes, mostly, was his reply. They asked if he could begin construction the following week. He replied that he could. The emails were strange but the Friedmans overlooked that, and simply thought Kruglitz’s use of bad grammar and short replies was normal for tradesmen.
Hesistant after making so many large payments eventually the Friedmans requested a receipt for the $23,000 sent, and received what appeared to be a legitimate invoice from Royal Palace Pools and Spas.
July 13, the anticipated start date, arrived with hope. An email from Kruglitz claimed he and his crew were en route early in the morning. Hours passed, but no construction crew appeared. Concerned, the Friedmans called Royal Palace Pools and Spas, leaving messages for Kruglitz to return their calls.
When Kruglitz finally returned their call, he appeared confused. He claimed that he hadn’t received an email from the Friedmans in weeks. Storming into his office, the Friedmans pressed him for answers until a simple yet probing question left them defeated: “What’s a Zelle?”, asked Kruglitz. The revelation finally dawned that he never emailed them or instructed them to transfer funds to him directly; instead, they had unknowingly sent $30,500 to strangers.
The lingering question: How did this pool scam happen? According to cyber-intelligence expert Evan Kohlmann, Kruglitz’s email likely fell prey to phishing or the purchase of hacked credentials on the dark web. The scammers, infiltrating Kruglitz’s correspondence, orchestrated fraudulent transactions.
The mechanics of the scam unfolded in a sinister fashion. Hackers targeted Kruglitz, and possibly acquired his email password through hacking, phishing, or possibly just purchasing it outright on the dark web. Once inside Kruglitz’s email, they perused customer correspondence, gaining insight into owed amounts and the perfect opportunity to request funds.
Friedman confessed that the eagerness to realize their pool dreams led them into a trap. When Kruglitz instructed them to “Zelle him,” to two email addresses —[email protected] and [email protected]. The Friedmans, unwittingly blinded by enthusiasm, complied without questioning the unusual directive.
The Friedmans were unfamiliar with—Zelle. A peer-to-peer (P2P) app that allows instantaneous money transfers between individuals who may only know each other by a cellphone number or an email address.
To distance themselves from the scam, the scammers enlisted intermediaries—unwitting participants in various scams. These go-betweens acted as conduits for the money. The funds, in all likelihood, were converted into cryptocurrency or gift cards before being resold on the dark web at a discount for cryptocurrency.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, often at odds with the financial industry, has been urging scrutiny into Zelle due to the prevalence of fraud. Last year, US Bank, a member of the consortium, reported a staggering 45,000 incidents of Zelle scams.
Despite their best efforts, the Friedmans could only recover a meager $278. Undeterred, the resilient couple saved for an additional two years, finally realizing their dream of a backyard pool. Ironically, they purchased it from Kruglitz. This time however, the Friedmans opted for the old-fashioned security of a check.
Source: The Great Zelle Pool Scam – All I wanted was a status symbol. What I got was a $31,000 lesson in the downside of payment apps.
Paying contractors for services, especially significant projects like building a pool, requires a thoughtful and secure approach to mitigate the risk of scams. Here are some best practices that the Friedmans or anyone buying a pool should follow to safeguard themselves from a potential pool scam:
By following these best practices, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to a pool scam and ensure a smoother and more secure transaction with their pool contractor.
A psychedelic eye mosaic commissioned by John Lennon for the swimming pool at his Kenwood home in 1965 leads Bonhams’ Rock, Pop & Film sale on Wednesday 29 November at Knightsbridge, London.
Claire Tole-Moir, Bonhams Head of Popular Culture in London, commented: “This monumental mosaic, commissioned by John Lennon is a striking example of the Beatle’s artistic vision and influences. Lennon’s Kenwood home was a place of respite from all the public attention he experienced during the height of The Beatles’ popularity. It’s said Lennon would spend idle hours near the swimming pool and that the mosaic could even be seen from his favored ‘sunroom’ at the top of the house. With Kenwood still under private ownership, it is very rare to see anything from when John Lennon lived there, making the ‘Psychedelic Eye’ mosaic an incredibly important artifact of Beatles history.”
Comprising of approximately 17,000 tiles, the mosaic was created by Joseph Ritrovato, a master tiler who single-handedly installed it on the deep-end wall of John Lennon’s swimming pool at Kenwood in Surrey in 1965. On 29 June 1967, John was visited at Kenwood by Johnny Dean and Leslie Bryce, the editor and photographer of The Beatles Monthly respectively. John and Julian Lennon were photographed in and around the house, including beside the swimming pool with the mosaic in the shot.
John Lennon owned Kenwood from July 1964 to late spring 1968. The mosaic remained in situ within the swimming pool at Kenwood from 1965 until 1984, when it was removed from the pool wall for preservation by the then-owners of Kenwood and by the mosaic’s joint owners for it to be available for public exhibition. The John Lennon ‘Psychedelic Eye’ mosaic first went on public display at The International Garden Festival at the Royal Festival Gardens, Liverpool from 1985 until its closure in 1987. It remained on the site until 2002, when it was moved to The Museum of Liverpool Life. The mosaic was also part of the V&A’s international blockbuster exhibition on counterculture, ‘You Say You Want a Revolution?’ in 2016.
Other highlights of the sale include:
• The Hilary Gerrard collection, former Business Manager to Ringo Starr. Comprised of 60-lots, includes gifts, posters, books, disc awards, furniture and cards given by members of the Beatles. Highlights include a drawing of Hilary Gerrard by John Lennon (estimate: £6,000-8,000), and an Egg Chair believed to be custom-made by EMI, 1969 (estimate: £2,500 – 3,500).
• Items from Marc Bolan’s manager Tony Howard, including lyrics, drawings, letters, photographs, t-shirts, and backstage passes, never before offered at auction, including an original hand-drawn design for the single cover of Telegram Sam by Marc Bolan,1972, (estimate: £600-800) and original photography by Terry O’Neill, Michael Putland, Peter Howe and Steve Emberton.
• Original artwork for Noddy Holder’s Slade seasonal hit ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the song, with all proceeds to be donated to the mental well-being charity, Retune. Estimate: £3,000-5,000.
• Led Zepplin: An Autographed Copy of the Album Led Zeppelin II, early 70s reissue. Estimate: £20,000-30,000.
• An original Joy Division poster for ‘Unknown Pleasures’, 1979, from Natalie Curtis, daughter of lyricist and frontman of Joy Division, Ian Curtis (1956-1980) Estimate: £3,000-4,000.
• Costume design material for Freddie Mercury’s famous rainbow-coloured ‘arrow’ jacket made for Queen’s Hot Space 1982 tour, offered by the seamstress who made it. Estimate: £2,000-3,000.
• A wide selection of music memorabilia donated to this auction for charity by Warner Music and stars; Liam Gallagher, Motley Crue, Slash, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Abba, Pearl Jam, Nile Rodgers, Slipknot, Greenday, and Michael Bublé for charities: EarthPercent, Metal For Good, Children with Cancer UK.
• Robert Rosen: A Large Group of Vintage Polaroids Taken by Rosen and Signed by Various Film/Music/TV Stars, 1980s-00s.) Approximately 340 colour Polaroids, each signed in various inks by the celebrity featured in the images, notable people include; David Bowie, Bill Wyman, Grace Jones, Elton John, Sting, Mary Quant, Marianne Faithful, Pete Townsend, Audrey Hepburn, Stevie Knicks, Andrew Ridgeley, BB King, Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John, Nicole Kidman, Ru Paul, Cate Blanchette, Yoko Ono, David Hockney, Karl Lagerfeld, Patrick Hughes, Naomi Campbell, Peter Blake, Thierry Mugler, David Bailey, Paloma Picasso, Jean Shrimpton, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Marcel Marceau, Francis Bacon, Bob Geldof, Helmut Newton, David Attenborough, Christopher Reeve, Jean Paul Gautier, Ronnie Corbett, Joanna Lumley, Geraldine Chaplin, Omar Sharif, Ian McKellen, Michael Caine, Muhammad Ali, Jerry Hall, Boy George, Nico. Estimate: £30,000-35,000.
Photo Credit: Bonhams
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the way we live and work, and it also had a profound impact on the costs of swimming pools over the past few years. Consequently, the price of an inground swimming pool has increased by roughly 30% since 2021. During the height of the pandemic, the pool industry experienced unprecedented demand driven by factors such as quarantining at home and limited options for travel. Consumers sought to create a relaxing oasis in their own backyards, and pool builders were overwhelmed with orders. However, in the post-COVID economy, the industry is adapting to new challenges, including price increases on materials, rising interest rates, and inflation.
The pandemic forced people to stay home, and this prompted a surge in home improvement projects, with swimming pools being a top choice for many. As Bob Mellon, the owner of Signature Pools & Spa in Fresno, CA, notes, “That’s one of the hardest things that I think came out of COVID is the inflation and the pricing has gone up so much.” The demand for pools skyrocketed, but rising costs have continued to be a factor over the past two years.
Mellon adds, “Our equipment costs have gone up 4% recently and they just continue to go up. Our cement prices are up, our rebar costs are up. We had shortages during COVID. So all of the materials that we have no control over have gone up.” These factors are affecting pool builders and their clients alike.
In response to rising costs, builders are finding ways to adapt and mitigate the impact on their customers. Mellon explains, “One of the things that we’ve done is try to be more efficient. We’re kind of at a place where we’re trying to actually tighten our profit margins, and we’re able to do that by streamlining our company.” Pool builders are working harder to control costs and keep prices as reasonable as possible.
Mellon also points out the changing landscape of financing options, saying, “Where banks a couple of years ago were giving loans out very freely, they’re turning some down now. In efforts for the government to try to slow down inflation, they’re raising rates and it’s affecting us a bit.” This shift in lending practices has created challenges for both pool builders and customers who may need financing to afford their dream pools.
During the peak of the pandemic, customers often faced long lead times, with some waiting up to six months between signing a contract and the commencement of their pool project. This was a result of the overwhelming demand and supply chain disruptions. However, the post-COVID environment has seen a recalibration.
Mellon states, “Right now, we have been building pools from day of dig to water four to six weeks.” Pool builders have worked to streamline their processes and adapt to the new landscape, providing more efficient service to meet customer demand. However, Mellon acknowledges that they still allow for a buffer in the timeline due to potential changes and delays, such as material shortages and weather conditions.
After years of significant spending by US consumers, Morgan Stanley economists have recently predicted a potential “hangover effect on consumption”, which could ultimately weigh down economic growth. In the months ahead, American consumers are poised to confront several hurdles, including the resumption of student loan repayments, declining savings accounts, and stricter lending standards imposed by banks.
While the availability of pool builders has improved, consumers should not expect a drop in prices due to the factors mentioned. Inflation, rising material costs, and changing financing options have put increased pressure on the industry. As Mellon emphasizes, “We’re trying to help with the customers and help with the pricing. We’re going into a slower time. Our numbers are off this year compared to last year,” attributing a drop in pool sales to increased costs, recession concerns, and rising interest rates.
Pool builders are adapting to inflation in a changing economic environment through various strategies and approaches. Some of the methods builders are employing include the following:
Ultimately, the post-COVID economy has brought significant changes to the pool industry, affecting both consumers and pool builders. The unprecedented demand for pools during the pandemic has been replaced by more cautious consumer spending. Pool builders are adapting to this changing economic environment. While lead times have improved, prices remain relatively high due to inflation and other factors. Analysts expect discretionary spending, including investments in new pool construction to continually moderate through the coming months.
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