An inspection today, keeps the water slide closures away!
Water slides are a great attraction to any indoor or outdoor pool and can provide hours of fun and excitement for children of all ages. Just the appearance of a twisty, colourful slide can bring multiple patrons into a facility to test it out.
Though a slide may seem like a simple piece of equipment, there are many aspects that need to be maintained and checked regularly to keep everything running smoothly and looking great. In addition to regular maintenance, and annual slide inspections by Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), a slide mechanic can be a great asset to keeping your slide running how it’s supposed to be. In fact, in most jurisdictions it is required by TSSA to ensure the slide is being properly maintained. Yearly inspections, along with regular repairs and maintenance are performed by a licenced slide mechanic to prolong the life of your slide and most importantly, keeping your patrons safe and sound.
Like our own health, we don’t just visit the doctor’s office when there is something critically wrong with us. We try to be proactive in order to prevent serious health issues by visiting our doctor for regular check-ups. Your facilities slide should be treated in the same way. Regular check-ups or inspections by a slide mechanic are critical in maintaining the overall health in a water slides life span. Here are a few items inspectors will look for during their visits:
The joints that hold your slide together receive the most wear and tear on the slide. The friction of swimmer, after swimmer, after swimmer continually sliding over the joints will wear down the caulking that fills them in, forming low areas or uneven surfaces. These low spots will create a “bump” feeling when sliding over and if left untreated will eventually become uncomfortable for riders. Caulking should be inspected regularly and when required your slide mechanic will bring the caulking back up to the proper level, eliminating any comfort issues riders may have been experiencing.
Stemming from low areas in the slide joints, leaks can also pose a regular issue for water slides. Once a joint's caulking gets worn down (or worn away completely), water will start to seep through the joints and slowly drip onto not only the deck below, but also the slides support structure. Water ponding on the deck, especially in the case of a tiled deck in an indoor facility, can cause a slip hazard for excited children who are in a hurry to get to the slide. Water dripping onto a slides support structure will not only create unsightly rusting of steel members, but over time can severely damage a slides structural integrity, resulting in very costly repairs. Annual visits by your slide mechanic will ensure that any leaks that may have developed are dealt with and eliminated before any serious damage can happen.
Hidden in the bowels of the pools mechanical room, and unseen to the public, as well as most of the staff is perhaps the most important part of a slide system. Operating daily, unheralded and often overlooked- though not as exciting in appearance as the slide itself, a slides pump and piping network provides the slide its life blood- water! A slide mechanic will ensure the heartbeat of the slide is working properly by checking for leaks, cracks, thumps and thuds that are not an element of a healthy system. Pressure and suction gauges are also checked to ensure that there are no issues internally.
* This is a guest blog post written by Lee Battams, President of Aqua Plans Aquatic Consultants Inc. The knowledge and experience Lee displays on routine site visits have ensured his clients, including Acapulco Pools, remain confident in his abilities in aquatic design.