Account for Essential Factors in Finding Answers to Industry Challenges
Manufacturers of a wide assortment of parts and devices rely on pool o-rings and gaskets — and all manner of other custom molded solutions — to provide the sealing necessary to perform their assigned duties.
From pool pumps and filters to chlorinators, valves, and heaters, many manufacturers within the pool and spa industry rely on specialized sealing products to deliver the long-lasting performance they need to retain their status in a competitive marketplace. However, failure to consider the many aspects and characteristics of these components can lead to device failure, damage the reputation of the brand, and negatively affect the bottom line.
Let’s examine some of the factors to consider when evaluating the proper pool o-rings and gaskets, and how the right sealing partner will help you navigate those choices.
What to Consider When Choosing Pool O-Rings and Gaskets
Pools and spas require high-quality sealing solutions, as does all the assorted equipment designed to filter, pump, clean, and add other desirable effects to these leisure installations. Given the nature of these fixtures — dealing with chemically-altered water for personal enjoyment — it nearly goes without saying that ensuring the water stays where it’s supposed to be is of the utmost importance.
But it’s not enough for seals and other custom components in this industry to be able to seal well, or prevent leaks. The components used in servicing these devices must also be able to stand up to repeated use, have the necessary resistance against the chemicals and compounds typically used in treated water, and then have the compatibility to remain consistent with other plastic elements used in the application.
This is the ability of a polymeric material to maintain its original properties after being exposed to a specific chemical reagent or environment for a specified time period. Different formulations of different core materials will have more, or less, resistance to a variety of chemicals. With less resistance, a seal or gasket will erode more quickly, fail to retain its elasticity or other characteristics, and generally lead to negative outcomes in the applications where it is used.
Pools and spas use chemicals to help with pH levels, water sanitization, hard water, total alkalinity, or even to help battle algae growth. This wide assortment of chemicals is in addition to the water itself, which may be salt-based or chlorinated. All of these contribute to o-ring degradation, and if the material is ill-suited to start with then poor performance is guaranteed.
With pools and spas, there are three primary chemical resistances to account for. You’ll want a material, or a selection of materials, that can deal with each — chlorine resistance, bromine resistance, and chloramine resistance.
For instance, for roles as a seal in pool pumps and filters, a material such as a specially formulated form of EPDM (ethylene propylene) is a good choice. For chlorinator o-rings, which have to deal with more concentrated forms of the chemicals, you’ll want a material that boasts the strongest chemical resistance like FKM (fluoroelastomer) or FFKM (perfluoroelastomer). More cost-effective materials, like Nitrile (Buna-N), can serve in other less essential spots in the operation.
This is a characteristic of a material to return to its original thickness and resist permanent deformation after removal of a force that was applied to it. The term is generally applied to soft materials, such as elastomers. As a rubber material is compressed over time, it loses its ability to return to its original thickness. This loss of resiliency (memory) may reduce the capability of an elastomeric gasket, seal, or cushioning pad to perform over a long period of time. The resulting permanent set that a gasket may take over time may cause a leak, which is why compression set is vital for seals used in the pool and spa industry.
Compression set results for material are expressed as a percentage. The lower the percentage, the better the material resists permanent deformation. Expert-level guidance from qualified engineers will be valuable in identifying the right choice for your situation and application.
Because standard rubber compounds often contain plasticizers that can damage ABS plastics, you’ll want to make sure that any pool and spa o-rings and gaskets are manufactured with compatible materials. Failure to do so can lead to damage of key plastic molded elements and costly repairs.
You’ll want to work with a provider who can supply your business with a wide range of compounds that are compatible with plastics to give you options for finding the right solution.
Keep Floating with Pool O-Rings and Gaskets from Marco Rubber
With access to more than one billion sealing solutions throughout our expansive production network, Marco Rubber & Plastics offers comprehensive custom sealing solutions no matter the industry. However, the ultimate performance of a seal will depend on how well it matches the application itself. It’s important to discuss all aspects of your application with an application engineer to find and consider all the right potential solutions. With more than 14,000 repeat customers worldwide, Marco Rubber has proven it can be counted on to find the ideal match between application and sealing solution.
Marco Rubber has years of experience in supplying custom products, including molded plastic parts and precision metal components. Our expansive network can provide customized o-rings by size, hardness, material, and chemical compatibility, but additional offerings like lens seals, bare and chromed metal parts, items requiring internal lubrication, and much more in the pools and spa industry.