- Written by: Eric Gundberg
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Most everyone loves swimming in and lounging around pools, but if you ask any pool owner they’ll tell you it’s not all fun in the sun. The one thing many people forget is the frequent cleanings a pool requires. However, the professionals at Wagner Pools have discovered a solution to that problem: pools that clean themselves.
Vice President John Gedney III explains, “Our pools are monitored by computers. They monitor the chemical levels and the flow rate of water in the filtration system. The in-floor cleaning systems are similar to a sprinkler system in a yard. The cleaning heads are a similar color to the pool’s finish. They pop up and shoot out chemically treated, filtered, and heated water and they slightly rotate as they go around and eventually they go in a full circle and force all of the dirt into the deep end of the pool. Everything is removed though the main suctions in the pool to a canister at the filtration equipment. It’s so much better than those robot-type cleaners that always get in your way while you’re swimming. Those are so big and bulky when you take them out to swim, and they’re so heavy and slippery they invariably get dropped and broken.”
The High-water Mark of the Industry
Wagner Pools was founded by Gedney’s great-grandfather Edward L. Wagner in 1919, and not only has the company remained a family-owned business, but it also holds the title of the oldest swimming pool company in the nation. Over the years, the company has established and maintained a reputation for quality that has seen it work with both residential and commercial contractors, though today high-end homeowners looking to build, renovate or upgrade a tailor-made pool are the bulk of the company’s clients. Wagner Pools is based out of Darien in southern Connecticut, and Gedney estimates that the majority of the company’s work is in Westchester [NY] and Fairfield [Conn.] counties, though the company will go as far away as Ohio, the island of Jamaica [in the Caribbean] and Cape Cod [Mass.] if a client requests it.
Since its founding the Wagner Pools name has become synonymous with splendor and innovation. Craftsmanship and invention, as well as a comprehensive pre-construction drafting process, has allowed Wagner Pools to become the foremost name for sophisticated public and private swimming in New England. Gedney describes a typical project for the company: “We recently just completed an outstanding project in Greenwich [Conn.]. It’s a vanishing-edge pool with the perimeter of the pool spilling into a gutter that encircles the pool. The vanishing edge is facing the ocean and the exposed walls and top of the pool were veneered and capped with polished black granite with a raised water wall.”
The pools that Wagner builds are nothing like the pools you’ve swam in before. The company prides itself on staying on the cutting edge of technology. They build pools that can come with LED and fiber optic lining, can include serene to adventurous landscaping along the perimeter, can incorporate swim jets to allow for directed athletic activities, and have ozone and ultraviolet sanitizing to make swimming more enjoyable with minimal chlorine odors. The in-floor cleaning service can remove 99 percent of the dirt, debris and leaves that accumulate in the water; homeowners control the computerized operations from inside their homes or remotely from their iPhones. The company even offers an option, which is ideal for consumers with a second home, where the pool’s chemical levels and other equipment can be monitored and adjusted by technicians in Wagner’s corporate office remotely.
Another feature that the company is famous for is the pebble lining that it can offer. The pebbles are hand-picked from various quarries around the world and offer a level of luxuriousness with which Wagner’s competitors can’t compete. Wagner Pools also performs the masonry for most of the projects the company does. Unless there is a home builder involved that wants his masons to do the work, Wagner normally installs the pool stone terraces, walls, coping etc. with the company’s in-house crews.
Despite all its appealing services, the economic downturn has had a mixed affect on Wagner. Gedney explains, “Everyone is nervous and so new pool sales are off. Prior to the recession, renovations weren’t really a major focus of our business, but we’ve been holding steady by rapidly expanding our renovations and maintained our service levels [the company maintains a maintenance fleet on-call 24-7]. The thing that has helped us the most, though, is that our customers are more aware of the money that they’re spending on renovations, and they are demanding higher quality materials. They want to ensure the money they spend is on a project that is going to last.”
Gedney also ensured that the company would survive the recession by becoming more efficient. “We reorganized our work force and rid ourselves of unnecessary positions. Granted, we’re all working more now with less, but it really was good for the company in the long run for us to streamline our processes.”
As the company states, “We don’t just build swimming pools – we build dreams.” With the artisan attention to detail and the comprehensive technology put into its projects, Wagner Pools crafts heirloom properties to be passed down for generations. As the economy continues to improve, the company will emerge stronger than ever. By carrying on the family’s reputation for excellence and commitment to customer service the Gedneys and Wagner Pools should be around for another 100 years.
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