Pool blog postings

Pool Postings

Earliest: July 9, 2013Latest: August 31, 2016Total: 21

August 31, 2016

Winterizing Pool Equipment Tips

Winterizing Pool

Here's the run down of various equipment that we have that we need to make sure they are properly taken care of at the end of each pool season. It's critical to make sure that they are stored correctly for long term care.

We disconnect all the hoses from the pool and make sure that all exit points are closed.

Sand Filter

We take out the cap out of the sand drain and let the water flow out for a couple of days.

We take off the top of the sand filter and store that part in our basement. We keep the screws and nuts in a plastic bag and tape it to the device. The top is stored off the floor well out of the way.

The base is kept outside. It's very heavy to move. We did move it the first year we lived in our house but have found that moving it causes some risk with cracking the device. We keep it in the original location but wrap around some attic installation around it and then put a standard outside tarp then tie everything together with a stretch hook.

Three Quick Tips

  • You can not throw away the attic installation as part of household trash, at least not in Framingham. The tarp should protect the installation enough so that you can reuse the installation every year.
  • Once the water drains out of the filter, put the cap back. Don't loose the sand drain cap!
  • Replace the sand in the filter every 3-4 years.

Pump

At the same time we remove the cap from the bottom of the sand filter, we take the strainer cover off and let the water dry in our Hayward Pump. We disconnect all the pipes and make sure that the basket is nice and clean. Take out the 'O' ring that is under the strainer cover and put in a sandwich bag. This will help the longevity of the 'O' ring.

We then store the entire Pump in the basement.

Three Quick Tips

  • Use Pool Lubricant when putting back the 'O' ring in the spring. It will help with a better seal.
  • We keep the strong PVC pipe on the Pump, so we don't have to worry about having to connect it again in the Spring.
  • If you have a pool pump ground wire, don't bury it in the ground. Connect it to something so you can find it in the spring.

Chlorinator

Once the hoses are removed, the water in the chlorinator should dry up pretty quick. Remove all Chlorine tabs and throw them away. They will loose it's strength over the winter, so there's no point in keeping them.

We keep the Chlorinator in the shed for the Winter.

Three Quick Tips

  • Keep the cap on the chlorinator so that nothing big nest inside. We hang our chlorinator upside down in our shed.
  • Take the 'O' ring out and put in a sandwich bag. Label the bag - "Chlorinator Ring." Keep the bag with the pump.
  • We try to air out the chlorinator as long as possible. Usually, don't hang it until we take the snowblower out of the shed.

Hayward 900 - Wanda the Whale

The above ground vacuum should not be stored in the shed for the winter. Store all the hoses and "Wanda the Whale" parts together. As per instructions, you shouldn't bend the hoses. The best thing to do is to store the pieces in the original box. Make sure that everything is fully dry before putting in the box.

It's highly recommended to store Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner inside for the winter.

Three Quick Tips

  • The box that the Wanda the Whale comes in is perfect for long term storage. Just keep the box dry. Makes it easy to setup again in the spring.
  • Make sure to completely clean out the Whale. Use a small screwdriver to get the junk inside.
  • An 18-gallon plastic bin works perfectly as a substitute for the box

Last regular Pool Post of 2016

This wraps up the weekly blog posting for this summer. We'll return to regular posting in May 2017. Have a great off season! Thank you for all the feedback this summer!

August 24, 2016

Pool Closing Tips

Pool Closing2

In New England, as Labor Day weekend approaches, it's time to start thinking of when to close the pool. The nights are getting a bit cooler and that means the pool will not be as warm as it was just a few weeks ago.


Cheaper Above Ground Covers

There are many places to get your pool cover. We have found the Ocean State Job Lot is the cheapest place to get a cover. They have a limited number of Above Ground covers at a good price. The quality is about the same as the economy ones that you get at a pool place, just a bit cheaper. They have the 24' Round for $69.99 whereas Leslie Pools has the same one for $88.99.


Above Ground Winter Pool covers just don?t last long.

In the past we have purchased many Above Ground covers that are supposed to last 10 years, but only last a couple of seasons. All it takes is a small branch-end to tear the pool cover and Bam! There goes that cover. We have found that most pool covers last only a couple of seasons.


Clamp It!

The Irwin Quick-Grip 1" Metal Spring Clamp with Soft Grip Pads work really well along the cover clips for above ground pools. (Amazon has a 5-Pack for $33, but you may find them cheaper at HomeDepot or Lowes) The Quick-Grip has a much firmer grip and will hold the cover better than standard cover clips.


Getting that Cover on the Pool

Getting the cover on the pool can be very tricky. We have found the following works well, it does take two people to successfully put the cover on the pool:

  • Open the cover and lay it on the ground.
  • Fold the first 1/3 part of the cover
  • Take the folding side and move the cover over the pool edge with each person walking along the side of the pool. Make sure that water isn't getting in the cover
  • At the halfway point, slowly lift the cover over the Pool Pillow. Usually, this involves both parties to pull on opposite ends of the cover so that it's tight. That should be enough to get it over the pillow.
  • Then continue to move the cover over about 1/2 way from the pillow to the pool edge.
  • Now start clamping the other end of the cover. (This way the end of the cover doesn't fall into the pool as you move along.)
  • Now move the front of the cover, and then walk along the edge to unfold the cover.
  • Clamp the remaining part of the cover. Make sure that the cover is very tight.

Next Week we'll talk about tips/tricks to best properly store all the Above Ground pool equipment.

August 17, 2016

Above Ground Pool Ladder

VinylWorks Pool Ladder

Our above ground pool has a small custom made deck to make it easy to get in and out of the water. It was built by the previous owners.

In 2009, we had to replace the metal pool ladder that they had. Some people didn't feel safe using it. After an extensive search, we selected the Model DL from VinylWorks in Canada. We needed a long ladder and had long handles, and this worked perfectly.

The Model DL is adjustable to a maximum height of 60 inches. This ladder reaches out a bit, which is perfect for our needs since the deck doesn't exactly sit right above the pool.

The ladder has two sets of deck mount flanges which makes the ladder strong and stable. When you step on the ladder, the bottom step presses to the bottom of the pool. The ladder and flanges come in white and taupe.

The Mount Flanges

When opening the pool each year, it's pretty tricky to connect the ladder to the mount flanges on the deck. We have to basically align the ladder handle and put enough pressure so it would slip into the mount flanges. Once one of the sides is in, we secure it and then deal with the other side. It's very helpful to use a power drill to secure the screws.

We have had to replace the mount flanges because the holes where the screws go intend to crack after a couple of seasons. VinylWorks does sell replacement parts on their website. Rear Flangs part number is VWC-RF and it doesn't matter which color you order, they both work the same.

Rear Flangs2

We keep the mount flanges on the deck for the winter. We simply release the ladder from the mounts.

Spring Setup

Its very easy to get the ladder in the pool in the Spring. I take the hose and put some water in the ladder. This weights the ladder down enough to try to get it mounted.

We find that you don't need to fill it up completely, there are a couple of small holes that will eventually fill the air pockets with water and keep the ladder in place. Just a small amount of water is all that is needed.

Wintering

We keep the pool ladder on the deck for the winter. This no only keeps people off the deck but keeps the ladder free from dirt. The deck has a slight slope which ensures that all the water gets out of the ladder which could cause cracks at the first frost.

Previous years we use to keep the ladder behind the shed. This becomes a problem in the spring because mud would splash on the ladder. I would have to spend time scraping the mud off.

Winter Pool Ladder

August 10, 2016

Hayward Automatic Pool Cleaner

Hayward Automatic Pool Cleaner

Hayward has four designs in their Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner line. You can find the following brands on Amazon.com, and local pool stores. They all have the same pool cleaning functionality.

  • Hayward Diver Dave ~ $135
  • Aqua Bug ~ $138
  • Aqua Critter ~ $134
  • Wanda the Whale ~ $136

The pool cleaner randomly crawls around the pool floor picking up all sorts of things. The pool cleaner comes in handy when opening up the pool in the spring. It's very easy to set up and connect to an above ground skimmer.

The whole unit is very easy to take apart for the winter and the box that comes in is perfect for storage.

We have used both Diver Dave and Wanda the Whale.

Standard Leaf Canister

Hayward W560 PoolVac Navigator Standard Leaf Canister is an 'ok' accessory to the Hayward Brand Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaners. I find it a bit tricky to open up the leaf canister. I find opening up the strainer cover in the pool pump is a bit easier.

Here's what you have to do when it comes time to clean out the PoolVac Navigator Standard Leaf Canister:

  1. Stop the pool pump
  2. Pull in hoses so that you can reach the leaf canister
  3. Disconnect the hose
  4. Anchor up one end of the hose so it doesn't float away while you empty the canister.
  5. Open up the canister, which can be tricky because of the tight inner seal.
  6. Dump the contents
  7. Put everything back together
  8. Disconnect the hose from the stainer
  9. Turn on the pump
  10. Put the hose by the outtake valve so the hose gets filled with water
  11. Reconnect the hose to the strainer

It's a lot of work, and in some cases, it's much better to deal with the pool pump strainer cover than the Standard Leaf Canister.

There are a couple of advantages of the leaf canister:

  • Catches the large leaves and the pool strainer deals with the smaller stuff.
  • Prevents build up in the pipes that typically happen between the pool and the Pool Pump. That is a real mess to deal with.

The leaf canister is a nice accessory to the pool cleaner, its not something that will make life that much easier.

Assorted Tips and Tricks

  • Over the years I have learned that the Hayward Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner doesn't handle large amount of leaves very well. If you have a lot of leaves or twigs in your pool, your better off manually getting rid of them. Once you have a lot of them out, send the Hayward Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner to get all the small stuff that's what it does the best.
  • Twigs and sticks can easily clog the pool cleaner. Make sure the pool is clear of those before using the Pool Cleaner. Otherwise you'll be pulling in the pool cleaner frequently to fix the clogging issue.
  • When something is clogging the pool cleaner, the hose near the filter will start to buckle up. This is because there is less water going into the pump. The pump therefore is causing additional pressure on the pipe. As a results, you'll see the tube nearest the strainer buckle up.
  • Always keep the pool cleaner hose straight when in storage. The Hayward box is one way to store Diver Dave in the Winter.
  • In the Spring, we always run the pool cleaner when someone is around to watch it. There is a constant need to just double check to make sure it isn't clogged.
  • When the pool cleaner is not in the pool, I lay out the hoses along the bottom of the yard fence.
  • Store the pool cleaner hose and accessories inside the house during the winter. We accidentally discovered that field mice use the Diver Dave box as their nest.
  • The pool cleaner plastic feet are interchangeable between the Wanda the Whale and Diver Dave (probably other units but can't confirm that). The plastic feet seem to wear down after a couple of seasons. We replaced our Diver Dave unit with Wanda the Whale because the plastic feet had a lot of wear and tear and was causing Diver Dave to only clean a small percentage of the pool.
  • We have a 25-foot round pool and find that having a couple extra hoses allows the pool cleaner to fully reach the pool. You can order extra hoses from Hayward.
  • Never run the Above-Ground Automatic Pool Cleaner when people or pets are in the pool since the water movement can disrupt the effectiveness of the cleaner.

August 3, 2016

Gorilla Leaf Rake

Gorilla Leaf Rake

A few years ago, I needed to buy a new leaf rake because the previous one had too many holes and it just wasn't getting as much leaves as it use to.

When I visited the local pool store I was surprised that they only had Gorilla Pool Leaf rakes in stock. More surprising was that they cost $35.

Ouch!

Seriously? A simple piece of plastic with a net on it is worth $35?

When I took the leaf rake off the shelf, I noticed something. This particular leaf rake netting is way stronger than the one I was using. Also, the net end points are double sowed making it

Maybe this one won't tear as easy when I try to scoop up little twigs from the bottom of the pool.

The top had a steeper slope making it much easier to scoop the leaves at the bottom of the pool. Now I can really get all the leaves when I scoop the pool.

I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that this one was worth the investment.

Three years later.

Today my Gorilla Leaf rake is still going strong. There are no holes or any signs of wear and tear. It looks brand new, and that's after three years of pulling out leaves and junk from the bottom of the pool.

I would highly recommend investing in a quality pool leaf rake. This year I pulled out a lot of very heavy wet leaves and I am ever thankful for having a good leaf rake.

Tips on using a Leaf Rake

  • When you have a full basket of wet leaves, make sure to hold the bottom of the basket with your hand as you pull it out of the pool. This will help reduce the amount of stress on the pole and the leaf rake connection point.
  • This year I went into the pool used the leaf rake attached to a small pole to clean the bottom of the pool. I found that I was able to get more leaves by sweeping the bottom of the pool. The deep basket allows me to not as stop as often to check the basket.
  • At the end of the season, I keep the leaf rake above the floor. This is to prevent any mice or other creatures to build a nest in the netting.
You can find the Gorilla Leaf Rakes at most pool places, this year I noticed that the Gorilla frame is Orange. Check it out and see how it compares to the one your using.

July 27, 2016

Chlorine floater vs Automatic Chlorinator

Chlorinator

Chlorine floater

A chlorine floater ensures your swimming pool stays sanitized. Swimming pool chlorine floaters typically require a 3-inch chlorine tablet versus the smaller 1-inch variety for smaller spas. The tablet slowly dissolves as it chlorinates the water, without dispersing too much at once. You should never have a chlorine floater in the pool when the people are using the pool.

Automatic Chlorinator

An Automatic Chlorinator is a small device that connects between the filter and the outtake outside of the pool. You put in 3-inch chlorine tablets in the chamber. The tablet slowly dissolves in the chamber, you set the amount of the chlorine to dispense with the filter outtake.

Best Solution

While the Chlorine floater is a cheaper option, your much better off on using an Automatic Chlorinator to dispense chlorine around the pool. The Automatic Chlorinator is a great way to quickly put chlorine evenly around the pool, this is especially true when you are opening the pool for the season. You want to get as much Chlorine in the system as possible and there's no better way than using an Automatic Chlorinator.

Things I have learned

  • We have a Super Clear Inline Chlorinator, and I find that it's pretty hard to open. I usually have to use Thermal Latex Coated Gloves to help get a good grip to open the top.
  • When we have to put in Chlorine in the Automatic Chlorinator, we put in six tabs at once. This is because it's a pain to open up the device.
  • The six tabs last about 2 weeks.
  • The O-Ring on the lid doesn't last that long when your store in the lid. When storing the device for the New England Winter, make sure to take out the O-Ring so that it doesn't break apart because of lack of water exposure.
  • The O Ring replacement part cost $18.79 at Leslie's Pool! An Automatic Chlorinator cost $74.99.
  • We store the Automatic Chlorinator in our basement for the winter.
  • I have used both the Automatic Chlorinator and Chlorine floater and have found that the Automatic Chlorinator has produced faster results. I found this out when I was trying to increase the chlorine in our pool and wasn't getting any results with the Chlorine floater, but after running the Automatic Chlorinator in a 24 hour period the Chlorine numbers went up significantly.

July 20, 2016

PowerFlo Matrix Pool Pump

Power Flo Matrix

The Hayward PowerFlo Matrix has been engineered as a uniquely superior above ground pool pump. Its large profile and integrated styling makes the PowerFlo Matrix a swimming pool pump like no other.

Features:

  • Industrial size strainer basket for large debris collection with minimal maintenance
  • Heavy-duty, high performance motor with integrated automatic thermal overload protector for years of operation
  • High performance impeller with wide openings to prevent clogging by leaves and debris

Some tips and tricks on using the PowerFlo Matrix pool pump.

  • When we got this pump, we were told by several people that a 1 horsepower is perfect for a 25" round pool.
  • The worst part of this pump is putting back the strainer cover when cleaning out the basket. The best solution that I have found is to stop the flow of water going into the pump. If you use lubrication on the O-ring you won't have a problem with the ring falling out when trying to seal up the strainer cover.
  • There is an air pressure that builds up in the strainer basket area, this may prevent the water from filling up at the pump. The best way to fix this is to open up the basket and then quickly close it.
  • When you put on the strainer cover, wait a couple of minutes to see if it's properly sealed. I have found that there are a few water drops when the cover goes on, but after a few seconds the water drops disappear.
  • When we got the pump we were told to use a quality PVC pipe to connect the pump to the sand filter. It takes a lot of work to connect the pipe to the two devices. I find that things go a bit easier when I disconnect the top of the sand filter from the base.
  • Make sure strainer cover is locked firmly in position and lubricated with "Jack's 327." The Lubrication helps the rubber expand and contract and last longer. This is especially true when you may not use the pool for a season.
  • We store the pump in the basement in the winter time.
  • It's a good idea to take a picture of the top of the pool pump since it contains a lot of information about the device, including the specific model number that you have.

July 13, 2016

Sand Filter

Sand Filter

Here are some of the information on our Hayward Pro Series filter (Model: S180T), this is approved for fresh or salt water.

The filter can handle 20 gallons per minute. Which means for a 14,645-gallon pool it will take at least 1.63 hours for the filter to process all that water.

The maximum working pressure is 40 PSI. If your pump handles more than that, you?ll need a different type of filter.

The filter can hold 150 LBS ( 68 KGS) of filter sand. It's critical to have exactly that much. If you only put in 125 LBS, you?ll make the filter less effective.

Operating Instructions

  • Be sure correct amount of filter sand is in filter tank.
  • Set Vari-Flo control valve to BACKWASH. CAUTION: All suction and discharge valves must be open when starting the system. Failure to do so could result in severe personal injury and/or property damage.
  • Prime and start pump, allowing tank to fill with water. Once flow is steady out waste line, run in BACKWASH for 2 minutes.
  • Stop pump, and set valve to RINSE. Start pump and operate for 1/2 to 1 minute.
  • Stop pump, and set valve to FILTER. Start pump. Filter is now operating in normal filter mode.

Filter and Control Valve Functions

  • Filter - Set the valve in FILTER for normal filtering. Also use for regular vacuuming.
  • Backwash - For cleaning the filter. When filter pressure gauge rises 6-8 PSI (0.41-0.55 bar) above start-up (clean) pressure, stop pump, set valve to BACKWASH. Start pump and backwash until water in the sight glass is clear.
  • Rinse - After backwashing, with pump off, set valve to RINSE. Start pump and operate for 1/2 to 1 minute. Stop pump, set valve to FILTER, and start pump for normal filtering.
  • Waste - To bypass filter for draining or lowering water level and for vacuuming heavy debris directly to waste.
  • Recirculate - Water recirculated through pool system. bypassing filter.
  • Closed - Shuts off flow from pump to filter. Useful when you are cleaning debris in the pump.
  • Winter - For winterizing. (SP0714T)

Winterizing Instructions

Set control valve in WINTER position, Remove drain cap and throughout drain filter. Drain pump per manufacturer instructions.

We keep the base filter outside, covering it with an installation and a tarp. We put the top inside our basement. I make sure to keep all the loose parts in a bag and attach it to the filter to make opening the pool very easy.

Sand Filter
Backwashing the Sand Filter

July 6, 2016

Water Evaporation

A concern that some above ground pool owners have is when to determine if the pool has a slow leak. You may notice that the pool level slowly goes down, is it a leak or is just natural evaporation.

Adding Water Everyday?

If you're putting water in the pool every day, chances are you have a slow leak problem You should double check all patches to make sure that they are secure. It might be a good idea to double patch areas for a better seal.

There is some pool specialist that can check for the source of the leakage by using sophisticated sound and color dyes testing.

Natural Causes of Water Evaporation

There's no exact amount of water you may loose every day since there are four key factors that determine evaporation: exposure, water temperature, and humidity.

Exposure is how much sun and wind the pool gets everyday. Sun is great to warm up the pool, but those rays also burn off a tiny amount of water. Solar covers are a great way to prevent evaporation from exposure.

Water Temperature - As the pool heats up during the day, it cools off at night. That cooling off period is when some evaporation happens. Turn on the pool light on a nice summer night and you'll see the mist of water evaporating from the pool.Cause

Humidity - The more humid the environment, the less evaporation that will happen. Which means during a period of dry weather, you would expect to see a bit more evaporation.

In addition, constant use of the pool will cause loss of water.

The Bucket Test

The best way to test for evaporation is by using the bucket test.

Take a 5-gallon paint bucket from Lowes or Home Depot. Make a mark with a permanent marker at about the halfway point. Fill the bucket with pool water, so it?s the same temperature and has the same chemicals, up to that point, and set the bucket right beside your swimming pool. Simultaneously, use a pencil to mark the water level on your pool skimmer basket. Mark your skimmer basket so that way you don?t ruin the liner with a marker.

This test will help you determine how much water has evaporated from the bucket and from the pool. Make sure to turn off any pool heater during this test.

June 29, 2016

Stabilizer

Stabilizer

Pool owners use Cyanuric Acid to help prevent the loss of chlorine due to sunlight exposure. Cyanuric Acid is also known as CYA, Conditioner or Stabilizer.

If you have an outdoor swimming pool, you should beware of the Cyanuric Acid levels in your pool. Ignore it and you could be significantly be reducing the chlorine levels in your pool because of the hot summer sun.

Each state has different regulations on the amount public pools should have. In Massachusetts, public pools should have at least 30 and no more than 100 ppm. New Hampshire has no standards. In Maine it should be at lease 10 but no more than 150 ppm. Connecticut public pools should be no more than 100 ppm.

In Florida, which has the most private and public pools than any state, requires that all public pools be no more than 100 ppm.

Check out the various requirements over on Pool Operation Management website.

To high Cyanuric Acid levels?

Having too high Cyanuric levels will weaken the effectiveness of the chlorine. Higher levels will bind with the chlorine, making it slower acting to kill bacteria and microorganisms, and prevent algae. Higher levels will also increase cloudiness in the pool water.

Your best solution to fix a pool with high Cyanuric Acid is to backwash some of the pool water and put in fresh water.

To little Cyanuric Acid?

Too little Cyanuric Acid will results in more of the Chlorine being burn off.

Add the right amount of CYA, Conditioner or Stabilizer based on the current levels and how many gallons are in your pool.

How to test for Cyanuric Acid?

The AquaCheck test strips checks for all the critical pool chemicals. They have an App for expanded water analysis and prescription water balance. (Andriod and iOS) It's a good way to get more detail about what you should do with your pool.

On the AquaCheck test strip container, the follow text appears at the bottom:

For best results on Stabilizer test, pH should be between 7.0 - 8.4 and Alkalinity at or below 240 PPM

In other words, make sure the rest of the pool is balance before being concern with the results of the Stabilizer test.