Pool Blog Posts
Pool Pump (Part 2)
Last week post I talked about some issues that we had encountered with the Pool pump, you can read up on the orginal story.
We ended up buying a new Hayward pump. It's basically the same pump - just the latest version. There's a "backstory" to getting this new pump in the pandemic era. We think there's some price gouging going on. That's a blog post for a different day.
Removing the Old Pump
When I removed the pump, I was able to look underneath to see what was going on. It turns out the pump had a sizeable crack underneath the basket area.
Check out what I encountered:
We are not sure how the crack occurred. It's possible that it was moved around a lot. But the pump was running fine for weeks after the new pool was installed. I wonder if there was too much pressure in the basket area that caused the crack.
Hayward Pool Pump Leak
This summer we encountered an issue with a leak with the Hayward Pool Pump.
We have the Power Flo Matrix 1 HP. This seems perfect for our 24-round above ground pool. Previously we had a MagneTek Proline Pump - Model # SD-10-1N11CB. That pump lasted about 4-years.
The Hayward pump was purchased in 2009 - it close to the end of life. In my investigation. I discovered that the pump might be leaking water, as I see the dirt around the pump wet. Every place else is dry.
I have performed the following steps around the pump to see what could be happening:
- I doubled checked all the joints and there's leakage.
- I ran the pump to make sure that there's no issues while the pump is running.
- I cleaned up the dirt around the pump to see if its leaking and where it could be leaking.
Watching the Water Level
One of the additional steps that I took was to measure the amount of water in the pool. I did this over a few hours - it definitely confirmed that we were losing water. Our leak is a bit slow.
Since I identified the problem, I disconnected the pump from the pool, so that we wouldn't be losing any more pool water. There is some water in the pump and sand filter, but that is the least of my concerns.
I'll be checking some local pool places in the next 24-hours to see if anyone has any pool pumps. Because of COVID-19, there are some pool supply shortage.
If I am not able to find something. I can investigate the leak a bit more and see if that a water seal could be a temporary fix. I don't know if something like Flex Tape would be a good short term solution.
Gorilla Leaf Rake 2.0
A quick followup to the August 3, 2016 Blog Post - Gorilla Leaf Rake.
The Gorilla Leaf Rake is still going strong.
Yes, that is the same Leaf Rake that I purchased back in 2013. My $35 investment is still holding strong. After many years of pulling out leaves and sticks from the pool, the Gorilla Leaf Rake looks good. I can't remember anything else that I purchased for the pool that has lasted that long.
Not only that the leaf rake got some serious use over those years.
While I complained about the purchase back in 2016, I can safely say that it was a good investment.
Buying a Leaf Rake
The only place I have see the Gorilla Leaf Rake was at Leslie's Pool. However, they don't appear to have any in stock at the moment. Maybe they will get some in by September for people that may need the pool rake
There are similar pool rakes on Amazon called FibroPool Professional Leaf Skimmer Net. They cost about $32. I don't know about the quality of the plastic.
Pool Tools for Installation
Recently we took on the task on putting up an above ground pool. After enduring the long task of putting it together, there are some tools that we wished we knew about before starting the tasks.
So here are the tools we wished we knew ahead of time. Luckily we had many of these tools on hand, but a few of them we had to go and buy.
Ten Tools that We Wished We Knew About
Steel Poles - these are handy to have when putting up the walls of the pool. They help keep the tracks in their positions when your trying to get the beginning and end of the pool together. Basically you position them around the inside of the pool to help widen the pool.
True Temper - This helps level the ground on the pool. This is needed so that the ground is nice and flat when the liner goes in.
Garden Poles and Clamps - These are needed to keep the walls up while your trying to put the walls together. Make sure to get plenty of poles around the pool - at least 6 for a 24" round pool.
Outdoor Vacuum - This is needed when you want to get the dirt out of the wall rails. You can use a brush, but we found that an outdoor vacuum was more effective.
Lots of Screwdrivers - Have plenty of screwdrivers so that people can help put up the walls.
Large Tape Measure - At least 100" would have been good to have. It would be very useful to find the center of the circle and to figure out if we had a perfectly round pool.
Heavy Leather Work Gloves - Useful to handle some of the old rusted pool parts.
Drill Hex Bits - If you are removing an old above ground pool, you may find that some screws will be hard to remove. You may have some luck using a drill hex bit.
Dolly / Hand Truck - The pool wall is very heavy. Having a dolly made it easier to move it from the box to the center of the pool.
Magnetic Pick Up Tool - Very useful to skim the dirt of the pool bottom for any screws or metal bits. Don't risk the liner breaking, before putting it in, do a quick check of the pool area.
Checking the Pool Temp after Closing
The best way to check the pool temperature in the winter is to use a laser temperature checker.
Most standard pool thermostat can't handle temperature readings below 50-degrees. I have found that you'll likely get false readings.
The most accurate reading is using a laser thermometer.
Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer is one such product that will give you a more accurate pool temperature reading. Yes, you can get accurate water temperature with a laser thermometer! This works well because you just need a little space to put the last dot in the pool.
Why Check the Temperature after Closing?
There's no real reason to check the temperature after closing. It's more for entertainment purposes. It's also interesting to find out what the pool temp is on the coldest day of the year.
Fixing a Green Pool Quickly
This past weekend we closed our above ground pool. We haven't used it much since Labor Day, but have been too busy closing the pool. The problem was that the pool has turned green because we haven't added any chlorine in the chlorinator. Before closing the pool, we wanted it to be in decent condition.
Getting the Pool Back to Shape Quickly
Here's what we did to get the pool from bright green to near crystal clean in about 24 hours:
I backwashed the filter for about a minute and then ran the filter for about 30-seconds.
Ran the Filter/pump for an hour to get the pool circulation moving.
Added 4 bags of Chlor Brite Di-Chlor Chlorine Shock. I applied the shock directly into the pool near the out filter pool return so it would spread around the pool.
24-Hours later I added 2/3rds of a bottle of the "Pool Mate 2 Lb Super Algae Destroyer for Swimming Pools." This can be purchased from Ocean State Job Lot or Walmart. (Currently selling for $10.99 at Ocean State and $24.99 at Walmart)
I let the pool run non-stop for 24-hours. I disable the timer settings so that it wouldn't accidentally get turned off.
The pool looked in great shape after 24-hours. It would be better if I ran the automatic pool cleaner (Diver Dave). I decided not to as the intent was just to get it clear for the closing. When the pool opens in the spring, I'll run the automatic pool cleaner to get it better shape.
Just before the Pool Cover Went On
The key thing I learned was to let the pool run non-stop for 24-hours. That seemed to make a big difference in getting the pool back into great shape.
I'll post pictures of the pool in the spring - probably sometime in May 2019
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in a Pool Skimmer
Using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the pool skimmer. seems to a great idea. We hear about someone else doing it as a way to clean up a cloudy pool. We thought why not give it a try to see what happens.
Things We Learned Using Mr Clean in the Skimmer
- There is little risk to using this - since we had a few spare Mr. Clean Sponges available. We simply put one in the skimmer, making sure that it was nice and tight.
- After a couple of hours of running the filter, we checked Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and it appeared to be helping out. As you can see from the above picture, the Eraser collected some micro dirt.
- Only the top part of the Magic Eraser was dirty, the bottom was still white. Which means that the sponge was helping clean up the pool.
- The pool did look better, but I am not sure if it's directly related to the Magic Eraser but it didn't hurt the cleaning process, and the pump water level didn't go down at all.
- It seems that the Magic Eraser complements the cleaning process and does clean up the pool.
Certainly use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser if you have one available. It seems to add a bit of assistance of getting some of the micro dirt that a sand filter may not able to clean up.
Who knows, maybe you'll find the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser at your local pool supply store soon.
Pool Skimmer Basket
If you have a Hayward Pool Skimmer for an above ground pool. You should know a trick with the skimmer basket.
You can lock the basket in the Pool Skimmer.
If you don't lock the basket the basket will float around and at some point will get stuck in the skimmer basket. Then it becomes very difficult to take the basket out to clean it.
See this photo of how to lock the basket in the skimmer:
This seems like a very basic setup and common knowledge. However, for the entire pool season, it was very painful to get the basket out of the skimmer. We couldn't figure out why it was so difficult. Did we buy the wrong size basket?
Insert the basket so that it rests comfortably in the skimmer. Then rotate the basket so that the open slots lock into the skimmer baskets.
Pool Filter Hose Cost
It does payoff to plan ahead of time, especially if you own an above ground pool.
This week one of the pool hose sprang a small leak and I didn't have a spare hose in the shed. I used my spear earlier in the season. Since the leak only happened when the pool ran, I turned off the pool and made a mental note to get it tomorrow.
I went down to the local Lesie Pool supply store to get a standard pool hose and was surprised that it cost $19.65 for a single hose. Wow!
I immediately thought "Clearly there's a cheaper solution."
Above Ground Pool Hose Lifespan
I have found that a typical pool hose will last about 2 years. Might be a little less if you have dogs and other animals walking over them.
There are plenty of places online to stock up on hoses. Get it now while many stores are having their end of season clearance.
It's only $6.99 for a 6-foot Pool Hose at PoolSupplies.com and $14.99 for one on Amazon.com (Free Shipping with Amazon Prime). Those are just a couple of places that I found online. I am sure there are many other stores to pick from.
Also good to check back in January/February when it's the slowest months for pool supplies.
Follow up Post
I'll be checking back at Leslie Pool in January to see if it's still the same price. Expect a follow-up blog post on this in January.
Better Above Ground Pool
This year our above ground pool is in excellent condition. There are three contributing factors that has kept the pool looking nice and clean. It's really nice having a pool that is always available to use.
We replaced the sand in our sand filter. We haven't done this in a few years. The old sand was very dirty and compressed. Clearly, the reason why the pool wasn't getting clean last year.
Ideally the sand should be replaced every four years. If your pool had a bad year - very green and black. You might be better off replacing it sooner.
We put the old sand near the filter, it helps define the filter area.
We also backwash the filter once a week for about 5 minutes. We usually time this after a rain storm so we don't have to add additional water to the pool.
Constant Running of the filter
We run the pool every day from 4 pm to 8:30. This seems to be just long enough to keep the pool looking good.
We run Diver Dave at least once a week for about 5 hours to get any leave and debris that end up in the middle of the pool.
Our Chlorinator can hold six extra large tablets and we refill it every other week. We have checked the chemical status of the pool frequently and adjust the chlorine flow as needed.
There has been no other chemicals added to the pool this year.
Nice to have a useable pool!
Diver Dave Hoses
This weekend we are emptying the water in the pool so that we can put in a pool liner. We are having someone come over and do the installation.
Ugly Pool Water
First thing first we need to get rid of all the pool water.
We have a couple of Flotec Tempest Water Removal Utility Pumps that we connected to the pool. They work great. Just don't seem to be a good resource to empty out a 14,645 gallon (52996 Liters) size pool.
According to the Flotec website, the pumps are supposed to have a flow of 1260 Gallons Per Hour. I wasn't seeing that kind of flow in my testing.
Diver Dave to the Rescue
One thing that I discovered was really helpful was connecting some of the Diver Dave hoses and then siphon out the water. The Diver Dave Hoses are 1 1/2 inches wide, which makes the water flow so much faster.
I did a 5-gallon bucket test and discovered that using the Diver Dave hoses, and a simple siphon I was able to get the 5-gallon bucket filled up in 30-seconds. Which means that 600 additional gallons of water were leaving the pool every hour.
We have a lot of the Diver Dave hoses, so I was able to have two siphons stations set up and get a total of 1,200 gallons of water an hour. This means that for a 14,645-gallon pool, it will take roughly 12 hours to empty the pool.
Because a lot of water comes out, I have to move around the hoses so that I don't cause a flood of water to any of my neighbor's yards.
Diver Dave water flow is larger than a standard hose.
Using Garden Hoses
Garden hoses are good. But they are 1/2 the size of the Diver Dave hoses, which means that it would take 24 hours to empty the pool. Might be a good solution if I didn't have that many Diver Dave hoses available.
The good thing Diver Dave Hose has over standard hoses is that it's less likely a leaf will stop the flow.
If you need to empty out the pool, check out the pool hoses that you have and consider using them to make the process go quickly!
Swimming Pool DebateWe have an above ground pool that is at least 10 years old. We don't know how old it is as it came with the house when we purchased it.
Neighbors have told us the previous owner got it used from somebody else.
A couple of years ago a tree branch fell into the pool which ripped the liner. Last year was unable to get the pool into great shape. Part of the issue was not replacing the sand in the sand filter.
Currently the pool has some leaves, in addition, the bottom of the pool is slippy. The color is between dark brown and black.
We have to take some action as the pool is unusable and simply running the sand filter isn't going to help.
We have been thinking of a few options this year:
- Replace the liner
- Replace the liner and pool walls
- In ground pool.
Replace the Liner
We can simply replace the liner and put in nice clean water.
- Cheapest option cost about $800 for the liner, Installation and new water
- New liner and clean water means we'll have a easier start to the pool season.
- Can be done fairly quickly.
- Doesnt really present a viable long term solution.
- What if the liner get rip again?
- What if the walls dont hold up correctly when the liner is placed in?
Replace the Liner and the Pool Walls
The walls around the pool are old and we're not sure how long they will last. Should we just replace the pool, and not the pump/filter?
- Moderately expensive $7,000.
- New pool walls will brighten up the backyard.
- New technology, may last longer.
- Pool walls are better at keeping the bugs away by not having holes between posts.
- Have to figure out what to do with the old pool walls.
- New pools that we looked at have limited liner designs.
- May need a new town pool permit.
What if we go all in and replace the above ground pool with an in ground pool.
- Certainly the most expensive option. ~ $25,000
- May add value to the house. However, in New England, not every home buyer wants a pool.
- Long term solution. High cost now but may pay off in the long run.
- There might be an issue with getting it installed for this season (Schedule issues)
- Will need to get a building permit from the town to install and be subject to the latest regulations.
- Due to the slope of the backyard, additional landscaping may need to be done to properly level an in-ground pool.
Where we stand
As of now, we are considering just replacing the liner. This is the cheapest and best option for this year.
We did learn that there's a new concept of putting an above ground pool partly in-ground. Not exactly sure why someone would do that, I suspect the cost would be marginally cheaper than just installing an in-ground pool.
Looking forward to Better Pool Days
Winterizing Pool Equipment Tips
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.
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.
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.
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!
Pool Closing Tips
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.
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.
Above Ground 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.
We keep the mount flanges on the deck for the winter. We simply release the ladder from the mounts.
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.
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.