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Swimming Pool

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by baba, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. I have an inground swimming pool for the first time and I'm looking for any advice from the experienced. It hasn't been opened in a couple years and looks like the black lagoon. I'm told I should empty it, acid wash the inside to remove stains, and bring in the water trucks. Filtering the existing mess isn't a smart option. Does this sound right? Also, I was given an estimate for around $800--$1000 for that whole process.

    Also, any general tips for pool maintenance? Don't eat the Baby Ruth, etc..?

    I know I should be on a swimming pool message board for this info, but I know and trust some of your opinions, so I'd trust feedback from here first. Thanks for any help!
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I've had my pool about 15 years - your typical 16' x 35' (goes down to 9 ft. under the diving board).

    It has also been through its "black lagoon" phase when I didn't use it for about 3 years because I was constantly on the road.

    Some advice based on my School of Hard Knocks experience;

    > Rent a good sized water pump from your local tool rental place and drain it as much as you can.
    > Using a shovel, scoop out all the crud you can. I hired a guy to do this from the "Handyman Services" in the newspaper want ads who also had a truck so he could haul away the goop in heavy duty lawn trash bags.
    > Line up a first rate pool guy to open the pool. When you contact them, ask what chemicals you should have on-hand. There's no reason to pay the extra cost for the pool guy to bring their own chlorine/algaecide/Burn-out/muriatic acid/etc. You'll use them anyway and it's just a hassle for the pool guy.
    > If you can, stay with the pool guy for all the important steps to find out what he's doing to open your pool. This way, you'll learn what it takes to open the pool and maintain the water quality. Plus, they usually have their own little specialized products that they carry with them to get your pool up and running.
    > Since you have the "black lagoon", this will probably mean you will have to have the medium in your filter changed. That usually means having someone put in new sand - your filtering medium. That's no big deal, but a pro should do it, IMO. Backwashing your filter can only achieve so much. Once the lagoon is cleaned up, it's better to get new filtering medium put in there as opposed to clogging up your filter and burning up the filter motor.
    Your pool guy may do this for you. If so, learn how to prime the filter so you can run the filter anytime you need to. During the prime swimming months of summer, I usually leave the filter on almost 24/7.
    > Yeah, your pool guy will probably have to scrub the drained pool with some harsh chemical to prevent the #1 headache of all pools - algae. If your pool has a vinyl liner, like mine, you may want to consider having a new liner installed. If it has rips/tears, you will have to get a new liner. Otherwise, water seeps under the liner and pulls it away from the walls/floor of the pool.
    If so, liners are like most things in life - you usually get what you pay for. A cheap vinyl will just need replacement in due time and you'll pay for the installation labor all over again. So, a liner with a solid guarantee is cheaper, in the long run.
    > Once the pool guy has opened your pool, don't be surprised if it looks murky green and isn't ready for swimming immediately. Those chemicals take time to disperse and do their work.
    > Expect to have to work on your water quality everyday. This means - DAILY - vacuuming and using your water quality test kit, (available at your local pool store), to see what chemicals are needed. By checking it daily, you will never have to add a fortune in chemicals, just maintenance amounts, and you can use the thing all the time. But, if you let it go, there's a chance that something very hard to get rid of, like mustard algae, can get in there. A nasty rainstorm is going to stress your water quality big time, but, there's little you can do about that.
    > There are more "organic" solutions to keeping your water sparkling blue than chlorine. Your local pool store should have brochures on them. But, here in the US Midwest, where the summer usually means long periods of drought, chlorine is the cheaper alternative. You will have to decide which is best for you.
    > One last thing - Since you have the "lagoon" it sounds like you have a solid pool cover with rips or no cover at all. I bought an Ameri-Brand mesh pool cover for the off-season that lets in rain/melted snow but keeps out all other debris. I'm very happy with it and the cost was quite decent, relative to other covers. It's so strong, I can walk on it but it's a breeze for the pool guy to roll up and store away in the garage every year. Here's their website - http://www.websweeper.com/php/pool_section/pool-011.php . It's every bit as good, if not superior to, the top-name mesh cover, Loop-Loc.....you just don't have to pay for their brand name......(kind of like buying a Lakland Skyline as opposed to a Fender American bass).

    It sounds like a lot of work and it can be. But, when I get home at 3 am from a gig and have friends over while I'm floating on an air raft under a full moon, it's heaven on earth!

    Any other questions, feel free to ask. I'm no expert and that's why I use a pool guy.
  3. Rickbass, great info, thanks! I really appreciate your detailed post.

    I do have one of those loop lock type covers. A friends daughter walked on it not knowing better and got a little wet when it dipped.

    No liner, it's a concrete surface. I'm hoping that's a good thing since I shouldn't have to worry about a ripped liner. I guess an acid wash is the ticket....that and a high initial concentration of chlorine to bleach it.

    I'm buying a 1200 gph submersible pump today to pump out the water. It will take a little longer than a big commercial rental but I'll be able to use it later to empty when it rains during the winter. For 85 bucks it seems worth it. Thoughts?

    Also, what's up with those roving cleaner robot thingies...some are called octopi? Any suggested brands to choose, or more importantly, stay away from?
  4. I'm not a big fan of those robo cleaner vaccum things. unless you let them roam around the pool all day i dont think that they could possibly cover an entire pool area. Also, those things don't exactly climb up the walls of the pool too.

    I suggest when you go out every day to do your PH water test, you get a pool brush mounted on a long pole and scrub down the walls of the pool and scrub the bottom a little bit if you see some congregated matter sitting in the bottom of the pool that looks like it wouldn't be able to just be sucked up with a vaccum. After brushing, place the vaccum head on the pole, install the vaccum hose, switch your pool pump to vaccum and just vaccum the thing going up and down from the tops of the walls down to the center of the pool. Make sure to overlap your vaccum path to make sure you got everything.

    Doing this takes me about 30-45 minutes tops.

    Good luck and stay cool. :cool:
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    De nada, baba. I just know how I wished I had people to ask when I bought a house with a pool.

    Your comment about the friend's daughter brings up a very good point - KEEP YOUR FENCE AND THE GATE LOCKS IN GOOD SHAPE....nothing like a mega-dollar liability lawsuit to make you wish you had paid attention to these things. Even if a child was rescued from near drowning, you'd still be in a world of trouble. Good thing that you can't crawl under a mesh cover that's properly installed.

    Nothing wrong with concrete. I was just making an assumption because I don't have any idea of your location. Here in the southern Midwest, at least in this part of the city, our "ground" is clay.....hell, almost everyone is setting on oil deposits that are too little to be commercially viable. As a result, that clay moves and wreaks havoc on concrete that isn't super-thick and reinforced with rebars. So, the pliable vinyl liners that can conform to the changing contours of the ground are a good solution. Plus, people like the smooth "feel" of the vinyl.

    Having your own water pump ? Might be a good idea. The thing is - IME, you don't need to totally drain your pool every fall. In fact, leaving "X" amount of gallons of water in the pool can be healthy for protecting the concrete against freezing temperatures.
    Once spring comes around, that rain water + melted snow can be mixed with fresh tap water, bumped up with some chemicals and be just fine for swimming, thereby, saving you on your water bill. Pools are seen as a luxury around here and the water department is merciless when it comes to billing you for using, say, 35,000 gallons of water in one month when I top off my pool.

    I can't give you an opinion about the robotic vacuumers. Call me a Luddite, but I just consider them one more thing that can screw up.......plus, not buying one helps me justify my insatiable craving for new bass strings. :D I have in-laws in Mesa, AZ who have one. They like it, but then again, AZ is a place where you HAVE to sell the best pool products available because there's no room for slackers in a market like that where a pool can stay open all year round.

    Just make sure that Weber grill isn't too far away from the water!

  6. michaelsanford

    michaelsanford Guest

    Apr 4, 2004
    I had a big pool as a kid (aah, the suburbs) and would suggest you not get a robotic cleaner IMHO they're almost completely useless.

    rickbass, awesome pool :lol:
  7. Wow, 3 out of 3 say ditch the robotic cleaner idea. I guess I'll save a few hundred not buying that.

    Rickbass, I don't plan on emptying it every winter, it's just that it hasn't been open or treated for 2-3 years so this spring I need to do a complete empty/refill. I'm told this will be cheaper than the man hours needed to clean it as is. Also, the sides are stained from algae/etc, so once it's empty you can acid wash that crap off. I got the pump yesterday and it emptied a couple feet overnight. I'm slowly flooding the woods so I hope no trees drop! I'm also skipping the $400 worth of water truck delivery and filling it out of my house....sloowwwly. I guess people pay water trucks when they want it fast.??

    Thanks everyone!