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Thread: Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

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    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Fayetteville, NC
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    Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

    Hi all,

    Need some immediate advice. Purchased a home with 30 year old concrete pool that was not functioning, full of debris, toads, sludge, junk, etc. GC who was renovating my home, hired a subcontractor to remove entire deck and install new skimmer that was cracked along with concrete. Skimmer was set in place but not sure with what kind of material. Then GC trying to take shortcuts, got some yahoos to come and poor concrete deck instead of the pool subcontractor that I was told would be completing entire job. Long story short, after seeing how awful the deck was and requesting that everything be corrected, GC abandoned job and pool was not finished. Ultimately, I ended up draining pool with sump pump, acid/tsp pool, paint pool, and refill with water so would could test pump, skimmer, etc. At least that's what the new pool company advised I do before they would come out and test all my equipment. I told the company that I had never owned a pool before and didn't know how to operate any of the equipment, or how things work. I mentioned that I couldn't expel water through main drain and when I was using pump rented from home depot dirt was coming out of pipe.

    Well, pool guy came last week and couldn't get pump primed, kept running dry. Main drain nor skimmer seemed to work and some dirt shot out of one of the 2 jets I have and some from the skimmer while he was trying to get it going. He said he couldn't fix that day and cleaned the pool and drop chlorine granules in it to keep it clean for the weekend. However, a few days later, I go out and find that the concrete patch that was put around the skimmer was mushy and falling into the water. I later discovered that it was a vinyl patch and not hydraulic cement, and water level was decreased jump below the skimmer. Pool guy comes back and says he things the skimmer is bad and doesn't think he can unclog main drain but will come tomorrow with drain king to try. Called almost every pool company in the local area and NONE of them are willing to come and help me with the pool. Was referred to call a plumber. Plumber says I have to drain a 20X40 pool that I just filled with water and pay $1200 for them to unclog. Then to make matters worse, I attempt to clean up the mushy vinyl patch that was put around the skimmer and noticed whatever the first pool contractor used to set the skimmer before concrete was pour was coming out also and crumbling. Doesn't appear to be concrete and I don't know what it is. PLUS, I found that the folks who poured the concrete deck took two pieces of siding off my house and put it on top of the skimmer and poured concrete on it. Why would they do that? I have no idea at this point what to do, how to fix any of this, or who to call for help. If you all have any advise for me, please help.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
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    Re: Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

    Welcome to TFP! But sorry about your troubles. What a nightmare! I hope you have those contractor's information handy for reporting to the BBB or contractor's board. Simply ridiculous. Definitely keep good notes on everything that has transpired in case you end-up taking legal action. Just horrible.

    As for the water flow, you appear to have a main drain and skimmer. Even is one is plugged, water should get to the pump and pump basket from the other. Being such an old pool with relatively no maintenance performed in a quite a while, any number of things may have been swallowed-up in the pipes. There are some DIY ways to try and remove an obstruction - at least from the skimmer to the pump since that's relatively easy to get to. The main drain might not be ideal right now if the water is yucky or since the pool is filled. So people will try running a long "snake" through the simmer pipe, or try pressurized water going in reverse from the skimmer basket back to the skimmer to try and dislodge something. Even if the concrete around the skimmer looks bad, if the pipe itself is not compromised water should still flow. SO I would try one of those things first to see if you can get lucky. If not, then perhaps just a local plumber to assist with the skimmer line first.

    The concrete and poor work done by your contractors is very disappointing. If you haven't yet paid them, I would hold any more funds until the job is done right. Good luck!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Join Date
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    Fayetteville, NC
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    Re: Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

    Thanks for the advise. Unfortunately, they have been paid and I am pursuing legal action against GC. I also found out who the pool subcontractor was and that's a part of the problem. When I tell the other pool companies who installed the skimmer, they all know him and don't want to work behind him. So now I am not telling anyone who the GC hired to do the skimmer. I just need someone to help me fix it. I'm going to let the one pool guy try to unclog with the drain king. I'll also pass along this info to him to see if he can help me get at least one of them going. If he can't, a plumber said he will come out on Saturday and unclog but I have to drain the 50k+ gallon pool.

    The skimmer doesn't appear to be damaged despite it having vinyl siding on top of it, but again, I don't know what I am looking at. I'm attaching pictures of the skimmer before concrete was poured and what it looks like now. Can you tell me if I need to have the concrete removed around the skimmer and siding removed. I still don't know what they did this or if it is causing a problem. If it isn't a problem, I suppose I can leave it and then repair the area with hydraulic cement. Can you advise on what you think I should do?

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

    Yikes! The person who did that job really just "patched" the heck out of it. My teenagers could probably do better. Well, I suppose anyone with experience in the field of stonework, masonry, etc would say the best option is to remove all the prior work by cutting it out. Then construct the proper base/support to enclose the skimmer. Finally, packing the area with the correct base and support material required not only to support the decking and weight of people above, but also to seal the water properly from the front. It certainly can be repaired, but not by anyone like the knucklehead who did the repair job from these pics. You should at the very least be able to contact various masonry or pool installers in the area to see if they could refer a person who is reputable for this type of work. Very sorry you are going through this. It just amazes me the stuff some people do. Wow.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Fayetteville, NC
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    Re: Bad skimmer install, major clogs...need help!

    Thanks again. I'll definitely pursue these options and will let you know how things turn out.

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