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Thread: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

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    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    McDonough, GA
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    3

    Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    My wife and I just bought our first house. In the backyard, we have a once-beautiful, now struggling in-ground pool and hot tub. We know little-to-nothing about pool ownership. The water is greenish-brown. I have fished a hose, some towels and bottles, and other random larger trash items, but there is a pretty good amount of debris on the bottom.

    The complete documentation we have from the previous owner is three hand-written sheets giving very basic information on how to drain, backwash, and vacuum. The house and pool were built in 1998. The couple divorced years ago, only the woman has been living there for the last few years, and did not keep anything up (dishwasher did not work, water heater was leaking, air filters hadn't been changed in years...I can't complain too much, because we never would have been able to afford the place if things were working). She told us that she emptied the pool, so the water in there now is rainwater. Using Google Earth, the pool is definitely blue in January 2004, and definitely green in April 2008, so it has been sitting for at least almost three years. The pump is set to the backwash setting, but there is no noise from any of the equipment, I do not think that anything is actually on. There is no movement in the pool. There is also quite a few tiles that have come off of the wall above the water level. As far as I can tell, the structure of the pool is just fine, just very, very dirty.

    On to the label reading:
    The filter is a PurexTriton Nautilus FNS48, model 09C. The thing next to it (DE filter valve?) is set to backwash, says 125 GPM, and is a model SM-20-2.
    It appears to have 3 heat pumps, 2 are Centurion 10-168786-07s, 2 HP, 1.30 SF, type CX, form KJM, rpm 3450, hz 60, code G, encl DP, volts 208-230, the other one is smaller, maybe 1 HP, has a different label and is not readable whatsoever.
    There is a taller item which is Anzen brand, has a barely readable warning or something on the top which looks like it mentions a blower, but no other identification.
    There is a STA-RITE heating system, model number not readable, which says it has a max working pressure of 50 psi and max flow rate of 120 gpm.

    Our real estate agent got a quote while we were looking at the house. Option 1 is for "Pressure wash pool, replace missing tile and start up pool (includes start up chemicals)" for $3,000. Option 2 is for "Replace 186' linear feet tile with customer's choice of standard tile. Prep and replaster 530 sq ft with white plaster." for $10,780. We did not get other quotes at this time, as I wanted to look at what our options are available.

    Do I clean the water in the pool? Do I drain, scrub, and then refill? I plan on ordering the test kits as soon as my discount is available. Do I test it when it comes (I assume the chlorine will be 0, but do I need to know the other numbers)?

    Obviously this is a lot of information, so I do not have my hopes up. I waver every day on whether I should try to tackle this or just pay the $3,000 to get it done. Thank you to anyone who reads through this short novel

    The photos:
    *EDITED*pictures no longer being hosted
    ~28' by 15', 5' deep pool, DE, inground, gunite

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    You have some choices. You can drain and clean, or you can clean without draining. Which is better depends on several things, including just how much stuff is in there and if it is really a plaster pool or not. If it is actually a vinyl liner or fiberglass, you don't want to drain. If you have high ground water levels you don't want to drain. If there are several feet of dirt/gunk on the bottom you do want to drain. I prefer to leave the water in if at all possible, others feel differently.

    Go ahead and order the test kit. You will need it regardless of what else you do.

    Missing tile is unsightly, but isn't really a problem.

    The other thing you need to find out is if the pump will turn on and if the plumbing is intact. You don't want to run the pump for very long at all before cleaning things up, but you do need to know if it works and if there are any major leaks.

    There is a nice article on cleaning up a green swamp at the top of the Algae section of the site. If you search around you can also find some stories from others who have gone through the same thing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    The two small motors you have listed as Heat Pumps are the pump motor for the pool (moves water from pool through filter and back to pool) and either the booster pump for the spa jets or a pressure side pool cleaners. Not seeing the actual layout or controls I can't say, but I would bet its for the spa jets. There is only one heater for the pool and its the big device you have labeled "Heat".

    If nobody else is near you and you have closed on the house and own it, I could drop by and tell you what is what and see if the pumps still work.

    The timers are where you can turn on the pumps to see if they work. Look for breakers that allows power to the timers and the motors. The timers should have a manual bypass to power on the pumps.

    I am in Dunwoody, Georgia.
    Pool #1 IG 24k Diamond Brite plaster with spill-over spa. Jandy Aqua Link RS One Touch with built into pool floor cleaner. Jacuzzi Magnum pump/basket feeding Hayward top mount Zeosand filter. Jacuzzi Magnum pump/basket for Spa Jets. Heat Siphon pool heat pump. Dolphin Robotic pool cleaner.

    Pool #2 IG 35K 20X40 Vinyl. Hayward top mount Zeosand filter with Pentair 3 HP IntelliFlo VS+SVRS. Chemical Free pool using Water Doctor Copper Ion Generator, PoolSkim, Polaris 9300 Sport robotic pool cleaner, Heat Siphon pool heat pump, solar blanket, Ameri-Dome 50X30 dome enclosure during Winter.

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    Pacifica's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    San Diego, CA
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    Re: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    I have cleaned up many foreclosure properties of the years which have looked as bad as your situation and I always ended up draining the water, pressure washing and chlorine washing and refilling. Having to run all of that gunk and algae through your filter would take many hours of electricity and many, many filter cleans to achieve clear water. Not to mention the amount of chemicals. As the other responded mentioned, be sure to know what kind of ground water is below your pool before draining. The rule of thumb is to not draining in the raining season. But the safest way is to check with your local water authority.

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    Re: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    Welcome to TFP!
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    McDonough, GA
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    3

    Re: Just bought a house with an ignored pool

    Thank you for the advice. When we got the quote, the pool company did say that it was a gunite pool and that the pump and equipment were functioning properly, which makes sense since they did not mention anything to do with that in their quote. For now, I am just going to work on manual debris removal and get a better feel for just what is at the bottom of the pool. We have a good amount of snow melting, so I am sure groundwater levels are high right now.
    ~28' by 15', 5' deep pool, DE, inground, gunite

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