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Thread: water bag alternatives

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    Diver's Avatar
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    water bag alternatives

    I have a solid winter cover aka tarp. It’s held in place with a set of double water bags. While they work ok, they seem to be a lot of hassle. Almost none of them hold water in two compartments over winter. Some of them lost the water in a matter of days. They collect a lot of dirt under and around. And they a lot of PIA to fill, refill and to deflate.

    I was wondering if anyone come up with some good alternatives for them? I know there is a safety cover, but I’m only thinking about how to secure a regular solid cover in place with something else rather than the bags? I have some cinder blocks hanging around and while they are heavy enough for the job, they have sharp edges that would wear the tarp quickly. Also it would require either a lot of cinder blocks or I would need some kind of planks that could be positions on the side of the tarp and then cinder blocks could go on top.

    Anyone has anything to share on this subject?
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    You don't want to use anything that isn't soft. A cinder block or wooden board can be pulled into the pool by the cover and end up puncturing the liner.

    One company makes some fairly soft plastic bins that are siutable, but they aren't a whole lot better than the usual water bags.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    you gave me an idea about plastic bins. they could be filled with water and emptied a lot easier then the bags. maybe i will look around for something like that.

    thank you as always for quick answers!
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    I use the old bleach jugs, I fill them with water and put them about 2' apart. I set them on the cover back about 2-3' from the waters edge. I used the water bags too but within a few days at least 1 side was already empty & I bought them brand new to use this past winter.
    16x32x9 w/bottom sides go in about 4' down. IG, vinyl liner, new 2010 22-1/2" sand filter & new sand, 1/2 or 3/4 hsp. motor. 23,000 Gallons, Ohatchee, Alabama

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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    the beauty of the plastic bins is that they can be stacked nicely when not in use. very easy to fill with water and empty too. target has sets of 12 6qt plastic storage bins. i'm trying to figure out the combined weight of the water bags i have to roughly figure out how many bins i would need and how far to space them.

    empty bleach jugs for cover weight could be a good answer to anyone using BBB approach and who is trying to figure out how to get rid of them or what to use them for!
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Diver's Avatar
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    i did some research and plastic bins seem to be a viable alternative! i calculated that i would need 6 of these 41qt boxes for corners (L-shaped pool):



    and 12 of these 6qt boxes in between (size not to scale with a prev iamge):



    These will provide almost 700 lbs of weight and it would cost about $80. As for bags, I need about 13 of them and it would cost me $55-$65, so the cost is not that far off. i couldn't find the volume for the bags, but 700/13 = 54lbs and i doubt that the bags would weigh that much each. so taking into consideration extra weight provided by the bin, the cost is pretty much the same. the advantage of the bags is that the weight is more evenly distributed, but i think the boxes would do.

    i need to check if the boxes would survive the water in them turning into ice. maybe i should experiment and try a small one in the freezer

    there are other sizes in between (16qt and 28qt), but the ones i picked are low profile and should do the work fine.

    anyone sees anything wrong with it that i might've overlooked ?
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    Other than ice damage, they should work well.

    We had 1 pool owner who had water tube experiences like yours (and everyone else who uses the tubes). He used sand filled 1" pvc pipe (he silicone plugged 1 end of each pipe, filled with sand and silicone plugged the other end - the plug was in the inside of the pipe, so they would still accept the 90*s , 45*s and coupling fittings he used in the corners and to connect the 10' long sections. He numbered the pipes and had a laminated diagram for the layout. It was wicked easy to secure his cover every winter And, in the spring, we'd put all the fittings in a small bucket, stow it in the shed and stack the pipes under his deck.

    He probably should have patented the idea, it could possibly kill the water tube industry.
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    Ted, that's a pretty cool idea. are you sure it was 1" pvc pipe though? 10ft of 1" pipe will weight about 6lbs (5.89 of it would be sand). maybe it was bigger pipes? i will look into it, maybe it's be more cost effective then the bins. it would be more elegant for sure.

    i have a bin with water in the freezer right now - gonna check if it would burst. i doubt it would
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    It might have been 1 1/4" but certainly smaller then 1.5" (or maybe he used lead shot to fill them )

    I suspect that because it's a continuous 'loop' around the pool wind, or whatever, would have to move the combined weight of all the pipes to blow the cover off. He also used a couple inner tubes to support the center of the cover and kept the cover water pumped down - to prevent water on the cover from pulling the cover out from under the pipes.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    if water is not pumped out and the pvc pipes are hooked to the cover loop the weight of the water might break the pipes trying to pull the cover down. i need to think about good approach, but i really like the idea - it's very neat!

    edit: actually there shouldn't be any pull - the water level below the cover should stay put, unless there is a leak
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    Ted,

    Thanks again for the awesome idea - i think i'm going to go with pvc pipes. i did some more research/calculations on the subject and i think i will go with 2" pvc pipes. Even if filled with sand 2" pipes would weight about 22lbs for 10ft pipe. Smaller pipes would be much lighter

    In my homedepot premixed concrete is cheaper then sand (1.98 for 60lb bag) and it's almost 50% heavier. So each pipe filled with cement would be about 30-35 lbs for total weight of the contraction about 450-500 lbs.

    The problems with regular fittings that you mentioned earlier is that they go over the pipe and that will result in the whole thing sitting on those high point with sagging middles. But it looks like 1-1/4" fittings might actually fit inside of the 2" pipes which would yield much flatter structure. Since i don't care about fittings being water tight as long as they keep things together reasonably well, it should do.

    The cost of it would be about $100 not including my work, which is not that far from bags solution, but hopefully it would last a lot longer and be much neater.

    I will report in the fall with the pictures

    oh, the plastic container passed the overnight freeze test
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    Diver,

    I was wondering how you made out with your PVC design? Do you have any pictures / experience you can share?

    Thanks,
    Mason

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    it turned out great! they work well, keep the cover in place, easy to clean and stay connected nicely. the only downside is that the pipes are really heavy, so moving them around is an effort. don't have any pictures on me, but i might update the thread with them later.

    overall i'm very happy with the solution.
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    I like this idea. I just built my first pool and didn't want to drop the few grand a safety cover was going to cost so I bought a cheap mesh setup and water tubes. I had them filled and in place for 2 days, then went to move one tube and when I dropped one end about 6 inches it burst open and emptied. A generic zip-lock bag would have held up better! If the PVC setup lasts 4 days I'll be ahead dollar wise.
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    here are some pics on a cloudy dark fall day..
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    We are pool novices and this is our first winter and closing. So take my advice for what it's worth We started off with a tarp and water tubes and after our first winter storm, the water tubes had deflated and I was outside in the middle of the night pulling the tarp up from the bottom of the pool. After some phone calls to some more experienced pool friends we opted for the plastic storage bins filled with water. So far so good, and the cost was not too bad either.
    13,000 gal, IG vinyl, Jandy CV 340 cartridge filter, Jandy 1.5 FloPro pump, inline auto chlorinator, Legacy LRZM heater, Jandy waterfall pump, Automatic pool cover. Hot Springs Spa ~ Flair 326 gal with Ace Salt Water System.

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    5 gallon plastic buckets work fairly well. You just need a lot. If they get dragged into the pool this just kinda float around. Paying for buckets isn't really feasible. Call around to ice-cream parlors etc. They buy syrups in 5 gallon buckets typically and are usually more than willing to get rid of them to you.
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    Re: water bag alternatives

    How did you secure the concrete inside the tubes. I understand you used plugs, but they were not tight fitting were they? What did you use to secure the plugs inside the tubes. And how did you fill the tubes? I love this idea, but don't picture myself standing on a ladder with a funnel filling a tube with cement. I may have missed something here but I want to make this work. Any additional tips?

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    Diver, +1 to nkelley on any further info on how you filled the tubes with concrete? I would also like to do this same project-- you had a good idea!

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    Re: water bag alternatives

    i just noticed that i didn't answer some questions on this thread form almost a year ago

    yes, the plugs were tight. i happened to have a round wooden pole that was perfect size - i sliced an inch think plugs from it and hammered them into the pipes. then i stood up the pipes vertically and poured concrete thru the funnel

    it's been 3 years and it worked flawlessly.
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

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