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Thread: step pump for closings in the Northeast

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    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Boston, Massachusets
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    step pump for closings in the Northeast

    We are preparing for our first closing and have ordered a meyco mesh cover. I've seen others reference the need for a step pump under the cover. Can anyone recommend one to buy? Also, can anyone explain how it is supposed to work? I know this is basic, but I'm a complete newbie! We live in the Boston area and I expect we will have to contend with a ton of snow. Thanks in advance, Marta
    21,200 gallons/ cartridge filter/ inground pebble tec pool and raised spa (same equipment)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    You use an automatic pool cover pump, or a sump pump that turns on automatically when there is water, and place it on a high step. That will pump out water if the water level gets too high. so water doesn't get into the skimmers or plumbing.
    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

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    Boston, Massachusets
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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    Thanks Jason, where do I get one? Any recommendation on brand? I have a sunshelf, would that be a good spot? How do they stay upright with a load of snow on top (presumably)? Also, do they connect to a hose, that I then need to run downhill? Lots of questions, thanks in advance!
    21,200 gallons/ cartridge filter/ inground pebble tec pool and raised spa (same equipment)

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    Central Massachusetts
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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    I'm not really sure how a step pump or automatic pool cover pump will work in Massachusetts. I live just south of Worcester and by January, my pool is frozen solid about 6 inches or more thick and stays that way till St Patricks day. A cover pump or step pump would be frozen solid either sitting on the cover or on a step. If it were ont he top step, or on the cover, the pump would be encased in ice. Those automatic cover pumps do not work up here, at least thru the coldest part of the winter.

    I lower the water level to just below the skimmer when i close. Sometime just before christmas, i'll check it and pull the water back down to around 15" below the top of the pool to get rid of any water level increase due to fall rains and early snow. I'ts usually not frozen solid at that point, but YMMV depending on how cold December is. After that, I dont do anything until about April.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    I generally use either a Little Giant ACP-500 or Rule 1800, more often the former as it has a smaller foot print. This is only, IMHO, for use in pools with water line tiles.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Westford, MA
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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    I'm in a similar situation, first year with the pool, in the Boston area. Closing is on Monday by PB. I'm planning to watch closely and probably do it myself next year, we will see.

    PoolGuy - you are aiming to keep the water below the tile line, so it doesn't freeze against the tile and shift or crack the tiles, correct? What about the returns getting caught in ice? Would shifting ice cause damage or displacement to the returns?
    New (2011) 25000 gal gunite; 21x38; 3.5 - 8' deep; All Hayward: VSP, 48 sq ft DE filter, SWG, 400K BTU Gas heater, PS-8 Controller; Polaris 280

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    Re: step pump for closings in the Northeast

    The return lines have the water blown out and are sealed with plugs while being blown. There is little to no water in there. The ice would push the plug in tighter anyway if it froze that deeply.

    Keeping the expanding ice off the vertical tile surfaces at the water line of a pool with water line tile keeps the ice from potentially causing cracks. This is where the pressure is greatest. Grouted tile also sometimes has holes that let moisture in. Keeping the level below the tile also allows draining or evaporation , further reducing tile popping.

    Having a well sealed expansion joint is also important. If you have a new pool and the foam used outside the coping before a concrete deck pour is not cut down and filled with self leveling caulk, water may penetrate, gaining access to to the mortar holding the coping by a wicking action. Left long enough, that moisture can make it to the tiles too. Freeze the water and it's expansion will pop coping and tile.

    This caulking is often left undone by many PBs, especially if they aren't doing the decking. The mason should but normally don't include this. This leaves the pool owner with an unexpected surprise since no one wants to tell them they need to cough up more money.

    Sorry about the somewhat lateral hijacking of the topic.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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