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Thread: Should I drain?

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Should I drain?

    We have been doing major remodeling on our house and the power was off to the pool pump all winter until now. The pool has also been uncovered so it is full of leaves. Of course, the water is filthy, green. So the work begins. . .

    My question is "would I be better off to drain and start over, or start scooping leaves, vacuuming, brushing and shocking?" I had the pool crystal clear last year, but with the remodeling just had to let it go. I have never drained a pool before, and don’t know what it entails.

    My test results are:

    FC - 0
    CC - 0.5
    TC - 0.5
    pH - between 7.2 and 7.5
    TA - 40
    CH - 190
    CYA - 30

    Things to consider. . . The sides look a little discolored/green. Doesn't seem to rub off with my hand. Will this get better once I get the bleach flowing and start brushing? If I drain, I could pressure wash the pool.

    I do have a crack above and below the light in the deep end. If I drain, I could patch this while I am at it.

    Seems like getting the leaves off the bottom would be easier, if I drained it.

    Is there anything in particular I need to do if I do drain it (other than pumping to waste through the main drain). I have heard people say avoid draining because of ground water pushing against and damaging/cracking pool. I do not see any sort of pipe around the deep end that would allow pumping water from underneath the pool. One concern with draining is the age of the pool and the obious settling that has occurred around the pool deck (marble deck is cracked and unlevel in several spots).

    Details of the pool:

    48,000 IG old (probably late 1950s), concrete pool in Jackson, MS
    chlorine
    12 ft deep end (makes removing leaves a blast!)
    sand filter
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Should I drain?

    Welcome

    Clearing the worst pool is possible with just a net, bleach, and a filter.

    It appears you are aware of the risks involved with draining the pool ... worst case is that it floats out of the ground. Given its age, I doubt it has a valve in the main drain to protect against floating either. Probably not worth the risk in my mind unless you are confident about the water table in your area.

    I would think the green walls would start to come off easier once the algae starts to die.

    Here are some links to get you started if you do not drain:
    pool-school/defeating_algae
    pool-school/shocking_your_pool

    Read through all of Pool School at the upper right of the page to refresh your knowledge.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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  3. Back To Top    #3
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Should I drain?

    Welcome to tfp, cwmoody

    I tend to agree with jbliz that draining is not the first thing I would try for your pool. I am not sure if the crack and the leaves are enough reason to drive the expense of a water drain/refill. What would you use for your water source? Especially consider carefully the potential to float your pool...at 12 feet deep in MS of all places you could very well have an issue with the water table.

    I can imagine getting leaves out of the 12' section could be "fun", do you have a long enough pole?

    By the way, how did you get your test numbers?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Should I drain?

    Thanks for the replies and sharing your concerns! I am not confident about the water table in my area, especially my yard. We are currently working to resolve a drainage issue and I suspect the crack I mentioned has at least a slight leak.

    If I go the "no drain" route, should I scoop as much of the leaves out that I can prior to shocking, or just work on them as I shock and as the bottom becomes visible?

    I got the test results by using the TF100 (last year's chemicals).

    I would refill from city water, and am told there is a once per year credit for pool drain/refills. Not sure if this credit covers the sewer and water costs or just the sewer portion of the bill that is falsely elevated.

    The pole is long enough, but my back isn't strong enough!

    Given the reinforcement of my concerns with draining, it looks like the grocery stores are going to have a shortage of bleach. Wish I could get liquid chlorine (the stout stuff) locally.

    Thanks again for the advice.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Should I drain?

    The more gunk you can remove the faster the water clearing will go.

    I imagine they just do not charge you for sewer on the "extra" water that shows up on the bill.

    I have read some posts about being able to get stronger bleach from cleaning supply companies ... just another thought. Although it may not be cheaper that the local stores.

    How likely to you think there actually is a leak? Are you in a position to want to try to get it fixed? If you hired someone to fix the crack (maybe a replaster also), they should be able to safely drain the pool for you and then you would be starting with a clean pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Should I drain?

    I am certain the pool is leaking. I believe much of the lost water is through the water tiles and perhaps some water loss through the skimmer. Here's my reasoning . . There is little to no grout between most of the water tiles. The water seems to continue to slow down as the level gets closer to the bottom of the water tiles/skimmer and then nearly stops, but seems to leak a little below that level as well. Thus, based on visual montoring of the water level (no bucket tests, etc.), I think the crack may be contributing some. We were not living in the house last swimming season, so it was difficult to evalute and tackle many of these problems, but since we are now livign in the house I will putty between the tiles, dye test the skimmer etc.

    No major renovation of the pool this summer, we barely survived the home remodel. But excellent point, perhaps I should put off draining until we are in a position to replaster. Until then I can putty between the tiles and what I can reach of the crack and make do.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Should I drain?

    The tiles should basically be decorative, I do not think a lack of grout would cause a loss of water since they are just attached to the concrete pool shell (unless there is a crack in the shell behind the tile).

    Is this water lowering happening when the pump is off? (like over the winter). Sounds more likely that the leak is around the skimmer of in the suction pipe between the skimmer and pump ... you recall seeing air bubbles in the pump when it is running?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Should I drain?

    Thanks for the info about the tiles. I hadn't even thought through the construction (i.e. applied to the concrete shell). A pool guy, who obviously wasn't very knowledgeable, just attributed the water loss to them.

    I don't recall seeing any air bubbles in the pump, but will watch for that.

    The water level did seem to lower over the winter when the pump was off, but at a slower rate. Given the amount of rain we had during the winter compared to the summer and less evaporation (and not being there on a day-to-day basis to monitor it) it is hard to tell. That is something I will experiment with now though.

    If it is in the suction line, how big of deal is it to re-plumb from the skimmer to the pump? I wouldn't think the line would be that deep and the pump is only about twenty feet from the skimmer. Maybe I am over simplifying it, but it seems like a lot of digging and then just replacing some pvc.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    45,000 gallon IG old (1960s??) painted concrete pool; rectangular 20' by 40' with 12' deep end; one skimmer in deep, two returns in shallow
    1 HP Hayward pump; Hayward Pro Series 300 lb sand filter Model S244T
    Aquabot T4 ("Rosie")
    TF100 Test Kit

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Should I drain?

    Well, you first would need to see if you are getting air in pump basket. If so, check the obvious things (pump drain plugs, pump lid seal, etc) Then try running water over the exposed PVC joints and see if the air goes away indicating you found the leak. Do you see water squirt out anywhere when the pump shuts off? That would be a good place to check.

    If all that fails and you still seem to be getting air into the pump, then you may want to pressure test the suctions line to confirm and leak ... and then start digging ... but we are a long ways from that.

    If you do not see air in the pump, then the leak is not likely in the plumbing. It could be leaking at the skimmer / concrete interface or some people say in the pool light conduit or who knows where.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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