Hello. First post to TFP. Looks like a great community.
Question #1: is there a way/equipment/technique to know the water level of a closed pool (with safety cover on)?
Question #2: is there a way/equipment/technique to pump water out of the pool when closed for the winter (without removing the safety cover)?
Purpose: to be able to pump out excess water AFTER closing and before it freezes (thus saving my tiles and/or coping from popping off).
I live in MA, just south of Boston. Have an inground gunite pool that is 20+ years old. We moved into the house 2 years ago, and found, post-closing when the pool was open and operating (it was closed when we made the offer and the inspection), that a number of tiles around the water line were totally missing and many with cracks in the grouting. In the worst place there was missing/cracked concrete where the tile grout usually adheres, concrete that was turning to sand and growing algae. That first summer and winter we just left it, had some leaking which got worse as the summer went on. Filled the pool once a week or so and tried not to worry about where the water was going and what other damage might be happening.
The next spring (late May), after the pool was opened (we paid for the service) I put on the wetsuit and jumped in to 60 degree water. Using hydraulic cement (which cures in 1-3 minutes even under water pressure) I smeared the exposed concrete with the cement, filled in the worst cracked tiles and tried to generally restore the tile level to being watertight. Despite some mess (including globs of concrete that fell and adhered to the bottom of the pool and having to thoroughly backwash the filter) it worked. Much diminished leaking all summer (I also had some leaky valves near the pump). I had the pool closed for the winter, with the typical dropping of the water level, etc.
2nd winter (2013-2014) was very snowy. We could see that the water level had risen due to rain and snow melt. We attempted some pumping, but with everything frozen solid most of the time, not much we could do. Upon opening, some of the hydraulic cement had popped off, a few extra tiles in the bottom of the pool, but no apparent leaking.
3rd Summer (of 2014) after replacing the ball valves, installing a new pump motor and replacing some cracked underground PVC pipes (due to some over zealous tree removal on my part), all work I did myself, we called the contractors and arranged for new tiles, coping and (this coming spring) a new gunite surface.
By this coming spring I will have invested some significant money in a newly reconditioned pool and am looking forward to no leaks and no worries.
BUT...I have not found, on this site or on any website or product catalog, a good way to know the level of the water underneath the pool cover without removing it, and then pumping any excess water out of the pool, even during inclement weather or 1+ feet of snow. (The weather here is such that we can get feet of snow without ever having a hard enough freeze to freeze the surface water).
Thought you might enjoy my overall story and maybe be able to help me. The issue of ice and winter care has been addressed on a number of posts here, and I think I have read them all, but I have not seen answers to my two questions above.