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Thread: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I can no longer afford the $350 it takes each time i need my pool opened or closed. My PB closed my IG pool this past winter when I was not home, so I was not able to watch the process. I want very much to open the pool myself this spring. I have read the posted Opening the Pool (General) and (Detailed), but was quite dismayed as it appeared to be meant for those people somewhat familiar with the process and/or equipment. The article talks about removing plugs and replacing return outlet fittings, unplugging pipes in the pool and filter system area; hooking up pump, filter and other additional equip, etc; starting and checking the system. The only thing i know for sure to do is to raise the water level into the skimmer. After that, i haven't a clue. What pipes get unplugged, what gets re-attached, etc? Is there someone that can give me simple step-by-step instructions on how to open my pool by myself? Is there more information on the website that I have overlooked? I switched to the BBB method last year and use the TF 100 faithfully, so getting the water in shape is easy for me. The rest, I need help!
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: NEWBIE WANTS TO OPEN POOL BY HERSELF

    Hi there. I opened my pool by myself last year. It was NOT easy, from a labor perspective, to do alone (the cover was a pain) but the plumbing issue wasn't too much of a problem. Do you know when they closed, were the lines treated with antifreeze or filled with air? What kind of cover do you have, and is there anyone to help you remove it if it's a 2 person job?

    With an inground pool, is your plumbing all PVC? Half of my plumbing is the flex- hose, and we take everything off and put the filter and misc. parts into our shed. So opening for me involves reattaching our hoses and there are these clamps that go on to attach the hoses to the hard plumbing, you need teflon tape to seal drips too. Our heater has PVC pipes that come from it, and the hoses/clamps attach to that too. Then the hose attaches to the return fitting which is on the outside of the pool. With your IG pool, I'm not sure what your set up is. So perhaps attach a photo of your equipment? I'm guessing the plumbing is all PVC or something, and there's a bypass for winterizing. So if I would guess...if there is antifreeze, remove it (I honestly don't know how that is done) or if it is air, the pump just needs to be reattached (if it was removed) and the air bled from all the lines and the pump primed and turned on... I think we need more info from you to tell you exactly what steps to take. The equipment gurus will be along shortly to chime in. My main point is once you do it once, it is fairly straightforward and you shouldn't have to pay the ridiculous fee in the future, unless you decide your time and energy are worth it.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: NEWBIE WANTS TO OPEN POOL BY HERSELF

    IMO opening a pool is easier than closing one. It would have been preferable if you had seen them close it but as Ann said we can help you better if you would post a couple of pics of your set up. With the pics we can tell you what needs to go where and any caveats on what to whatch out for as you assemble everything.

    What kind of cover do you have and is it full of water/ debris? Fan folding the cover will make it easier to put on in the fall - I assume that you'll also close the pool yourself this year.

    Once the cover is off, the plugs in the pool are pretty obvious, you already know where the returns are - they need to be unplugged and the directional 'eyeballs' reinstalled. You need to remove the freeze protection from the skimmers and put in the skimmer baskets.

    Without pics I can tell you that at the equipment pad plugs may have been taken off the pump and filter which would need to be replaced. If you have unions, there will be rubber o-rings that need to be lubed with silicon or teflon based lubricant (****NOT VASOLINE!!!****) prior to reassembly. Some threaded connections/ plugs need to be teflon taped (see this post for proper teflon tape application).

    There is nothing very technical nor difficult to do when opening a pool, you may need a couple tools (1/2" and 9/16" wrench, channel locks, screwdrivers, etc.), but even if you had to go out and buy them it would be < ~ $50.

    As a general rule, look for eyeballs, ladder bumpers and other 'at or in the pool stuff' in the skimmer basket and o-rings, plugs and other removable stuff from the filter equipment in the pump basket.

    I know you can handle this and save the $350 - we'll walk you through it once we know specifically what you need to do 8)
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: NEWBIE WANTS TO OPEN POOL BY HERSELF

    There are a couple of things you will need to learn to be able to open the pool yourself. The exact list of what you need to do, and thus what you need to know, varies somewhat from pool to pool. A good place to start is to try and locate the drain plugs. If you can do that, you can probably do everything else.

    The drain plugs are most commonly put into the pump strainer basket when a pool is closed for the winter. Open up the pump cover and look in the strainer basket and see what is in there. You should also look around the sides of the pump, towards the bottom in the same general area of the strainer basket, and see if you can find a threaded hole. If everything goes well, you should find a small threaded plug in the strainer basket that will fit into the threaded hole on the side of the pump. Tell us how that process goes, what you find if anything, and we can tell you what the next step is. Also, pictures of your equipment pad would help.

    If none of what I just said makes any sense then you are probably better off having someone open the pool for you.
    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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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Thank you all! I am confident I can do this with your help! I will take pics tomorrow and attach them. I have an automatic pool cover, so all I have to do is turn a key for that. I have no idea what they did to do the closing as I wasn't here. My plan was to watch them, take notes and reverse it in the spring; unfortuantely, it didn't work out that way. Talk to you all again tomorrow! thanks!!!!!
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    h2ctpdjl,

    You're post is classic in that you are what TFP is really all about. You have taken control of your pool water chemistry and are now about to take control of the mechanics of your pool as well.

    You will get all the help you need here. There are some true experts on opening (as well as just about everything else) and, as you probably know, they are all willing to share everything they know.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    h2ctpdjl,

    You're post is classic in that you are what TFP is really all about. You have taken control of your pool water chemistry and are now about to take control of the mechanics of your pool as well.

    You will get all the help you need here.
    Go Team TFP!!!!
    Your opening should go fine. And even if it hits any snags we can walk you through them!

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I went out and took pics of everything I could think of. I will have to send a few at a time. You were right about the strainer basket by the pump, it contained multiple items. I know where the pressure reader thing goes and the wound up blue hose goes. Do I do all this stuff BEFORE raising the water level? It has hit 74 here, but we will still have cold weather into April. I normally had the pool opnened the second week of April. Can I go ahead and get everything ready now?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself-PART TWO PICS

    More pics for your veiwing; please let me know if you need more. Aren't digital cameras just grand? I have already stocked up on my BLEACH! I will need to order a new TF100 to get me through this summer - I am arleady chomping at the bit just thinking about getting this pool opened! I havent peaked at the water yet.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Congratulations! You are making wonderful progress!

    You can open now, or put it off till later. The only exception is if you are expecting a really hard freeze (low 20s for an extended period, or into the teens at all). That seems unlikely at this point, but I am not familiar with the weather in your area. If you open now, you will need to keep the pump running any time it goes below freezing (if it does go below freezing), and you will spend a little more on electricity (to run the pump each day).

    There should be a drain on the pool heater. I believe that it is just below where the pipe where hot water comes out of the heater and heads to the pool. Most likely it has a knob or handle instead of a removable plug.

    You can do things in almost any order, as long as you don't turn the pump on until you have done everything. The one constraint is that if you raise the water level in the pool you need to finish opening before it freezes (if it freezes again). Raising the water in the pool will most likely get water into the plumbing, and you want any water in the plumbing to be circulating when it is below freezing.

    The largest task we haven't mentioned yet will be getting the cover off the pool, cleaned up, and put away. That isn't complicated, just a little bit physically challenging. It is much easier to get the cover off the more people you have. One person can do it alone, but not at all easily. It is manageable with two people, and fairly easy with three or four.

    The other task not yet mentioned will be to get the plugs out of the skimmer(s) and return(s). There may also be some foam or a plastic bottle in the skimmer(s) that should be removed.

    When I open, I remove the plugs from the skimmer(s) and return(s), then raise the water level (with the cover on), while the water is filling I reinstall the drain plugs and open the valves (your valves appear to already be open), then the pump gets primed (fill the strainer basket with water), turn on the pump and check for leaks or failure to prime (turn off quickly in case of trouble), and finally remove/clean/store the cover.
    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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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Looks like things are in order I see that the plugs are out of the pump and off of the filter. There should have been a brass plug or 2 taken off of the heater. These things are fairly self explanitory (ie. the 2 black plastic plugs go on the pump. the larger threaded cap goes on the filter and the metal ones go on the heater.)

    If you have some trouble with lighting the pilot on the heater, let me know (I can't tell from the pics if yours is electric or minivolt )
    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: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    i still cant belive you were being charged $350.00 for a liner pool with 1 pump and sand filter and a heater.... i dont understand how the owners of some companies can sleep at night.. knowing they got somones hard earned money for a 25minute pool opening

    i would like to add, NEVER EVER over tighten anything on a pool or the pump/filter. Just make things snug... if they leak, tight'n a little more.. but never wrench down on anything.. most pool stuff is plastic ( pump plugs, drain cap for the filter) you dont want to crack anything...

    i offer a service where i actually go step by step with the homeowner letting them write everything down while i open the pool as long as they use me for the pool closing. its worked out very well and they are very happy in the end... i know this is a great site, but sometimes reading something on the computer and running outside to do it can be difficult. Maybe a company in your area can swing by and check things out for a small fee once your done just to double check everything? you may not even need that, just giving you suggestions
    [center:3gj9kdnn]Matt Heck
    "HECK OF A POOL SERVICE LLC"
    Serving Ocean co. NJ
    COMPANY INFO BELOW
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en ... 2995187987[/center:3gj9kdnn]

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I have certainly seen plenty of companies that will open a pool for less than $350, but $350 is common enough.
    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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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Quote Originally Posted by Heckpools
    i still cant belive you were being charged $350.00 for a liner pool with 1 pump and sand filter and a heater.... i dont understand how the owners of some companies can sleep at night.. knowing they got somones hard earned money for a 25minute pool opening
    Matt, I am in NJ also, and have paid much more than $350 for my pool to be opened when I had a service do it. Our pool is slightly larger with a DE filter, but still was a complete rip-off which is why they were dumped in favor of doing it ourselves and saving tons of money. Would be nice to ahve more reputable companies such as yours around, most are not and cause a bad name for all of them.
    Pool Details:
    - inground vinyl liner, approx 35,000 gal; Hayward DE-6000; Pentair VS3050
    - 600sq ft Heliocol; Blue Diamond; 8 Gal Liquidator
    - TF-100

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    $350 and all they had to do was turn a key for the cover? I'm with Matt. Unless they had to clean it for hours before hand that's absurd.

    Welcome to TFP, h2ctpdjl. You'll have no problem with this.

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    $350 for a pool opening in NJ doesn't sound that outrageous to me. I've done mine by myself, and with the help of my wife. When she was helping me remove the cover, just as I called out "Watch out for the steps!", she stepped on the fiberglass step cover and "surfed" it into the pool. At that point, I bet she would have agreed to much more than $350 for the next year! Thankfully, she was not injured, just cold, wet and embarassed

    Installing all of the plugs, ladders, rails, chlorinator(s) and return eyes takes me several hours, and then cleaning and storing the cover, water bags, stakes and ties takes several more. I still wouldn't pay somebody to do it for me yet, though, in a couple of years I might.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I would agree, its a process that will next most of the day, or several hours on 2 days. I tend to buy the cheapy wintercover and toss it rather than clean/store it. Ick...I'm lazy tho.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I scrub mine on the lawn. but don't leave it there more than a few hours. It will leave a nice rectangular faded patch on the lawn! :O

    I generally open over 3 days. That includes the 3 days it takes to refill the pool. Installing the ladders, eyes, etc only takes me an hour or so. I leave the diving board off until the pool is actually getting close to swimming temp. Easier to walk around with the vac/brush.
    40 x 16 IG Vinyl. Goldline SWG
    160 Sq Ft Roof mounted solar array
    2014 Hydropool Serenity 5000 Hot Tub
    The Pool School- A great place to start
    Jason's Pool calculator

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    Heckpools's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Me
    $350 for a pool opening in NJ doesn't sound that outrageous to me.

    i dont knwo where in nj you guys are but for a basic inground liner pool here at the shore home owners are unhappy to pay anything over 215-225

    i worked for a company that serviced all over nj.. princeton, deal, holmdale... he was very expensive, but again the pools were much larger with attached spa's.. HUGE waterfalls... ect
    [center:3gj9kdnn]Matt Heck
    "HECK OF A POOL SERVICE LLC"
    Serving Ocean co. NJ
    COMPANY INFO BELOW
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en ... 2995187987[/center:3gj9kdnn]

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie wants to open pool by herself

    I opened my pool today, and so far, no problems. the hardest part was cleaning out the worms and leaves from the bottom. I put in all the plugs, attached the hose, etc. I used that white plumbing sealer tape stuff (unsure of the proper name). You mentioned brass plugs to the heater but there were none. I also doubt the pool people turned off the pilot light, as last year, when I turned the heater on, it took right off. I am currently topping the pool off. The whole process was quite easy, thanks to everyone's input. I do have a question. Since my pump is currently dry, do I do anything special before turning it on? I should be able to turn it on tomorrow. The pump indicates it is "self-priming", but i am not sure just what that means.
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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