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Thread: When to fire the pool service?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    When to fire the pool service?

    My house came with a pool. And a leaf skimmer. And a pool service.

    I'm a little disappointed in the pool service. For starters, they relied exclusively on a floater with pucks for chlorination, so now I get to deal with the high CYA. When he showed me which valves worked what, I asked about the pressure on the filter - it seemed high, about 24 psi. He said that was normal.

    There was a pipe leading from the backwash valve to a sewer. It got broken off, and no word was said. I also noticed the air valve on the filter leaks, just a dribble. It has a tiny crack. I have located the best price on a replacement, and was about to order one.

    I bought a brush and a vacuum head, and a hose. The vacuum plate is another story, as the skimmer has ears sticking up and there is no block off for the main drain. I'm still trying to figure a way around that one.

    I also need a longer pole - the one that was here isn't quite long enough - I end up on my knees reaching way out to hit the deepest part of the pool.

    I ordered a good test kit the other day.

    This morning I went out back and saw that the filter had been backwashed. The DE crust on things says it all. Filter now reads 16 psi....

    I called the pool guy. He said, yes, they backwashed, 16 is normal (I thought 24 was?) but they hooked a hose to the outlet and ran it out to the street. I asked if that was legal, and he said, "Legal? Well, I dunno, but no one's gonna notice." Like I really need some environmental agency climbing on my back for dumping chlorinated water into a storm drain that ultimately flows to the creek and then the ocean.

    I know I'm going to fire the service as soon as I can get things organized so I can vacuum myself. I was going to wait a couple months, so the pool will get cleaned while I'm on vacation in April. Now I'm not so sure I want to wait that long.

    Any comments? Mostly I just needed to vent.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    I called the pool guy. He said, yes, they backwashed, 16 is normal (I thought 24 was?) but they hooked a hose to the outlet and ran it out to the street. I asked if that was legal, and he said, "Legal? Well, I dunno, but no one's gonna notice." Like I really need some environmental agency climbing on my back for dumping chlorinated water into a storm drain that ultimately flows to the creek and then the ocean.
    Different cities, counties, etc. have different rules for this sort of thing. Some areas even require that a separation tank be installed on D.E. pools. While some areas allow it to be plumbed for discharge to the sewer. This thread should offer some good info on this: is-a-seperation-tank-my-only-option-for-containing-used-de-t11782.html

    I know I'm going to fire the service as soon as I can get things organized so I can vacuum myself.
    Have you considered an automatic pool cleaner?
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Richard,

    We just had a pool installed, and after talking with neighbors and friends with pools, I've decided to maintain the pool myself for the foreseeable future to avoid the $100/mo here in SoCal for pool service and the issues related to babysitting someone's work which seems to be the case in your situation.

    If you learn what is needed, and have the proper equipment, no one will be able to maintain your pool as well as you can.

    Jim
    18 x 28 with 8x8 Spa with Vanishing Edge Dam wall, Pentair 4 x 160 & 2 Whisperflo, Badu Swimjet SuperSport, Pentair 400Kbtu Minimax, 80sqft DE CAT 1000 PH Controller with Stenner Pump/Tank combo

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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    $100 per month isn't as bad as the $80 per WEEK I was quoted. It's all relative.
    45,180 gallon 26' x 53' IG Vinyl, irregular shape. Hayward sand filter / pump. Polaris AutoClear SWG, supplemented with a Hayward Automatic Chlorinator (In-Line). Hayward 400K BTU heater. Paramount "turnover" system. Polaris 480 PRO cleaner.

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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcourt
    If you learn what is needed, and have the proper equipment, no one will be able to maintain your pool as well as you can.
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    I'd bet if the pool guy had made most of the suggestions that you have had to figure out on your own, you might consider the monthly service fees well spent. Consider JoshU's idea to install an automatic cleaner.... unless you need or want the relaxation that seems to come to those who vacuum their own pools. Me? I like the relaxation that comes from a glass of Zinfandel and the sound of the Polaris cleaner making its rounds, but each to his/her own!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Quote Originally Posted by polyvue
    I like the relaxation that comes from a glass of Zinfandel
    I prefer Guinness or Bass, but that's a matter of preference and is probably getting off point.

    As everyone else has said, you're already 90% (or more!) of the way to doing it better yourself for less $$$ and better results.

    Cheers, Gary
    15,000 gal. IG fiberglass pool w/ 1 hp Hayward Max-Flo and 250 lb. Hayward sand filter
    Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and enclosed in a birdcage

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    There are ways to hook up the vacuum without a vacuum plate. Try and post a picture of the inside of your skimmer without the basket in place and we will figure out how to connect the hose. Then you can start maintaining your pool yourself. How long do you plan to be away for vacation?
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    Pisces's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Quote Originally Posted by polyvue
    I'd bet if the pool guy had made most of the suggestions that you have had to figure out on your own, you might consider the monthly service fees well spent. Consider JoshU's idea to install an automatic cleaner.... unless you need or want the relaxation that seems to come to those who vacuum their own pools. Me? I like the relaxation that comes from a glass of Zinfandel and the sound of the Polaris cleaner making its rounds, but each to his/her own!

    I agree with Polyvue and Butterfly, and everybody else here on TFP. $1200 saved in a year will go a LONG way toward an automatic cleaner, and chemicals, plus YOU have control over your pool, not someone else. There's a lot of satisfaction in that alone, and getting to "know" your pool is invaluable. You'd get a head start before you went on vacation in April and save $200 to go toward a cleaner. SO worth it. Everyone here will help you with any questions or issues, and reading Pool School is a great place to start. Good luck!!
    7,000 gal. IG gunite, SWG, PebbleSheen interior finish-Aqua Blue, 8' vanishing edge raised 16-jet overspill spa, 2 12" waterfalls, tan shelf with bubbler.
    Pentair equipment: Easy Touch 8, Intellichlor IC-40, Intelliflo VF 3050, 2.5 hp Whisperflo spa pump, 1 hp Whisperflo water feature pump, Quad 100 DE filter, Master Temp 400 heater, Legend Platinum Cleaner (3/4 hp pump). Autofill, TF-100 Test Kit w/salt and borate strips.

    Pisces Pool Build

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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    The latest update:

    I measured things up and spent some time at Lowe's browsing the plumbing aisles. PVC or ABS 1½" fittings are just about perfect externally to fit inside the fittings on my skimmer. I ended up with a slip>threaded coupling and the drop section for a bathroom sink drain screwed into it which gives me a perfect fit inside the vacuum hose. If it has too much suction (Is that even possible?) on the vacuum, I can always start drilling holes in the side of drop. And if I go too far, well, I'll have to go blow another $2.68.

    I was also trying to devise some sort of diverter to get flow from the main drain. In another, older, thread someone suggested a pair of street elbows with a legth of pipe between. Since the exterior of 1½" fittings is a better fit than 2" pipe, I bought a pair of ABS elbows - I have some 1½" ABS pipe scraps here already. Problem is, the two ports are too close together. I'd have to try to cut the slip ends off and siamese the fittings together. I doubt it would hold. I may be able to cut some plexiglass to be a snug fit and seal the top of the strainer basket, then drill a hole to balance the flow by trial and error. Or go back to Lowe's and see if there isn't some way to make a sink trap work, since it's already a pretty tight U.

    So the work continues.

    On the way home from the hardware store I stopped at Walgreens and picked up some Vitamin C tablets to test them on some stains. I have a nylon with some weights and some tablets sitting on one now. I also smashed a few and set them in a pile on the steps of the spa. Someone else has remarked somewhere that when they tried ascorbic acid, things got brown first, then lightened. My steps show the same - sort of a rust-colored haze around things. Hopefully, mine will also fade. Then I'll at least know that it's stains, not algae. And then decide if I want to try the stain treatment on the whole pool.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    I stopped at Walgreens and picked up some Vitamin C tablets to test them on some stains. I have a nylon with some weights and some tablets sitting on one now. I also smashed a few and set them in a pile on the steps of the spa. Someone else has remarked somewhere that when they tried ascorbic acid, things got brown first, then lightened. My steps show the same - sort of a rust-colored haze around things. Hopefully, mine will also fade. Then I'll at least know that it's stains, not algae.
    But see the response to that post: viewtopic.php?p=152561#p152561
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    I was also trying to devise some sort of diverter to get flow from the main drain. In another, older, thread someone suggested a pair of street elbows with a legth of pipe between. Since the exterior of 1½" fittings is a better fit than 2" pipe, I bought a pair of ABS elbows - I have some 1½" ABS pipe scraps here already. Problem is, the two ports are too close together. I'd have to try to cut the slip ends off and siamese the fittings together. I doubt it would hold. I may be able to cut some plexiglass to be a snug fit and seal the top of the strainer basket, then drill a hole to balance the flow by trial and error. Or go back to Lowe's and see if there isn't some way to make a sink trap work, since it's already a pretty tight U
    I read this quickly, but it sounds like you are missing a skimmer diverter plate. it sits almost on the bottom of your skimmer, and can completely seal it off when you move the teardrop shaped cover over the hole. With it in, your basket will still fit, with pipe, it won't. You can make your own with a piece of plexi (or other hard water-proof material) cut to fit tightly inside of the skimmer bottom, with some spacers on the bottom to keep it up about half an inch. Then you cut your "flow control" openings in it, you can cut a round hole and use the teardrop style cover, or cut slotted holes in the cover and plate, ala a Webber Bar-B-Q grill air control
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Me
    I read this quickly, but it sounds like you are missing a skimmer diverter plate. it sits almost on the bottom of your skimmer, and can completely seal it off when you move the teardrop shaped cover over the hole. With it in, your basket will still fit, with pipe, it won't. You can make your own with a piece of plexi (or other hard water-proof material) cut to fit tightly inside of the skimmer bottom, with some spacers on the bottom to keep it up about half an inch. Then you cut your "flow control" openings in it, you can cut a round hole and use the teardrop style cover, or cut slotted holes in the cover and plate, ala a Webber Bar-B-Q grill air control
    You are correct. And while I identified the skimmer, the manufacturer website doesn't show a diverter plate for it, so I will have to devise something. I have 5" from the bottom of the skimmer to the bottom of the basket to play with.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: When to fire the pool service?

    You may have room to craft something with one 'street' elbow. It's an elbow fitting with one female and one male end, and they make for some close fitup.
    1 1/2 inch PVC Street Ell
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