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Thread: Opening pool by myself for the first time, need some help

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    Opening pool by myself for the first time, need some help

    First of all I want to say what an excellent site this is. I spent all day yesterday online looking for a good pool care guide and this is exactly what I'm looking for. I knew I needed to sign up.

    Background:
    Ok, so my parents' pool has not been open since the 2008 season, and this year they want to open it since they are now retired and have more free time. They are trying to save some money, so I suggested to help them open the pool ourselves.

    So yesterday we started: removed the winter cover, cleaned and stored it. Of course once the cover was removed we saw the pool, and it is not too pretty but still manageable. There is lots of gunk on the bottom, but the water is transparent enough for me to see all that gunk clearly in the shallow end(3 ft), although the deep end (6 ft) floor is barely visible. I can still see the drain though. Currently the water level is about 1 ft above the shallow end floor i.e. 2 ft below normal. I then removed all the winter plugs and put back the filter/pump screws, pressure gauge, lubed the o-rings, etc.

    The pool is inground, vinyl, about 12000 gallons. The filter is a sand filter (Jacuzzi Laser 250L) and the pump is MagneTek brand(couldn't locate a model #)

    Problem:
    I figured all we needed to do was get the pump and filter running, then vacuum it, and start adding chemicals. The problem is I can't get the pump to start. When I flip the switch the pump begins to softly hum for about 10 seconds, then it clicks off. The water that I added in the pump skimmer doesn't move. At first I thought that maybe the pool needs to be filled up all the way, but my folks said that when it was professionally opened, the pool guys got it all started before the water level reached the top. My next idea was to place a running garden hose in the skimmer to 'trick' the pool into thinking that it was full, but I got the same response from the pump. This made me skeptical about adding more water to the pool.

    Questions:

    Is there a way for me to get the filter started without filling the pool all the way? Do I need to add water directly into the filter, in addition to the pump, to jump start it? Or could the problem be more serious, such as a bad pump that needs to be replaced? How else could I test to see if the pump is viable?

    Also, what should I do in the meantime? There is still lots of dirt in the pool, and I am worried about algae with the weather in the 80s now, but I have no pump/filter to circulate chemicals or to vacuum. Should I just add some chlorine and mix it manually?

    Thanks

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool by myself for the first time, need some help

    The pump should start. Since it's been sitting, it could need a nudge to get it going. Some are fairly easy to disassemble, and some you might be able to get your finger into the impeller housing from the pump strainer housing and turn it enough for the motor to kick over. Make absolutely sure the power is off before trying that.

    Worst case is a couple of hundred for a new motor. Most likey it just needs new bearings and/or a new capacitor, and that's fairly cheap. If you aren't comfortable messing with it, take the whole works to a pool store or electric motor shop and they should be able to take care of it.

    I'd go ahead and start filling the pool as well so it's ready when you get the pump fixed.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Opening pool by myself for the first time, need some help

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Try the impeller, as John mentioned. If it turns freely, try turning on the pump, so it hums, and give the motor a couple good whacks with the butt end of a hammer (you aren't trying to dent the motor, just knock some rust loose ) Don't let the motor hum for more than ~ 5 seconds - or you'll trip the breaker.
    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

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool by myself for the first time, need some help

    Some motors have a cap on the back end that can be removed and then you can access the shaft and on some motors there is a screwrdriver slot. You can turn off the power and try to turn the motor that way. Once you get it freed up you can put it all back together and start it up.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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