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Thread: Closing Story and a Half

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    Closing Story and a Half

    Heads up, this contains mostly useless info, but if other peoples' misery entertains you, prepare for a great story!

    So I decided to close my in ground free form 16x32 today. As a side note, the pool came with the house which I acquired less than a year ago with no documentation whatsoever so it's been a bit of a learning process.

    Starting at 9am - I get the cover out of the garage and spread it out in the yard. It's filthy... we lazily didn't scrub it after opening... Some of you guys saw the filthy cesspool I opened to.

    head to leslies since I decided I wanted their gizzmos and plugs. I buy 1 3/4 plug, 2 plugs from the bin labeled 1.25-1.5" (#10) and 2 2" (even bigger) plugs. The idea is to gizzmo the skimmers, plug the returns (1.5", and plug the 2 outlets inside the filter housing. I then head to wally world for 5 gal RV antifreeze and the wife calls with a whole list... great

    Start the draining process. I figured this would go quickly but as it turns out it takes a long time (hour+) to drain thousands of gallons of water. I wait around watching the water drain.

    Wife has to head out for a while so I have her help me put the cover over the pool. Then we pull it back a bit so I can still finish blowing out the lines.

    I get home and realize I was being stupid. I am bringing the pump and filter housing into the house! I need to get 2 1.5" plugs so I go to leslies and buy 2 more #10's for the unions. I'll have to return those 2" plugs tomorrow.

    I get home and see water pooling on the cover. HOLES! Not only are there holes but in some spots on the cover water was just seeping through period. This cover was obviously shot. Luckily the wife was still home so we pull it back off and throw it in the yard. I head out first to leslies. 16x32 covers are $75, $125, and $160 respectively for lowest to highest quality. Waters edge, my local mom and pop who I called said $88 for the 16x36 they have. Leslies was out of stock on the cheapest one so the midgrade for $125 was my only option. As it turns out waters edge $88 cover IS the mid-grade quality. Waters edge also has black double tube water tubes for less than the single blue tubes at leslies per 8 foot tube. Leslies really is a bunch of con-artists. I really don't understand why that place is in business. So I get my cover and tubes and head home. The cover is 16x36 instead of 16x32 but I figured I could use the extra length.

    Wife is gone so I work on blowing out the lines. I hook my air compressor up through my home-made home-plumbing pressure tester adapter to the garden hose port.

    While I'm starting to hook things up I realize I'm going to have to find my 3/4" pvc plugs for the ports of my pool control system. So I hunt for those and can only find 2. Well **** I need 3.

    So I start to blow out the lines. I figured I would do the outputs first. So I open what I *thought* was the 2 way valve for my one return. There is some gurgling and then my main drain starts blowing bubbles. WHAT THE @!?!@?!?!??! I have a RETURN that goes into the main drain! THAT is how my main drain blew bubbles in the spring! I assume that it is setup that way to prevent you from getting stuck on the main drain but I dunno. That's a strange configuration! So I try the other valve which I thought was my other return and as it turns out this is BOTH returns. Argh.. Well ok!

    Then I realize that it probably makes the most sense to blow out the suction side first. So I start to work on the skimmer. I installed the gizzmo and turned on the air. It gurgled and blew a bunch of water out but I realized the air compressor just isn't going to cut it. That kind of surprises me since it's a BIG air compressor but the volume just isn't there. So I go grab the shop vac. The shop vac was currently setup for dry dirt so I took the air filter out and emptied the bucket which was filled with nasty **** and I got dust everywhere. Ugh. So I convert the vacuum to wet use and shove the vacuum hose into the gizzmo top port and start sucking out the water. Now THAT worked well. I emptied out the skimmer too with it while I was at it. I cleared both skimmer lines and then added 1 gal antifreeze to each. Capped the gizzmos and closed the valves and we're done. Some point during this process I decided I can remove the pump so I do so and then I realize I need the pump in place in order to use the air compressor to blow the main drain suction line! So I reinstall the pump and connect the unions. The I blow out the main drain, close the valve, quickly remove the pump and go to put in my 1.5" plug. ERRRR it doesn't fit! My stupid thought process was that for some reason union connectors have a smaller port. Well ****!

    So I go to leslies and buy 2 of the smaller plugs, #9

    I get home, finish the main drain, plug the union. Sweet. Now we're in business. I focus back on the output side and realize those #10 plugs won't fit in the returns either. I realize that the #10 plug is just too big. I don't know who labels their bins but 1.5" is the size of the smallest portion of the plug but that's not the usable size.

    So I go back to Leslies and buy the 2 #9 plugs for the returns. By this point the staff there are starting to giggle a bit. I grumpily buy the plugs and go home. My wallet is starting to get stuffed from the numerous receipts.

    So I get home and I turn on the air supply to the returns and get to work plugging them. Except the #9 plugs I just got keep popping out. So I try try try again. I try over and over again. I get pliers and try to wrench them in. I do whatever I can. What the heck I JUST put #9 plugs in my 1.5" unions why won't they fit in my 1.5" returns. So I get on my swimsuit... I'm going in. My legs are freezing in the 60 degree water and I'm just not making any progress. Then I feel into the return and realize there is an inner kind of flange protrusion that makes the return smaller than 1.5" So I wrestle for a while figuring maybe I can make the plug bigger. Eventually I resign myself to the fact that I need a smaller plug...

    So I go back and buy #8. The sun is starting to set and I finally get the plugs installed. I then blow out the main drain return and close the valve. So I was going to pour antifreeze into the returns through a little plastic bendy tube but that really didn't work out very well at all. Oh well I guess the returns aren't getting antifreeze.

    So I finally decide to put the new cover on and finish up. We stretch the cover out over and it fits in the short direction (the 16 way that was only adequate) but not the 32 way DESPITE BUYING A MUCH LARGER COVER! I lined it up the best I could and started to fill water bags which is messy horrible work. I get some of the bags filled but the bugs are eating me. I walk past my wife who says "what's wrong with your face" as it turns out, I have a GIANT quarter sized mosquito bite on my FACE! The mosquitos are INSANE. So I decide alright, I better just wrap it up for tonight so I put the air compressor and vacuum away and I decide to wind up my discharge hose. I get to about the middle of the discharge hose and... what is this? It's a big clump of DE and dirt and nasty ****. I drained my filter by using backwash and apparently it put a TON of **** into my discharge hose! A lot of it made it to the end but I'll obviously have to flush the discharge hose out again...

    So that's my saga. I have a mostly covered pool with only the skimmer lines having antifreeze and 1/4 of the water bags filled. I have boxes and random **** strewn through my back yard and I'm tired.

    The moral of the story is, DO NOT underestimate the evil pool!

    I hope you enjoyed my little story

    UPDATE: Oh yeah, and I didn't need the 2" plugs I got for the multiport valve because once I had the pump disconnected, and then I disconnected the DE filter, the whole multiport assembly just slumped and I realized that is connected to a union and I can just bring the *entire* multiport assembly inside! This of course also meant that I didn't need the 3/4" plugs that I made a specific lowes stop for either.

    I don't want to scare anyone away from closing their own pool... I just want to offer that **** happens And you have to just roll with it.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    It is fear of exactly this kind of situation that enables me to open my wallet and pay the pool store to close my pool! Otherwise, it would stay tightly shut and I'd bumble through like everything else ... funny story!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    That story makes me glad that I live where the pool doesn't have to be closed! The rare times that it gets below freezing in these parts, the freeze protection on my pool kicks on and runs the pump until the air warms back up. 8)

    Suggestion: Write yourself a "how to" manual of what works and what doesn't, what fits where, what order to do things in, etc. so it will be easier next year.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    piku, I'm worn out just reading the story! That was a lot of work! Not to mention the skeeters!

    HarryH3's suggestion on a "how to" manual is great! Maybe consider adding a pictorial of what goes where

    Glad that we live where the pool stays open year around.
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    Sorry for your misery. It will be easier next year. Just a word about the returns. Those "inner kind of flange protrusions" as you call them actually unscrew and should be removed in addition to the outer assembly and eyeballs.
    Dave
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    Our pool-
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    Piku, I'm really sorry you had such a hard time closing the pool! (but your description of the trouble is priceless :P ) At least you'll know better for next year Please remember that you have this forum to turn to in times of pool problems (I was golfing today, but lots of others could have helped you while you were dealing with this - this place is a great resource and will always help with the 'little' problems you encountered )

    I hope you have a great winter!!!

    See you in the spring, if not during the winter
    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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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    Quote Originally Posted by DLSDO
    Sorry for your misery. It will be easier next year. Just a word about the returns. Those "inner kind of flange protrusions" as you call them actually unscrew and should be removed in addition to the outer assembly and eyeballs.
    Really? Hrmm.. They weren't removed when I opened and I actually got replacement eyeballs and it didn't have that. I think I might just risk it. The yard is cleaned up and the cover is on nicely I know that the returns hold pressure without bubbling and thus shouldn't allow water in as they are and I don't think removing those things would make the protrusion any smaller to lessen risk of damage from the ice block.

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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    So I cleaned my DE filter. I thought I could just hose it down without disassembling it. LOL. Yeah right. Once I got it disassembled I realized there was a solid 2-3 scoops of DE caked onto the grids. Is that normal or have I been adding too much after backwash? My pool has been sparkly all year with only 2 backwashes really necessary so I can't think I was doing it that wrong. I got really lucky when I realized the filter housing almost didn't fit through the attic opening. But yeah I put into the attic my pump and motor, multiport, DE filter and housing and all that is left at the pad is 6 pipes. Now I can finally redo the pad rocks, landscaping and electrical box and level everything (which is pretty slumped right now). My cover that was too small now seems to be stretching out and the folds straightening in the sun and it seems about adequate now (but only just barely!).

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    You can do it either way, if you take the inner part out you can use a threaded 1-1/2" plug with an o-ring, which is a lot less frustrating than the rubber plugs with no risk of falling out. Hayward makes a tool for it: http://www.teddybearpools.com/catalo...ard_winter_key

    Just a piece of plastic that fits into the keyed part of the return (slots on the inside). You could find any number of things around the garage that will do the same job.

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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    Interesting. I'll keep that in mind for next year. I know the plugs are good now that I got the right size in there but it was good I insisted on figuring it out. I'm pretty sure there was no way I was blowing all of the water out of the returns. I think a better way to do it would be to get one of those one way valves and attach a length of pipe to the end to bring it above the water surface. Then blow away and get all the water out, then remove the length of pipe. Someone should make such a device, there has to be more people than just me who don't drain below the returns. I don't know how reliable those one way valves are vs an expansion plug too.

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    There are plugs on the market that have built in one-way valves, but as with most things of that nature the manufacturers are too proud of them to make them worth the price.

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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    My partner and I were talking about the 'blow through plugs' today and bemoaning the fact that we've never seen one that lasts for more than a couple of seasons

    Piku, they exist, but I haven't seen one I'd trust on my pool (... not that I have a pool )
    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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    New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    I use a small Shop-Vac to close. I have a larger one that is a blower-vac, but it is not as good at either blowing or vacuuming as is the smaller metal can Shop-Vac. I clean the balanced pool, clean the filter(good back-wash, sand filter,) shock if there are CC(usually not needed,) add winter dose of algaecide and circulate while I prepare the covers and plugs. I clean the plugs(1.5" PVC male with O-rings, and Gizmo) replace the O-rings if needed and install new teflon tape to threads of winter plugs, but not to temps. Then I unroll and place the cover on the pool, just securing it in a few places, leaving me access to the returns and skimmer. I put the cover on because the leaves are usually trying to fill in my clean pool. Shut off pump and open drains on strainer basket, pump body, heater and filter, placing all drain plugs in strainer basket, place multi-port valve in between settings and remove and drain chlorinator/SWG. I then install Aquador on skimmer, vacuum water out of skimmer, line and install Gizmo. Then I duct tape the Shop-Vac as a blower to the return line at the pump pad, (it quickly blows the water out from the lines) and put a temp. plug in one return, and then the other, and alternate opening each until I feel that most of the line is clear, then install the taped winter plugs( if I try and use the taped plugs, the tape will quickly come off.) Using a funnel I add some anti-freeze to the main drain line. Cover pipe openings with Saran Wrap and rubber bands, and then finish pool covering, water bags and leaf net install. I move liquid chemicals into the garage, and make sure that the pump breaker is off. I leave all of the equipment that sat outside through the summer where it is, uncovered. The sun does more damage than cold does, but freezing/condensation under a cover is not good either, as is dropping stuff designed for outside that you are trying to move inside. Before I had the Aquador, I lowered to just below skimmer, and I didn't use anti-freeze the first years because the water level in main drain line was well more than foot below ground level at the pad. The frost line here is only 6 inches deep.
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    I feel your pain. This is called a learning curve. It gets easier.

    My pool (2004 Anthony Sylvan ) was built with the main drain from return connection. The idea is that you can take water only from the skimmers and return only to the main drain and you will warm the pool up faster in the Spring by avoiding thermal layering. I use it and I actually think it works. I like it when I vacuum because there is no surface turbulence which makes it easier to see the bottom. It makes winterizing more complex because you have to be sure the other main drain connection is closed when you are blowing the line. Since that opens the line to the skimmers I always have to blow the skimmers dry first, then blow and plug returns and close valve to main drain on return side, then blow main from the intake side. If you blow main from the return side you will probably blow your return plugs out and have to get back in the cold water. BTDT. Or you have no way to shut off main while you plug it if you just leave valve closed to the return.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
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    Re: Closing Story and a Half

    I don't think I necessarily have this problem since I have individual valves on each line so I can control what goes where. In other words I can easily blow the main return after the the side returns are plugged because I can turn off their valves to prevent pressure going that way. I'm stressing though. Winter is almost over and I'm really hoping I didn't screw it all up :-/

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