Drain Pool to repair step questions.

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
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Hello;

When I am ready to close my pool for the first time, I have to drain my pool
down to 1" in the shallow end. I will be getting a crack in my step repaired.
My questions are
1. Can I vacum to waste to drain the pool that low, or do you need return water going
through so you don't burn up the pump?
2. Should I raise it to closing level( below jets)., and add the chemical for winter
at the hose where I am filling back up? Or fill it up past the returns add my chemical
let the pump run, and then drain past returns? Thanks for the help!!
 

JasonLion

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Yes, you can vacuum to waste to lower the water level. If you turn it off in the middle, it is very unlikely you will be able to get it running again. There is also a very small chance you will lose prime at some point before you get to the level you are aiming for.

With only one inch of water in the shallow end you run some risk of the liner shifting (if you have a liner). There can also be problems if the water table is above the water level for any kind of pool.

How you do closing should probably depend on when this is all going to happen. If you can wait till the water is below 60 degrees then I would do the closing chemicals before lowering the water and add a little extra dose when doing the partial refil. If you want to do it before the water gets below 60 then I would fill it all the way back up and do the closing from there.
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
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Ontario
Thanks for the replys. I have an 16x32 inground with 8'ft deep end
and liner. Is there anything I can do to make sure the liner does not
shift? The crack is on the leading edge of the first step in the shallow
end.
 

JasonLion

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The challenge is that the weight of the water is streching the liner and holding it in place. To be completely safe you need a foot of water to hold the liner in place, and it doesn't sound like you can make the repair you want with that much water in the pool. As you remove water the liner will contract and pull away from the corners. Unless the liner is new this season it is unlikely to be able to stretch out again into the same position without great care and a significant chance of tearing.

There are ways to make almost any kind of repair underwater, you might want to look into that.
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
Thanks Jason:
The liner was dropped in last fall around this time. Its a hairline crack that does not
seem to be leaking. I thought I would get it fix while under warranty. If its not leaking
should I just leave it for now? Do you think the crack will become bigger after the winter
freeze? My pool builder didn't order my liner till after he measured, after the dig and floor,
its in there perfect and I don't want to screw it up. You thoughts are very much appreciated
Thanks
 

duraleigh

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Haybird,

Since it's a warranty item, cannot the PB fix it? Or is that what you're saying?

If he fixes it, then he will probably have a good, safe method for repair that will relieve you of the liability of draining too low....or am I missing something?
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
The company that makes the step is sending their pool service guy that does their
warranty work. He just ask that I have it drained before he comes. I am a little
nervous, but should I assume he knows what he is doing and leave it is his hands?
Thanks

Here's a picture the white line on the liner is the floor of the pool.
 

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duraleigh

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should I assume he knows what he is doing and leave it is his hands?
Probably not. He may have a great understanding of bonding plastic but have little experience with pools.

The risk of draining your pool leaving only 1" of water to keep the liner in place is pretty high. I don't think I would do it.

I've been trying to think of a way you could leave at least a foot of water in the shallow end of the pool and still make the repair. I've never seen this done but it may be possible to construct a 2' square "dam" about 18" high around the repair area .....seems like it could be built out of 3/4" plywood.

Then drain the pool down to about 14" and put the dam in place (you'd need to afix a weight to it to prevent it from floating)....sealing it with plumber's putty completely around the edges where it touches the steps and the pool floor. Then pump out the water inside the dam with a submersible pump which you could leave in place in case the dam leaked.
The idea being to create a dry well in which the repairman could work.

I have no idea if that would work but I think, if it were my pool, I would attempt it rather than drain down to the 1" level.
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
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I would take the water down to the middle of the bottom faceplate on the stairs - this would give them a dry surface to work with and still leave enough water in the pool to prevent a 1 year old liner from shifting (if these guys don't have rubber boots, they must be doing this for the first time :? )
 

duraleigh

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Hey, Ted,

I was assuming the crack extends down into the faceplate and since he said 1" of water, I think it does.....but that's not why I'm posting.

I'm interested in your experience as to how low you think you can safely lower (vinyl) the water when doing a partial drain. Could you unhook the liner and put a vac behind it?.....even an old liner?
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
This is why I love this site. I can ask question and decide how to proceed.
I really, really, really don't want to drain my pool that low. The picture is of the top
of the bottom step but the crack goes down the face a bit. I thought there would be a "trick of the trade"
to repair this without having to drain the pool below the crack. With all do respect it would seem
quite easy to repair if the crack is above the water line. At this point I am thinking white
silicone. All opinions welcome. Thanks
 

duraleigh

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At this point I am thinking white
silicone.
Silcone caulk? I dont think you can get a decent bond or smooth finish underwater. I've never tried it (underwater) but I know silicone is somewhat water soluble in it's inital stage.
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
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duraleigh said:
Hey, Ted,

I was assuming the crack extends down into the faceplate and since he said 1" of water, I think it does.....but that's not why I'm posting.

I'm interested in your experience as to how low you think you can safely lower (vinyl) the water when doing a partial drain. Could you unhook the liner and put a vac behind it?.....even an old liner?
Dave, on a 1 - 5 year old liner (NOT chemically abused) I could drain all the water out of it and get it back in, yes using vacs. The vacs are the easy part, all you need to do is untuck the liner ~ 1' and slide the vac hose down to just over the bottom of the panel - tape up the top and turn it on. Work out any wrinkles and start the water a-flowin :lol: Older liners require a bit more and may not have optimal (ie, no wrinkles) results, but if a major repair has to be made - a couple of wrinkles are better than a liner replacement. The biggest problem with the older liners comes from having to remove a faceplate, you HAVE TO HAVE the screw holes match back up and older liners will often 'shrink' too much when the water is removed, to have the holes be right when reinstalling the faceplate.

Haybird, I think that having a potential problem addressed while the liner is ~new and the pool, and all components are under warrantee is THE WAY to go, fix it while the fix is as easy as it'll ever be! Let the pool guys (we actually prefer to be called "POOL DUDES", just because it's a little more 'hip' :party: ) do the best fix that they can. The silicon is a patch, not a true fix, and as Dave pointed out, won't bond correctly/ permanently, nor look right. If, as Dave suspects, the crack continues behind the bottom faceplate, simply lower the water to the bottom of the faceplate, they can peel back the liner to apply the fixing agent to the stair (again, if they can't handle this, it's gotta be their first try at doing it :roll: )

I'll stick with you during this process and offer you all the help and advice that I can -- I'm sure that it will go smoothly! :cheers:
 

duraleigh

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Haybird,

Ted probably has more experience actually working on pools than anyone I can think of on this forum. I know we both sound like we belong to the Mutual Admitration Society (actually, he's jealous because I'm so much more handsome than him) but I would sure listen to his experience and base your decisions with his advice in mind.
 

waste

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Dave, just a lot off topic... but - you've mentioned your 'handsomeness' a couple of times here -- I gotta set you straight

My wife says that I'm the most handsome man in the world (OK, she may be biased) however, my mistress also says that I'm the most handsome 8) :wink:
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
Thanks for the replys. I am worried about the conners pulling away and them not
getting it stretch back tight the way it is now. As a knowledgeable "pool dude"
do you not see this as a problem? Call me crazy but I was thinking they would have a
portable dam system and dam off the stairs, and just drain the stairs. I have till closeing to
set something up. I guess I will tell the "pool dude" my concerns and see if he can make me
feel comfortable draining. When I asked about draining the first time we talked he gave
me the token" Nooooo Problem" Thanks a lot for everybody's input.
P.S it was apoxzy I was thinking of not silicone.Thanks
 

waste

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Because the liner is new and they have no reason to disturb it anywhere near the corners to do the fix and reset the liner, I strongly doubt that there will be any trouble getting the corners as tight as they are now (1 proviso: the air temp has to be above ~70, sun would also be nice)

I know of one company (Q- TECH, I think) that makes dams for doing 'drainless' repairs, but I don't think they make one that would handle 6 or 8' stairs - however, the stair repair guys might have one (it certainly makes sense that they would) - see if the PB can find out... though, now that I recall the first post, they're the ones who wanted the pool drained to 1". I wouldn't go lower than 2" unless I had fix the floor, 2" is enough to prevent movement of the liner on the floor and bottom of the walls, as they're not going to be messing with the bead, there should be no liner shift nor movement.
 

haybird

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Mar 29, 2007
211
Ontario
Thanks for all your advise waste. You are making me feel less nervous
about draining. You make a great point about getting it fixed while the liner is only
a year old, and the step will be fixed for free under warranty. I will give an update
when I pull the trigger in a couple weeks. Thanks again