Questions to ask when hiring pool guys to close

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
Hi, we moved into the house with the pool in August, and although I have learned a lot, I do not want to tackle learning the closing process this year. So, we are scheduled to have a pool company close our pool next week (7 days from now). I have read a lot of the posts on preparing for closing (water balance) and I think I'm in decent shape there. I've also read a lot about the procedures for closing so I feel like I have a decent feel for what has to be done, I just have no desire to actually do it myself.

I should mention that the guys closing the pool are NOT the same company that we originally hired for weekly maintenance when we moved in (just hire the experts this year, we thought, we have plenty else to do moving in -- well, after the first week, we went to bi-monthly service for a few times, then stopped it altogether. Originally we were scheduled to close with them). Surprisingly there are few choices for pool service around here, at least that come up on a Google search (Baltimore area) but I did find a place that seemed to have a more thoughtful and knowledgeable approach to pool care than the first place. We have already hired them to replace the caulking between the pool deck and coping bricks, and replace a few chipped bricks, and they seem to have done a good job on that. Also, the person I spoke to for scheduling service asked what kind of cover we have (mesh) and said that we should not close earlier than Oct. 15 and should open before April 15. I guess that is their approximation for getting the water temp close to the 60 degrees that's recommended on this forum. I asked what they use for water testing, they do use liquid reagents (vs. the first place which uses strip-based photometer), but she said they switched to that only recently because they realized the strips weren't accurate. Better late than never I guess.

I plan to be home while they are doing it to watch and hopefully learn a thing or two. So here's my question -- any advice on things I should be paying particular attention to (both to learn and make sure they don't mess anything up?) Also, are there questions I can ask the company's service manager to ascertain how good they really are?
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
Welcome to TFP!!

The folks you decided on sound like they are about as good as you'll find :)

I'd call the service mgr. and ask what they want you to do to prepare the pool for their arrival on Friday. (Most companies wont vac the pool, nor adjust the chems - they usually add a 'standard dose' of chlorine and algaecide, and perhaps some sequestriant ) I suspect he'll tell you something like "you don't have to do anything, we take care of it all... but, if you wanted to drain the pool down 'X' inches, that'd be great and save us a little time"

You ought feel free to ask them any questions you have while they are closing the pool (I can tell you that sometimes it's a little annoying to have owners watching over your shoulder :| but it's your pool and you have the right to know what's going on with it!) Mitigate this by offering them coffee, water, soft drinks (beer, after they close the pool :cheers: )

Keep us informed as to what the service mgr. says and we'll further advise :-D
 

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
I talked to a customer service rep at the pool company. At one point she needed to check with the manager and call me back (good sign I thought, much better than guessing). Below is roughly how the conversation went. I'd be interested in any advice for further questions I should ask, and also any recommendations for changes I should make to my water balance. Right now I'm at CSI of 0.03 based on yesterday's test results:

TC: 12
CC: 0
pH: 7.6
CH: 320
TA: 120
CYA: 80
water temp: 63

Here is the conversation with the customer service rep ("CSR")

Me: Hi, you guys are closing my pool on Friday, anything special I need to be doing?
CSR: You should have a complete winter water analysis done. Where do you usually get your chemicals?
Me: I test at home, I know it's more accurate than what they do where I get my chemicals. I'm pretty confident on my testing and where my water is balanced right now. What are your recommendations for water balance?
CSR: Oh, I'd have to get back to you on that. Do you have vinyl or plaster?
Me: Plaster.
CSR: Okay, I'll get back to you.

(5 min later)

CSR: Okay, you want pH at 7.4, Alk at 80-120, CH at 200-400. CYA is not important.
Me: What chemicals will your techs be adding?
CSR: Algaecide, "winter shock" and floaters with sticks.
Me: What is the shock? Can you use liquid chlorine because I don't think I want any more calcium added to the pool.
CSR: (laughing) Oh, no, you want to use "winter shock" which is calcium hypochloride. The thing is we'll be draining the water so your calcium is going to get diluted anyway.
Me: But it won't be diluted til spring, right? So if calcium is where I want it now why add more.
CSR: Well, the winter shock we use is the calcium hypo.
Me: Okay. With the floater sticks, can you leave them out? I don't really want more CYA added since it's at 80 already.
CSR: Well, we could leave them out but we recommend them to make sure the chlorine stays sufficient over the winter. We will be draining to 6" below skimmer, we could go to 10" below skimmer if you want to have the CYA diluted more.
Me: I think let's just do the normal 6".

Any comments/ advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
I'd vote to just close it up yourself, if you are comfortable blowing out your lines and save the $200+...but that just the 'el cheapo in me :oops:
 

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
Haha, maybe next year. My husband might be comfortable with it but he doesn't want to have anything else to do. It's been a blur since we moved into the house 2 months ago. And unfortunately it's not $200. $300 seems to be the going rate around here.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
You honestly sound like you're good to go :party:

The one question I have for you, at this point, is - what kind of cover will be going on the pool?



Watch and learn from what they do so you can do it yourself (or direct your husband :p ) next year. Also, knowing what they did will allow you to open the pool yourself next spring :cheers:

As always, if you have any more questions of us, before, during or after they close the pool - all you need do is ask :-D
 

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
Thank you thank you! I like the idea of opening by ourselves. I think we will be able to handle it. This forum has already been such a great source of learning and advice I can't thank you enough.

The cover is a mesh cover with anchors in the cement pool deck. The Pool Company advised that if we open by the first week of April there should not be any problems with green water. I think the date that garden centers give for planting around here ("last frost" or whatever) is April 15 so that makes sense to me.

So should I have them put the floaters in and shock with Cal-Hypo? Or shock myself with bleach the day before and tell them to leave the floaters out? Any brands/types of algaecide that I should avoid? I think I've read that some have copper in them? Would prefer to avoid green hair next spring...
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,059
Houston, Texas
If you choose to use an algaecide pick one with a 60% polyquat formulation. No copper or silver anything listed in the ingredients.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
Would prefer to avoid green hair next spring...
You sound like a blond, dark haired folks don't have to worry about copper turning their hair green :mrgreen: HOWEVER POOLS DO!

@ 12 ppm fc - I'd say forget whatever chlorine they might want to dump in... I'd also add however much liquid cl you have on hand before they close the pool, while the system is still running :cool:

As per Zea, I'd prefer to see the algaecide be 'polyquat 60' over any other :)

It's your pool and I'd say that you don't need the floaters, but... if you'd like to, go right ahead - it probably won't harm anything and ~could~ possibly help :|

We're here for and with you throughout your pool owning experience :angel: :wink:
 

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
I called again to ask what kind of algaecide they use, she said Omega, which she said is non-foaming and does not contain copper. Is "polyquat 60" a brand or a generic type?

Thanks.

EDIT: oops, never mind, I think this was already answered, looks like there are many "polyquat 60%" formulation algaecides to choose from. I will call them back and find out exactly what this Omega is.
 

lovemypool

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2010
24
Fulton, MD
Called back again, the Omega algaecide is 30% Polyethyline Dichloride (sp?). Is that the same as polyquat? If so the concentration (30% vs. 60%) shouldn't matter as long as they use the correct dosage, right? She said they've been using this product for years in closing pools and have always had good success with it.
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
That's not the same as polyquat. I've actually never heard of that before...maybe one of the pool service guys or chemistry geniuses can comment.
 

offgrid

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2010
87
Ottawa, Canada
Here are the instructions our "Pool Closing" guys emailed to us. I have drained the pool to 1" below the jets. I hope that's what they mean by "returns" ???

"
We are starting closings as of September 27th and will be doing them
by region. Please let
us know which weekday you are available and if you prefer the morning,
afternoon and/or evenings for your closing?

Prior to closing your pool:
You will need to vacuum the pool free from debris, balance the PH and
Chlorine levels. Once the pool is balanced you will need to lower your
water level by turning the dial valve on top of the filter to "Waste"
also close the skimmer valve in front of the pump so that you are
drawing water only from the drains, lower the water level until it is
one inch below the returns. If you want to continue recalculating the
pool water simply switch the dial valve over to filter and continue to
draw from the drains only.

Once the water level has been lowered, we can then perform the closing.

You will need to purchase a chemical kit from us including
plugs, a gizzmo and 2 jugs of anti-freeze at a cost of $85 HST included.

We will blow out the water from the plumbing lines, add the
anti-freeze, insert the frost plugs and quizzmo and add the chemical
kit. We can instruct you on how to perform these steps or we can
simply close the pool off for you. This service is free for the first
year. If you would like for us to close the pool in a similar fashion
for upcoming years the service is $80 plus HST plus chemicals and anti
freeze.
If you want to cover your pool with a tarp we recommend you purchase a
tarp one size larger then your actual pool size. For example if your

pool is a 16x32, purchase an 18x36 tarp (the tarp is actually 24x42)
this will give you ample material to cover the stairs. You will also
need to purchase water bags if you decide to cover the pool with this
type of system. It will be your responsibility to install this cover.

If you prefer to cover the pool with a fitted Safety Cover we can
provide this type of cover for you. The starting price on a fitted
cover is $2,000 installed; price will vary depending on the shape and
size of pool.


Thanks and see you soon,"
 

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