Should I clean the pool now or wait till Spring?

svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
Just purchased a property with a 40x20 in ground pool in the Chicago area. I sent these photos to a pool company and he recommended a cleaning. A custom cover would cost possibly 8K due to the large retaining wall.

Should I proceed with a cleaning or wait till Spring? Also, I'm sure this is an absolute long shot but if I did the cleaning are there any DIY covers? The property needs other attention and I can't afford the custom winter cover at that price.

The home inspector said the pool was winterized, but he didn't touch or manually check anything. Just eye balled it but he owned a pool before and he felt confident it was winterized.
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,668
Evans, Georgia
Wow... that is tempting to clean now, I gotta admit! How do *you* feel about working in the cold? If the pump has been winterized, along with the pipes, you won't be able to *entirely* rehab the pool, but you can certainly remove all those leaves and any debris. If you can do that you'll reduce the chance of tannin stains to the pool surface. The strains are fixable (chlorine) but may be a little time consuming.

I guess the more I consider it I guess if it were me I'd clear out leaves, decide on whether to cover or not and start clearing the yard up. That bush or tree hanging over the pool needs to go.

You DO need to determine if the pool is winterized for sure though... don't want any busted pipes in your winter.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I wish I had more hardcore advice for you.

Maddie :flower:
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
Wow... that is tempting to clean now, I gotta admit! How do *you* feel about working in the cold? If the pump has been winterized, along with the pipes, you won't be able to *entirely* rehab the pool, but you can certainly remove all those leaves and any debris. If you can do that you'll reduce the chance of tannin stains to the pool surface. The strains are fixable (chlorine) but may be a little time consuming.

I guess the more I consider it I guess if it were me I'd clear out leaves, decide on whether to cover or not and start clearing the yard up. That bush or tree hanging over the pool needs to go.

You DO need to determine if the pool is winterized for sure though... don't want any busted pipes in your winter.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I wish I had more hardcore advice for you.

Maddie :flower:
Thanks so I will definitely get rid of that pine tree tomorrow. I was planning on calling service to clean the pool as I do not have any equipment etc. The entire area is going to need the trees to be cut back or cut down. Purchasing a chain saw but will need professional help for the large river birch tree next to the house. The service said they would charge $150 per hour for a 2 man crew. Would you I recommend I go this route?
 

YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
11,668
Evans, Georgia
What that takes is some strong backs and good nets on poles... and just scoop away. Dump in a dumpster and it will take a while. Got any teenagers who might want to earn some cash and some pizza? You buy the poles and leaf rakes that go on the pool poles (you're going to need at least one eventually anyway) and give that a shot. $150/hr just takes my breath away considering the pool won't be entirely cleaned up until opened in the spring.

Maddie :flower:
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
What that takes is some strong backs and good nets on poles... and just scoop away. Dump in a dumpster and it will take a while. Got any teenagers who might want to earn some cash and some pizza? You buy the poles and leaf rakes that go on the pool poles (you're going to need at least one eventually anyway) and give that a shot. $150/hr just takes my breath away considering the pool won't be entirely cleaned up until opened in the spring.

Maddie :flower:
Thank you so much! I can certainly do this myself and have a buddy help. The cold won't bother me. What's the pole called? I'll see what stores may have them. This site has made me feel better about owning a pool. I'm still worried about the winter cover. Once I clean it and I'll clean up the yard as much as possible any suggestions to buy a cover online? The company said it could cost 6k to 8k but he'd guess it will cost more than 8k since it's custom.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,668
Evans, Georgia
The problem with covering your pool is that the stone wall doesn't easily allow for a way to hold that cover down if you use one of the simpler less expensive covers. That's why a custom cover may be necessary in the future. They can insert the strap lock downs into the wall and the pool decking and make for a strong safe cover. I don't cover my pool with that type of cover since down south we don't close our pool. I hope someone in your climate can pipe in with some input on your options.
I'm gonna page some folks who understands cold weather better than I--> @ajw22 @bmoreswim @JohnT
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,668
Evans, Georgia

Blue Devil B4017 Leaf Rake <--this place also sells the test kit you'll want, the TF-100 (possibly the XL one)
 
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ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,829
Northern NJ
First thing you need to do is confirm your pool is winterized. Look in your skimmers and see if they are plugged and what is in them. Look at your equipment pad and the position of valves. Post pics of what you find in your skimmer and your equipment pad and we will help you.

Thank you so much! I can certainly do this myself and have a buddy help. The cold won't bother me. What's the pole called? I'll see what stores may have them. This site has made me feel better about owning a pool. I'm still worried about the winter cover. Once I clean it and I'll clean up the yard as much as possible any suggestions to buy a cover online? The company said it could cost 6k to 8k but he'd guess it will cost more than 8k since it's custom.
With the mess your pool is in a cover is optional. A cover keeps a lot of debris out fo the pool for the winter. But a bit more in your pool will not make a difference. If your pool is properly winterized you don't need a cover.

You need to buy some equipment to clean the pool:

- a good leaf rake like Blue Devil B4017 Leaf Rake
- a pool pole Pool Poles - Further Reading
- a pool brush or two - Pool Brushing - Further Reading

If you don't have a pool water test kit then when ordering the leaf rake you can also get the TF-100 Test Kits that we recommend.

Once you get one or two leaf rakes and poles you and a friend can go to work weather permitting on the pool and scoop out the leaves and debris. Get as much as you can out yourself before you hire someone.

You will probably need to hire someone to get your pool running in the Spring and you can decide then if you want to pay them to cleanup the pool during the opening.
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL

Blue Devil B4017 Leaf Rake <--this place also sells the test kit you'll want, the TF-100 (possibly the XL one)
[/QUgreat thanks
 

svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
First thing you need to do is confirm your pool is winterized. Look in your skimmers and see if they are plugged and what is in them. Look at your equipment pad and the position of valves. Post pics of what you find in your skimmer and your equipment pad and we will help you.



With the mess your pool is in a cover is optional. A cover keeps a lot of debris out fo the pool for the winter. But a bit more in your pool will not make a difference. If your pool is properly winterized you don't need a cover.

You need to buy some equipment to clean the pool:

- a good leaf rake like Blue Devil B4017 Leaf Rake
- a pool pole Pool Poles - Further Reading
- a pool brush or two - Pool Brushing - Further Reading

If you don't have a pool water test kit then when ordering the leaf rake you can also get the TF-100 Test Kits that we recommend.

Once you get one or two leaf rakes and poles you and a friend can go to work weather permitting on the pool and scoop out the leaves and debris. Get as much as you can out yourself before you hire someone.

You will probably need to hire someone to get your pool running in the Spring and you can decide then if you want to pay them to cleanup the pool during the opening.
Thanks looks like I have a ton to read and learn.

So I'll start with the trimming of the trees and yard clean up and will then rake up what I can. Then should I test the water? I don't live at this property yet and will try to make it there during the day for some pics.
 

svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
If the pool is winterized and the pump is off and lines are plugged then there is no reason to test the water. You are not going to add chemicals with the pool closed.
Perfect I plan on going there later today with daylight and taking pictures and will post back here. The previous owner did leave some pool equipment behind. I'm not sure how to operate the "bot" but would this be helpful in cleaning if it works?
 

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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I'm going to sound terrible, but on season Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot all sell the poles and leaf rakes, in many cases quite reasonably. In Chicago you might get lucky and find one of those stores that still has one on "clearance". They are not that bad for the price either.

Do any of you experts out here think that any bleach should be added? At the current temperatures there and the general "blah" cloudy skies in Chicago at this time (Hey! I grew up there!) he shouldn't lose much of the chlorine even over a long period of time. Also one thing I thought of when reading this is to have you clean it up as much as you can and then consider hiring the $150/hr crew... it might be worth it. Especially if that crew can check to make sure the pool is properly winterized.

As for a cover... hmm.. I don't know because I never had a pool in that climate (I'm using a solar cover in Tucson but believe it or not, even here the freeze protection has come on the VS pump twice), but it might be worthwhile to at least get some cheap tarps at Harbor Freight. They could help to keep some of the leaves and debris out, or at least make them easier to remove. To make the tarps float, get several foam core ABS (or cellular core) pipes and put them down first. Plug the ends too... however, they will float even if the pipes get waterlogged. That's a really poor man's cover, but it's not a winter cover, obviously. And they will be toast in the spring...guaranteed...
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
I'm going to sound terrible, but on season Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot all sell the poles and leaf rakes, in many cases quite reasonably. In Chicago you might get lucky and find one of those stores that still has one on "clearance". They are not that bad for the price either.

Do any of you experts out here think that any bleach should be added? At the current temperatures there and the general "blah" cloudy skies in Chicago at this time (Hey! I grew up there!) he shouldn't lose much of the chlorine even over a long period of time. Also one thing I thought of when reading this is to have you clean it up as much as you can and then consider hiring the $150/hr crew... it might be worth it. Especially if that crew can check to make sure the pool is properly winterized.

As for a cover... hmm.. I don't know because I never had a pool in that climate (I'm using a solar cover in Tucson but believe it or not, even here the freeze protection has come on the VS pump twice), but it might be worthwhile to at least get some cheap tarps at Harbor Freight. They could help to keep some of the leaves and debris out, or at least make them easier to remove. To make the tarps float, get several foam core ABS (or cellular core) pipes and put them down first. Plug the ends too... however, they will float even if the pipes get waterlogged. That's a really poor man's cover, but it's not a winter cover, obviously. And they will be toast in the spring...guaranteed...
Nice to hear your in sunny AZ! I lived in Texas for many years and each winter I ask myself how much longer I'll keep living in the Chicago area. This sounds exactly what I was thinking of. Businesses are businesses I completely get it. the 150/hr crew would probably charge 4 hours worth of time is my guess. But if I do a ton myself then it can certainly be more reasonable and sounds like the most logical plan. Then a make shift cover until spring sounds perfect. Where should I buy the ABS(cellular core) pipes? Home depot etc? By the way I can use a painters pole and connect a rake device to it for the job? Or since there is no slack in the pole it would be difficult to handle?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,829
Northern NJ
Perfect I plan on going there later today with daylight and taking pictures and will post back here. The previous owner did leave some pool equipment behind. I'm not sure how to operate the "bot" but would this be helpful in cleaning if it works?
I think the Bot will quickly get clogged from all the leaves. Bots are more for picking up dirt. Once you rake the leaves out and just have dirt at the bottom of the floor then the Bot may be effective. Right now it looks like lots of leaves are floating around the water.
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
I think the Bot will quickly get clogged from all the leaves. Bots are more for picking up dirt. Once your ake the leaves out and just have dirt at the bottom of the floor then the Bot may be effective. Right now it looks like lots of leaves are floating around the water.
Sounds good won't touch the bot until some serious raking goes down. I did see a swimming rake but it didn't look tall enough to get to the bottom but then again I really don't know how deep the deep end is! I'll try that today.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
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Jan 17, 2012
11,668
Evans, Georgia
Consider that any cover you attempt to make will probably collapse into the water once you get snow and lots of rain weighing it down. I would personally just leave it uncovered at this point.
Adding any chemical at this point is useless...any chlorine added will just be used up trying to oxidize some leaves and debris.

Maddie :flower:
 
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svtcobra

Active member
Dec 3, 2019
37
Chicago, IL
Consider that any cover you attempt to make will probably collapse into the water once you get snow and lots of rain weighing it down. I would personally just leave it uncovered at this point.
Adding any chemical at this point is useless...any chlorine added will just be used up trying to oxidize some leaves and debris.

Maddie :flower:
that is beyond true! I didn't imagine the snow on it but the cover would render useless! The sun is setting I hope I can make it to the pool for pics today got caught at work. Appreciate all the responses so far.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Nice to hear your in sunny AZ! I lived in Texas for many years and each winter I ask myself how much longer I'll keep living in the Chicago area. This sounds exactly what I was thinking of. Businesses are businesses I completely get it. the 150/hr crew would probably charge 4 hours worth of time is my guess. But if I do a ton myself then it can certainly be more reasonable and sounds like the most logical plan. Then a make shift cover until spring sounds perfect. Where should I buy the ABS(cellular core) pipes? Home depot etc? By the way I can use a painters pole and connect a rake device to it for the job? Or since there is no slack in the pole it would be difficult to handle?
I Grew up in the 'burbs, went to (undergraduate) college in Indiana, moved back to Chicago for only about 2 years, spent 20 years in Iowa, then moved to AZ just a little over two years ago. As far as the weather goes, yeah, Iowa was even colder and with worse weather than Chicago. You really get accustomed to warm climates fast. I don't think I can go back to the Upper Midwest, even though I definitely fit in better there. I do not miss the weather and the cloudiness at all in the Upper Midwest.

Yes, the pipes are a Home Depot, Lowe's or (I really miss it: Menards!) item. Yes, with heavy snow it will likely collapse in. Be prepared for that, remove it before the heavy snow (the snow itself is clean water... approaching RO in quality, but maybe with a little "acid rain" mixed in which isn't really a problem). In the meantime it should allow you to skim the crud off the top of the pool instead of having more sink in. I suppose it is up to you if you want to do it at all, but it's really nice to cover the pool when you are not using it for extended periods of time, IMHO. I've been pulling my solar cover off and cleaning thoroughly about once a month (water temp is 55F now...) and if I left it off, I'd be using a lot more chlorine, having more hard water fill in, and I suspect I'd also be cleaning it more. But I still have to add liquid chlorine (bleach) about every other day at a rate about 3x less than when water temperature was in the 80's. You have a mess now, and my personal feeling as a relative newbie is that it can get worse. If it's warm enough to do some of the work now, I would.

Best of luck.