Tips and Tricks

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

crabboy said:
Take your water sample from 2 feet under without getting your arm wet or bending over.

Using a 3/4" pvc pipe, about 4' long, hold your hand on the top of the pipe to prevent water from entering (air from escaping), sink the pipe about 2' down and then remove your hand (pipe fills up). Replace your hand and remove the pipe and put over your water sample cup that you have placed on the coping. Slowly let air enter and dispense the water into the cup.

I started using this method this winter when I no longer wanted to stick my arm in the cold pool. Now I continue doing it so I don't have to bend over. :wink:
I absolutely love it and THANK YOU! :goodjob: :party:
 

randytsuch

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2008
256
Los Angeles, Ca
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

When vacuuming my pool, I connect the vacuum head to the hose, then put the head in the water, and then I use a garden hose to fill up the vacuum hose with water. Fill it up until the air bubbles stop coming out, and the water starts coming out of the other end.

To remove the top from my DE filter, remove the part that holds the top to the bottom, then turn on the pump for just ONE SECOND. The water pressure will push the top off, and make it easy to remove. You might have to repeat a few times before the top comes off. This is a do at your own risk tip, a pool guy warned me that you could shoot the DE top in the air like this, but I have never had any problems.

I use a pair of vise grips to help put the top back on, to squeeze the top and bottom of the DE filter together.

Randy
 

blacknblu

Member
Jun 10, 2008
7
Re:

sakedacat said:
JohnT said:
A friend taught me this one: Never take a water sample with your cell phone in your pocket. One little misstep and you'll be buying a new phone. :oops:
LOL! My Nextel i580 plopped into the deep end (@6.5 FT) & sat there for at least 15 seconds as I sprinted for the skimmer net. Had issues right away but removed sim card & memory card and dried with air compressor (phone & card slots) and phone is still working without a hitch. This is one bad to the bone phone! Nextel i580
having worked with cell phones for many years, i can say this: if it got wet and still works, you are very lucky. it will eventually need to be replaced. remember, water and electricity don't mix! the copper used in constructing the phones will start to corrode and become green, causing short circuits. the newer and more advanced the phone is, the worse it seems to be. if you're quick and lucky, you may get it dried out, and it very well may last a good bit longer, but don't count on it. so many people would get incredibly angry, saying 'it only got a little wet!', but honestly, if you got other electronics, ie:laptop or camcorder, a little wet, you wouldn't expect them to work either. oh, and if the phone is off, you have a better chance of saving it. make sure to leave it off until dry. and keep your fingers crossed! now you know why the cell places try to sell you insurance. funny thing is, they don't make any money off of it... the insurance company does.

that being said, a trick we used to use on canoe trips was a heavy duty ziplock bag. you can use the phone through the bag, and it does a wonderful job of keeping it dry. to test how good your ziplock is, put a clump of toilet paper in it, seal it, and hold it under water for a minute or so. you'll know very quick if you have quality bags or cheaply made ones, just look for the soggy paper. oh, and there is nothing wrong with double or triple bagging the phone. i'd say to keep your usage to a minimum, because the phone will not have it's usual amount of airflow and could overheat.
 

lovingHDTV

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2007
529
Round Rock, TX
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

When I add bleach to the pool I float the bottle in the pool just in front for the skimmer intake. I can then easily pour the bleach into the water stream with no splashing at all.
 

mickey4paws

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 10, 2009
725
S.E. MI
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

JohnT said:
The other thing is how I skim the pool. After the net has some stuff in it, I lower the net right next to the skimmer with the dirty side toward the pool's skimmer door. The water flow pulls the crud off and into the skimmer.
Once my net has stuff on it, I just tap the pole of the net gently on my fence so the stuff drops onto the grass, outside the fence.
 

dannyboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 31, 2008
98
Denver, Colorado
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

A leaf blower at the end of an automatic cover helps get the cover off the water reducing strain on the pulleys. Shove it under and wait five minutes whilst the material lifts off the water. Might be useful for other types of covers too...
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,354
Sebring, Florida
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

I am embarrassed to admit I tested my pool water out beside the pool for the first year. Then someone suggested to take an adequate sample of pool water inside to the cool kitchen and bright lights and do all the testing sitting down in a comfortable chair. It was a big revelation to me. :shock: :shock: :shock:
 

Henry Porter

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 7, 2008
604
Sweden
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Good tips Dave as obvious it may seems.
I have only done it my mind so far but It have always been at poolside :shock: Never thought of the possibility to take a jar of water inside and do the testing there. I'm formed from youtube and all the testing videos I've seen have been by poolside.
 

phenwick

Member
May 13, 2009
11
Metro St. louis Mo.
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Keep a lobby broom and dust pan (the dust pan on a pole) in the pump area or other handy place. Take a daily walk around the pool deck sweeping up any leaves or whirlybirds. You can sweep them up now, or end up scooping them out of the pool later.

A small hand/finger nail brush is stiff enough to scrub grime from the coping and liner bead, of course done from the comfort of the pool.
 

PVille

LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2009
39
Purcellville,VA
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Here are a few of my tips.

I discovered a great way to screw down all the brass anchors when I remove the cover this year. I grabbed an old 1/2" spade bit and ground the tip down on a grinder until it fit tightly into the slot on the top of the brass anchors. Then I put the new "screwdriver" attachment in a cordless drill and went to town. The pilot bit on the end centers the tool perfectly and keeps it in the slot.

I keep a small 3 x 5 notebook and pen with my pool test kit. Whenever I test my water I record each setting as well as air temp, water temp and any issues I am seeing. I keep a running record of how I solved the issue for future reference. I also record how much of each chemical I am adding and what the expected result will be (e.g. ph lower to 7.4) and then I can confirm during next test cycle.

I also started a document last year called "The Pool Book". I am documenting all the steps required for pool maintenance and including links to sites (like this one) on the Internet. One of these days when we sell the house I hope the book will convince a potential buyer that the pool is not too intimidating.

I Like to vacuum the pool early in the morning or late evening when there is no direct sun because you can see the dirt better.
 

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PVille

LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2009
39
Purcellville,VA
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

I keep a long handled aquarium dip net lying on top of my skimmer cover. I found it is much easier to swirl the net inside the skimmer to remove debris than bending down to remove the entire basket. Added bonus - since the dip net makes it so easy to clean, the skimmer it gets cleaned several times a day.
 

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

PVille said:
I keep a long handled aquarium dip net lying on top of my skimmer cover. I found it is much easier to swirl the net inside the skimmer to remove debris than bending down to remove the entire basket. Added bonus - since the dip net makes it so easy to clean, the skimmer it gets cleaned several times a day.
Me, too! I never stick my hand in there until I swirl and make sure there aren't any huge spiders or baby snakes or pouncing froggies in there! :mrgreen:
 

Big Thunder

Well-known member
Apr 29, 2009
65
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

mickey4paws said:
JohnT said:
The other thing is how I skim the pool. After the net has some stuff in it, I lower the net right next to the skimmer with the dirty side toward the pool's skimmer door. The water flow pulls the crud off and into the skimmer.
Once my net has stuff on it, I just tap the pole of the net gently on my fence so the stuff drops onto the grass, outside the fence.

If my next door neighbor doesn't fix his fence which is laying in my back yard I'm going to start flinging all sorts of garbage I get out of my pool.

8)
 

no-mas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 16, 2008
405
FL
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

duraleigh said:
I am embarrassed to admit I tested my pool water out beside the pool for the first year. Then someone suggested to take an adequate sample of pool water inside to the cool kitchen and bright lights and do all the testing sitting down in a comfortable chair. It was a big revelation to me. :shock: :shock: :shock:
Me too - I always tested outside, but now do the daily chlorine and pH tests in the pool bath over a white porcelain sink. Makes it easier for my old eyes to compare those shades of pink or yellow...

Still do the alkalinity and chlorine titrations outside since the endpoints are easy to determine, but I still struggle getting an end point with the Ca Hardness test :oops: :hammer:
 

robrinker

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
178
Northeastern Ohio
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Butterfly said:
PVille said:
I keep a long handled aquarium dip net lying on top of my skimmer cover. I found it is much easier to swirl the net inside the skimmer to remove debris than bending down to remove the entire basket. Added bonus - since the dip net makes it so easy to clean, the skimmer it gets cleaned several times a day.
Me, too! I never stick my hand in there until I swirl and make sure there aren't any huge spiders or baby snakes or pouncing froggies in there! :mrgreen:
I use a garden hand rake to grab the handle of my skimmer basket so I don't have to stick my hand into the 'unknown'.
 
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fuzzy_dba

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
255
NC
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Butterfly said:
PVille said:
I keep a long handled aquarium dip net lying on top of my skimmer cover. I found it is much easier to swirl the net inside the skimmer to remove debris than bending down to remove the entire basket. Added bonus - since the dip net makes it so easy to clean, the skimmer it gets cleaned several times a day.
Me, too! I never stick my hand in there until I swirl and make sure there aren't any huge spiders or baby snakes or pouncing froggies in there! :mrgreen:
I had a "small present" in the skimmer basket this morning; a small snake, about 10" long, thankfully dead 8) .
I've had snakes/bullfrogs in there before so I open the cover by the side not the finger hole. I personally don't like surprises!
=================
http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/vtrail/Z-9.jpg
Yellow ring neck. Ring necks are nocturnal and it is a rare to see one during the day. They prefer damp areas hiding under loose rocks or dead trees. They grow up to 15 inches in length. Feeding primarily on small salamanders {which I have tons of!}, lizards, and frogs, as well as earthworms and juvenile snakes of other species. They use partial constriction when subduing prey

Although they fall into the category of being venomous, they pose no threat to humans and is rare for them to bite. If picked up they secrete a foul smelling saliva from the corners of the mouth. Lifespan is over 10 years.
 

PVille

LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2009
39
Purcellville,VA
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

I store my vacuum hose in a big cheap plastic trash can. I coil the hose into the can, throw the skimmer plate on top and store the can in the shed out of the sun (and out of the way).

To dissolve chemicals quickly I hang my leaf net of the edge of the pool and pour the chemicals into the net. Then I hold it in front of a return while the pump is running until the chemical is dissolved. CYA takes longer to dissolve. I put the chemical into an old cotton sock and through it in the skimmer for an hour or so to soften it up. After it has soaked for a while I grab the sock and hold it in front of a return until it is all dissolved. Beats the heck out of just dumping the stuff in and sweeping it around.
 

PVille

LifeTime Supporter
May 17, 2009
39
Purcellville,VA
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

WINTER TIPS

When you close the pool at the end of the season install a sump pump (to drain the pool down after a rain storm) and route the hose for draining. Then when the big rains come all you need to do is run an extension cord over to the pump to get it started. When I turn on the pump to lower the water level I set the timer on the kitchen stove so I don't forget it is running. I know with my pump it takes about 90 minutes to lower water 1".

Be aware that when the pump is turned off the hose can continue to siphon off water if the outlet end is lower than the water in your pool. This happened to me one year when my pump was sitting on the bench by the skimmer. I opened the cover one morning to check the pool and noticed the water was a foot lower than it was after running the pump a few days earlier. Scared the HECK out of me because I thought I had a leak. Now I set the sump pump on the inverted skimmer basket on the bench and it is the perfect level to keep the water below the skimmer door.

To keep the skimmer from freezing and cracking I keep the water out of it during the winter. I cut a piece of plastic bag a little larger than the skimmer cover, cover the opening with the plastic then use the skimmer cover to hold it in place. Then I take a large plastic bag over the skimmer that runs from the coping to the edge of concrete and hold the edges down with a couple of 2 x 4s. I check the pool every few weeks and sometimes there is a little water from condensation in there. I just drop end of an old towel in there and press it down with a piece of wood to soak up the water.

As an extra precaution I place a bottle of pool anti freeze into the skimmer with the cap loose in case water gets in the skimmer. If water gets in there and starts to freeze the bottle will get crushed as the ice expands (make sure lid is unscrewed) protecting the skimmer from cracking.
 

jasn54

Member
May 20, 2009
13
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

I use a Kreepy Krauly vacuum-type cleaner connected to my skimmer. After I let it knock around awhile I pull about 4-5 feet of hose out and in line with the pool edge and hold it in place behind an old chemical bucket filled with water (otherwise the hose gets pulled back in). This changes the pivot point for the hose and creates a new sweeping pattern for the fin. It works great and speeds up cleaning time substantially.

Should work with any type of cleaner using a skimmer connection.
 

kilika2003

LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2009
48
Toronto, ON
Re: A couple of tips I thought everybody knew. Anybody got some

Manual Vacuum

I used to hang it on the fence, now I store it in a bin. Last year an animal (probably raccoon) chewed all the nylon bristles off. I didn't notice until I was trying to clean the pool and the vacuum head stuck to the bottom of the pool!! :hammer: