2020 Pool Opening

in blog •  2 months ago 

It's about that time to open our pool, in fact, it's a little later than usual.

As usual, we are greeted with an absolute mess of algae.

While this looks like a swamp, it usually only takes me 4-5 days to get it sparkling clean.

Although this year I ran into a problem. After preparing all the equipment, I found our pump motor wouldn't start. It would hum and then stop after a few minutes.

When we bought the house 4-5 years ago, we knew the motor was on its way out. It is fairly loud and fairly old. My gut feeling was the motor wasn't completely dead though. A humming motor generally means one of three things.

  • Starter capacitor is dead
  • Motor coils seized with corrosion
  • Impeller blade stuck

I first checked the basket and didn't see anything noticeable causing a blockage, but unfortunately, you can't really see the impeller blade. There is one easy way to narrow down the problem, the motor has a shaft that goes to the back of the unit and there is a heavy screw that is connected to this shaft. If you use a screwdriver to try to turn this shaft, it will tell you if the shaft is turning freely or not.

If it is turning freely, the problem is likely the capacitor not giving enough power to turn the motor. If it doesn't, it is either corrosion holding the motor shaft in place or something blocking impeller blade from turning. Fortunately for me, a little force and I was able to free the shaft and it started to turn. I powered on the motor and it worked like a champ.

I suspect we only have a few seasons left before we will have no choice but to buy a new pump motor, but it looks like we will get through the season. Hopefully.

After I got everything running, I ran into another problem. There was a leak in the pipes.

While it wasn't a large leak, I noticed in the basket there might have been small animal droppings. I was concerned there might be a mouse in the system. This is what I thought might have been the issue with the pump initially, a mouse blocking the impeller motor.

I took apart the multi-port valve that sets the operation mode between waste, recirculate, rinse, backwash, and filter. Everything looked fine, so I put it back together. Due to the age of the equipment, the handle started leaking like mad.

This is a very common brand, so I started calling around. Due to the part of the season where everyone is opening their pools, and Covid-19 complications, no one was even answering their phones.

I looked on Amazon, to see if I could purchase the entire top assembly, technically called Key cover, and handle assembly. They run around $60-100, but the one I needed wasn't in stock until June 5th. I didn't want to wait that long so I tried calling some more stores. One I have had a lot of good luck with but is further out answered and they said they could rebuild it if I brought it down. I hurried down and dropped it off, waited about an hour in the car, and brought it back home. It seems to have fixed the problem, and the pool is filtering.

I still have that other leak to deal with, but it isn't a crisis right now. I wanted to get some chlorine in the pool as soon as possible. If you have read my previous posts on my pool, you would know I don't use the traditional pool store method of caring for my pool. The primary difference is I use liquid chlorine and not the pucks and I use a professional test kit to test daily and make educated changes to the pool chemistry.

I use far fewer chemicals in my pool than the pool store method, it is far cheaper, and much more effective. Everyone who has seen the pool has commented on how amazingly clear it is. I have problems with algae when I open the pool, but after a week it is crystal clear until I close it.


This is a difference of about five days a couple of years ago. A few days later it was even clearer. There is no smell of chlorine, you can swim with your eyes open all day and have no redness.


I am not entirely happy with the pool equipment and hope it all fails at once, so I can just gut it all and reorganize how it is set up. All the equipment is dated and the setup is a mess. There are also some pipes from an old cleaning system I don't use because we have a robot.

I may just gut it all one year and start fresh.

Once the pool is open, I plan to spend most of my time in it. Especially since we are still under quarantine and there is not a lot else we can do.


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When I was younger, I worked as a water lab technician for both private and commercial hot tubs and pools. Algae can be such a nasty problem, especially when you're dealing with black algae. I'd watch people spend thousands of dollars attempting to get their pools to be safe to swim in. Good luck to you, sir!

A pool would be so nice right now. We have been looking at getting a hot tub for our backyard. If I got a pool, my dogs wouldn't have anywhere to run in the back and would probably just shit in the pool.

Now even the thought of the pool would make him happy. enjoy the rate.

Gut it when it fails entirely and go with a salt system.

I was originally planning on going with a salt system, in fact I ordered it when we bought the house. We used the pool company they did to replace the liner as the liner was not in good shape when we bought it, and at the end of winter (we bought it right when the pool was getting closed) the liner fell apart.

Anyway, they did a horrible job on the liner, it kept falling in, we told them they should have used liner lock, so they came and put little tiny pieces where ever it fell in, 7-8 calls we finally convinced them to liner lock entire pool. Instead of one strip, they used tons of tiny strips and we still have issues with pieces falling out.

I just told them to cancel the salt system, I don't want them to do anything else to the pool. It has been a few years, but I am not sure I'd like a salt system and want to swim in one before I make the decision. We have a friend that has one, just never got around to trying it.

The system I use is great, but it does require tons of bottles of 10%-12.5% liquid chlorine which is a real pain to constantly buy 20 bottles at a time.

I considered putting in a liquid chlorine dispenser, but I'd still have to buy and carry ~20-gallon bottles every few weeks.

I might reconsider a salt system, but I really need to try it before I can commit to it. I don't see either happening this year.

Salt is sooo nice. I remember swimming in one a long time ago and I loved it. You can swim with your eyes open.

I can swim with my eyes open for 8 hours a day in mine and no redness or stinging.

The salt chlorinator cells are very expensive and last only 4 years.... ours stopped working and after seeing the price of a new cell and compared with chlorination pucks in a floating bucket we switched back to chlorine. The salt pool is really chlorinated water.... the cell converts the salt to chlorine.

I've heard that too and was one of the reasons I haven't done it yet. I think they quoted me $2,600-$2,800 to install it.

The cells alone are $850 and you need to replace them every 4-5 years... https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005IVZGXC/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new

A well-maintained salt chlorine generator will last 3–7 years. Replacing the salt cell costs $700–$1100. Replacing the control board costs $500–$900. You can extend the lifespans by maintaining a consistent salt level, cleaning the cell only when needed, and using the reverse polarity function.

You can buy a lot of chlorine for $1000 .... and its good to have on hand if you need to sanitize Anything in a pandemic.

The experience you had with that company would make me want to cancel any plans I had with them, too.

Salt is easier to maintain. It doesn't evaporate out so it needs to be replaced less often.

But if you don't mind doing it yourself and do it well chlorine is just as good. My father has a salt system in his pool. I've swam in both. I only hate swimming in chlorine pools with too much chlorine or containments (urine ;)

If you try it out, make sure you ask him about his experience maintaining it.

You would never know there is any chlorine in my pool, yet it is perfectly clean. The problem is most people use pucks which raises the CYA which is required to allow the chlorine to survive in sunlight, but CYA also makes chlorine less effective and it doesn't burn off as chlorine does. So people who use pucks just increase the CYA to levels where you need ridiculous amounts of chlorine to be effective.

The fact my CYA is perfectly calibrated and no more is added the chlorine is very effective without overdosing.

I'm sorry to hear about your motor problems, unfortunately those come with time.

However, your pool area looks lovely. The green space behind is enviable. I'm living in an apartment building, so you can imagine what I'm talking about. Spending time there, recharging your batteries must be a true pleasure.

Congratulations for not using so many chemicals and getting the necessary results. It's important not only for the environment but also for your heart. I wish more people would think like you, we would have a much healthier environment.

Oh a pool! ❤ Lucky you.

I always hold my breath when I throw the switch on the pump each spring. We have had our pool for over 10 years now.... all Hayward equipment.... the only thing to stop working was the Salt Chlorination system ... so we went back to chlorine pucks. I spend a lot less on chemicals now that I know when to add a little shock.

Holy crap. I remember you posting about this last year. I have been here to long.

It sounds like you will be enjoying some nice and fun times.

If I had a pool I would most likely spend my entire day on there, lol :D

So lucky to have a pool

wow lucky to have your own pool :)

I am not fan of a swimming pool but you have a nice place😊.

I want the real ocean and white sand beach rlysk3.jpgright now, it is just 5 minutes away from this condo where I stayed, but yet cannot go. We are under General community quarantine, Bugger!!!

The swimming pool in ou condo here looks clean but old big fat belly western like 70 to 80 years of age swimming with the 18 to 20 year old filipina.

Let's dive in :)

Your knowledge of pool mechanics and their pumps etc knows no bounds, an informative read, as for a rebuild of the whole system that would be great to read, maybe a small video too, as well as one round the pool with the water glinting?

As for the Pool, the transformation is phenomenal, I love lounging, swimming etc, I'm a waterbaby, no point getting a pool where we are in the NW of the UK, mores the pity, unless it was heated and under cover, which defeats the object for me.

Enjoy your pool :) in the meanwhile we'll wait for our gym/ healthclub/hotel to open, it's a decent drive and having the Merc back it would be amazing - it has two outdoor tubs and an infinity that overlook Lake Windermere, which is incidentally a Mere not a Lake - and on weekdays it's pretty much ours:)

Saying that everything is easing here, I exited lockdown for the first time in 12 weeks, what a strange day that was, had to enter the GPO to buy car tax, I looked like a highway man, bandana riding high.