Clueless First time Pool Owners

hobokenkitchenApril 11, 2012


We are buying a house with an inground swimming pool.

The house has been vacant for several months and the pool is full (now dirty) despite a pool cover... which is itself covered in standing water and leaves. Gulp.

I think we will get a pool guy to come and clean the pool when we close, can anyone give me an idea of how much this might cost? We are in the North East, specifically Bucks County, PA in an affluent'ish area so I think prices will be higher here. Lots of neighbors also have pools so maybe I can ask around for a recommendation?

Also I have heard of some solar blankets that help heat the water. Are they any good? The pool is filled with well water and heated by propane, but any help with keeping costs lower would be helpful!

Any advice for newbies?

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Hello and welcome!

Well, I'll jump on the topic of heating...

We're in Central Jersey... not TOO far away from you, and our 16' x 38' fiberglass gets direct sun starting at 9:30 AM-ish, I'm guessing, until 6 PM-ish. We don't have (or would need) a heater. I go in the pool starting at noon, when it's comfortable, and it only gets warmer through the day... AND stays warm through midnight! I'm not sure if this is because the fiberglass is white, or because there's no trees, or a combo of both.

There were actually two days last spring of '11 that we went in, and turned around and got right back out because it was actually like bath water! But of course, that's definitely not the norm.

My sister lives out by you, and her heating for her home is propane, so I understand the area.

Growing up, (Jersey Shore) we didn't have a heated pool AND we had tree coverage, but we were fine, even with plugging in the ol' blue floodlamp and taking a dip at night. Just because the heater is there, doesn't mean you need to put $$ into it and pay to run it with the rest of the pool startup. I'm going to go as far and state that a heater is not really the norm around here... at least not around my town. No one else in the community that has a pool (we all know each other) has one.

I would work on cleaning the pool (ask your neighbors for recommendations, and then call and see if they will come out and give a free estimate.), getting the filter running, and going through a season as is. These past two summers have been hot where we live, especially in late June through July, and if the family can't dip a toe into the waters without complaining, THEN you'll know what to do for season #2.

Hope this helps a bit!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Thank you! I appreciate the response.

I called and spoke to one guy (I think the person who usually opens and closes the pool) and he said we're looking at about $2000 to open the pool, empty it, clean the pool and refill (they truck in water). Gulp.

It really is dirty though and I think the water hasn't been changed in a long time.

We'll definitely try and get some more quotes.

We're on well water so I naively thought we could just fill the pool from the well. I did say we were clueless! : )

Thanks for the info on heating. We do have lots of trees around, but that's still reassuring to hear.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Hoboken, I am a complete novice as well, have been reading the forum since we went under contract on our house-with-a-pool last November, so take my advice FWIW...

I didn't think you were supposed to completely drain your pool except in extreme EXTREME circumstances? The chemicals you add and the manual cleaning/vacuuming/filtering is what makes the water clean to swim in. Again... total newbie here, but when it was time to do inspection on our pool, the seller emptied it, cleaned all the leaves and muck (it was gross, y'all!) and refilled the water with city H20. Later, the inspector and our realtor were like "duh, why did he drain it, that was dumb!" and I said it was filthy nasty, and they both were kind of like "but you don't drain it! you clean it and balance it." Filtered through the lens of I know nothing about pools, I didn't think anything of it. Hopefully someone comes along to give you some ACTUAL advice soon. :) After four months of being closed down but with no cover, our pool is just as gross as it was when the seller drained it and started over. We are having the pool co come and open it, balance it and vacuum it on Friday. Will report back if they say "ack! must drain that sucker!" but I suspect I will just be getting a large vacuuming bill cuz' they charge hourly for that.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:59PM
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Hobokenkitch, I'm going on my fifth year with a pool. We are in central MD. The pool always looks nasty after it has been closed all winter and I am always surprised how quickly the filters and the chemicals clear up the water. We pay $350 to open our pool which is 45x20. That includes them taking off the winter cover, cleaning it, folding it and putting it away. They also take out the winter plugs, fill the filter with DE and start all the equipment. We lower the pool level about 30" in the fall. After the winter snows and spring rains its pretty close to being filled. We are also on a well. About a week before they open it, I check the water level. If it is low, then I fill the pool with a garden hose for several hours a day. I have set up the garden hose with an in-line water filter to remove any dissolved iron or almost any other impurities. I dont't really see the need to empty and refill. When we first start up the pool, we have to backwash the filter at least two or three times. Usually by the third or forth day we can see the bottom of the pool and by the 5th or 6th day the water is sparkling. If you use a company to open your pool make sure that they give you a "Pool School" and teach you how to operate your equipment and how to test the water. Good Luck, Enjoy

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:39PM
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Thank you so much for these posts!

I guess we need to do some more research into whether we need to empty the pool and start over.
This forum is so useful! At least we now know to look into it further rather than just moving forward with no further research!

We will definitely be sure to ask for a lesson in how to maintain the pool - I guess we will need to buy some chemicals and cleaning equipment.

It's intimidating to take on a pool, but I'm excited to have it this summer! : )

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:28PM
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Hoboken, I took these photos for you today as the company came to open the pool. To start with, they added 1 qt metal control, 1 qt algae 60, 1 L of Pool Magic/phos free, and 5 bags shock (think these are 1 lb each). Starting the pump (with filter on) and those chemicals are like magic! They said wait until it's less green and add about five more bags shock. The water isn't clear by any means, but the swamp-thing feel is gone. I do want to get to the point where I can control the chemistry with BBB, (There is a really great site about this, but when I tried to post with their name, GardenWeb rejected the message and said that site had spammed the forum so are blocked from being mentioned. weird. let's say it rhymes with ouble free spool and you can google to find out about their forum) but for now, we are using standard chemicals. They also used the leaf eater for about an hour. we have one, too, and will continue to use it over the next few days to continue to work on getting the debris out.

Anyway, if six hours can make our pool so much better, I know within a week or so we will have clear water if we keep after the algae and leaves.

And if we knew what we were doing? Well... we'd be unstoppable.

Here is a link that might be useful: today's pool before and after

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Thanks so much for the photos - that really is a remarkable difference!!

I think we will need to get in a couple of extra pool people to get quotes for opening the pool and see what they advise. All so confusing!!

I am going to have to spend some time trying to work out what might rhyme with 'ouble free spool'. Lol.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Hoboken, I'd been kind of depressed about our swamp from Jan-Apr, but now that it's clearing up it's getting exciting again! I hope it will be like having my own beach (I love going to the beach, but live in land-locked Oklahoma). I have no clue what we are doing but it seems like it's maybe starting to sink in. See my post title Renovation Baby Steps for the latest saga of trying to find a pool co here in OKC.

As for the riddle, I've seen people abbreviate it TFP here, and if you want to email me through the link on my profile I will email you the website.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:02AM
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I have it linked on my site under "About"


Here is a link that might be useful: My site will take you to TFP

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:54PM
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In a twist that could be described as irony, our spa is much like the beach in that it is now somehow filled with about two inches of sand. :)

Waiting for a call back from the pool co assigned by our home warranty company. I suggest you think about buying a home warranty with a pool rider for your new house. I think ours was about $500 total for one year's coverage of both, and some of them you can even add up to 30 days after closing. We will see what it covers on the pool visit today, but already using it for a $60 service call for some indoor plumbing issues. Can see it will likely at least pay for itself.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:29AM
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I cannot stress the helpfulness of the TFP website. I've been so impressed by the advice, especially the water testing section, that I donated $ to their cause. Read about the TF-100 Testing kit and how to use it. I've never had to take my water to a retail pool store to get it tested, and trust them to tell me what I really need for my chemistry. I do it all myself and it's easy! Also the Pool Calculator is a wonderful tool to help you determine how to fix what's wrong, once you've tested your water. Good Luck and enjoy your pool!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Hi again all.
Wow this has been a crazy week. We closed on the house last week and already have contractors all over the house working. It's a mad house.

I have calls in to pool companies for quotes to open the pool - so far no response. I guess they are busy, but it kind of sucks.

Found the TFP - of course now I know what it stands for the 'riddle' is too simple! Thanks! : )

I will make sure to spend some time on there looking.

Quick question - our pool cover has a lot of dirty standing water and leaves on it. Is that normal? I'm trying (and failing) to work out how the cover will come off without dumping the lot into the pool. Is there something wrong with the cover that it's holding on to so much water and debris, or is that par for the course?

I will look into the home warranty if it's not too late now that we have already closed. Thanks for the tip!

Soon I'll need to be researching pool fences as we are expecting our first baby. The whole yard is fenced, but I'd like to put (an attractive) fence around the pool itself at some point in the next couple of years.
I have a feeling that this house is going to keep our hands very full for the foreseeable future!

Mia, how is your clean up looking? Do you have sparkling clear water yet?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:31AM
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Dirty water on top of the cover usually means it didn't get under the cover. That is a good thing. It also means you need to pump off the dirty water and scoop off the debris. It is normal.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Hoboken, congrats on closing on your new house! And the expected addition to the household! We are in a similar position (no stork scheduled yet, though, just planning to get started on THAT project sometime this year), so we are about four months ahead of you on the pool ownership scale. So take all advice FWIW as my whole four months experience!

Our pool is looking awesome if I do say so myself. We spent some time on Google learning how to hook up our vacuum and learned all about the magical "vacuum to waste" function of our sand filter. This basically means hooking a vacuum hose to the skimmer (ours just sticks in the hole at the bottom of the skimmer when you take the basket out, but we learned a lot about getting air in your pump and losing the prime, which means the pump won't work cuz it's sucking air and not water, so you have to fill your vac hose with water FIRST before connecting), changing the setting on the filter from "Filter" to "Waste" (never do this without stopping the pump first. it's like moving a car from reverse to drive without stopping the car. bad!) and now all the water going through the hose shoots out the back of the filter through a drain hose and out of the circulatory system. Our drain hose goes into the sewer manhole cover directly so is hooked up 24/7, but my dad tells me in his old house they would hook up a discharge hose and run it down the driveway to spew into the street. Different cities probably have different rules on how to handle this. Anyway, so slow vacuuming sucked much of the leaf particulate and crud off the bottom of the pool. It was like steam cleaning your carpets - filthy changing to dramatically clean and oh-so-satisfying!

A few sessions with the vacuum (about two hours last weekend then another two this Sunday) cleaned most of the fine particulate out of the water. We live around a lot of trees so new whole leaves are constantly blowing into the pool - I'm finding it much easier to spend 5 minutes each night fishing them off the surface of the pool with the leaf rake/net rather than waiting for them to sink and crap up the bottom where they disintegrate and you have to use the vac.

Now our challenge is getting the chemicals all balanced. Can't balance the chemicals when there is all the organic debris in the pool eating up the chlorine, so now that we are over that hump, I did my first testings this weekend. Went to Leslie's first so they could show me how to use the kit our realtor gifted us, then did my own tests too. (BTW, Leslie's quality varies widely. The one I went to first was great, then went to a more nearby location and they were not confidence-inspiring, so I ignored everything they said and went back to the good location). I agree with other posters that Leslie's is there to sell you chemicals, but as a newbie that can't get a PB on the phone with any success, I will take what I can get. Must crawl before I can walk!

I've read the TFP chapters on balancing the chemistry several times, starting before we even closed on the house, but I was terrible at HS chemistry so it has taken a lot of re-readings and actually getting in there to work on it to have it sink in and make any sense. Now it's developing past the gibberish point and I'm excited! Major milestone this morning was testing the water and finding it had 2ppm chlorine still in it... that sounds easy since it's had something like 15 lbs shock in the last two weeks, but it's harder than it sounds.

Make sure to get your cover as clean as you can before you try to take the cover off, or it will dump out in your (hopefully clean) pool water and create more of a hassle with cleaning it up.

Keep us posted about the status of the baby fence and what you discover. My cousin in FL says a baby fence is necessary and awesome, and non-permanent since once the kids are more grown you may want to take it down. The way our pool is, we would not want to have it up permanently, as it will be a pain to try to clean the pool with it up, blocks the pool view from back windows, etc, but I am a safety stickler so we will be getting one... maybe a safety cover, too, if we can swing it.

Will try to post a few pictures tonight of our sparkling cleaned up pool! It looks like Wednesday will be nearly 90 degrees, so hoping the water will be warm enough for a post-work first swim. Two ducks landed in the water yesterday, so they were technically the first swimmers, but we'd like to be second.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:40PM
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Small update - the pool guy who does a lot of the neighborhood pools stopped by the house (I wasn't there) and apparently not one of the 4 pumps worked. : (

They hummed but didn't kick in. I am bummed.

I understand we need to pick up a submersible pump to pump off the standing water and then clean off the debris prior to opening.
I now know that we for sure have a mesh cover.

Here is how the pool looked when we first saw the house a few years ago when it was on the market for way more money and before the real neglect started. It used to be so pretty!

I don't have a direct picture of the pool now (I'll take one next time I'm there), but here's a side pic I took when I was weeding to show my husband how many leaves I had swept up. Looking a bit different now.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Beautiful pool in a lovely setting. It doesn't look like it was too terribly neglected. If it has been covered for even just a few months, one would expect some water and leaves on the cover. One just clears off the leaves as much as possible before taking the cover off. The plants seem to be in pretty good shape. Our house was kind of neglected when we bought it (about 27 years ago) - divorce, not foreclosure, with the wife living in the house but not doing much maintenance for 3 years or so. We got the house much cheaper than perfect properties and, at least in that case, most of the issues were superficial.

Did the pool guy prime the pump? I would think that a pool guy would know to do that, but since it hummed but didn't get going perhaps he didn't do it. Pumps designed for water don't move air very well and may not be able to pull water into the lines when they are full of air. To start our pool pump when the lines are empty, we take the cover off the leaf basket and fill with a hose until its pretty full then slap the cover back on and run the pump.

I'm not a pool professional, but have been a pool owner for a long time. Pumps are mechanical items that wear out or fail from misuse. They have been our most frequent repair item (not counting pool sweep hoses because replacing them every few years is regular maintenance). IIRC we have replaced the main pool pump 4 times. They eventually wear out and break but running them dry also can break them quickly. One of our pump failures was caused by a pipe break so it wasn't getting water.

So having a pump out isn't surprising though having 4 out is a bit much. I guess if the property was empty and a main pump failed but a booster pump was still programmed to run, that might stress the booster and cause it to fail.

I don't have any experience with opening and closing pools since we live in a mild winter climate, but it doesn't take much for pool water to look pretty mucky. A chlorine shock treatment and filtering plus vacuuming or netting out any solids can fix it up pretty quickly. And if its been covered there shouldn't be much in the way of solids in there.

Child safety fencing
We didn't put up a fence separating the pool from the rest of the back yard when we moved in because our kids were swimmers (in retrospect, perhaps we should have anyway - code now requires it for new pools) and we couldn't figure out a way to do it that would work for us.

Fortunately, there are a lot better options now. We put one up because of our grand children. It's one of the mesh fences. The poles go in holes in our concrete deck so it can be taken down and put back pretty easily as the workmen did when replastering our pool. The holes in the deck are small and not significant so you could take it down to open the deck if you were having a pool party.

The mesh has a minor effect on the view of the yard. We got a brown mesh (I think the darker colors disappear better as they don't reflect as much). The mesh fences are also good if you have changes in ground height. Ours has to go up and down a couple of steps to go around our spa and pool area.

You can see part of the fence in this picture:

A lot of the pictures of the fences have them pretty close to the pool. We were able to put ours far enough to have a reasonable walking area inside the fence.

There are a lot of similar brands out there each with some claim on why it's best but most of them seem pretty acceptable.

We are happy that we added the fence. It makes having the grandkids in the yard more fun and less worry.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:31PM
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cloud_swift, thanks for your post - very helpful.

We discovered that the pool wasn't opened last year at all, so the last time it was open was in 2010.

From what I understand this is not the best news. I guess we are probably looking at having to drain it and refill. Ugh.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:24PM
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While it's likely going to need plenty of chlorine and filtering, it won't be enough to justify a draining.

Just get the motors running. Having sat, they could very well be seized or have failed capacitors.

You said you have four pumps. I would expect one for the pool, one for the spa, one for the waterfall, and one for a pool sweep, based on the picture.

The pool, spa, and waterfall motors are what need attention first, will likely need motors and seal sets, and in that order of priority. The pool sweep booster will likely need replacement. Putting a new motor on them isn't usually cost effective. In terms of priority, I would put it before the spa motor.

Make sure the filter is clean. You didn't mention what it is but I expect it's likely to be a DE filter. Cleaning and soaking the grids inside requires a clean trash can, water, TSP (paint department at HD) or cheap powdered dishwasher detergent. Pulling the grids is best done while they are dry as they are much lighter and less likely to cause damage or be damaged. Hose them off, disassemble them (remember the order of the panels), hose them again, and soak them in water and TSP/detergent overnight. Inspect them for holes, broken ribs and stretched fabric. Replace as needed. Reassemble. This is a DIY capable job if you want to save some money. It should be done annually too.

Once the filter is cleaned and the motors are going, you can get the organics out with a leaf net and shock the pool using the TFP suggestions for shocking. Generally, algae needs 24 hours to let go of the walls and floors so wait a day after the initial shocking. Vacuuming the dead algae should be done using the WASTE setting so as not to contaminate the filter. Go fast as the water level will drop pretty quickly. Don't let the water go more than a foot below the skimmer. Don't try to be perfect yet. Just get most of it. Go blind if needed, starting from the shallow end. Turn the hose on to refill the pool. Put the hose just under the surface so you see. Ripples on the water's surface make it hard otherwise.

Use liquid chlorine or bleach, not powders. Powders may not dissolve fully, sit on the bottom, and add things you may not want of be ready for. Liquid goes into solution instantly since its already a liquid.

Might seem like so effort but pool pop ups happen most often when there is no water in the pool and water tables are high, such as in Spring. That can be the demise of the pool and often, homeowners doesn't cover the pool.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:44AM
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I just took some pictures of the refinished pool. This one gives a better idea of how things look with a mesh child safety fence and what the gate looks like:

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Gorgeous pool. One bit of advice if you can afford it after buying the new house -- an automatic pool cleaner. We bought one at the beginning of last year -- the Nitro Wall Climber. I did a lot of research before I bought it. That thing is AWESOME. No more spending Sunday afternoons scrubbing the pool. It DOES climb the walls. It does a full clean in 3 hours, and a quick clean in 1 hour. It's been well over a year and we use it all the time. It has been a real work horse. I gave less than 500 for ours. If I had to buy one every year I would just to save the time of not wasting Sunday's scrubbing the pool.

Here is a link that might be useful: nitro wall climber

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Still no progress. : (

It seems to be tough to get anyone out to give an estimate with the holiday weekend coming up.

So for now we are still stuck with this:

Can anyone recommend a good pump to pump off the additional water so we can get to the debris? Where should I get something like that? A local pool store has a small one for about $150. Is that about right?
The one I saw looked like this:

Also I understand we could save some money if we took off the cover ourselves and that there is a tool designed to unscrew the bolts from the deck? Any ideas on where to source that tool?

I feel like if we can get rid of the excess water and clear the debris, at least that would be a start.

Any advice appreciated!!

Oh I forgot to mention that we have frogs living in the pool. How bad is that?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Wrong pump! Great one for a concrete floor but not a safety cover.

Use the Rule automatic cover pump. White body and a blue strainer base. It turns itself on and off automatically and doesn't tip over. In the Winter, pop it on the spa too.

Then, when the water is off the cover, use a scoop net for the organic gook left behind. The more you get off the cover, the better since getting organics out of the pool is a bit of a PITA but there is a limit to what is reasonable.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:06AM
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poolguynj - thanks so much for setting me on the right path with the pump. I have ordered it and hopefully we can attack the excess water this weekend (if it comes in time).

I think the previous owners MIGHT have left a net behind in the shed. I'll take a look and see if I can find it. Would be so nice to have it cleaned up a bit.... and perhaps make it a slightly less inviting hom for the (very vocal) frog population who are enjoying singing to us at night. We thought it would be quieter in the country! : )

Any advice on the tool to get out the bolt things holding down the mesh cover?

Does anyone have a reliable (and preferably inexpensive) source for buying pool tools and stuff?

I'm wondering how much it will cost us to replace all those pumps......

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:00AM
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There is likely a 1" pipe about 2' long with a notch in it for the cover. Twist the long end between the spring and anchor. Lean the pipe towards the pool. The spring will slide up and over the anchor.

Why would the pumps be replaced?


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Hmm, I thought I replied to this already!

The previous owners sold all the pool equipment at a yard sale, so we don't have anything at all except a net.

What is the 'pipe' tool called? We will have to buy one.

The 4 pumps are all frozen, so I am guessing they will have to be replaced.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:40PM
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The tool is known as a cover tool or installation/removal tool.

Was there an automation system?

Do the motors just hum and trip the thermal overload or breakers? It might be just start capacitors or motors, one heck of a lot less money than new pumps.

If you moved to South Central NJ, I could look and quote but if you're still in Hoboken, that's a bit out of my area.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:37AM
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I think that the motors do just hum. No idea if they could be saved or not and most pool people I have talked to don't really work on existing broken ones and just recommend replacement.
Wish we were a bit handier, but neither DH or I have a clue what to do with things like that sadly.

Not sure on an automation system? I think it was probably pretty high tech and well looked after at one time, but we've inherited the neglected version. This house is a bit of a handful inside and out!

We're actually in New Hope, Bucks County now. Moved from Hoboken to Philadelphia, and now i'm pregnant we're in the country! Lots of changes going on!

I wish we were close to you too, would be lovely to have an expert opinion, but I'm not surprised we're struggling to get one, we're short on cash (as the house needs a lot of other work too) and have a lot of neighbors who want their pools open by the holiday. Maybe we'll do better after the holiday weekend, and if we can get that cover pump working that at least would make it look better while we wait! : )

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Did you attempt priming the pump(s)?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:16PM
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I have no idea what that even means.... so no! Lol.

I know one pool guy who did take a look (I wasn't home), tried to start them and couldn't.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Priming the pump means adding water to fill the pump and lines. Pumps meant for pumping water don't move air well. The pool lines were presumably drained to get it ready for winter so they are full of air. A pool pump running without water is likely to hum and do nothing. If it is allowed to run that way to long, it can damage it from overheating too.

There usually is a leaf basket with a lid that can be taken off or their might be a valve to which a garden hose can be attached. To prime our pump, we take the lid off the leaf basket and run water into it until the lines have filled. Then slap the lid on and start the pump.

The pool guy who checked things may have tried priming the pumps before saying they were broken. If he didn't, he wasn't much good. I expect anyone competent would know to do that.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 5:59PM
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When we open our pool each year the mesh cover looks just like yours. We get the pool brush and sweep the debris off of the cover. We then try to take the cover off without getting too much junk in the pool. We turn on our DE filter and the automatic cleaner, Polaris 380, and within 48 hours it's clean. At first we empty the bag for the Polaris every couple of hours. The DE filter usually needs to be flushed once or twice. The more water that you pump down, the more water that you will have to add to the pool.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:55PM
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The pool pump recommended by poolguynj came, so for the past couple of days we have been pumping off the excess water and scooping out debris. I think it look a whole lot better now. Obviously it's still not open and the frogs are pretty disgruntled, but it feels like progress however insignificant! : )

Anyway, here's to baby steps. : )

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Yay, hoboken! We "opened" the pool April 13th, which basically means we stopped ignoring the brown swamp and began working on clearing it. Had our first swim Wednesday and second swim tonight! So about a month from swamp to beautiful! We've had a crash course in pool chemistry, pool mechanics, and price-shopping laundry bleach at every store in a 3 mile radius, but it was so worth it!
So we went from this....

To this!

(Please ignore the decrepit crumbling 70's retaining wall/coping and focus on the clear, algae-free gorgeous blue water.) You can get there, too! I imagine pool season is a little later in NJ (It was 90 degrees here today) but just plan to start well in advance of your first scheduled pool party.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Looks great Mia! Next time I'm over digging bamboo, I may "accidentally" fall in... :^)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:14PM
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That does look great - so happy that you are able to enjoy it!
Fingers crossed that we get there eventually too.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:48AM
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10 years ago we were clueless first time pool owners. When we obtained the house in May the first thing we did was take the cover off. We couldn't believe how dark green/black the water was. We had the phone number of the company that had serviced the pool for the previous owner. (there was a sticker on the filter with the company's #). If you have such a sticker on your equipment I would suggest calling them as they will know the history of the pool and the equipment. The pool guy was extremely helpful and gave us a quick lesson on the care and feeding of a swimming pool.
In our area some of the pool supply stores have classes to teach new pool owners everything they need to know about owning and operating a pool. If you have neighbors with pool, ask them for advice and for the pool service that they use.. It's a good way to meet and get to know your new neighbors
We live in Wisconsin so we don't have a long pool season but have the pool up and running already. Took the first swim on May 19th.
Good luck with your pool. We absolutely love having a pool.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Well I am super discouraged.

just got another quote from a pool guy who works in the neighborhood.

He also says he thinks we should empty the pool and refill.

$1600 to remove the cover, empty pool and acid wash.
$?????? to repair/ replace the pumps.
$????? to sort out the heating (if there's something wrong with it).
$250 ish per truck of water to refill the pool - and we probably need at least 4.

I don't think we can get around this draining and refilling - literally every pool person who has seen it, says it needs to be drained. It is full of frogs, so maybe they're right.

He can't even start for another 2 weeks. I can't believe how difficult (and expensive) this is - I guess I'm feeling it way more because I am pregnant and due in a couple of weeks and the house is a huge disaster area, but right now I wish we didn't have the pool.

I wonder how much it would cost to fill it with earth and not have to worry about it?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:40PM
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Have you posted a thread about it at TFP? Unless your CYA is very high, you should be able to clean it up without draining the pool. Why is the acid wash necessary?

There are lots of swamp threads there and although it make take more time, it is certainly less money.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Here in OK, we just had two new 1.0 hp pump motors (hot tub jet and hot tub circulation motors) put in last Saturday at around $600/$650 each, installed. I don't know exactly because it was covered by our home warranty. Thank goodness once the new pump was installed, we could test the heater and sand filter for the hot tub and found that shockingly, they both worked fine.

We had no measurable amount of CYA in our pool, so we were able to de-swampify with large amounts of chlorine bleach from the grocery store and brushing and vacuuming. My friend joked that the Walmart cashiers probably think I'm cleaning up a crime scene every time I roll up with a cart full of bleach. For our 35K gallon pool, it takes about 4 of the 182oz jugs of generic unscented clorox ($2.95 each jug) to bring to shock level. To de-swampify, it took us about 12 or 16 jugs total, added in the right increments at the right time (started just at dusk the first night with 5 jugs, then hit it with two more about 10 am, then a few more a few hours later, and keep going like that so my chlorine levels stayed high for at least 36 hours. that is not exactly the textbook way to do it, but I didn't have the drop chlorine test that measures really high levels of chlorine, mine just goes to 5, and when it dropped below 5, I added another jug. in 24 hours you can see blue but cloudy water. continuing to vacuum all the leaves from the bottom is crucial, because the leaves will just raise your chlorine demand and it's a vicious cycle. as we started to be able to see the bottom of the pool, it was a lot easier to see where the leaves were to get them out. brushing stirs up the cloud and makes it so you can't see again, but must be done to break the algae's grip on the pool surfaces.)

Also, rather than spending $1K on water for your pool, I would budget that for an automatic cleaner of some variety if you don't have one already. We are shopping around for one now, and cannot wait to have it! Since we are out of swamp mode (although we had a revisit to swamp when we had a huge storm with giant hail that knocked tons of leaves in the pool. it's taken us 9 days to get it back to clean, so we need to work on how diligent we are to bring it up again) we are tired of scooping leaves all the time and want a cleaner to help us!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:40AM
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