Monday, February 22, 2010

The Acid Wash

So for a while now I've wanted to acid wash my pool. Most people didn't notice, but I could see that my pool was a little on the yellow side under the water. It was freckled yellow and I wasn't liking it. I'm thinking that in it's entire lifetime it may have never been drained and cleaned. It's quite possible that it has survived hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Wilma, and all those other hurricanes without ever being cleaned. Well, I know it hasn't been cleaned since before Katrina and Wilma at least.

Anyways I decided that this Saturday it was time. Natalie didn't agree because she couldn't see what I saw through the water. So last week I prepared for the cleaning. I went out and got myself a respirator and a chemical suit and got ready to get to work.

This was suppose to be a quick four hour job and I got started before the sun came up. That's not including draining the pool, that takes about 3-4 hours but I started that a few hours before getting up. But then, while draining the pool the timer kicked in and shut the pump off with somewhere between 600-800 gallons of water left. I tried everything I could to get the pump working again and it just wouldn't go. I went to the pool store and talked to the guy there and I had already gone through all the proper troubleshooting steps and it just wouldn't pump. I manually filled the pipes with the hose, filled the cartridge, etc but it wouldn't pump. I got the baracuda working by forcing it but then once I switched over to the drain it went dry. So the pool guy and I concluded that my pump is fine but I need more water in the pool to get it going because air is escaping somewhere, maybe at one of the ball joints?

In the process of all my troubleshooting I had broken my drain cover. I was standing on it trying to see if there was any suction and my foot went through. It's probably the original cover and corroded and needed to be replaced anyways. It's a good thing I broke it though because i noticed that there was all kinds of algae and aquatic life growing in the drain. No wonder my cartridge was getting dirty so fast. I don't think the previous owner ever used the drain, just the baracuda and skimmer because the first time I opened the drain it unleashed all the sand into my cartridge and my back pressure skyrocketed. So I had to go to home depot and buy a portable utility pump that is suppose to do 600 gallons per hour. Yeah, more like 150 an hour. I had to return the first one because it didn't even work and then the second one just flat sucked. $165 bucks, I'm taking it back today because it's not worth keeping. I also had to buy a drain new drain cover at one of my many pool store trips.

Anyways, this turned my pool cleaning into a day plus long project. Instead of getting the pool bone dry and then hitting the sides with acid I started doing the acid as the pump was draining the deep end. It's been a far below average winter here, cold that no one here has ever seen in their lifetime. Well this weekend the weather changed and it was almost normal temperatures for this time of year. So needless to say 2pm, a hazmat suit, in a almost dry pool, yeah it was hot. I was only able to work 10 minutes at a time and then I had to get out and unzip and get some air.

Natalie's uncle and two of her aunts came over and one of here aunts was very amused watching the acid hit the stairs. The yellow washed off instantly and she got all excited about that. Then once the acid made it's way to the drain the drain was bubbling as it killed all the aquatic life. But the coolest part was when I added the alkaline to the acid to neutralize it. Yeah, lots of foam and bubbling. I ended up working on the pool until close to 8pm at which time the pool and I were both completely drained and I crashed out. Before crashing out for the night though I was planning my morning and opened up the box with my new drain and realized that the pool guy only gave me the bracket and there was no drain cover in it. This ruined my night. Now I had to make another trip to the pool store in the morning to get the cover, and I couldn't put this off because he told me don't leave the pool empty too long or I could get bubbling in the plaster. I had to get that pool filled up by Sunday afternoon to avoid some problems.

So I woke up early and finished up the pool and got ready for the drain cover. The cover is great but I encountered problems installing that. It's a universal drain cover. More expensive than a custom fit but much better. Well it came with the crappiest phillips head screws ever and I was having trouble getting the screws in. Since it was a universal kit it had several sets of screws. One set was just a tad too short and the other set was kind of tight so I pulled out my drill which stripped one of the screw heads when it was halfway in. I tried to do the other screw with a screwdriver and stripped that head. I was pretty pissed off and it was really hot in the bottom of the pool and I was getting sun burned. I had to pull one of the screws out with wire cutters which was a pain in the butt. Took a long time to unscrew it that way. The other one I got halfway unscrewed and I cut the top off. I'm thinking I should write the company that makes the drain cover and tell them, great product but get some better screws. The only good screws were the ones that attach the drain to the bracket. They had a "security head" which is similar to a hex and required a special tool. So Joe's solution for the bracket. I got some square headed screws I had bought at home depot. Square and hex heads are the best because they don't strip. I hate phillips head. So square head screws and a drill and I was done really quick. The bracket I had been messing with for 45 minutes was now done in 15 seconds. Hopefully these screws don't rust and break... Hmmm...

This cover is above the ground level, not level so hopefully when I run my baracuda and the drain at the same time the baracuda won't get stuck over the drain as they fight for power... We'll see.

I finally started filling my pool around noon. Two hoses on full blast. I woke up this morning and my pool is about 2/3 full. Hoping it will get done today and I can get the pump running on it again.

So here are my pictures of all the fun and excitement I had this weekend.

You can see that the pool is not sparkling white in this picture. Well if you can't just keep looking further and you'll notice the change.

Me pulling out the baracuda in my hazmat suit. It was very hot.

Getting ready to drop some acid

Dirty Pool. Take note of the nasty yellow ladder.

Adding alkaline

Clean pool

The ladder all cleaned up

Dirty Stairs

Clean Stairs

New Drain

Deep end all cleaned up