Posts Tagged With: pool maintenance

Winterize Your Pool and Sprinkler System in 10 Steps

winterize your pool and sprinkler systemWith the weather getting cooler, the first fall frost won’t be far behind. Your lawn is slowing its growth and your pool is likely doing nothing but collecting leaves. Winterizing your pool and sprinkler system should be at the top of your to-do list.

1. Drain Irrigation Lines

Shutting off the water to your sprinkler system is the first step. Your main shut-off valve should be located in your basement or crawlspace. There are three different methods for draining the lines:

  • Manual drain
  • Auto drain
  • Blowout

2. Blowing Out is Best

To insure that you have removed all the water from your pipes, blowing out the lines is the most effective. Determine what type of lines you have – black polyethylene pipes or white PVC piping. The type line you have will determine how much pressure you can use to remove the water.

3. Too Much Pressure = Damage

Polyethylene pipes can withstand up to 50 PSI (pounds per square inch) while PVC can take up to 80 PSI. You will need to check your air compressor’s rating before you start. Too much pressure in your lines and you can seriously damage your pipes and valves.

4. Watch for Flying Debris

Connect the air compressor to the mainline just after the backflow device. Always keep at least one control valve open to avoid damaging the system. Start with the furthest sprinkler location and blow-out each line. Be careful of flying debris coming out of your lines. Wear safety goggles and keep clear of the valve during a blowout.

5. Insulate Exposed Equipment

Besides blowing out the lines, make sure you protect any equipment that may be exposed to the elements. The backflow prevention device is usually located outside near the foundation. The “bonnet” and “poppet assembly” inside this device can freeze and burst, causing costly damage. Wrap it with insulation and cover with a plastic bag. Duct tape the bag shut to keep out moisture.

6. Remember the Controller

Don’t forget to address your automated controller. Put it into “rain” mode, which will allow the timer to continue to run (saving your programmed settings) but shut off all the valves. If your controller connects to a pump, you may want to disconnect the power to it. You will lose your settings but the pump motor will not burn out from continuous use.

7. Preparing Your Pool for Winter

Winterizing your pool is a definite must-do. Clean all the debris from around and out of the pool. It’s important to leave water in your pool. Without the weight of the water, frozen ground can expand and cause a pool to rise up, cracking it. Lower the water level just below the mouth of your skimmer.

8. Cover Pool for Safety

Make sure the water chemistry is balanced to protect against staining and etching. Add a winterizing chemical kit to the water to keep it clear of algae. Cover the pool to keep out debris, inspecting the cover for any tears. To keep water off of the cover (and children safe), you may want to invest in an automated pump. Store all of your pool equipment (ladders and slides) to protect them from harmful weather damage.

9. Winterization Plugs Keep Water Out

As with your irrigation system, you need to drain all plumbing lines associated with your pool. After blowing the water out of the pipes, seal the line on the pool end to keep water from getting back into it. Many pools come with plugs specifically for winterization.

10. Winterize Filter, Too

Don’t forget about your filter. There is a plug at the bottom that will allow water to drain out. Open the air relief valve if you have one. Put the multiport valve in the “closed” position and remove the pressure gauge. Cover any exposed equipment with insulation and a plastic bag to keep moisture out.

Winterizing your pool and irrigation system keeps you from experiencing the headaches of ruptured water pipes and costly repairs. While ice sculptures created by a burst pipe might appear beautiful, your wallet will not think it is so spectacular. Save your money for more important things like suntan lotion and a new pair of shades.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your DIY winterizing projects. From leaf blowers and wet/dry vacuums to air compressors, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Clean Your Pool and Hot Tub in 5 Easy Steps

How to Clean Your Pool in 5 Easy StepsDo you remember the television character Fred the Baker and his line “Time to make the donuts”? It’s a classic commercial for regional coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts – named one of the top five in the ’80s. Well, Fred and his trustworthy work ethic became so popular that his “Time to make the donuts” catch phrase earned a place in pop culture as the quintessential expression for the drudgery of repetitive chores. So, you’ll get it when we say, “Time to clean the pool!”

Easy Pool and Hot Tub Maintenance

Let’s make maintaining the pool or hot tub less of a chore this year. These days in fact, automatic pool cleaners are available from your local hardware store. These cleaners (whether vinyl, concrete or fiberglass) can easily remove dirt, twigs, leaves and debris from any in-ground pool or spa. They work with the existing skimmer, pump and filter, and they can save you from the drudgery of vacuuming for years to come. Or, if you prefer to do the maintenance yourself, try these easy tips for keeping your pool or hot tub perfectly crystal-clear.

1)   Trim, Skim and Vacuum

Trim back trees or bushes near your pool or hot tub that can shed pollen, blossoms or leaves onto the surface. Skim the water surface to remove floating debris and empty the skimmer basket. Vacuum slowly across the water, overlapping areas like you would when mowing a lawn. The average pool requires 30 minutes of vacuuming. Use a nylon brush (or a stainless steel brush for concrete) to brush away any algae off the sides.

2)   Drain, Scrub and Cover

Every three months, drain the hot tub of water. Then, clean thoroughly with a mild cleaner, avoiding anything that’s too abrasive, which can damage the acrylic shell. Remember to clean the hot tub cover too. Use a cleaner made for vinyl or a weak chlorine solution and let it air-dry before re-covering the hot tub.

3)   Adjust Chemistry

The correct chemistry for a pool or hot tub is critical to keeping the water clear and safe. Test the chemicals weekly. Adjust pH first if needed or “shock” the water by dissolving chlorine and/or and alkalinity increaser in a little water, then pour it in.

4)   Backwash, Clean and Add Chlorine

Every week, redirect water flow into the filter by backwashing dirty water into the filter bag or to the storm drain. If the pool has a cartridge-type filter, remove it for rinsing and reinsert. Hot tub filters are cleaned in a similar way. Next, shut the filter system off, close the skimmer valve and clean out the hair/lint catcher of a pool pump. Empty the contents of the basket in the trap and reinsert. Finally, add chlorine to the pool using a floating container, which holds chlorine sticks or a chlorinator (the tube-like tank next to the filter that slowly introduces chlorine into the pool automatically). Use the amount recommended on the packaging.

5)   Check Levels

Finally, check the water level in the pool or hot tub, refilling if necessary. In general, pool and hot tub design provides for convenient, at-home maintenance. Remember to consult the product manual when choosing chemicals and cleaning agents. With consistent care, you can change, “Time to clean the pool” to “Time to have some fun in the pool!”

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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