Swimming Pool Tech Talk

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    Any pool techs about? :):)
    I've had a pool for about 4 years. So far no regrets. I've noticed that the pump that runs the waterfalls is no longer functional and it has a ground fault CB on it that is acting funky. Disclaimer- I worked as an electrician for about 4 summers when I was in college, so I know enough to handle most home electrical issues, but I'm not an expert on pool pumps.

    Anyway the ground fault double pole CB is acting funky. It likes to go to the tripped position. However, I can push it back to the on position and it will stay on, but the pump does not run, and when I hit the trip button, it does not go to the trip. Hmm.

    My impression is that it's a bad CB but the people at the pool place say it's more likely a capacitor on the pump. When those go bad it trips the ground fault an according to them that usually goes before the CB goes. I've put myself on their schedule for next week, but it does not hurt to research. :)

    Anyone have experience with this? Thanks!

    OurPoolAug2016.sm.jpg
    Le Pool :)
     
  2. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    Vilano Beach, FL
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #3

    Your invited to the next MRs Pool Party! :)
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #4
    I'm in. I'll bring the budgie smugglers!
    (Not sure if that will translate across the pond :p).

    Any chance the pump got clogged and burnt out? Used to happen all the time where I used to work with the pumps in the cutting fluid. They were water cooled, so when the got clogged they would burn themselves out.
     
  5. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #5
    Let me ponder that for a while! :) I did check the pump and made sure it was not locked up. My pool has screens to catch debris, one in each scupper and one just before each pump.

    ...lol. A google search came up with this among many disturbing images. No thanks, I'll wear my own smuggler. ;)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Update: I looked online and swapping out the pump capacitor is easy and the company that installed my pool sells them in their store ($20). It sits in a compartment on top of the pump held on by two screws and the connectors just slip on and off. I'm making a trip down there tomorrow and see if that does the trick and if not, then I'll replace the CB next.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #6
    Hope it works out! A good fix if it just costs you $20!
     
  7. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #7
    Yeah, capacitors go bad over time, and it's a very common failure point in electronics, specifically the power supply/subsystem. I fixed a decent 23" display by swapping out blown caps several years ago, < $5 parts from Mouser.com, it's still running (it's the little G's monitor on her Mini). A few months ago, the fan on the condensing unit for our AC was acting janky**, would need a little push to get spinning, the pump also didn't sound like it was starting consistently - the common component to both? A two stage capacitor, sourced it myself from Amazon for $22 ($25 delivered _next_day_), swapped it out, fixed in <15 minutes.

    **We had a 10 year warranty, and about 6 months before it was out, they wound up replacing the _entire_ air handler, the main compressor, even the thermostat, under warranty, which was like 85% of the cost of the system, the two things they didn't, the condenser fan motor and that capacitor, they didn't, but this is a case where I can zero complaints of having basically a whole new system :D
     
  8. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    @Huntn, I hope your little pump issue is resolved. $20 would be a lot better than a pump or God forbid a wiring issue underground :eek:. Nice pool btw!

    I don't think I've even stepped in my parent's pool in probably 2 years. Hell, in the past 10 I think the dog used it more than anyone. It's 20x40 which is fairly large as far as backyard pools but useless for swimming laps.

    I wouldn't be surprised if I go home one day to find Papa Goldberg revving up a bull dozer to fills that pool in. Keeping a pool maintained is a lot of work and/or a of money- especially if no one uses it. They're probably saving it for grandchildren which I'll remind them aren't coming anytime soon.
     
  9. Huntn, Sep 2, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #9
    Well, I called the pool company and told them I thought the ground fault cb for the pump was bad, they reassured me in their most confident voice that no, usually it's the capacitor that goes out. I also talked to their pool installer who told me that I did not even need a ground fault CB for the pump that powers the water falls, so why go spend $80 for a double poll 20 amp GF breaker, when you can buy a regular one at Home Depot? Especially because the ones being built in CHINA have a high failure rate. I agree with that. Ground fault CBs are usually for situations where indoors or outdoors where people might get electrocuted, like the kitchen sink, bathroom or outdoor receptacles. The CB by itself works, but the extra GF protection means the circuit will cut off immediately instead of a second or so. However, the waterfall pump is no where near an outlet. There is just a regular switch on the wall by the back door to turn the pump on.

    So at the pool place, I bought a new capacitor ($30) and a 20 amp double poll breaker ($10) at Lowes. Turns out I was right, it was the CB that was bad. My primary means of troubleshooting was that the test button that all GF CBs-switches have did not pop the CB. The original capacitor, although I did not test it was probably ok, but I put in the new one and got the pump running for $40, versus $80 an hour for labor +parts to have the pool guy come out. :):)

    Actually new pools, besides the expense of building one- $32000* in my case, the upkeep is not bad at all, once or twice a year I buy a bucket of chlorine tablets and Shock. Every so often the Kreepy Krauly needs a new tail or a new collection bag.

    *It seemed not that long ago that a pool cost about $15k...

    I think there could be more issues, when the pool gets to be 20 years old. I noticed down in Texas where I'm at, they poured thick concrete for the pool itself. It looks like it will last forever. Up, when we lived in Minnesota due to the cold weather,) which btw, I'd never recommend owning a pool there due the expense of heating it in the summer), they used plastic liners which wear out about every 6 years and are not cheap to replace. I acknowledge a leak with the underground plumbing would be a major headache, no matter where you are.
     
  10. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #10
    I've run into a similar issue before. Caps would be your first replacement, as they're the cheapest. Then the entire unit. Living in California, pool maintenance is relatively easy. We don't suffer the problems the rest of the country does. I can run a cover on mine. I even installed fencing several years back to keep the wild animals out, the bastards.

    I do most of the maintenance because I learned a lot as a kid out of the country and after we moved to the states from various pool professionals. Breaking surface tension makes leave and debris cleanup a breeze. Pools are very simple to take care of if do the legwork required. I could get rid of my pool by filling it in, but I'd lose property value. I've been tempted in the past because we never really use it except a few times a year. But we do and we realize it's a blessing in disguise.
     
  11. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    Boston
    #11
    Idk, here in New England it seems to be constant cleaning with leaves, bugs, dirt, animals, etc. The crazy temperature fluctuations probably have some role in messing with chemicals and the seasonal freeze/thaw I imagine causes more structural issues. If you go on vacation for a week without care it'll likely be a cess pool when you get back. Pool boys charge A LOT around here, pools aren't exactly in everyone's back yard and I assume there's less competition. The cost associated with opening/closing the pool is pretty expensive too. In the winter the entire filtration system is removed, pipes drained to prevent cracking, ladders and railings come out, cover installed, etc. Then you have insurance who hates pools, especially diving boards. We had to remove ours to not get dropped. And they cost 10's of thousands but don't necessarily add much value to your house around here because a lot of people don't want to deal with them.

    My dad for years put off buying a robotic pool cleaner. We got him one for his birthday and I'd say they're well worth the cost. I think they really need a pool cover to use in the summer but they think they're "unsightly". One of my friend's pools has one of those recessed automatic pool covers- those are really cool.
     
  12. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #12
    Before the automated pool cleaners, pools needed pool boys. :)
     
  13. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

    JamesMike

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  14. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #14
    Aka ME
     
  15. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #15
    If this is a serious question, no the old capacitor was not budging and is probably still good. :)
     
  16. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #16
    Naturally the automatic cleaner was not purchased until after I moved out of their house.

    Why pay to have the pool cleaned when you can do it yourself? Why do it yourself when you can make your kid do it for free :p
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #17
    But if you didn't grow up with a pool to clean, you'd have just had a bigger lawn to mow!
     
  18. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #18
    Funny you say that! My parents decided to build the pool a couple years after they built their house...

    My mom decided she didn't want the pool directly off the back of the house, so it was situated off and back to the side. Consequently, a bunch of trees were cleared out, more than what was probably necessary. And so our yard ended up even larger.

    To quote my father "had I known how big the lawn was going to be, I would have bought a bigger tractor". It takes about 1.5hrs to mow the lawn with the 42" deck on a John Deere GT235. Plus trimming around the obstacles.
     
  19. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #19
    Diving boards for a home pool? I've never seen one myself. Maybe back in the day. Thought it's my understanding and witnessing as I've been to your part of the country during the fall that pools are often built indoors or in a greenhouse type of building that keeps the cold out. I was looking at some homes in Greenwich a while back and noticed my conclusion to be true to an extent.

    My insurance seems to be fine with the pool, probably because it's the norm here. Though the trend in California is now having a saltwater pool and insurance doesn't like that. I have no idea why. Chemistry isn't my specialty but I imagine it's harsh on the pool base and makes it susceptible to cracking and thus the dirt underneath giving out. I'm not sure about your father, but I personally love using the riding mower to cut grass. It's an absolute joy. Just put on some earbuds and listen to some good old fashioned music, pray you don't kill a squirrel or worse run over the neighbors annoying dog, and go to town on the grass.

    The only things I've run over were a few garden hoses, a can of windex like spray, ceramic ramekin and a piece of red brick that I'd carelessly tosses while destroying the original garden when I first moved in. Pool accidents are rare, but I believe one of our neighbors lost a dog to their pool because it wasn't able to swim and drowned. Lab mix; a puppy. They'd forgotten to close the gate and the dog wandered in there, fell in and drowned when it couldn't swim. You'd have thought with all the crying the kids were doing that a parent died or something. Good grief.
     
  20. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    Boston
    #20
    Pools out here generally are a one season attraction, extendable into the spring and fall with heaters. I think if you build an indoor pool you have to be really commited to it, most people around her I think use their pools as a spectacle unless they have young kids. Fairfield county probably does have more indoor pools per capita, but on the big picture of New England they're not common. I grew up nearby Greenwich in a very similar town, and I'd say indoor pools are still very much the exception to the norm.

    It seems like saltwater seems to be the new trend. I think they're being pushed as more "eco friendly" but salt kills plants very, very easily. I'd be leery of it just because salt does destroy pretty much everything eventually. They do require less maintenance which is nice but apparently if the salinity gets out of wack you can really screw things up.

    My dad is a workaholic. When he's not working he finds other work. When he has all projects done he makes work for himself. I think he enjoys mowing the lawn, I don't.

    My dog loved the pool, it was single handedly the only thing she ever wanted to do. I think the problem with most dogs is once they're in a pool they can't figure out how to get out. We taught my dog to use the stairs and eventually the ladders. It took years, but she finally learned there's a depth dimension to swimming and things go under water.
     
  21. Huntn, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #21
    Chlorine Pools vs Salt Water Pools?
    I recently changed from the YMCA which had a chlorine pool to Lifetime Fitness who has a salt water pool. Are there any advantages of one over the other? I've noticed the indoor salt water pool has poor visibility, is this normal? I know that salt water can be crystal clear. Something interesting since I started swimming laps in salt water, I feel like I have more air when doing the crawl. And I no longer have to worry about chlorine in my hair. :)


    I am looking at my reply to you, and wonder why I asked if this was a serious question, my apologies, as the capacitor was leaking and I replaced it in the pump. :oops:
     
  22. Obi Wan Kenobi macrumors 6502

    Obi Wan Kenobi

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    Salt assists buoyancy. This means it's easier to float and and therefore easier / faster to swim in. I think it's because salt water is denser than 'pure' water.
     
  23. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #23
    I don't really notice any difference in my buoyancy, and I'll remind you that the YMCA pool water is not pure, but pretty heavy on the chlorine. ;)
     
  24. millerj123 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    #24
    I don't think this is the case. When I bought my current home, it had an above-ground salt water pool. It had sat unused for at least a year, so we had to replace the pump, and then the salt converter.

    With a salt water pool, you put salt in the pool, and it gets converted to chlorine.
     
  25. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #25
    Objects in salt water are more boyant than fresh water. Salt water pools actually have very little salt- 3500-4500ppm. The ocean has roughly 35,000ppm.

    To put this quickly, boyancey of an object can be related to the weight of the water. Fresh water is about 62lbs per cubic foot, while your average salt water is 64lbs per cubic foot.

    As a lifelong swimmer (including years of competitive swimming), I can difference between a chlorine pool, salt pool, and even the ocean is pretty negligible. Once exception would be something like the Dead Sea (330,000ppm salinity and 77lbs per cubic foot H2O).

    What really affects buoyancy in open water swimming in the ocean is if you wear a wetsuit (and how thick it is).
     

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