Author Topic: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?  (Read 7327 times)

Numbers Man

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Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« on: March 23, 2015, 11:30:57 AM »
I'm getting some grief from my wife that we're paying the Pool Guy too much (averages about $100 per month). I'm happy with the results since I'm the one in the pool. In the past, our neighbor's trees put a lot of debris into the pool but they were cut down last summer. Hallelujah! So i invested some time into watching some youtube videos on how to clean the pool pump but I am a little hesitant on applying chemicals since I've talked to some really smart people that couldn't keep their own pools clear. The upside is that there is a pool company that will do chemicals only.

So I'm just looking for words of wisdom or some really good youtube videos references for me to finally make this leap from every day suburban guy to part time pool guy.


Psychstache

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 11:35:23 AM »
Step 1: Go to troublefreepool.com and read through all of the pool school
Step 2: Fire pool guy and do all maintenance and chemical yourself (way easier than you would imagine)
Step 3: Profit

guitar_stitch

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 02:01:29 PM »
I was able to do all the pool maintenance (including chemicals...even the dreaded HCL) on our above ground pool when I was like...10?  Basic math skills helped.

I don't have a pool now.  I live in Florida.  I'll use the ocean.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2015, 03:35:04 PM »
It probably depends on what you need. If you just need someone to fish out the debris, then it is easy work. However, pools can get tricky in the Florida summer with a lot of rain. If you don't apply the correct amount of chemicals, it can turn green in a couple days. 


Mrs. PoP

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 04:54:43 AM »
Count me as a smart person (who can do far more than basic math) that struggled and spent more on chemicals and maintenance supplies trying to DIY than we currently spend on a pool guy.  If I were in your shoes (and even more so if you're colorblind like Mr PoP rendering him absolutely useless when it comes to using the dropper kits to check chemical levels!), I'd look for a cheaper pool guy.  Around here $100 is the going rate, we pay $65... We get less service, monthly vacuuming and filter cleaning instead of weekly, but he still comes every week and does a quick skim and the chemicals.  If the trees are down and there's less debris falling in your pool, maybe you can try and skim it every couple of days to keep the debris down and you can get away with less vacuuming and a cheaper level of service. 

Le Poisson

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2015, 10:58:29 PM »
This can be tricky depending on where you live and how the pool is used.

In year one of pool ownership, I really sucked at it and paid way too much for special chemicals and testing. Now I have things simplified to dumping 2 jugs of chlorine and 1 jug of algaecide in each week. If you have a lot of bio-loading in your pool (leafs, people, etc.) or a loft of dust in the air, you may find your first year on your own is difficult. Don't fear. You'll figure it out soon enough! As for the pumps etc. just ask, I'd be happy to help if I can.

Numbers Man

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 10:17:20 AM »
Count me as a smart person (who can do far more than basic math) that struggled and spent more on chemicals and maintenance supplies trying to DIY than we currently spend on a pool guy.  If I were in your shoes (and even more so if you're colorblind like Mr PoP rendering him absolutely useless when it comes to using the dropper kits to check chemical levels!), I'd look for a cheaper pool guy.  Around here $100 is the going rate, we pay $65... We get less service, monthly vacuuming and filter cleaning instead of weekly, but he still comes every week and does a quick skim and the chemicals.  If the trees are down and there's less debris falling in your pool, maybe you can try and skim it every couple of days to keep the debris down and you can get away with less vacuuming and a cheaper level of service.

I'm vacillating between going solo and hiring a chemicals only outfit for $40 a month.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 06:31:59 PM »
Count me as a smart person (who can do far more than basic math) that struggled and spent more on chemicals and maintenance supplies trying to DIY than we currently spend on a pool guy.  If I were in your shoes (and even more so if you're colorblind like Mr PoP rendering him absolutely useless when it comes to using the dropper kits to check chemical levels!), I'd look for a cheaper pool guy.  Around here $100 is the going rate, we pay $65... We get less service, monthly vacuuming and filter cleaning instead of weekly, but he still comes every week and does a quick skim and the chemicals.  If the trees are down and there's less debris falling in your pool, maybe you can try and skim it every couple of days to keep the debris down and you can get away with less vacuuming and a cheaper level of service.

I'm vacillating between going solo and hiring a chemicals only outfit for $40 a month.

I would go for that, especially if I had a working pool vacuum to take care of when dirt and debris litter the bottom. 

JLee

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 09:17:08 AM »
Count me as a smart person (who can do far more than basic math) that struggled and spent more on chemicals and maintenance supplies trying to DIY than we currently spend on a pool guy.  If I were in your shoes (and even more so if you're colorblind like Mr PoP rendering him absolutely useless when it comes to using the dropper kits to check chemical levels!), I'd look for a cheaper pool guy.  Around here $100 is the going rate, we pay $65... We get less service, monthly vacuuming and filter cleaning instead of weekly, but he still comes every week and does a quick skim and the chemicals.  If the trees are down and there's less debris falling in your pool, maybe you can try and skim it every couple of days to keep the debris down and you can get away with less vacuuming and a cheaper level of service.

I'm vacillating between going solo and hiring a chemicals only outfit for $40 a month.

Same here -- I can get chemical-only service pretty cheap and have a robot-vacuum guy to take care of the bottom. For what I spend in chemicals anyway (and water testing, whether self-testing or driving to the pool store to test it for free), I'm really tempted to just pay someone to deal with it.

Lis

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2015, 03:32:46 PM »
Hmm... I was too young to really understand what was going on when I had a pool, but I know my parents took care of everything themselves. My dad absolutely DESPISES any outdoor work, but he was able to manage this. Before I got to go swimming for fun, my parents handed me the scooper thing (what the hell is it really called? I had weird names for it when I was little) and I'd swim around collecting all the leaves and debris that fell into the pool. It took me ages but I made a game out of it... I think it took my mom all of three minutes. A few times in the summer my dad would 'vacuum' the pool. I think they eventually got a little robot guy to do it but my dad always did it himself even then. He checked the chemical levels maybe twice a week and added whatever he needed to.

This was in southern NY... I don't know what differences there would be (if any) elsewhere. The pool was surrounded by a whole bunch of trees, we got plenty of crap in there. Two grossest things we ever had in the water was dog poop (dog realized she did not like the pool after she got in and got scared enough to shit herself) and a dead squirrel.

I'd say educate yourself and try it out for a few months to see if you can handle it.

sisto

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 05:57:12 PM »
Do you have a local pool supply store that will test the water for your for free? In my area we have a Leslie's pool supply. They test my water for me whenever I want and have my pool profile on file. They tell me exactly what I need to do. I've never had a pool person ever and been in my home for 15+ years. They can tell you how to do any regular maintenance too.

Le Poisson

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2015, 06:49:34 PM »
Do you have a local pool supply store that will test the water for your for free? In my area we have a Leslie's pool supply. They test my water for me whenever I want and have my pool profile on file. They tell me exactly what I need to do. I've never had a pool person ever and been in my home for 15+ years. They can tell you how to do any regular maintenance too.

Our does a free test, then tells you that your ph is low, you need water conditioner, you should consider decalcifier, and by the way we have a special on floaty ducky toys this week. Free water tests often end up coming with a tab for $120 in chems. I'll stick with 2 jugs of chlorine and one jug of algacide once a week.

Numbers Man

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2015, 09:20:00 AM »
Do you have a local pool supply store that will test the water for your for free? In my area we have a Leslie's pool supply. They test my water for me whenever I want and have my pool profile on file. They tell me exactly what I need to do. I've never had a pool person ever and been in my home for 15+ years. They can tell you how to do any regular maintenance too.

Our does a free test, then tells you that your ph is low, you need water conditioner, you should consider decalcifier, and by the way we have a special on floaty ducky toys this week. Free water tests often end up coming with a tab for $120 in chems. I'll stick with 2 jugs of chlorine and one jug of algacide once a week.
^ That's exactly what I'm anticipating from the local pool supply store. I'm going to make a decision this weekend. I'm leaning towards the chemicals only service for the summer and eventually do it all myself.

sisto

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2015, 09:24:05 AM »
Good call Prospector!

I suppose my assumption was that common sense was involved around not buying things you don't really need (MMM folks here) and being able to ask some basic questions about the tests. I've actually personally found that in the summer the water conditioner is worth the extra money as it allows me to use less other chemicals and run my pump less. I don't need to use algacide either. Another issue you can run into with using too much shock is calcium hardness. The conditioner seems to help with that a bit too.

Basic tips:
Skim the pool often to keep out larger debris
Make sure to keep chlorine tabs in a floater using less in colder weather and more in summer
Clean cartridges every 3 months (if you have a DE filter you would flush more often than this)
If pool is cloudy run pump a big more
Algae means either not enough chlorine or it's not working right due to PH being off (simple test will tell you)
Brush the sides and bottom of the pool if you start to see algae building up this helps the filter clear the water

Le Poisson

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2015, 09:43:30 AM »
One other item I would add to that... Look into the cost of a timer in your poolshed. I lucked out and found water heater timers on clearance at the orange box store. For about $25 I got a pretty good mechanical timer rated to a billion amps. Or whatever. I need it to run between 4-6 hours a day to keep th ealgae out of the deep end on our pool.  Any less and things get fuzzy, fast.

I set it to run at night when hydro rates are cheaper and cut all power to the pool in the daytime.

We have a couple of toys that screw into teh jets (squirter flowers and waterfall fountains) that the kids love, so I can be coerced into running the pump for a half hour on a sunny afternoon, but by limiting flow in the daytime, we use less water and less hydro. Usually this is combined with backwashing the filter (30 minutes of toys followed by a backwash or vice versa).

Also, we had a pair of billion-million watt floodlights in the backyard. When we re-landscaped the yard, I ran conduit to the fence and put jam-jar lights on it next to the pool. Now I have about 100 watts back there, fewer shadows,  and better mood lighting. Since we aren't playing olympic water-polo the flood lights were really a waste.

If you find your pool is getting cloudy/fuzzy despite chlorine and circulating the water regularly, consider changing the sand in the sand filter (I assume you have a sand filter) Its not a hard job to DIY, but its not pleasant. You should be able to change the sand in a couple of beers worth of time on a nice afternoon. New sand made a big difference for us.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 09:48:49 AM by Prospector »

JLee

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Re: Time to Fire the Pool Guy?
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2015, 12:15:24 PM »
One other item I would add to that... Look into the cost of a timer in your poolshed. I lucked out and found water heater timers on clearance at the orange box store. For about $25 I got a pretty good mechanical timer rated to a billion amps. Or whatever. I need it to run between 4-6 hours a day to keep th ealgae out of the deep end on our pool.  Any less and things get fuzzy, fast.

I set it to run at night when hydro rates are cheaper and cut all power to the pool in the daytime.

We have a couple of toys that screw into teh jets (squirter flowers and waterfall fountains) that the kids love, so I can be coerced into running the pump for a half hour on a sunny afternoon, but by limiting flow in the daytime, we use less water and less hydro. Usually this is combined with backwashing the filter (30 minutes of toys followed by a backwash or vice versa).

Also, we had a pair of billion-million watt floodlights in the backyard. When we re-landscaped the yard, I ran conduit to the fence and put jam-jar lights on it next to the pool. Now I have about 100 watts back there, fewer shadows,  and better mood lighting. Since we aren't playing olympic water-polo the flood lights were really a waste.

If you find your pool is getting cloudy/fuzzy despite chlorine and circulating the water regularly, consider changing the sand in the sand filter (I assume you have a sand filter) Its not a hard job to DIY, but its not pleasant. You should be able to change the sand in a couple of beers worth of time on a nice afternoon. New sand made a big difference for us.
I'm about to do a sand change (this weekend). Not looking forward to it, but with a shop vac it's supposed to be pretty easy. We'll see!