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Preparing For The New Swim Season.

Can winter finally be over ?

Will the water really ever get warm enough to enjoy, again?

You bet!

Swim season's comin', ready or not.

For you to be prepared the water should be balanced, and the equipment made ready.

Here's a brief checklist. If it seems daunting, remember this is the ounce of prevention that saves you a 911 call or trips to places you don't want to go.

  • Have the chemical composition of the water checked. All you need to be concerned with now are the stabilizer and calcium levels
  • Replace the reagents (Chlorine and pH) you regularly use in your test kit. Keep your test kit in the fridge.
  • Backwash the filter. Bathe or Replace a cartridge filter, inspect and bathe D.E. grids.
  • Grease or replace pump, valve and filter 'O' rings (valve O-ring service covered below).
  • Inspect pool tile and replace or epoxy broken or chipped tile.
  • Inspect the pool surface, rough or bare spots can be patched.
  • Turn on the light and replace the bulb and bulb gasket if necessary.
  • Check the deck surface, patch any delaminated areas, broom chlorine onto mildew spots.
  • Mildew can be cleaned from plastic and aluminum furniture by shocking the pool water and lowering chairs and chaises into the pool overnight.
  • If you have toddlers or grandtoddlers, install and use a childproof fence. No excuses. No substitutions. Brand doesn't matter. Just do it.

Valve Maintenance

The current selection of pool valves evolved from high pressure 'boiler' valves; wheel handled, worm driven, brass gate valves. Now valves are available in PVC and thermoplastic. Simple 2- way valves control the flow through one pipe, more complex 3- way valves will control the flow through two intersecting pipes.

That's when they work. When the valve stops working, you've lost control of the water flow.

pool valve repair

Jandy makes the most popular valve and just happens to be the easiest to service. The Jandy has three 'O' rings and one gasket which should be greased once a year to keep it working smoothly. You'll need a phillips head screwdriver and 'Aqua Lube' waterproof grease (pool store) or Vaseline petroleum jelly (grocery store). Aqua Lube does the better job.

A thumbscrew holds the handle to the shaft. Remove the handle to remove all eight of the stainless steel screws that hold the top plate to the body. If the valve hasn't been serviced for a while, you may have to tap the plate loose with a hammer and flat bladed screwdriver. Immediately under this plate is one large 'O' ring. Note the position of the 'guts' of the valve and then ease it out of the body. On the shaft you'll see two small 'O' rings. Examine all three rings for cracks, Split rings are a common source of air leak problems .

On the broad surface of the 'gut' you'll see a square rubber gasket set into the face. Apply grease to the rubber. A tear in the face plate gasket simply means some water may slip by the valve. Apply grease to the two small rings and replace them on the shaft where you found them. Now, replace the gut in the same position you found it. Don't remember? OH NO! Just kidding. Slip the handle over the shaft to check your position. There's a small, round receiver in the bottom of the body to secure the end of the shaft. Next, grease the large ring and replace it on the body. The cover plate fits over the shaft, then line up the screw holes. Apply a little grease to the screws as you reseat them, and the job will be easier next year.

Reseat the handle, there's only one way it will fit over the shaft easily. If you find the handle facing in a new and impossible direction, you guessed wrong when you reseated the gut and have to open the valve to reposition it. Secure the thumbscrew and you're done.

It's not necessary to over- tighten this thumbscrew. The thumbscrew has no other purpose than to keep the handle from falling off the shaft. Over- tightening will only break the thumbscrew.

Other thermoplastic valves work in much the same way.

What sets the Jandy apart is the availability of parts. Simple 'O' rings are always much less expensive buying from a hardware, rather than a pool store if you don't mind looking through several hundred to find the one you need. All Jandy parts are available at a good pool store. They're not cheap, but then the Jandy's not a cheap valve.

Re-seating The Main Drain Cover

The main drain cover keeps small hands, a head of hair and leaves from being pulled into the main drain line. To prevent a possible drowning or clogged pipe, it's essential that the cover is intact and in- place.

The most common problem is that the wrong screws were used to install the cover and they've rusted away. If you can remove what's left of the screws with needlenosed pliers, I'd do it. Not a major problem, but the rust will permanently stain the main drain fixture. Use the stainless steel screws sold through your pool store.

If you can't get the old screws out, you can encapsulate them, preventing further rust damage, and secure the cover at the same time with 2- part epoxy.

2- part epoxy is available in any good pool store. Mix enough to make two quarter- sized buttons. Hold the cover in place and squeeze the epoxy into the screw holes. Wipe away any excess, and the repair will be unnoticeable. The epoxy will set underwater in about half an hour.

If you ever have to remove the cover, simply 'bump' a screwdriver under the edge of convex covers or into the grating to rotate a flush cover. The repair will stand up to pool cleaner activity.

Valve Maintenance and operating a pool economically are only two of the issues presented on our Pool School PRO CD.

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