Tip #37: Another Trowelman Tip
Plaster is a tough enough material to apply properly and when you're working in the confines of a pool, there are a number of tricks you'd better be familiar with if you're going to present yourself as a professional pool contractor.
Water activates plaster. Mix dry plaster with water and you've got about 3 hours to get it where it belongs and how it should look. But excess water can be a real problem when it puddles in the deep end of a pool. This water can come from a brief rain shower, a spilled bucket, over- misting the walls or soupy material. Just understand this puddle is white because it's drawing lime out of the plaster.
If you simply sop up this white water with a sponge, you will be robbing the material of the lime that it needs to set properly.
When you see plaster flaking around the main drain and or it's exceeding rough in this area and attracting black algae, this is generally the cause.
To draw water away from plaster without removing lime, you use a soluable material, in this case a cotton shirt (red for contrast and thankfully, it didn't bleed), with a shovelful of dry plaster. Spread the dry plaster on the cotton surface and let it sit for 15 minutes. Because dry plaster has the same percentage of lime that wet plaster has, you'll be gathering up water and leaving the lime where it belongs.
Lime loss doesn't reveal itself immediately but will definitely become a warrranty issue, and not one covered by the manufacturer. This problem is one any experienced plaster rep would recognize and put squarely back on the contractor.
The Jandy grease fitting was a good idea that never got the appreciation it deserved.
The theory was that you could remove the fitting and squeeze waterproof grease into the opening. Resecure the fitting and you could service the interior workings of the valve. Tightening this fitting when the valve became difficult to move forced grease onto the face plate and the valve would suddenly work like new.
But, the grease fitting never caught on for two simple reasons: Few people understood what it could do and placement of the fitting guaranteed it a short, brutal life.
Take a quick look at how most residential filtering systems are plumbed.
In most cases this grease fitting sits directly in the path of every lawn mower and/or weed- eater that passes by the equipment pad.
One bump and the grease fitting is broken. You're left with a sheered off bit of plastic that you can no longer get at with your fingers.
What to do? Gently tap the sharp end of a small, flat screwdriver into the plug and unscrew it out of the opening.
You can, for about $12, replace the fitting with an authorized part or you can use a stainless steel 7/16 X 1/2" Fine threaded bolt with teflon tape or, if you're really desperate, fill the opening with a little 2-part epoxy and give the epoxy an hour to set.
Because a pool filtering system is open-ended, it doesn't create much more than 8 inches of vacuum on the suction-side or 5 lbs of pressure on the return-side where the valves are located, so any of these grease fitting repairs will work.
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