Q. I need to put in new valves, but using a hacksaw to cut the pipe just isn't something I'm comfortable with somehow. What else can I use?
A. Any saw will cut PVC, as will mason's string or #20 ( or finer) aircraft- quality wire cable. Suggest your discomfort might be past- life regression. Hack- saws were developed for use on Civil War battlefields to amputate damaged limbs. Perhaps your first experience was a bad one.
Seriously, saw blades 'dance' on the slick surface of PVC pipe. Use a firm platform and make the first few strokes gently, giving the blade a stable groove. For cutting small pieces of pipe, dry fit one end into a 'T' or 'elbow' fitting to give yourself a firm grip.
Backfilling a pool
Q. Since our kids are grown and no longer use our 16 x 32 inground pool we would like to backfill to the 3' level put in another floor and make it into a goldfish pond. We have a 4' x4' area cut out around the drain but are not sure what type of material to backfill with. Sand, Dirt or what?
A. The best material to place between a new and old pool floor is pea gravel rock. Small rock compacts the best and allows a free- flow of rain and ground water. If you have a main drain in the floor of your pool, you can simply plumb it straight up into the new floor.
Q. NEIGHBOR'S POOL PUMP IS 8 - 10 FEET FROM OUR KITCHEN BAY WINDOW; PUMP IS VERY LOUD THROUGHOUT OUR HOUSE. SOLUTIONS????
A. If the noise is a high pitched scream, the bearings are bad. It's a $35- $40 repair (wholesale), $90 with a service call. If the noise is a dry rasp, it's probably a bad shaft seal, a $10 part and 20 min (the second time) repair . If I felt the need to yell everything I said, I'd call out a repairman and offer to split the cost with the neighbor. You shouldn't be able to hear a pump running from more than a few feet away.
Leak with a new filter
Q. We just installed a new sand filter and had the pump fixed. When we shut off the pump the leaking stops. Can you please help by telling us where the leak may be? We have to top up the pool twice a day so air is not blowing out the jets.
A. Optimist that I am, I'll assume the leak started when you had the filter changed. If the multiport valve was not installed correctly (or was defective) you may be pumping water out through your waste line. Find the spot where your waste line empties (assuming that you're not using a simple blue hose) and check for flow. If your waste line runs directly to the sewer, cut the line and check for flow.
The problem sounds like a blown out 'Spider Gasket' . Call your poolman and inform him/her of the problem. The valve may have been defective when it was installed or you may have 'blown' it yourself by moving the valve handle when the pump was running. Whose 'fault' it is may forever remain a mystery, but it's most likely a $20 repair.
Cost of Replacing Tiles
Q. I have four medium- sized tiles that are cracked on the top of the pool. A tile man I called wants $200 to repair. That's $50 per tile! And I have the extra tile right here!
A. Replacing the tile is the easy part. You're paying to get him to the job, for the phone you called, the insurance you want him to have and the condo he's buying for his retirement. With the tile in- hand, you could install it yourself and do as good a job for less than $10 in materials; that's the purpose of 'Pool School'.
Q. I'm having problems with my pool company . They want to charge me more money for extra steel. They dug the hole 4 days ago and the soil has fallen off the sides. I don't understand why thay want to use more steel and charge an arm and a leg for it. 60% of the height of the pool pool is in the original soil. so my question is is it necessary for that extra steel? Urgent reply, please. They want to start the the steel work and concete in the morning.
A. Whether the pool is built in- ground, above- ground or up- side- down, it will take the same amount of steel. What can change is the amount of Steel- Tex; the 4' wide steel mesh backing either tan (fiberglass) or black (tar paper), that prevents concrete from wandering too far away from the back of the pool during a 'shoot', when there is no ground to stop it.
An experienced contractor should have anticipated the problem or been too embarrassed to admit that it had come as a surprise, but at $125 per roll and two man- hours to install it, perhaps you can negotiate an agreement fair to all, knowing the hard costs are about $250- $350 for using "extra" Steel- Tex.
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