Saturday, May 31, 2014

Talkin Pool School: Ducks!!!


There's always a couple of pools that seem to be nice "vacationing" spots for ducks. There's seem to be more ducks "vacationing" this season than usual.

Remedies:  Actually, the only ones that work are not feasible in a community pool, or are illegal. Based on research, while many swear hanging tin pie plates from trees, using fake animals (owls, snakes, fox) and all sorts of creative methods, the ducks quickly find that they pose no threat and return.

So, since using a pellet gun or some instrument to cause their demise and using a swimming dog to scare or catch them is not an option, they will move on when bather load increases and there's just more activity in the community.

Over the years, I have found another key contributor...homeowners. It only takes one animal lover to be throwing out bread to the cute little duckies before the ducks realize this is a terrific place to hang out.


Pool sanitation: It certainly isn't pretty but we keep the chlorine levels a bit high in these instances. Unless it gets unreasonable to manage, we keep the pool open and filtering. It is, however, a judgement call. We clean the deck as best we can, knowing that we clean the pool, five minutes after we leave the ducks return.

If anyone living next to the pool would take every opportunity to make noises and chase the ducks away it would probably help, though with people working, the ducks just lounge during the day if there are no bathers.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"It must be the swimming pool gods!" Common pool opening repairs.

I realize that community managers care about the condition of the pool and the satisfaction of the community. This is a brief "pool school" for community managers who need just a bit of information regarding usual pool opening repairs.

While I have seen everything and anything during pool openings, there are some repairs that just happen a lot as part of opening, especially when starting a pool up after sitting dormant for the winter.

Suction leaks:
The primary ingredient needed for pool operation is suction. The pump is the motor that supplies the suction, but it's everything else connected that determines the integrity of the circulation system. So, every place there is a valve or gasket in the circulation lines, is a potential "suction losing" seal that needs to be addressed. For instance, the pump lid is separated from the strainer basket by a gasket. If this gasket doesn't seal 100%, circulation is severely compromised. The same can be said for each and every rubber gasket along the way. The filter valve, depending on the style, has one critical gasket or a series of "O" ring gaskets, if it's a plunger type. The chlorinator, too, depends on a gasket.

Additionally, every joint in the pvc is a potential leak. The two places in the pump room where there are the majority of these leaks is at the suction and discharge sides of the pump. The connection between the pvc going into the pump and leaving the pump must be air-tight for perfect suction/circulation.

Hardware issues:
The pool safety cover is removed and stored during opening. In a perfect world, each and every brass deck anchor screws back down flat for the summer. In the real world, some refuse to screw down. In this case, the brass anchor, which is now sticking up and is a scraped foot waiting to happen, must be removed after liquid wrench and other industry materials do not loosen it. And, if it needs to be removed, a new one will have to be drilled and installed come closing.

Ladders and rails often need new escutcheons, landings, brass wedge bolts, foot treads, stainless steel nuts/bolts and rubber wall bumpers.

Gate/lock repairs:
Often times the board decides to change the locks and key entries to the community pool. Other times, the locks work, but the gate doesn't close completely, the lock works but is sticking and will only get worse, the lock and catch need to be adjusted, and lastly, the gate has a safety lock or a chain and padlock for emergency lock out during the season and throughout the fall and winter.

Coping Stones and tiles:
The  coping stones are the cement stones around the lip of the pool. They generally hang a little bit over the water and are rounded on the water's edge. These are held together with plaster/grout type material. These stones become loose after years for a number of reason. They can be easily repaired, replace, grout. The tiles are at the water's edge and go around the entire pool. There are different styles and shapes. They too, after years, start falling off and need to be replaced. Once one tile falls off others connected will surely follow. And, kids just love to pick at the tile next to the missing one!

The submerged pool light is another common opening repair. Usually it requires a new bulb and gasket. Sometimes, though, the entire light housing needs to be replaced. This amounts to "snaking" new electrical lines under ground and through conduit to the pool wall. Also, photo cells and light timers, as well as circuit breakers and GFI safety components are tested and replaced if not working properly.

I believe there truly are pool gods! We often joke about why never on a Tuesday. The joke is, it is absolutely amazing how many times we have a pool up, opened, clear, clean, warm for 3-5 days before opening weekend. And boom...Friday night, Saturday morning, something that had been functioning perfectly for the last week, decides to die.   This season it was a couple of pool lights. They were tested during opening, but were not turned on until opening day to dissuade early swimmers. Sure enough, all three lights that worked a week ago, need some electrical repairs. As the season goes on the same continues. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the days most likely to have mechanical issues. It's not the bather load, by the way. The number of people in the pool have no effect on a pump motor that up and freezes. So, we say, "Why does nothing ever break on a Tuesday?!" I really don' t know, pool gods is my only explanation.