18 May, 2009

Hard, Hot Work

Yesterday morning dawned as it frequently does here - picture perfect. We know this because almost every morning we walk the dogs into town. Depending on the season, that trek begins about 15 minutes before sunrise, or 15 minutes after sunrise.

On this particular walk, as we (Doug and myself, along with the usual gaggle of doggies) were going by the waterfront, we spied a young man diligently painting the underside of Christina's hatch cover. I thought it made a nice photo.
6:15 AM and Hard At It

After we got back from the walk, our work was getting set to begin. We've been plagued for quite a while with cloudy water. We were pretty sure our chemistry for the pool was finally under control and the water had become blue as it should, but it was cloudy. So much so, that standing in the pool, you couldn't see your feet. Not quite the effect you want.

Well, we'd had enough of that. We had decided to drain the pool, pressure wash the whole thing, and refill it to see if that made a difference.

As we drained the pool, it became obvious what the problem or culprit was. It was marl dust. This occurs during the extremes of the dry season, when the road bed marl becomes finer than talcum powder (reminiscent of Mt. St. Helens ash, for those of you who also lived through that experience).

We thought we had been pretty well free of it as the prevailing breeze pretty much always blew from east to west, directly away from our house. But, the problem is that the marl will even turn to dust in the absence of vehicles. A fine layer, to be sure, but there nonetheless. that layer, blowing around fairly constantly, always got into the pool, where it roosted in the wall and the floor of the pool. When Cody vacuumed the pool, it would be sucked up by the vacuum, only to flow right through the sand filter and be redeposited into the pool, since the filter was unable to trap such fine particles.

Along with the marl in the pool, Dianna wanted to tackle the remaining tiles that still had not been properly cleaned. We tried several things, muriatic acid (diluted, of course) and some other products. It seems that the only thing that really works is good old-fashioned elbow-grease - of course.

Here's some shots of the pool drainage and Dianna hard at work scrubbing the tile. You would not believe how hot the inside of that pool became.

Dianna Working to Clean Pool Tiles
Dianna Still Working on the Tiles
Thankfully, Doug and Twyla came over to help work on the pool. As hot as it was and as labor-intensive as the job became, the two of us would have been at it for another week.

The job would have gone faster if the main pump had sucked all the water out of the pool - as we thought it was going to do. Instead when it got down to about 3-4" of water in the pool, the pump, although sounding like it was working wasn't sucking... That sucked, big time. That meant we finished draining the pool with 5-gallon buckets, cups, hands, whatever we could find.

That process took about an hour and a half longer than we had thought the whole thing would take.

Here's a couple more shots of the pool drained and waiting for the final pressure washing.

Couple Views of the Pool Cleaning
Another View of the Pool Cleaning
Unfortunately, this is all the photos I took of the activity. It was such hot and hard work, with all of us sweating profusely (not just profusely, but gallons) that we forgot completely about photography of the pool cleaning party.

It took us till about 4:00 PM before we were satisfied that we had cleaned the pool sufficiently. Then we started filling it - a 7-hour process in it own right.

Also helping for a while were Lynn and Pete, who came over on their last day before heading back to Seattle.

We told everyone that we'd treat them all to burgers and beer at Scotty's, but Lynn and Pete had already made other arrangements.

So, after showers and dry clothing changes, Twyla, Doug, Dianna and I all headed to Scotty's. I think towards the end of the evening, all four of us were ready to fall asleep right there. We were all pooped out and sunburnt as well. We could all hear our beds calling our names.

Monday morning finds us refreshed and finishing the pool filling. I'm going to run a chemistry test of the pool as soon as that's done and then take it easy for the day. It may be pool time this afternoon.

About the filtering, I think I've found the solution for our problem. It's something called a slime bag. One of the options is that it will fit in plastic filter housings. I found them at Cleaner Pools.Net ( think ganging two of them together and putting them in-between the vacuum and the skimmer will go a long way to solving our problem of the fine materials just shooting through the sand filter.

I'm not sure yet exactly how to set it up, hard-wired in before the big filter in the pump house, or make a stand for the two housings and plugging the vacuum into one end with the other end plugged in to the skimmer, and vacuuming away as usual. Further investigation is warranted.

I've also found the perfect waterfall/mosaic light. It's a waterproof 20" long LED light bar with 18 LED's in it that will mount just above the waterfall. It's 12Vdc, so as safe as can be and easy to install as well. I found it at ( It can even come with a dimmer to really control the mood lighting - and it's reasonably priced.

Well, that's all for now. I've got to go shut off the pool filler valve and do some testing. Makes me feel like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew... Where's my assistant, Beaker?

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