07 October, 2010

Spelunking and Winterizing

As part of getting gas lines hooked up for the guesthouse, I changed my mind about having two gas tanks there. The original plan was to have two 10-gal. tanks - one for the water heater in the utility room and one outside for the kitchen stove.

Turns out, if we had a tank for the water heater, it would be a constant pain when it came to refilling it. There was no way to avoid going up and down stairs on the deck, plus where would I keep it - the utility room is none too large in the first place. So, the easy solution was to nix two tanks and just go with one large 20-gal model. All I need to do now is get it. Cinty's is out of stock, but, maybe today will be my lucky day on that score.

Anyway, since I opted for one tank, that meant I had to run a gas line from the tank, under the deck and around to the utility room for the water heater.

Here's part of what I had to do to run the gas line. It meant opening the deck hatch and crawling the length of the pool to run the line and install clips to hold it in place. Below is the open hatch.
Gateway to the Nether World
From there, it's actually pretty clean down there. No bugs or other critters and minimal, scrawny plants, which I uprooted as I came to them. The view below is looking lengthwise down the pool. You can see the gas line running down the right wall. Yes they use vinyl tubing for gas lines here. None of that wimpy iron piping here. Nosiree!

To the left, you can see the backside of one of the jets for the spa. It's actually pretty well lighted down there and being virtually bug-free is a bonus too, since I had to spend an hour or so crawling around and working.
Under the Deck - Pool Length
Here's a shot (both photos were taken from the entrance hatchway) looking across the pool at the skimmer end. You can see the skimmer (white thing) against the right wall.
Under the Deck - Skimmer End
Yesterday, as part of cleanup from hurricane preparedness (we put most everything that could blow around either in storage, tied it down or otherwise got rid of it so it couldn't become a missile) I brought out the pool cover and reel. The old pool cover lasted just a little over two years. The sunlight here is merciless. Covers should last four or five years up north, but, not here.

Anyway, Cody and I unreeled the old cover, folded and tied it and tossed it into the trash bin. Later, I unrolled the new cover and with Dianna's help, we spread it out on the pool water. This does two things - 1) it lets the sun soften it a smidge to work out the creases from being folded in the shipping bag, and 2) it allowed me to trim it to shape for the pool. I had to cut off a few inches in width and length as well as trim the corners to fit our angles.

Then, I connected it to the straps on the reel so that one person can easily reel the cover in or out.

New Pool Solar Cover
The real reason I put the cover on now, is cause the pool is cold! It's dropped eight degrees in the past week or so, from an average 94° (f) to 86° (f). The cover will raise the temp over a few days by about four or five degrees.

I know what you're thinking. 94°... 86°. Poor people, having to suffer with such frigid temperatures. I got a message the other day from a friend of ours, Billy, in Oregon. He and his wife Pam are 'snowbirds', spending part of the year here and the rest in Oregon. He was closing his pool for the winter and took one last swim in it at 60° (f). I would have turned into a chunk of ice with that temperature. Our high pool temp this summer was 96° (f). And we don't have a heater!

Next up, another in our series of nature along the Corozal waterfront. Today, we're observing the wet water bird doing his morning drying out ritual. He's hoping the sun comes out soon so he can warm up. It's been unseasonably cool. Everyone is afraid it's going to be cold through Christmas.
Drying Out In the Morning Light


Alan said...

Dave - you might want to rethink using vinyl hose for your gas line. Professional gas fitters in Belize [if you can find them] use 3/8" copper pipe. You mentioned how strong the sun is here and how it deteriorated your vinyl pool cover in short time.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Alan,

That's a good comment. In fact, I've thought about it. I'm encasing the vinyl tubing in 1" PVC flex tubing wherever it's exposed to sunlight. Not perfect, but it's a start.
I wonder if there are any professional gas fitters here in the Corozal area? I've never heard of or seen any. Maybe I'll check and see. Hmmm...

Larry said...


I have to agree with Alan about using vinyl for anything other than air - the stuff WILL crack under the sunlight - you have to cover every millimeter of it in order to be 'relatively' safe from having a gas leak. Copper (not buried in the ground) is best for gas lines. I've used (clear) vinyl as capillary tubing for plant irrigation and eventually had to change it all out to a more specialized (sunproof) tubing.

As far as you having to warm up your pool from a chilly 86, you might consider what one of my neighbors here in Punta Gorda (South Florida) did. He constructed his inground pool colored BLACK. Yup. It really is a great idea - you simply can't tell how deep it is by looking at it for one thing, which is neat, and it DOES heat up the pool water quite a bit.

I was thinking about draining my pool to do the same thing, but the water table is so high here that an empty pool is in danger of cracking, so I didn't.

Your homestead is looking great!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Larry,

Thanks for the comment. Don't worry, all the exposed line will be encased in 1" PVC flex tubing.

Paint the pool black??? Man, I'd like it warm, but not boiling. As is, during the summer our pool stays a balmy 96. We only use the cover during the winter to jack it up a few degrees up to between 86 to 88 so we can continue to use it. We have acclimated somewhat y'might say.