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Pool Plight

Last December, I wrote about the difficulties I had maintaining our pool in 2017.  Thankfully that post ended with us turning our pool from this…

…to this.

And for the first three weeks of December, the pool looked pleasantly inviting, probably the most so far all year, although with quite cold water.  Then trouble fell from the sky—literally.

On the first day of winter, December 22nd, we got over five inches of rain.  Anytime we get large amounts of rain, it means I have to pump the extra water from the pool to keep it from overflowing.  This also means rebalancing the chemicals.  But with this excessive amount of rain, three things typically happen.

First, I have to shock the pool with high amounts of chlorine to kill all the organic matter that has washed into the pool.  This matter (leaves, worms, etc.) is what fuels algae growth so not shocking it soon after a storm leads to a green pool, something I have dealt with on many occasions.

Second, I spend several days vacuuming up all the debris that has additionally gotten into the pool, along with the dead algae that has now settled out.  Fortunately, I have an electronic vacuum system that runs along the bottom and sides to suck up this mess.

But with this much rain, the third thing that happens is the pool liner floats.  Because our pool is at a lower level than our house, ground water swells from the excessive rain creating exceedingly high hydrostatic pressure that pushes the liner away from the walls and floor.

It might be hard to visualize from this picture but the sidewall has been pushed away from the pool foundation.  Gone is the distinct line demarking the pool wall from the pool floor.  As the ground water recedes, the weight of the water in the pool flattens the liner back out, but with wrinkles.

So in less than a month, our immaculate looking new liner now had many wrinkles.

Then in January, the second plight befell our pool.  Memphis had a couple of snowfalls, which normally looks very pretty but one in particular was accompanied by some of the coldest temperatures we had seen in many years (overnight single digit lows with 24-hour highs below freezing).

Now I had freezing surface water to breakup to prevent from damaging the pool.  And the cable to my automatic cleaner was ice-blocked and could not be used.

Fortunately February brought warmer temperatures but then the rains began again, in a torrent. February 2018 went down as the wettest on record with 13.4 inches for the short month, nine inches above normal. So the process of shocking, vacuuming, and liner floating which had occurred in December repeated itself, multiple times.

March allowed me to get the pool back to normal, albeit with lots of new wrinkles.  But then on the first day of spring (season changes have been hard on our pool), more massive rain amounts fell and a week later another 2.1 inches fell.  So again I went through the three-step process.

And this time, I had to clean the pool filters as well (before and after).

April was a month of unseasonably cooler weather but with no shortage of rain.  The day I was leaving for Amsterdam, when I could not take care of the pool, Memphis got over 3 inches of rain and by the time I got back, received another 1.5 inches and then a few days later another 1.9 inches of rain. My thoughts of getting the pool liner reset in order to get the wrinkles out—a process involving pumping all of the water out and then starting all over again—were dashed considering how frequently the liner was floating.  I was just going to have to live with the wrinkles.

But then in May, we went from unseasonably cool weather to unseasonably hot weather (about a 20 degree swing in just two weeks) setting a couple of record highs along the way. The advantage of this change was that it dramatically increased the pool water temperature, making it more possible for my granddaughter to swim who was anxious to get in the pool every time she went out in the backyard (she loves to swim so much she even asks to put on her bathing suit to get a bath).

But then seeing the big smile on her face made all my winter and springtime pool effort worth it. Here’s to a summer of fun swimming!

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