Our pool was professionally closed today. I do the opening myself, but I don’t have a simple way to empty the pool (quickly) or blow out the water pipes. So I pay to get it done, and it always frustrates me seeing the mess the “professionals” make of the job.
I went out to scoop out the last few leaves while the two guys were working today, and heard the sounds of hammering. Not sure what part a hammer has in the process, and I didn’t ask. I went back in, and didn’t go out again until they had done most of the pool cover. The senior worker told me one of the “grommets” was sunk and so he couldn’t attach the strap. He said my pool cover was too tight. So I went out and loosened the strap, pulled up the post, temporarily stuck a gardening tool next to it so it didn’t sink again, and attached the strap. Shame they couldn’t have done that. Not enough training, not enough time.
Fixing their job
So that’s the first thing you have to do – the things they decide aren’t their job. He wrote this one on the bill: “One sunk grommet”, so I suppose that makes it official. I don’t know why they call a post a grommet.
Next, I check all the straps on the safety cover are connected properly, and correct the ones they missed, attached to the wrong post, or stretched so much the metal connector is bent. Today they had attached a strap to a brass anchor unscrewed so far that it had stripped some threads and was hanging on at about 30 degrees off centre, and two other places where the post was sticking up dangerously, or the straps were so tight it took me ten minutes just to get them off, before adjusting and re-installing.
Then I remove the duct tape they stuck on the ends of the pipes where the chlorinator was, place plastic bags over the pipes, and secure them with the duct tape I removed. The difference is that I only stick the tape around the plastic bag, so I don’t have glue residue on the pipe threads to contend with next spring.
My last check is the pump basket. That’s where they put the parts they take off. I found they hadn’t bothered to empty the leaves out first. When I had emptied it out, cleaned it and was putting the parts back, I noticed one of the drain plugs didn’t have a gasket on it. Sure enough, it was on the ground next to the heater. If you need to buy one of these, it costs an arm and a leg. So I check, ever since I didn’t find one was missing until opening season.
I also need to repair the trellis that hides the pump area. I imagine someone leaned too hard on it. Probably when wielding the hammer.
Doing my part of Pool Closing
Every company we’ve had in to do our pool closing has had a list of things we should do after they were done. These are the main ones I worry about.
Washing off the chlorinator, draining it and taking it to the basement to hibernate is an easy task.
Cleaning the pleated pool filters wasn’t too bad this year – it was still sunny and maybe 15 Celsius, so hosing them down was almost fun. I’ve covered my cleaning technique in a previous post. One year we brought the filters in too soon and they hadn’t quite lost the smell of chlorine, dead insects and whatever else, so now they stay on the deck for a few days, and it so happens that they fit nicely under our table to keep rain off.
And that’s pretty much it. I still have to gather the parts of our pool cleaning robot (we call him “Wally”) and put him together after the filter bag is dry. I bring the pool poles inside the shed, and some time before freeze-up, I move any liquid chemicals to the garage, which is warmer.
The sump pump was surprisingly empty this year, so it didn’t need much of a pumping out. The swimming towels are folded and stored.
So now I can cross “pool closing” off the winter prep list, which (almost) makes me feel good enough to overcome the frustrations of paying an exorbitant price for a mediocre job. I don’t think it’s worth complaining about. I’m guessing the problem is that there is a very short period of time for companies to get everyone done, so temporary teams are hired and probably much of the training is done on the job. Maybe next year, this year’s “helper” will be the “lead hand”. Some will have had a good example to follow, others won’t. Some years we luck into a good team, other years we don’t. Whatever – it’s all done for another year, and I’m grateful that I’ve seen enough of the problems that I’m able to address them, and not have to throw good money after bad by having to pay the same company that messed up to come and fix it.