Pool Heat Pumps
Z900 Commercial Heat Pump
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Before you drain your pool you should consider the following precautions to help you avoid fines and environmental damage.
Know where you’re going to direct all that pool water before you start pulling it out. Some municipalities prohibit draining pool water into streets or storm drains. And thousands of gallons of water is probably going to be too much for your yard to handle. You don’t want all those chemicals in your grass or the groundwater, anyway.
The usual process is to direct all that water down one of your home’s sewer cleanouts, but some areas may allow you to drain into the street. Your city may also have restrictions on when you can drain your pool. Always check with your local water authority to be sure.
Regardless of where you’re going to dispose of the pool water, it’s best—and in most cities, required—to ensure the water does not have high levels of pool chemicals. It should be chlorine neutral, have a neutral pH, and not contain any additional chemicals you may use. Contact your local water authority for required chemical levels where you live.
To reduce levels, stop adding chemicals, and test the water until the water reaches the necessary chemical levels. If you need to drain the pool sooner (for an urgent repair, for example), you can use a chlorine neutralizer to speed up the process.
If any of your pool equipment runs on an automatic timer, turn them off prior to draining so nothing turns on during the draining process.
This is important for your pool lights. They’re meant to work underwater, and are water-cooled devices. When they’re not covered with water, they can quickly overheat and shatter.
Turning off timers is especially important for the pump, which is also water cooled.
Important: Do not allow the pump to come on while you’re draining the pool. If it turns on after the water level has fallen below the skimmer, the pump can take on air, which can damage it.
You might think a bright, sunny day is the perfect time to drain your pool. And it is—as long as it’s not too hot out. A period of heavy rainfall is the absolute worst time to drain your pool. The ground will be heavy with water, which increases the risk of it pushing the pool up and out as you empty it.
Pools are meant to be full of water. When they’re drained, and the liner is dry and exposed to high heat, it’s vulnerable and can easily be damaged by the sun. An in ground pool can even blister and crack if left dry in high temperatures.
To avoid this, drain your pool when the outside temperature is 29°C or lower. If your pool needs to be drained, but you’re into the middle of summer when temperatures are going to remain high (especially if you live in a warmer climate), wait until autumn or even winter if that season is mild enough where you live.
No pool is meant to sit empty and dry. Plus, you may get an unexpected sun-shower or thunderstorm. Then you’ll just have more water to pump out, and more cleaning to do.
Having everything you need—tools, repair kits, paint—ready means you can get right to work and fill your pool back up as soon as possible.
If possible, direct the drainage hose downhill from the pool. This is an extra precaution in case any drainage problems occur.
Once you’re confident that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions, you’re now ready to drain your pool.
If you look at your pool’s floor, you’ll see at least one, but probably a few, white rings embedded in the floor. They’re plastered in place when the pool is built, but under that plaster, they’re threaded onto a slotted pipe.
This pipe runs along the floor of the pool, and then terminates into a gravel pit under the pool floor, which is also put in place when the pool is built. The purpose of these valves is to allow groundwater to come up into the pool if and when it’s drained.
If water accumulated under the pool with nowhere to go, it would create hydrostatic pressure, which is what would make the pool pop. These valves help relieve that pressure, thereby preventing (hopefully) popping.
Important: Do not open any hydrostatic pressure relief valves until the pool is mostly drained. When the pool gets to that point, you may only need to open one valve to relieve any built-up pressure. The valve in the centre of the deep end is best. But if you live in an area with a high water table, you may want to open two valves to be on the safe side.
To open a relief valve, use a hammer and chisel to break and remove the plaster inside the cap, which will reveal the threaded plug. Use large pliers to twist the plug counter-clockwise and remove it.
Once the valve is removed, you may see water come up into the pool. You may even have a mini- geyser spring up. This is completely normal. In fact, it’s exactly what you want. It means you’ve given the water under the pool a place to go rather than staying stuck under there, and pushing your pool out of the ground.
Simply continue to pump water out of the pool. The flow should stop after a little while.
Once you’ve done what you need to do, and you’re ready to refill the pool, replace the valves. It’s entirely possible that chiselling and twisting the valve out of place will mangle it, so you may need to get a new valve plug. Put some Teflon tape on the threads before twisting it into place to prevent leaking.
If you use the pump to pull water from the pool, as soon as the water level falls below the skimmer, your pump will start pulling in air. Without water to keep it cool while it runs, it will eventually overheat, and possibly break beyond repair, which means you’ll have to buy a new pool pump.
Knowing what you’re doing before you start can help the process go more smoothly, and help you avoid costly damage.
You can likely rent one from a local hardware or home improvement store, but they’re not that expensive if you’d rather have one on hand. Place the submersible pump on the floor in the centre of the deep end.
Make sure all the hoses and cords stay connected, and that the drainage hose remains in directed at the disposal location to avoid any flooding issues.
You’ll reach a point where the water level is so low, the pump can no longer pull any water out of the pool, and you’re left with a smallish puddle. This is normal, and acceptable. The amount of TDS in that little puddle isn’t going to be enough to interfere with your chemical balance once you refill the pool.
Remember, you need to give any groundwater accumulated under your pool an escape route to keep your pool from popping.
Your pool should now be drained and will be ready for repairs or renovations.
Be sure to have a new valve plug on hand in case the original is damaged during removal. Use Teflon tape on the threads, and tightly twist the plug into the valve.
Put one or two (or more!) garden hoses in the pool, turn on the spigots, and keep an eye on the rising water level.
When the water reaches about the middle of the skimmer, turn the spigots off, remove the hoses, and turn the pool pump on. You may need to prime the pool pump again if it’s been off for quite a while.
Because you’re starting with fresh, clean water, follow the same steps you use for pool opening every season.
Once the pool water is clear and the pH levels are balanced, clean the pool floor using your pool vacuum. There is likely a lot of debris gathered on the pool floor so it may take some extra time and effort to vacuum the pool. Keep in mind if there's a lot of debris on the floor, consider professional help if you're not experienced with pool cleaning yourself. Debris could get clogged in your pool pipe, causing damage, and it can also cause wear and tear to your pool filtration system. Don’t forget about the decking around the pool, if debris isn’t swept away or manually removed from the pool area, you could end up with a dirty pool again as soon as the wind picks up.
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