If you are patient, you will find out soon how this post is related (a little…) to wood(working).
During the 2007 season it became glaringly apparent that our swimming pool had developed a leak in a pipe, somewhere; we even replaced the pool liner, thinking that was the culprit – we were expensively wrong! One thing we knew for sure – if we did not keep adding water daily (approximately 1,200 gallons per day!), the water level would settle at the 4-foot level. This meant the leak had to be somewhere at this level. A wild guess: The bottom drain pipe to the pump suction was leaking. October 2007: Working with Jim, our pool technician, we decided to arrange for a scuba diver to plug the drain for us, to make sure we would not lose water over the coming 2008 Winter months. Here he is at work, in October 2007:
We were right. The water level stayed perfect through the entire Winter, for the first time in years.
Fast forward to July 2008. I discussed with Jim the alternatives to repair the leak. His advice: Dig under the pool wall to remove the old pipe, and install a new pipe from the pool drain bucket to the pump suction. Cost: Very expensive! As a result, I started engineering some alternatives, and finally settled on one I had used before, in the oil patch: A pipe “liner”, a.k.a. a pipe-within-a-pipe. My main concern was reducing the flow too much, if we were forced to use a too-small pipe diameter for the new pipe. Jim assured me we would be fine, even if we were forced to use 3/4-inch pipe inside the old 1-1/2 inch pipe. Jim even mentioned he had never thought to use this approach, but thought it was a good plan. He found a flange that could be inserted in the new pipe, and a great, gooey adhesive to use underwater. We needed a very reliable way to anchor the new pipe inside the drain bucket.
We bit the bullet. Plan A: Use 1-inch pipe; Plan B: Use 3/4 inch pipe if the 1-inch pipe was too large. We also planned to push the new pipe from the bottom of the pool, at the drain bucket, toward us on topside, and pull the pipe to the pump suction.
We first tried using 1-inch pipe within the old pipe, but did not have enough clearance. Only about 2 inches of this new pipe went into the old – Phase I was scrapped. Jim headed for the pool supply house to buy the new 3/4-inch pipe, and the diver went home. We reconvened the following day, July 30, to complete the job. As luck would have it, Jim forgot to buy a new fitting: A fitting to push into the 3/4-inch pipe, through which we would thread a bolt / eye hook, to allow us to pull the pipe topsides, while the diver pushed from the pool drain. A little dilemma…
This is where the little wooden plug comes in. I used a one-inch dowel, made to fit inside the 3/4-inch pipe by grinding carefully, to keep it round. I pushed this plug about 2 inches into the pipe, and secured it with two screws driven below the rubbery surface; I installed a hook on the end, to allow us to pull with wire tape:
We kept our fingers crossed that everything worked this time. Here Jim hands to Ron, the diver, the 3/4-inch pipe, with the wooden plug on this end:
Ron goes to work underwater – the water was murky, but with good enough visibility after removing with the pool vacuum most of the loose debris accumulated since October 2007:
This was the area excavated by Jim’s son; from the edge of the deck to the edge of the pool: 8 feet, and about 4 feet deep at the pool’s wall. The wire tape is visible in the old pipe:
Following shock treatment of the water with chlorine, and after 30 hours of filtering and continuously running the Polaris cleaning machine, this is what we had this afternoon: Perfect water chemistry, crystal-clear water, and water temperature 80°F:
Sunday afternoon will be a fun time with our granddaughters in the pool, once again! We might even have a few grilled hot dogs.