Po Po Polaris

Looks like he's peeing into the pool

One  of my favorite things to do is to come home late from work on a brisk February evening and stick my arms in cold pool water.  Yes it’s a mild winter, but 45 degree water is chilly nonetheless.  I wasn’t doing this just for fun, the little rug rat that runs around the bottom of the pool picking up leaves was broken.  My arms have finally thawed enough for me to write about this simple fix.

I noticed that the last couple weeks no matter how much the Polaris (model number 280) ran around it didn’t seem to be picking up anything and the bag was empty.  I’ve known for a few months that my filter cartridges were failing and sand and other tiny debris was getting through and back into the pool.  What I suspected was that some tiny thing had made its way through the auxiliary pump and down the hose and blocked up the spray nozzles that push vacuum leaves up.  Usually when something is wrong with the Polaris its that it won’t move forward.  With the Polaris running I pulled it up by the hose so that it was just barely out of the water.  I could tell that only a little water was coming out of the jets that point up into the bag.  I knew from prior observation that it should be blasting water out of that thing and soaking me, so I knew where the problem was.

Step 1: Remove two screws from bottom. Use the biggest phillips head that fits.


Step 2: Remove two screws holding this Y-shaped piece in and carefully tease it out.


Step 3: Remove the two screws holding the directional nozzle

Now here’s the tricky part. I could tell that there was a tiny little pebble in each of the two tips of the nozzles.  I poked them down with a little screw driver and tried to shake them out, but when I covered the top hole with my thumb and blew into the hole where the directional ball nozzle goes they would go back to clogging the holes.  After turning blue in the face trying to blow out the pebbles I realized I had an air compressor.  That helped tremendously.  Put the air in one of the tiny holes, cover the other and the top hole with your fingers and hopefully the pebble will blow out the back.  Don’t stop until you have found the pebble in your hand.  I thought I had it out one time and put it together and it clogged itself back up within a few seconds.

It goes right back together and since then it has warmed up enough for me to fix the root cause and replace my cartridge filters.


30 minutes



Salt Water Pool Trick

The pool in my back yard has a mechanism that generates chlorine by electrically separating chlorine out from salt that you dump in.  If I remember my chemistry correctly when you put salt in a solution the sodium and chlorine separate into ions, so I guess all you need to do is add an electron back to the chlorine and you’re good to go.  You’ll see these advertised in real estate flyers as “salt water pools” but it’s not salty like the ocean.  Ocean water is around 35000 ppm (parts per million) while the pool only needs about 3000 to function.  I love it because a 40 lb bag of pool salt costs about $6 and I put in one about every 3-4 months.

The salt water pool presents its own maintenance challenges.  This summer I’ve had a hard time keeping the chlorine level up in the pool.  I’ve been leaving the salt generator up at full blast and there’s never more than 1 ppm.  It’s also been a blazing hot summer and I’ve had to add about a half inch of water every week, I don’t know if that’s relevant.  I started testing more than pH and Chlorine with some test strips that have extra tests on it and the alkalinity is also real high.  Yesterday I pumped about 6 inches of water out of the pool and filled it back up from the tap.  About 5 hours later the chlorine level had shot up to 2 ppm.

I think what was happening was that the evaporation of the water was causing a build up of something that was preventing the salt generator from doing its thing.  Reading around on the interwebs I found that evaporation will cause the hardness of the water to go up because the minerals don’t evaporate out, this or the collection of something else that doesn’t evaporate out must diminish the salt generator’s efficacy.  Hope this helps another salt pool owner out.