DIY Pool Repair: Our Version of The Pit and The Curse

Have you been thinking about DIY pool repair lately? We've been there and done that, here's our story:

I think our house is cursed. A month ago I wrote a little about The Pit we have been excavating in order to repair a couple of leaks in our pool’s plumbing. One of the leaks is in a T-joint that is about 6 feet below the ground and up under the concrete pad. The other leak is in the main drain line and we aren’t sure yet how deep it is. Our deep end is 10 feet, so there you go….This experience compounded by the constant rain is starting to feel like the Curse of Oak Island in our own back yard. If only I knew there was gold at the bottom of the pit, I would be digging like crazy!

Some are probably wondering why in the world we would take on a job like this ourselves. Well, it all began 8 years ago when we had just moved into the house. Only a few days earlier my daughter, Sherlock, tried to run through the sliding glass door in the kitchen. It was double pane glass…she took out one of the panes and the other held. We had to take her in for stitches and needless to say the rest of our unpacking didn’t go as planned. In a spooky movie, this is where the audience yells at the main characters, “Get Out!”

$325 Gets You a Green Pool

Next, we called a local pool and spa company to come open the pool for us since neither of us had ever been responsible for an in-ground pool. Little did we know, we were living on the “wrong side of the tracks.” I’m pretty sure that the person I made the appointment with over the phone was only pretending to write down my information.  She probably thought that we were thugs who were going to lay in wait for her pool guy to show up so we could mug him for his pool net and algicide. We all know that the pool guy usually doesn’t carry a lot of money on him.

So, the pool guy never showed and I lost a day of work. When I called them back the next day, they were quite rude (I still hadn’t caught on to the situation with our address) but they sent someone out. He proceeded to turn our crystal clear pool a vibrant green in less than 48 hours and he left us with a $325 invoice and a 10 pound bucket of chlorine. Our pool holds 22,000 gallons of water. From that experience forward, we decided to take a crash course in DIY pool repair, chemistry and engineering and take things into our own hands.

The Dead Albatross

Every year when we open the pool, there is something that breaks. That is just the nature of pool ownership. Any of you out there that own a pool, know what I mean. It becomes that dead albatross hanging around your neck. One year right before our annual 4th of July “swim-in Jaws marathon”, the pump broke. Another year, we turned on the pump only to watch tons of sand blow from the jets into the pretty, clear water.  With each disaster, Sharkman creates a plan and fixes the “damn it.” Then came the grandaddy of them all. Four years ago as we were removing the tarp from the pool, we noticed that Sasha, our lovable pitbull, was pointing at the deep end. When we walked over to take a look, we found a gigantic rip in the vinyl sidewall of the deep end. Yes, for a moment we thought about duct tape but instead we washed off the tarp and then made a trip to the beer store for tranquilizers.

We broke down then and contacted a local pool company that was under new management. We told them about our previous experience with pool professionals and they promised they would take care of us. We made an appointment for them to come out and measure the pool. Sharkman locked up our store and waited for them at the house. You guessed it! No one showed up and Sharkman couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the pool company. Needless to say, Sharkman was very angry. We decided then and there…..”Never again!” DIY pool repair became a way of life for us.

DIY Pool Repair: Sharkman and Super Dave

Sharkman called his buddy, Super Dave, and the two of them made plans to replace the liner. While we waited for the liner to be delivered, Sharkman and I ripped the old liner out of the pool and began resurfacing the pool. We went through 8 bags of mortar mix before it was done and my arms have never been so tired! Sharkman also repaired the cement around the main drain and the light. Mind you, the light in the deep end is difficult to get to when there isn’t any water to provide buoyancy. Sharkman devised a swing made of a life jacket and a garden hose. I wish I had pictures but I think your imagination will do the trick.

Once the liner arrived, Super Dave blew into town and he and Sharkman set to work. The installation went pretty easy. Cutting the liner to go around the jets, stairs, and skimmer was a little nerve-racking. The key was keeping a vacuum on the back side of the liner while filling the pool with water. Super Dave brought his super ShopVac and we let it run along side ours for 24 hours while we filled the pool. Around 11pm that Saturday night I found the two of them passed out beside the pool.

When all was done, we had a beautiful pool. Sharkman and Super Dave's DIY pool repair job was better than whoever installed the one before.  They briefly talked about doing pool liners for a living and then quickly came to their senses.

Back to The Pit

So, the experiences we have had with pool companies in this town have driven us to our current situation. We are digging a pit and hoping for the best. If it doesn’t work, then maybe we will turn the whole thing into some sort of an aquaponic project.

I’ll explain our new plans for The Pit in my next post. I know, you are waiting breathlessly. If any of you have horror stories of your own in regards to pool ownership or a DIY pool repair adventure, add your story below. We can all share some laughs to make up for the frustrations.


I originally posted this  DIY pool repair piece in May of 2016. Since then we have discovered that (good news) we don't have a crack in the main drain line, but (bad news) our horrible city water ate pinholes through our beautiful, 4 year old liner. More on that in another post!

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