Finances & Money

Tip: Don’t try something new before a long weekend

Common Sense Tip #546,753: When you’re going away for an extended period of time, such as the weekend, week or month, don’t do something untested and unproven in your home.

This past weekend, we went to Pennsylvania to see family and a football game. Prior to leaving on Friday, I recalled that Stacie was worried that our pool’s water level was too low for the skimmer. Acting on that tip, I thought “Hey, I can open up the drain on the bottom of the pool so if the skimmer runs out of water, it can still cycle through the bottom pipes”. So I opened up the drain pipe.

Now, for some reason the last owners never seemed to use this pipe. Before redoing the plumbing, I tried it, but no water would come out. After I redid the piping (above the ground level), water piped through the drain pipe into the pool pump. Hence I thought everything was peachy and the drain was now an alternative to the skimmer. So, last Friday I opened both the drain and skimmer valves, and we left for PA.

We came back Sunday night. After unloading all our stuff, for some reason I decided to go out back (it was dark out) and make sure everything was OK. I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know why I did this time. Luckily I did because I heard a bubbling noise and saw the pool cover quite a bit lower than it should have been. I ran inside, got the flashlight and went back to the pool.

The water dropped about 6 inches!

I ran over and turned off the pump. Some water was still getting through the system, so it wasn’t running dry. Had it run dry, the pump motor probably would have burned out and we would be out about $400 again since we just replaced it. I really have no idea where all that water went because the pump area was dry except for some leakage by the filter from all the bubbling. So, either there’s a crack in the line somewhere or the bottom drain really is a drain. But where does the water go? I’m just picturing our neighbor’s toilet and sinks erupting in geysers. I really have no idea.

Luckily I only need to increase the water level by about 2 inches to hit the skimmer, and we’ll probably be closing in the next few weeks. Water is cheap in our area, but it’s just a bummer to have wasted all that nice 90 degree water. I guess some earthworms and groundhogs got a nice bath though!

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Clever Dude


  • Kyle, judging from the stench of that water when I cut and changed the pipe from the drain into the pump, that water wasn’t going anywhere for quite some time. I should have walked around the yard more and tried to find a swampy area, but it was late, I was exhausted, and I know not to use that pipe now 🙁

    But where did that 1000 gallons of water go?

  • I think I figured out that the filter tank leaked (it happened today when I turned the pump back on) and that’s where the water went. I think it will need a new gasket next year, but I’m not worrying about it this year. I just tightened it some more.

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