Posts tagged "swimming pool"

What We’ve Been Up To

Wow – I was thinking it had been a while since I’d posted anything to the blog and it was probably time for an update, but I had no idea it’s been almost a year.  Crazy.  I guess time just got away from me.  Anywho, needless to say, I’m way past due in sharing what we’ve been up to, so here’s a quick look at some of the projects we’ve worked on over the last year.


1) Refinishing Hardwood Floors

This one makes the top of the list based solely on the impact it’s had to the main floor of our house.  We had the original hardwood floors refinished in the dining room and foyer (replacing some pretty worn carpet).  In hind sight, this turned out to be one of the more disruptive projects we’ve done since living in this house, but now that all of the inconvenience is behind us, I can safely say it was totally worth it!









2) Grown Up Curtains

We have curtains – real, grown up window treatments – in the dining room and living room!  This is something we’ve talked about since we started redecorating the main floor, but I was a non-believer.  Custom curtains aren’t cheap and I (apparently) am.  But, after 6 years of living with teal fabrics that no longer matched anything else on the main floor, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and update them.  We figure old ones lasted 20 years, which is a pretty good run for curtains … and the new ones have made a world of difference.  Needless to say, I’m now a believer in “the power” of curtains.

 The “before” pictures:





And, the “after” photos:






3) The Basement

We’ve started working in the basement … sealing it up, cleaning it out, and generally making it nice, bright, and less buggy.  So far, we’ve had new windows installed, sprayed foam insulation around the rim joists, and rearranged all of the stuff down there about 5 times to get better access to the couple of rooms we’re starting in.

photo 1

photo 2


4) New Porch Door!

We have a real door on the side porch now!  Since we moved in, it’s always been a screen door, which really wasn’t a great solution.  The door would get caught in the wind and blow open, it didn’t seal well at all, and generally felt like a “duct tape and chicken wire” solution.  So, we decided it was time to do something more permanent and went with a fiberglass 3/4 glass door that swings into the porch (to avoid the wind issue).  We’ve had it through the winter and have LOVED how much tighter the porch is now that we have a real door.

The old storm door:


And the new door:






5) No More Window Air Conditioners!

It might sound silly, but this was huge!  We had a couple of window air conditioners mounted in the wall – one was in our bedroom and one was in the sunroom.  They were probably a really great feature when those rooms were converted porches to living space long before the house had central air conditioning, but we’d never used them.  As far as we were concerned, they were loud (we could hear everything outside like it was happening in our bedroom), they were no where near air (or bug) tight, and they didn’t look very pretty.  Once they were gone (and the walls patched), we realized we’d lived with them entirely too long.  They are gone, but definitely not missed!

The master bedroom:

In the Master Bedroom


And the sunroom:

In the Sunroom / Family Room



6) New Liner for tbe Pool

This wasn’t exactly a planned upgrade, but we found our pool empty and the liner collapsed when we went to open it last spring, so a new liner it was.  We knew the liner was getting up there in age, so it as really just a matter of time.  Hopefully this means we’ll have some uninterrupted seasons of pool use ahead of us – these pictures make me so excited for warmer weather!  I can’t wait to go swimming with Haley this year – I think she will have so much fun with it!







Anyway, many apologies for the lengthy absence.  I think this brings the blog (roughly) up to date … more to come (hopefully without a year passing in the meantime)!

It’s been really gross outside the last couple of days … hot, sticky, humid, just plain gross.  And we’ve been enjoying our swimming pool a lot … it’s a great way to cool off and feel refreshed!  The last few weeks have been so warm out that the pool water has been heating to bath-water like temperatures on its own.  The recent challenge has been cooling the pool off rather than heating it.

About a month ago, though, the situation was pretty much opposite.  Back then, the pool was actually on the chilly side (such a foreign thought now!) and we thought we’d run the heater for a bit so it would be more comfortable in time for our Fourth of July cookout.  Unfortunately, though, we just couldn’t get the pilot light on the heater to stay lit.

removing the access panel to light the pilot

We were bummed and thought we would have to call a plumber (or pool guy?) to come fix it.  Before we made the phone call, though, Chad decided to Google the problem and found that a likely cause could be that the powerpile needed replacing.

Some (not-so?) little-known pool heater facts:

  1. A pool heater works a lot like a water heater.
  2. The powerpile converts heat from the pilot to electricity that’s used to power the thermostat and gas valve … just like in a water heater.
  3. Our Pentair Minimax CH 200M heater is full of Honeywell parts


removing the old powerpile

To be sure this was our problem, we removed the old powerpile from the heater and tested it by connecting the leads to a volt meter and holding the conductor over the flame from a lighter.  We got no reading on the volt meter, which told us that the power pile wasn’t working correctly.

the pilot that just wouldn't stay lit

We looked online and found a few plumbing / HVAC supply sites that sold replacement powerpiles (Honeywell part number Q313A), but no retailers that we were really all that comfortable ordering from – they all looked pretty small and chances were good we wouldn’t be able to get the part in time.  So, I called the local pool store who happened to have the replacement part in stock.  After talking with the pool guys, I realized part of my problem with searching online was that I was using the Honeywell part number rather than the Pentair part number (6270-27B) … under the Pentair part number, the powerpile (or “pilot generator” as it’s labeled in the Pentair documentation) was available on a number of swimming pool supply sites for a little less than we paid at the local pool store.

the reading on the volt meter after the new powerpile started generating

Once the new powerpile was installed, we still had to hold the pilot switch for a few minutes for things to warm up enough that it would start generating enough electricity to keep the pilot going, but, after a few minutes, the pilot stayed lit and we’ve had no problems since.

It was such an easy fix that avoided a service call, so we thought we’d share in case anyone else runs into similar problems!

Kirby "helping" to diagnose the pool heater problems

As part of an effort to clean up and refresh the backyard this summer, we had a guy come out a couple of weeks ago to take a look at the patio out by the pool and give us an estimate for mudjacking it back to level.  Although it’s really not that big of a patio, we opted for mudjacking rather than trying to pour fresh concrete because it’s connected to the pool deck and we didn’t want to mess with having to re-pour any of that and worry about the impact to the pool.  While they’re here, we’re also going to have the sidewalk around the back of the house leveled out since some of the squares have become pretty uneven over time.  Cost-wise, the estimate came in a little lower than what I would expect new concrete to cost, but I think the big savings is that we don’t have to pay to have the old stuff broken up and hauled out.

I don’t have any pictures of the back sidewalk, but here’s a photo of the patio from when we opened the pool a few weeks ago.  There’s a couple of good sized cracks and, although it’s a little hard to tell from the photo, the back half has tilted down the hill so that it’s really too uneven to use for any more patio furniture than just a couple of folding chairs.

Pool-Side Patio

Turns out that this is a busy time of year for mudjacking, though, so they won’t be able to come until June 1st.  Once the mudjacking is done, our plan is to fill the cracks (which will still be there – just hopefully less visible) and then stain the deck all around the pool, probably to about the color it is when it’s wet.  I’m excited to cover up and smooth out the gigantic cracks and have a level surface so we can put a patio set out by the pool.

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