Monday, June 11, 2012

Owning a Home in St Thomas USVI - Home Repairs Part III - Pool

One of the reasons we bought the home we did was it was one of the few that had a pool. What better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon Sunday relaxing in your own pool, not to mention our Labrador retrievers love the water.

When we bought the home in 2009 the pool seemed to be working, although it always appeared to be a white cloudiness to it.

We had hired a pool maintenance person as the home was fully rented. Well after much to do about the pool person saying it was the tenants not running the filter enough to the tenants saying the pool person was showing up, I decided that when I came down in March of 2010 I would investigate this further. Turns out the pool needed to be painted. Our upstairs tenants had moved out, and being that we would only be down part time, we decided to just drain the pool. This was during when we found out the breezeway above the pool was sinking, so we were going to have to drain the pool anyway to start re-hab work.

We had the deck painted and a railing put up.

Now that we live here full time, it is time to get this pool up and running! Problems though, the old filtration system is rigged with a floating skimmer and two 3/4 inch pvc return lines. Power here is 42 cents a KWH (look at your own power bill and you will see what I mean) so we were thinking of re-doing the filtration system.

First check was looking into a newer pool company on island. Well he wanted to sell me a variable speed pump for $1600 along with sconces and waterfalls and an intake box with holes in it so no one gets sucked into the floating skimmer (um really? If you get sucked into 1.5" pvc you have some issues.). Well after more research on variable speed pumps, there is a large computer board on these along with LCD displays, not the ideal place for those due to the power spikes we get from our power company, coupled with the tropical air and humidity and yes, only a 1 year warranty. The website had new motherboards in case yours goes south for only $1100. This idea is OUT!

Ok, what would be next, hmmm, solar, right?  We have lots of sun here and a huge flatter roof. I call and get an estimate for that. Well since all of the tax rebates have been used up, only $6500. That would be a payoff in 4.1 years baring the electronic controller on that didn't short out. This idea is OUT!

We had Larry the Water guy here and he asked, "Why don't you just use what is there if it already worked in the past?". Um yea, that is what we are going to do. He took a look at the issue of the tube to the spaceship skimmer and it used to leak. Well, Larry said you can't glue tube to PVC which was what had been done. So he told me the part to get (yes I went to 3 hardware stores, and where do I find this part? The boat parts store?).

So, now the next big decision, to plaster (Diamond Bright) or re-paint the pool. Well the plaster will be about $8000 - $12,000.  That idea is OUT! Painting will run us about $1200.

We have another issue now. Our cistern, the big tank that holds our household rain water, is cracking in several places.

Every several years you need to fill in the cracks and re-seal the cement tank as concrete is always settling and we are on a fault line here and we get some tremors.

My brilliant idea was to have the pool painted, drain the water from the cistern into the pool and then repair the cistern!

So we have hired our painter Steve to do the work.

First thing we need to do is clean out the frog and tadpole sanctuary. Yes we will miss our nightly frog orgy, but it is time to reclaim the pool for human/canine use.

Steve began last Thursday with pressure washing the pool. He then used an acid to wash the pool. Now, we are waiting for the next phase after the pool drys out hopefully Wednesday with the actual painting.

We are hoping this all gets done sooner than later, as it is getting hot here, 92 today with 54% humidity. The dogs with their fur coats are waiting too!

Before I go, here is the next installment in "St Thomas, You Can't Make This Shit Up!"

Please describe what a pineapple looks like?


  1. am a frequent visitor to islands sometime staying a year at a time...everything you say is true especially not making this shit up....lmao...another part of the world.

  2. Hello

    I just read your blog about the issues you had with your pool. We just bought a house at st. Thomas virgin island and we are trying find a good pool adviser repair specialist guy. You do mentioned this person named Larry. Is any way we can contact him? Do you have his phone number at st. Thomas,VI by chance? I really appreciate it.




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