In “Don’t Panic! (And Carry a Towel) – The Highs and Lows of Pump Room Operation”, I mentioned that we intend to take a lighthearted look at the hazards of working in a pump room, while aiming to provide useful tips along the way. This is our first installment in that series. Co-blogging with me this week is Ed “Business in the Front” Miller, our in-house MacGyver and pump room survival guide. Ed will lend his expertise and share some tips of the trade to help us all navigate the treacherous and tormenting terrain that is The Pump Room. *Cue dramatic and ominous music.*
D: So Ed, what are a few of the things you look for when entering a pump room for the first time and what would you recommend the operator have on hand?
E: First thing’s first… you’ve gotta have a towel, proudly displayed, within easy reach, and fully operational. Next, it’s all about the paper clip.
D: Paper clip? Oh, so you can “MacGyver” a piece of equipment together if it goes down?
E: What? No… So you can hold important papers together, like owner’s manuals, pump room logs, “how to” references and such. No one should ever use a paperclip for anything other than its intended purpose… duh.
D: I see… So, the towel?
E: Pretty obvious. Few things are used more than one’s towel. If there is a leak you can use it as an impromptu mop. Gotta fix a heater? Instant knee pads. Noticing a ton of bubbles coming out of the return jets? Wet the towel a bit and you have a suction side leak detector. Get soaked while repairing plumbing? Dry off and then wear the towel as a toga until your breeches have dried! The possibilities are endless. Of course, a pool operator should also have the usual assortment of test kits and equipment (a volt meter is a must), wrenches, screwdrivers, and duct tape.
D: Makes sense. So what are a few “red flag” items that you have seen when entering a pump room?
E: Water on the floor. So many people think “Hey, it’s a pump room so it’s normal to have water on the floor.” But let me tell you, it’s dangerous. Think of all the electrical equipment in a pump room, some of it bolted right to the floor! You don’t have to be a Rocket Surgeon to know water and electricity don’t mix. There is also the fact that if there’s water, there’s a leak or the ventilation is shot, which snowballs into corrosion and damaged equipment. So ask yourself, where did the water come from? Does the water have a color? What is leaking? Could it be the pump, heater, or filter?
D: Anything else?
E: Yes. I always ask the operator where the owner’s manuals are. If they look at me like I just showed a dog a card trick…well, we go “Easter egg hunting” for them. Otherwise, I note the make and model of the equipment and direct the operator to the Google box or find the PDF versions myself and email them to him/her.
Well, it looks like we covered a few important areas this session. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or share a few tips of the trade yourself, and don’t forget your towel.