Since we would like to use our Tuff pool with it’s Fastlane current generator more than three months of the year, AND since “we” generally do things in a more inventive way, my garage has been sprouting bags of packing peanuts for a few weeks now. One day, it would have 5 bags. Then, the next, I would walk out to get something from a freezer, and POOF! They had multiplied. No chance of getting to the freezer. Apparently five full bags of packing peanuts fit inside the Amazing Husband’s little four door sedan! I lost track of how many bags piled up.
The packing material was left over from shipments received at a company, and was free for the taking from the clean trash area. Inside each trash bag, the peanuts (or popcorn, whichever you prefer), are also contained in approximately quart sized bags. Perfect for easily shaping the contents to fit inside the cement box, but outside of the pool.
But first, the bottom of the pool was padded and slightly insulated by using rigid insulating foam board. This was purchased at Home Depot and cut with a utility knife to fit. It is water and mold resistant. We (remember, I’m the queen) used the 1.5 inch thick foam. The idea had been that the weight of the filled pool would distribute evenly over the foam, but the foam under the frame legs quickly compacted. SO, we emptied the pool of all but a couple of inches of water, then replaced those sections with treated wood blocks.
(In the photo on the right, what you see in the pool is the solar and winter covers, layered, floating down on the water at the bottom of the pool.)
(It was the Amazing Husband who crawled around in that space between the cement wall and the pool to position the wood.)
When the pool was filled again, the bags of insulating material were stuffed inside the cement box, along with some bubble wrap to help even things out and fill in the spaces. It seems to be making a difference, as the heater is not spending that much time fired up. Of course, we haven’t received the first natural gas bill since running all of this. And it remains to be seen how far into the winter we will try swimming in the pool.
My personal engineer had tested this packing material substance to see how it would hold up to water, especially since the labeling said something about it being biodegradable. He put one of the peanuts in a glass of warm water. It seemed to dissolve slightly, but after several days was still floating in the water. When the water evaporated, the peanut shriveled up to about half it’s original size. For the record, there has been a fair amount of splashing in the pool already and no sign of the packing material shrinking.
The equipment also needs some insulation, so has a temporary cardboard housing off of the back of the garage. The temperatures inside of this have been monitored for extremes in either direction. Nothing is getting hot enough to come close to bursting into flames or cold enough to freeze, so far.
I just watch in awe as the project takes shape. I know there are some plans to make it all look more finished, but I don’t press for details. I will help as I can. It will be wonderful no matter what, so I am willing to be patient and surprised!