My electric pool cover pump (The Little Giant) died on me with just a few gallons of water left on the pool cover. Being so close to having the pool cover clear of leaves and water, I decided to forgo the time and effort of researching another electric pump for such a small job. I’d save that exercise for the end of the pool season. Right now I just wanted something quick, easy and inexpensive to handle the small job. Enter Blue Devil B3705 above ground pool cover siphon.
The Blue Devil B3705 siphon operates on person power instead of electricity. In essence, it’s a weighted siphon. To one end of the siphon tube, you attach the weighted strainer. The strainer is good for preventing leaves and other such objects from clogging the tube. On the other end of the siphon tube is a manual pump used to create suction.
The goal is to manually squeeze the pump until enough suction is created to encourage the water on top of the pool cover to be drawn through the tube and onto the ground. In theory, this idea is sound. However, in application, it doesn’t work so smoothly.
The first problem is the orange hand pump. While it’s easy to squeeze and compress the pump, it does not decompress in order to compress it again to create adequate vacuum. In essence, you have to compress it then fiddle with it in order for it to decompress. The time it takes to fiddle with the pump to get it back to its original state, the vacuum you’ve built up in the tube is gone. Therefore, any water that was about to siphon off the pool cover goes back down onto the cover.
Bringing out the Big Guns
After frustrating myself for a few minutes, I realized this just wasn’t going to work so I pulled out my vacuum cleaner. I affixed the appropriate attachment on the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner then placed it on the suction end of the siphon. This created enough of a vacuum to get things rolling. Well, at least it did for a little while.
While I was on the other side of the pool cover skimming off leaves, I noticed the siphon stopped working. I dropped the skimmer and took up the vacuum cleaner to get things started again. The siphon worked for a little and stopped. The on again/off again siphon ritual got tiring and frustrating. I spent more time re-starting the siphon than actually siphoning off water from the pool cover.
In total frustration, I ended up using the vacuum cleaner (it’s a Rainbow and does well with suctioning water) to suction off the remaining water from the pool cover. Unfortunately, the Rainbow vacuum cleaner has a basin that must be emptied after so many gallons of water (probably after 1.5 to 2 gallons). This proved to be a tedious task, but I was able to remove the water from the pool cover.
There’s no right way to do the wrong thing. When my Little Giant pool cover pump died, I should have hopped on the Internet to research the next best thing (or order a replacement Little Giant). Instead, I hopped in the car and purchased the only pump my local pool store had on hand. I wasted money and a lot of time siphoning the water off the pool.
Here’s the kicker. Before I could get the cover off the pool we had a thunderstorm. Yes, there’s more water on the pool cover. I have the choice of waiting 2 days for my Amazon Prime order to be delivered or, dump the remaining water into the pool and deal with the consequences.
UPDATE: I went outside to take a few pictures of the Blue Devil B3705 to accompany this article. While outside I decided to give it one more try (yes, we had even more rain last night). I pumped and pumped with no result. Out of frustration I tossed the orange pump to the floor and stepped on it. As I did I noticed some of the water started up the tube. I stepped on it again and there was more water.
I then began to step feverishly on the orange pump. Lo and behold…the water started siphoning off the pool. Go figure! I guess somewhere in the instructions it should state, “Toss orange pump to the ground and step on it repeatedly until water siphons completely through the tube.”
A few words of advice: Keep an eye on the tube. I’ve had to re-start (or should I say re-stomp) to get the water flowing several times. As a matter of fact, it’s best to use this siphon when you intend to stay near the pool because it needs to be restarted often. The Blue Devil B3705 works in a pinch, but I much prefer an electrically powered pump.