Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    For 12 years, I've been closing my Northern Virginia pool exactly as the pool company instructed: insure chemistry is correct and algae free, draw water down below returns (while backwashing DE filter), drain equipment, install plugs, cover pool with my fitted (but porous) pool cover, throw circuit breaker. This occurs around Labor Day when grandkid visits are over, leaves begin to drop from the poplars on one side of the pool, and interest flags. Over the winter, snow and rain fill the pool back to the rim. In mid to late May the pool is opened, and every year, the dirt and algae removal is gargantuan. It takes three to four days of almost constant pump running, numerous backwashes, manual removal of leaves and other debris (including mice, frogs, even squirrels) to get to the crystal clear pool waters we swim in. I know not much can be done about the animals and tree dirt/debris, as we live where we live. But is there anything I might do differently to discourage the heavy algae growth over the fall and winter? I've tried floating gizmos with chlorine tabs, special pool store "winter algaecides" etc. but never notice a difference. Perhaps as long as I live in the woods, and resist opening the pool very early when the temp is only 50 degrees I am stuck with this situation.
    14,000G Gunite pool, 1-1/2 HP Challenger Pump + 1HP Booster Pump, Waterfall feature, Pentair 60 DE Filter, Polaris 360 Pool Sweep
    Manassas, VA

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Central Minnesota
    Posts
    5,079

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    The number one rule to follow for closing a pool is close late, open early. Close when the pool is solidly under 60 degrees. Open before it gets above 60 degrees. This limits the chance for algae to grow as it does not grow very fast below those temps. See the recommended guide for closing an IG pool Pool School - Closing an In Ground Pool This does mean maintaining the chemistry a bit longer in the year until temps are lower and before they get too high, but you can still maintain chemistry with the cover on to limit daily FC loss and cooler temps will also reduce FC usage during that time. Your Polaris can also assist in keeping dirt out until you fully drain/close.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    11,580

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Any chance of investing in a better cover? A "porous" cover sounds like it would let a lot of debris into the pool over winter making more of a mess. I suppose if you got a opaque cover, then you'd also have to invest in a cover pump to keep the water off of it. Just seems to me that keeping as much rain water and snow melt out of the pool would help....but leave you with a bigger water bill at opening
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Central Minnesota
    Posts
    5,079

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    I use a porous safety cover on my pool and it works just fine. It is also opaque, letting almost no light through. However, I'm within the city limits with not a lot of nearby trees. I get a decent amount of leaves in the fall that come in under the fence from neighboring trees but not like in the woods of Virginia. In the spring, I have very few leaves in the pool that sneak under the cover or on the cover (comparatively speaking), just lots of dust on the bottom from wind/snow melt. Personally, I would not want to go with a solid cover. It would be OK and probably better at keeping debris out of the water itself, but I would imagine that because it would rest down on the pool water, it would collect more leaves and debris than my safety cover that only touches the pool in the center once the snow melts and fills the pool a bit in the spring. It would also be a juggling act for keeping the cover pump on or off depending on temps, snowfall timing, melting, etc. My safety cover allows most leaves to blow off the cover rather than collect in the corners of a sagging cover.

    If you went with a solid cover, with a cover pump, you could keep more stuff out of the water proper, but I think you'd want to routinely be blowing leaves and debris off the top, out of the corners somehow to limit having a massive cover clean up in the spring.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    164

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    I am in Minnesota and follow similar closing steps. I wait until the water is cold before winterizing. I use a standard high quality tarp (silver side out, and black on the inside) and screw it to 2x4's that I place around the entire perimeter of the pool. We have a ton of leaves but nothing makes it into the pool. It is not a safety cover but our pool is fenced. We do have an Autocover, but I prefer to not use it in the winter and hopefully it will also last longer. We open to a clean pool. Other than having to store the lumber, this is a very economical way to cover the pool.
    20x44 IG vinyl. Intelliflo, Pentair Cartridge Filter (420ft^2), Raypac 336K, Kreepy Krauly

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Quebec, QC
    Posts
    35

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Don't you receive cumulative snow fall in Minnesota? Does the snow thaw completely between snow fall events? How can pool covers be managed when there is significant snowfall and little melting over the winter months? Just a few mid-winter partial thaw/freeze events will cause the cover to bind to the pool ice, and then it is impossible to manoeuvre until complete ice-out in the Spring.
    14 x 28 Jacuzzi vinyl inground pool, Jacuzzi Laser 250 sand filter, Hayward 1 HP pump.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    164

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Yes we receive significant snow. It all accumulates on the tarp and freezes/thaws with the weather. In the spring, I put a cover pump on to remove the water and we carefully pull the tarp off the pool (along with lots of leaves). It can be heavy, but we flip it into a wheelbarrow and dump the leaves and dry the tarp in the yard. I am not following why the tarp/cover would ever need to be maneuvered during the winter months. The tarp extends up each side of the pool and over the concrete deck by a few feet on each side. The key is to have the tarp large enough that it can follow the pool wall down to the water and not be tight. That way the snow load won't try to pull the tarp into the pool.
    20x44 IG vinyl. Intelliflo, Pentair Cartridge Filter (420ft^2), Raypac 336K, Kreepy Krauly

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Quebec, QC
    Posts
    35

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Thanks for the detailed answer; I was referring to maneuvers in removing the tarp in the Spring, and you described that perfectly. Our cumulative snowfall is close to 4 meters here, which means that I would have to leave a lot of slack on the tarp to accommodate the water equivalents during Spring thaw. Are your 2x4's held in anyway to the ground/pool deck area, or do they not move because there is not enough snow/meltwater traction on the cover?
    14 x 28 Jacuzzi vinyl inground pool, Jacuzzi Laser 250 sand filter, Hayward 1 HP pump.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    164

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    The lumber frame is not attached to the concrete. I usually drain a few inches below the skimmers. An issue that could happen would be that the snow melt is a huge amount and we have a rip or tear in the tarp that would allow water to enter the skimmers and then refreeze. I don't usually plug the skimmers, but that might be a good idea along with a 1 gallon plastic bottle for expansion. The slack in the tarp should be the same regardless of amount of snow, you just want it to sit on the water and follow up the wall. Before we have rain in the fall, we might see the tarp lift a little in high wind, but once we have any rain or leaves it stays put.
    20x44 IG vinyl. Intelliflo, Pentair Cartridge Filter (420ft^2), Raypac 336K, Kreepy Krauly

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Quebec, QC
    Posts
    35

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Due to the ice thickness, which is usually 8 to 12 inches, thawing usually occurs along the pool walls first, so that we end up with a floating iceberg that lasts from 7 to 10 days in April or early May. The wind moves the iceberg around the pool, so I wonder if the tarp would survive this without being torn. I blow and cap all my lines, and the skimmer and throat are filled with tightly fitting plastic packing materials. My pool is drained to about 8 inches below the return and 15 inches below the skimmer. But the pool always overflows in the Spring, but there is so little water volume in the skimmer assembly, that freeze/thaw cycles, and compressible materials protect it well.
    14 x 28 Jacuzzi vinyl inground pool, Jacuzzi Laser 250 sand filter, Hayward 1 HP pump.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    164

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    The tarp lasts for us and we have 2-3x that thickness for ice. I am expecting to get 4-5 years out of the tarp. I pull the lights and have them hang into the deep and shallow end. With the tarp, you will not overflow the pool, so you will have to pay to replace the water (unless you pump off the tarp and into the pool). We don't do that since it is mixed with lots of leaves and not very clean.
    Our tarp is similar to: 30X50 Silver Heavy Duty 10 Mil Tarp Tarpaulin Canopy Tent, Boat. RV or Pool Cover - - Amazon.com
    The tarp has grommets frequently spaced so that we use stainless screws and a fender washer and only have to do some custom folding at the corners.
    20x44 IG vinyl. Intelliflo, Pentair Cartridge Filter (420ft^2), Raypac 336K, Kreepy Krauly

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Swampwoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    3,527

    Re: Better Way to Close My Pool for Winter?

    Curmudgeon, as I guess you suspect,your problem is that you're closing far too early and opening too late for your temperatures. You also didn't mention if you bring your water up to Slam level the day before you close.

    I am in a very heavily wooded location in MI. I close the second week in October...which means I net a lot of leaves out for a week or so before closing , but then open VERY clean in the third week of April with a residual FC of 3-4 ppm. So I don't even have to do a mini Slam on opening (I avoid slams due to iron in well.)

    One additional difference is that my cover is a hybrid -- solid with a mesh square. The mesh square allows the melt off to drain back into the pool without a pump cover. It is the type that affixes to anchors in my concrete.

    The other slight difference is that on closing, we leave water level high to support cover and keep liner in place.

    For me, the trade-off in maintaining the pool for part of fall and early spring is that there are actually MANY more days I USE the pool...via heater

    Ps - I should add that we do periodically use a leaf blower and extended soft rake I've created to keep leaves off the cover before the freeze. This helps reduce decaying debris getting in thru the mesh square. Perhaps so-doing would help in your case too
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •