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Thread: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

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    Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    I'd like to revive this question from a few years ago with a few specifics. I'm in Raleigh, NC and I've never closed my pool, I simply run the pump for a few hours (usually at night) when temps drop below freezing. According to historical data, we average 51 days a year Dec-Feb when temperature drops below 32 f, and that's usually only for part of the day, and only 8 days below 20 F. With moderate use of the heater we'll swim until the first or second week of Oct, then around the end of Oct I'll bypass and drain the heater, and watch the weather to make sure my pump timer is set to run when temps drop below 32. Opening up in the spring is usually a matter of just bringing the salt level up, balancing chemicals and a shock. All in all it's pretty easy.

    Last year was a particularly cold winter and I ran the pump much more, probably twice as often as an average year, plus we had some single digit nights when I was afraid running the pump wouldn't be enough to prevent lines from freezing (they didn't). This had me considering whether or not I should close the pool for next winter. Well, it's almost next winter and I need to decide. Other than a power outage, what factors should influence this decision? Here are a few things I've thought of, but don't know the answers to. Any opinions from more experienced and knowledgeable pool experts is greatly appreciated.

    1- Relative cost of running the pump vs. cost and trouble of closing?
    2- Is closing the pool better or worse for the liner (which is a whole different question at 8 years old)?
    3- What about swg? In the past I've left it on, even though it's not generating most of the winter, should I turn it off?
    4- What about sand filter? I keep selector on "filter" for fear of it freezing, is this necessary?
    5- I don't have a cover. If I close, do I have to cover the pool?

    Thanks TFP!
    Mickey, Raleigh, NC, 2008
    20x40 33 K, IG, vinyl, Sand Dollar filter, 2 hp whisperflo
    Aqua Rite swg, Max-E-Therm 400 gas heater

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    This is going to be a hard one to answer, where I live staying open but dormant is a very common practice, but we probably tend to be a few degrees warmer than you are. My feeling on the matter is you are likely close to the line where staying open may be practical for the winter and which side of that line you fall on may come down to how severe the winter is.

    Ike

    p.s. for future reference please put your city and state in your profile so we can see it at a glance.
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    "p.s. for future reference please put your city and state in your profile so we can see it at a glance."

    Thanks, took care of that.
    Mickey, Raleigh, NC, 2008
    20x40 33 K, IG, vinyl, Sand Dollar filter, 2 hp whisperflo
    Aqua Rite swg, Max-E-Therm 400 gas heater

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Well, I'm not too far south of you and I just keep it open. If you close their is no requirement to cover, but it is going to accumulate a lot of trash over the winter. That was the big decision maker for me, a cover. If I closed I'd want a good cover (LoopLoc) and that would set me back $5,000 or so due to the shape of my pool.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Don't close mine, either. Some of those 15 degree nights had me concerned, but was ok with just the pump running.

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Since you don't have a cover and the investment in a good cover can be substantial. That could be what makes up your mind.

    If I'm not using the pool I close it. I have a cover though. Once you learn to close a pool it isn't really big deal. A couple years and you will be an expert.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Household6's Avatar
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Depends on if you want to look at a green pool 1/2 of winter.

    Last winter we had the pool co winterize the lines and pump and did t worry about the chems as we knew we would be draining for repairs in spring.

    But normally we kept open all year (non-TFP way) as I didn't want to look at a green pool all winter. The expense was about $100 more to do this, but worth my viewing enjoyment.

    This was our first year attempting TFP (from 300 miles away). Not yet sure how we're going to close this year.
    20x40 in-ground concrete "vintage" pool
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Ok, it's settled then. Oh wait, it's not settled is it. I think I'll go with what I'm used to, keep it open, and cross my fingers for a mild winter. Thanks for the input.
    Mickey, Raleigh, NC, 2008
    20x40 33 K, IG, vinyl, Sand Dollar filter, 2 hp whisperflo
    Aqua Rite swg, Max-E-Therm 400 gas heater

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    If you keep it open, though, how are you going to deal with all of the leaves, etc. over the winter? That seems like a lot of work. That's my dilemma as well. I think temp-wise, I could keep it open, but the billions of oak leaves may be a deal breaker..
    Wendy
    1980s 20x40 in-ground beast, 36K gallons, 4' - 8', vinyl liner, Sand Dollar sand filter, two skimmers, bottom drain, three returns
    TF-100 Test Kit

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    Household6's Avatar
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Quote Originally Posted by wjaneala View Post
    If you keep it open, though, how are you going to deal with all of the leaves, etc. over the winter? That seems like a lot of work. That's my dilemma as well. I think temp-wise, I could keep it open, but the billions of oak leaves may be a deal breaker..
    Why would it be any different than keeping them out in the summer? Vacuum and leaf net, right? You just do it in a coat and gloves instead of shorts.
    20x40 in-ground concrete "vintage" pool
    Approx 35k gal
    Concrete, plaster and epoxy paint
    Sand filter
    DIY plaster resurface repairs completed 6/2015.

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Leaves have not been a BIG problem. First off, I only have a couple broadleaf trees close enough to the pool to be a problem, so it's like Household6 says "Vacuum and leaf net" from mid Oct till early Dec, after that, not many to deal with.
    Mickey, Raleigh, NC, 2008
    20x40 33 K, IG, vinyl, Sand Dollar filter, 2 hp whisperflo
    Aqua Rite swg, Max-E-Therm 400 gas heater

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    ned8377's Avatar
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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    I live in Wake Forest NC and have the same dilemma every year. I do have a loop loc cover but keep thinking about a power failure, the leaves, how cold it will be using the net, how slippery the side of the pool will be if there is ice or snow, walking down the slope to the pump and filter and having to be basically tied to the pool and worrying about the temperature all the time. I figure it is worth it to close it since I'm also saving electricity. One year, though, I will probably keep it open just to do it.
    True L 45,000 gal Hayward IG vinyl pool. Hayward Tristar 2.40 THP; 1.5 FRHP/1.60 SF. Hayward Model # S310T2 Sand Filter. Aqua Rite T-15. Aqua Comfort 154,000 BTU Heat Pump. TF-100

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Why do you drain the heater?

    True L 45,000 gal Hayward IG vinyl pool. Hayward Tristar 2.40 THP; 1.5 FRHP/1.60 SF. Hayward Model # S310T2 Sand Filter. Aqua Rite T-15. Aqua Comfort 154,000 BTU Heat Pump. TF-100

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Household6 View Post
    Why would it be any different than keeping them out in the summer? Vacuum and leaf net, right? You just do it in a coat and gloves instead of shorts.
    I guess after all of the leaves have fallen, it would be just the same, but I am only slightly exaggerating when I say a billion leaves. We are surrounded by huge oak, elm and maple trees on all sides. I had it all cleaned up this evening, then watched from my kitchen window as about 50 landed in the water in about 30 seconds.
    Wendy
    1980s 20x40 in-ground beast, 36K gallons, 4' - 8', vinyl liner, Sand Dollar sand filter, two skimmers, bottom drain, three returns
    TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    I keep my pool open all year. My pool has a freeze protection system that turns the pump on when the temp gets to 34 and it goes off when it gets back above 34. I keep my SWG on during the winter but it is not very effective because of water temp. This year I was thinking about turning the SWG off and using chlorine tabs to keep the pool from turning green when we have extended periods of warm weather. Does anyone see a problem in using the tablets in a saltwater pool over the winter months?
    32,000 gallon inground plaster pool/spa combo spillover. Aqua Rite Pro with Sense and Dispense. Jandy iAquaLink Control. Polaris 280 vac. Sheer Descent, Fiber optic deck jet water feature. Vanishing wall. Whisperflo pumps, Pentair clean and clear cartridge filters.

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Mick - It might be worth it to pick up a mesh tarp from your nearest cheap tool store. That way you just roll it off once in a while to remove the leaves. That's my plan for my first fall/winter.

    - - - Updated - - -

    1poolguy - use caution with pucks because of the CYA. as long as you have room for the increase you could do that. Be easier, cheaper and less worrisome to just use bleach.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Closing pool vs. keeping it open all winter

    Quote Originally Posted by ned8377 View Post
    Why do you drain the heater?

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
    If they didn't and it was a closed pool and the water in the heater froze...heat exchanger could crack.
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