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Thread: Using anit-freeze as insurance

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    Using anit-freeze as insurance

    I closed my pool and as usual, I noticed tiny air bubbles after plugging my returns (maybe one tiny bubble every few seconds). This happens every year and I've never had a problem, but maybe I was just getting lucky. I think it might be hairline faceplate cracks so I plan to replace those next season. So, I always use anti-freeze as insurance. The problem is I have no idea how much to use. I have 3 returns using 1 1/2" PVC. The closest return is about 15-20 feet away. The furthest is about 40-50 feet away. No idea how the lines run underground, but the pressure side leaves for the underground with a singe larger PVC after the SWG cell. So, I assume it splits up into 3 separate lines via an underground tee shortly after. If I total up the amount of 10 foot sections of return lines, it could be well over 100 feet. Given the suggested rate of anti-freeze at 1 gallon per 10 feet of 1.5" line, that could be 12-15 gallons of antifreeze. But then I read that amount is only required if lines are not blown out. So, I have no idea what to use since my lines are presumably near empty at the moment.

    Does anyone have any insight as to how much anti-freeze should be used as "insurance" ?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    You can help seal the returns by using Teflon tape on the threads of the winterizing plugs. Might be worth trying.
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    You can help seal the returns by using Teflon tape on the threads of the winterizing plugs. Might be worth trying.
    Unfortunately, I did put teflon tape on the threads. Still get small amounts of air.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    I've also tried using the rubber expansion plugs.....same result. That's why I lean towards hairline faceplate cracks that I can't see.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Now the problem is getting worse...I tried to tighten the plug a little to see if that would stop it, and things got worse. Instead of a drip every 5-10 seconds it's more like every couple of seconds. I don't think I can leave it like this over the winter. There is definitely water getting in those returns and I don't know how to solve the problem. I may have to break down and call the pool company for service. Not sure what else to do.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Run,

    Not sure if you can do it now that you are closed but one of options would be to drain below the returns. Once it is drained below the returns you can work on the actual return in question.
    25,000 gallon in ground white plaster- 1 1/2 HP Pentair SuperFlo pump - 60 sqft FNS DE filter (with FiberClear), 1999 Sundance Optima 850 hot tub.
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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Where exactly are the bubbles coming from? From where the plug meets the housing or from the housing itself? If tightening made it worse, then the leak was still coming from the threads, not the housing. Coat the plug in silicone if you must or try recovering a threaded plug with teflon and silicone. Keep in mind the if coating with silicone, it will be difficult to remove in the spring.

    Also to the original question. 1 gallon of antifreeze is recommended per 15 feet of return plumbing. I think that's a bit over kill but that would certainly be enough.
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocco View Post
    Run,

    Not sure if you can do it now that you are closed but one of options would be to drain below the returns. Once it is drained below the returns you can work on the actual return in question.
    I think I'm going to have to re-blow the lines before winter if I can figure out what the problem is. Water line is about 2" over the return so draining below the line is not a big dea....However I'm not sure what the problem is so I wouldn't know what to work on.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    Where exactly are the bubbles coming from? From where the plug meets the housing or from the housing itself? If tightening made it worse, then the leak was still coming from the threads, not the housing. Coat the plug in silicone if you must or try recovering a threaded plug with teflon and silicone. Keep in mind the if coating with silicone, it will be difficult to remove in the spring.

    Also to the original question. 1 gallon of antifreeze is recommended per 15 feet of return plumbing. I think that's a bit over kill but that would certainly be enough.
    It's pretty hard to tell but i suspect it's coming from the threads. The thing is, when I closed the pool and turned off the blower, there were no bubbles so i thought I was all set. However 3 days later I peeked under the cover and saw the bubbles. It's actually 2 of the 3 returns doing this.

    I've tried all combinations of teflon, o-ring lube, and the black rubber, but never silicone. That seems extreme but maybe worth a shot.

    I don't know....maybe just putting in 12-15 gallons of anti-freeze might be the safest thing for this year.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    I have to take one of my faceplates off and install a second gasket and then use the winterizing plug to seal the plate against the return. Never have figured out where it leaks. For a few years, Teflon tape was enough, but the last couple it hasn't done it.
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    I am always paranoid about leaking return line plugs. I had the same problem this year and then initially took out the leaking plug, turned the compressor back on and tried to put the plug back in. Bad idea. With the drain line already plugged, there was no way I could deal with all that pressure coming from one point in the plumbing system, so I took the double plug back out of the skimmer and then blew out the return line and re-plugged. I did not see any bubbles a few hours after I finished so I should be good to go. I always add a gallon of antifreeze into the skimmer line and the same in the return line, and never had any problems. For closing this year I bought new rubber plugs since the old ones were looking a bit worn. Draining below the returns is fine IF you can keep the water level at that point. With continued rain and snow melt, etc. there is no way I could do that since there are times when the pool completely fills back up and has to be pumped down again. Good luck and hope you get the problem figured out. After 25 years of managing my pool, I still worry about those lines freezing every winter. The past spring I was amazed to discover that when I pulled the plug out of the skimmer there was still air pressure that bubbled up. That typically does not happen although probably should theoretically if everything is blown out and sealed correctly.
    12,000 gal. Anthony IG pool; 3 ft. shallow end to 6 ft. deep end; Built 1989; Renovated July 2014 using a 10-part unexposed quartz plaster aggregate of 3 S-grade Blue, 3 S-grade Gray, 2 T-grade Blue, 2 T-grade Gray; Apollo VA-52 DE Filter; Hayward SP-2607X10 Super Pump 1-HP Single Speed; Jandy AE-Ti Heat Pump; Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    I have to take one of my faceplates off and install a second gasket and then use the winterizing plug to seal the plate against the return. Never have figured out where it leaks. For a few years, Teflon tape was enough, but the last couple it hasn't done it.
    Hmmm....care to explain more. I've never removed the faceplates. Is there already a gasket behind the faceplate? So you double up on it and that stops the leaks? I assume they are easy to remove (just 4 screws). So, with the double gasket, I assume the screws don't go back in so you need the threaded return plug to keep it tight against the double gaskets? Do I have this correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by three4rd View Post
    I am always paranoid about leaking return line plugs. I had the same problem this year and then initially took out the leaking plug, turned the compressor back on and tried to put the plug back in. Bad idea. With the drain line already plugged, there was no way I could deal with all that pressure coming from one point in the plumbing system, so I took the double plug back out of the skimmer and then blew out the return line and re-plugged. I did not see any bubbles a few hours after I finished so I should be good to go. I always add a gallon of antifreeze into the skimmer line and the same in the return line, and never had any problems. For closing this year I bought new rubber plugs since the old ones were looking a bit worn. Draining below the returns is fine IF you can keep the water level at that point. With continued rain and snow melt, etc. there is no way I could do that since there are times when the pool completely fills back up and has to be pumped down again. Good luck and hope you get the problem figured out. After 25 years of managing my pool, I still worry about those lines freezing every winter. The past spring I was amazed to discover that when I pulled the plug out of the skimmer there was still air pressure that bubbled up. That typically does not happen although probably should theoretically if everything is blown out and sealed correctly.
    yeah...I thought about keeping the water below the returns but that's not good for the reasons you state. Also, I have a loop-loc cover and they need support. If I drain below the returns, I void the loop-loc warranty.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by run53 View Post
    Hmmm....care to explain more. I've never removed the faceplates. Is there already a gasket behind the faceplate? So you double up on it and that stops the leaks? I assume they are easy to remove (just 4 screws). So, with the double gasket, I assume the screws don't go back in so you need the threaded return plug to keep it tight against the double gaskets? Do I have this correct?
    There is already a gasket behind the liner. I just put the extra gasket over the liner, put the faceplate in place and tighten the winterizing plug. The screws would go in, but I leave them out so I don't have to handle them more than necessary. The plug tightens the plate.
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    So I checked again this morning and the leak improved a lot. Remember yesterday, I tried to tighten it and it got worse. Went from a tiny bubble every 10-15 seconds to a bubble almost every second. Now this morning when I checked, the bubble is once every 20 seconds or so. It was cold this morning and I wonder if temperature can impact the air pressure in the lines.

    I'm not sure I'll ever figure this out but i appreciate the stories you all have responded with. If anything I know I am not alone worrying about frozen pipes. If that drip stays as small as it is, perhaps it's best to just fill up the lines with anti-freeze (10-12 gallons) and hope for the best. My only concern there would be the smell of it when I open in the spring. Has anyone actually added that much and had any negatives effects?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    There is already a gasket behind the liner. I just put the extra gasket over the liner, put the faceplate in place and tighten the winterizing plug. The screws would go in, but I leave them out so I don't have to handle them more than necessary. The plug tightens the plate.
    Thanks, I get it now. I'll have to weigh this option against just added more anti-freeze. If I do try the double gasket, I will have to blow out the lines again. Not a big deal, but I usually rent a cyclone blower from the pool store and can only keep it for 4 hours. So every time I try something that requires another blow-out, it's kind of a pain.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    So I called the pool builder and he said he would stop by in a couple of weeks to help figure this thing out. He is going to bring his blower and several types of plugs with him. He mentioned possibly double plugging. He said he would use a rubber plug that fits deep into the pipe (beyond the fitting). Then the threaded plug into the fitting. He thinks just the rubber plug would solve it, but the threaded would be there just for overkill. He is pretty sure this will stop the leaks when closing. I never heard of a rubber plug that goes in past the fittings but it sounds like a good idea. Anyone ever tried that?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Pool Tool's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Yeah, those plugs are common. Biggest downside is that the extension and wing nut are exposed/affected by ice during the winter, but they do seal well.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Tool View Post
    Yeah, those plugs are common. Biggest downside is that the extension and wing nut are exposed/affected by ice during the winter, but they do seal well.

    Pool Winterizing Plug 3/4 inch - 1 inch Extended - #4x | Your Pool HQ
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    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    Cool! seems like those should bypass any issues I may have with my return fittings. Thanks for the feedback!
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Using anit-freeze as insurance

    I just peeked under the cover again and no air bubbles at all!!!!! What the !#$##% is going on? This is driving me crazy. I told the pool builder and he said sometimes air gets behind the liner and could be coming through the faceplate???? Maybe I'm just being too anal about this whole thing.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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