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Thread: Pool open in winter

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    Pool open in winter

    Ok so newbie here and this is my first real post to the forum. I have tried reading about winterizing or keeping pool open in winter but there is so much information on the site so I thought I would just ask.

    I have never owned a pool before and bought a house this past July so this is my first time dealing with winter

    So I have a 40,000 gallon salt water system. It is a Jandy system that uses an aqua pure and I use AquaLink Touch to adjust settings in home. I can not get a cover for the pool as it is oddly shaped, or maybe I can but I suspect it would be very expensive and prefer not to if I can. I do not have a heater and will not be using the pool in winter, just plan to leave it open.

    My questions are as follows:

    1) Do I need to drain the water any below the skimmers? I have read different things in different places.

    2) Do i need to add chlorine and set aquapure to 0? The pool lady told me that the salt generator does not work below 50 and that I would have to add chlorine tabs but I am skeptical this is accurate information

    3) If i can just use my salt generator, do I turn the aqua pure down? In warm weather it is 70-80% to keep correct chlorine but I understand that there is less degradation of chlorine in winter?

    4) Do i run pump 24hrs if I am not draining to keep pipes from freezing then temps get down? (what temp do I need to be worried about this?)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I am thankful to have found a forum that may help me as I am skeptical with about 70% of into I get from the local pool shop.

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post

    1) Do I need to drain the water any below the skimmers? I have read different things in different places. You do not need to drain your pool down. You actually need to be able to still run the pump.

    2) Do i need to add chlorine and set aquapure to 0? The pool lady told me that the salt generator does not work below 50 and that I would have to add chlorine tabs but I am skeptical this is accurate information Different SWGs will work to different temps. Mine seems to stop working when my pool temp gets to about 50 degrees and then I add bleach manually. I don't have to add much as the demand is much lower in the winter with no bather load, low UV, and low water temps. You will get the hang of how often you need to test in the winter and what to add. Once I start adding, I turn my SWG off.

    3) If i can just use my salt generator, do I turn the aqua pure down? In warm weather it is 70-80% to keep correct chlorine but I understand that there is less degradation of chlorine in winter? Again, this depends at what temp your SWG stops generating. My SWG tells me it is "cold" and won't generate.

    4) Do i run pump 24hrs if I am not draining to keep pipes from freezing then temps get down? (what temp do I need to be worried about this?) I run my pump about 4 hours a day (I have a VS pump so it doesn't break the bank). When the air temp is going to be below 34, I run my pump 24 hours at the lowest setting.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I am thankful to have found a forum that may help me as I am skeptical with about 70% of into I get from the local pool shop.
    Welcome aboard! I live a little south of you in Charleston, SC and keep my pool open all winter. You get a little colder than we do, but you can manage your pool just fine. See above in the quoted section to the answers to your question. It would also be helpful if you filled out a signature that tells us about your pool. Go to settings and edit your signature.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool open in winter

    If you're not going to cover the pool, I would suggest keeping it open and that's likely very possible in your region with a similar climate to Raleigh, NC.

    What you would need to do:
    1- Leave water level as is. In order to keep the pool chlorinated, you need to have circulation. Only if you were going to close and cover would you drain the pool at all.
    2- Once your water temp goes near 50, turn off the SWG however you can. You will now need to chlorinate with chemicals. I WOULD NOT use trichlor pucks/tablets as they will drive up your CYA. Use liquid bleach/pool shock only. What FC level you need to keep your pool at depends on your current CYA level. Do you know what that is? Pool store test results are not accepted as valid on this site. A recommended drop-based home test kit is the best and only type of results that we will give advice on. The Taylor K-2006 and the TF-100 from tftestkits.net are the best options (TF-100 is THE best).
    3- There is less chlorine degradation in the winter because temps are lower, sunlight UV index is lower and usage is lower or non-existent. It shouldn't take much chlorination to keep it clear but regular testing and dosing is still required.
    4- You should never run your pump 24 hours, unless it's 10 degrees outside. If you're doing so you're wasting lots of money on electricity. If you're having to run it 24/7 in the summer, your SWG unit is undersized for your pool volume or your pool has a higher chlorine demand than it should because it's not properly sanitized. In the winter, you should only run the pump long enough circulate chemical doses of liquid chlorine (30 minutes minimum after adding) and to prevent freezing if the temperature dips. A 2-4 hour run time overnight or even better two, 1-2 hour run times over night on a timer/schedule would be best.
    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

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Thanks for response. So if air temp below 34 sustained you run the pump 24hrs or even if say 50s daytime but 29 at night?

    Also, you just put in regular bleach? How do I figure out the dose or amount to add? How come bleach instead of chlorine tabs?

    In winter, how often do you test your pool and what chemical tester do you use? I have been taking it to the pool shop as the strips i use seem to be all over the place.

    If it gets to the point the SWG is not working (I am yet to figure out what temp that will be for mine) do you still test salt PPM and add salt or just add bleach and fix salt level in spring?

    Thanks

    - - - Updated - - -

    I run the pump like 16 hrs in summer like 6AM - 10PM (that is what was set before I moved in) and it kept it at the correct chlorine level.

    I have not changed it yet for winter, It has been rather warm. So you only set the pump in winter when you expect it to be freezing temps? so if 50 in daytime, keep it off and drops to 29 at night have it run at that time?

    I need to get a better self tester, i was using dumb strips that are all over the place. In winter how often do you check chemicals?

    Unrelated question, in the skimmer those 2 holes (sorry I don't know the terminology) seem to be clogged or not really pulling. Is there supposed to be a lot of flow through those holes? If so, how do I clean them out?

    Any idea where to start with the bleach, i mean figuring how much to add?

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Also, adding the details of your pool to your forum signature really helps experts know more about your pool and situation so please add that when you can. Settings -> Edit Signature
    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

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    - - - Updated - - -

    I run the pump like 16 hrs in summer like 6AM - 10PM (that is what was set before I moved in) and it kept it at the correct chlorine level.

    I have not changed it yet for winter, It has been rather warm. So you only set the pump in winter when you expect it to be freezing temps? so if 50 in daytime, keep it off and drops to 29 at night have it run at that time?

    I need to get a better self tester, i was using dumb strips that are all over the place. In winter how often do you check chemicals?

    Unrelated question, in the skimmer those 2 holes (sorry I don't know the terminology) seem to be clogged or not really pulling. Is there supposed to be a lot of flow through those holes? If so, how do I clean them out?

    Any idea where to start with the bleach, i mean figuring how much to add?
    In the winter with an open or partially closed pool, once you get the hang of how your pool is using chlorine, you should only need to test every 3-4 days or up to a week. BUT this is after you've monitored your pool daily for a while to understand how it's typically going to behave in the winter for chlorine demand. pH should not very much in the winter because it's not being used or aerated much.

    We can only tell you what FC level to maintain at if we know your CYA level. The CYA level determines what FC level you need for maintenance. See the link to the CYA/Chlorine chart in my signature. When your SWG is not running, you have a manually chlorinated pool. I would recommend spending more time in Pool School, starting with ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry, to familiarize yourself with our methods. We teach pool maintenance to home owners but the responsibility is on you to educate yourself, ask questions and most importantly, use a proper test kit for testing ONLY. Mixing our advice and pool store advice will only lead to confusion and frustration.

    On the skimmer issue, you should be able to see some surface turbulence or noticeable suction at the suction hole in the bottom of your skimmer. Have you checked any valves at the equipment pad to make sure that they are open, allowing skimmer suction? Is this with a variable speed pump? Low speed may not show much turbulence or suction on a VS pump or 2-speed, but it should on higher speeds. Another reason to have your forum signature updated with your pool details.

    Even at close to freezing, it takes some time for the water to actually freeze. The vulnerable points to freezing are the low volume areas such as anyplace your pipes are exposed to the air. But, PVC pipe has some insulating properties and it takes time for water to freeze. When the temperature is near freezing, you only really need to run maybe 25-50% of the time to prevent a freeze. If it's very cold, such as 20 degrees or less, you need to run more than that.
    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

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    If you were not left with the manuals for your pool equipment I would look for any brand/model numbers you can find and Google them to find the online manuals.

    Many pumps and control panels have configurable freeze protect you just set the temp limit and as soon as it gets cold enough the equipment turns on to protect the pump and plumbing.

    Not to sound like a broken record but it is important for you to get one of the 2 test kits mentioned above and spend some time reading the pool school links on this site.

    If your skimmer has 2 holes one in front and one in back that could be like mine the one in the front goes to the main drain and the one in back is the suction to the pump. If that is the case you should have a diverter plate aka float valve that covers the holes so it can draw both from the main drain and the skimmer simultaneously. Without the plate the main drain will have almost no suction. Do a Google or YouTube search for "diverter plate" and you will see a few examples.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    We use the test kit in my siggy. It is awesome! You will save SO much money doing your own testing!

    Here is a neat thing to help you know how much chlorine/bleach to add each day. It does take some playing around with to get the hang of it. Make sure to change the bottom part to TFP settings.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Make sure to read the link JV train posted (abc of pool school) THAT is the main link to help teach you all things for TFP. It tells you the hows and whys of what we do. It is science and daily use based.

    I THINK we have covered all of your current questions. If not please post the ones we did not cover again AND ask any questions you might have!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    In the winter with an open or partially closed pool, once you get the hang of how your pool is using chlorine, you should only need to test every 3-4 days or up to a week. BUT this is after you've monitored your pool daily for a while to understand how it's typically going to behave in the winter for chlorine demand. pH should not very much in the winter because it's not being used or aerated much.

    We can only tell you what FC level to maintain at if we know your CYA level. The CYA level determines what FC level you need for maintenance. See the link to the CYA/Chlorine chart in my signature. When your SWG is not running, you have a manually chlorinated pool. I would recommend spending more time in Pool School, starting with ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry, to familiarize yourself with our methods. We teach pool maintenance to home owners but the responsibility is on you to educate yourself, ask questions and most importantly, use a proper test kit for testing ONLY. Mixing our advice and pool store advice will only lead to confusion and frustration.

    On the skimmer issue, you should be able to see some surface turbulence or noticeable suction at the suction hole in the bottom of your skimmer. Have you checked any valves at the equipment pad to make sure that they are open, allowing skimmer suction? Is this with a variable speed pump? Low speed may not show much turbulence or suction on a VS pump or 2-speed, but it should on higher speeds. Another reason to have your forum signature updated with your pool details.

    Even at close to freezing, it takes some time for the water to actually freeze. The vulnerable points to freezing are the low volume areas such as anyplace your pipes are exposed to the air. But, PVC pipe has some insulating properties and it takes time for water to freeze. When the temperature is near freezing, you only really need to run maybe 25-50% of the time to prevent a freeze. If it's very cold, such as 20 degrees or less, you need to run more than that.


    What should I put in my signature line exactly about my pool? Also I am so ignorant about a lot I don't even know what an equipment pad is, i suspect that is the area where all the pippin and filter and pumps are? Valves are open but when i look at the skimmer holes (there are 2) the look like they have debris built up in both holes. Before when I put CYA in there, it sat there for over 1 week, i had to manually stir it at times to dissolve.

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Things to put into sig would be pool type inground or above, what is it made out of liner, fiberglass, plaster quartz (goes by many brand names such as pebletech beadcrete to name a couple), pump type single speed, 2 speed, Variable speed pool volume usually gallons but metric works too, cleaner type if you have one, In your case we know you have a salt system so SWG is the acronym usually used. Not a complete list but a good start, seem like you might not know a lot of this info but we can help as you investigate your equipment and ask questions (Google is your friend look for make and model numbers on equipment).

    You are correct about the equipment pad being where the filter and pump is. A few pictures of your pad with a view of all of the valves might be in order so we can help with the skimmer.

    You said the CYA did not dissolve that is normal, it can take up to a week to completely dissolve. the question I have is was it in a net or bag that kept it form being sucked into the filter or was it that you truly have no suction in the skimmer?
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    I have a link to help you learn about your equipment. When you post a pic of yours we can help you with what is what.

    Pool School - Visual Encyclopedia of Pool Equipment

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    It's a lot to take in at first but it will come over time and as you ask questions. You've made the most important first step in finding us and asking questions.

    You may have CYA clogging the suction ports but I would think it would have dissolved by now. The best way to add CYA to your pool as we recommend is to put the CYA into an old sock (or several) to keep it contained while it is dissolving. Can take up to a week. Placing the sock in the skimmer basket works but I prefer tying a rope around the sock and hanging it in front of a return in the pool, using a weight to hold the rope in place. I never like having anything other than my skimmer basket or the occasional skimmer sock in my skimmer to disrupt the skimming action.

    You'll have to find a way to free the debris from the skimmer holes. It may possibly be built up from running the pump with the skimmer baskets removed which is never a good idea. I would try using one of those cheap drain snakes at first to see if you can scoop some debris out of the holes. This is what I'm thinking of:

    You can find them at most hardware stores, sometimes even in the check out lanes at a big box hardware store. Pretty inexpensive.
    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

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    Ok so newbie here and this is my first real post to the forum. I have tried reading about winterizing or keeping pool open in winter but there is so much information on the site so I thought I would just ask.
    Welcome! We're a few miles SE of you at the coast.....


    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    My questions are as follows:

    1) Do I need to drain the water any below the skimmers? I have read different things in different places.
    You don't need to drain the pool any, if you are not going to close.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    2) Do i need to add chlorine and set aquapure to 0? The pool lady told me that the salt generator does not work below 50 and that I would have to add chlorine tabs but I am skeptical this is accurate information
    It is not terribly inaccurate, but may have its issues: Do cut the SWG off below 50 degrees and do add chlorine. You need to be testing the pool, since it is open... and you need to know the CYA level. Since I don't close my pool in the winter, I maintain the CYA level throughout the period. I do that by using trichlor tabs to maintain the chlorine and CYA, then switch to just bleach when the CYA is where it needs to be. You can switch back and forth, as necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    3) If i can just use my salt generator, do I turn the aqua pure down? In warm weather it is 70-80% to keep correct chlorine but I understand that there is less degradation of chlorine in winter?
    You'll see MUCH less chlorine loss. When the water temperature falls below 60 degrees I drop to about 2 ppm, but some people just let it drop to zero.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrUNC83 View Post
    4) Do i run pump 24hrs if I am not draining to keep pipes from freezing then temps get down? (what temp do I need to be worried about this?)
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I am thankful to have found a forum that may help me as I am skeptical with about 70% of into I get from the local pool shop.
    You do not need to run the pump 24 hours per day. I would guess about 4 hours would be sufficient for circulation (and time any chemical addition around those run times). However, it is cheap insurance to run the pump (24 hours per day, if necessary) during conditions that could cause freezing in the system.

    My method is to maintain at least minimum levels of FC, pH, CH, TA, and CYA throughout the winter. When warmer temperatures arrive (water temp approaching 60 degrees), I just boost the pool chemical levels up to summer numbers and "opening" becomes just a non-event.

    We're lucky we live in a place where this is possible. Come spring, you'll see a lot of anxiety and gnashing of teeth from people that close their pool at the end of the summer and open it again, as it warms, only to find nasty lagoons and wonky chemistry....

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    Re: Pool open in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    We're lucky we live in a place where this is possible. Come spring, you'll see a lot of anxiety and gnashing of teeth from people that close their pool at the end of the summer and open it again, as it warms, only to find nasty lagoons and wonky chemistry....
    Especially when they close too early and open too late! Eventually I may not have to close our pool in MD!
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