We're really late getting to "closing" time as we haven't used the pool since early September, but finally scheduled Leslies to come out and "winterize" the pool (this is our first "closing).
They said they don't have any fittings small enough to plug the return lines, and the eyeballs are plastered into place whenever the pool was replastered (before we bought the house).
The guy said his recommendation is to install a temperature control for the pump so that it will just run the pump when temps approach freezing, top off the water level and cover the pool.
This seems reasonable to me... our pump/filter is in a covered area (not climate controlled but not subject to wind/rain etc), and there is no exposed plumbing. Temps are rarely solidly below freezing for any length of time.. overnight some, but rarely for more then 24 hrs at a time.
Covered should prevent any significant algae growth and protect from leaves etc.
I suppose we could skip the temp switch and just leave the pump running 24/7 (what I've done since "winter" started), but it seems like a good idea to reduce wear on the pump and save some utility $$.
Is there any real downside to the above?
My only concern is maintaining water level... we haven't had significant problems with leakage, but would hate to have a stupid problem over the winter that costs us a pump and/or plumbing. I could just watch water level in the skimmers though so not a huge deal.
Alternatively I'd like to work on an auto-makeup system though That's probably more of a project to attack when it's warmer.