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Thread: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    These questions are applicable to swimming pools in the snow belt.
    1. If all pipes are going to be blown out using an air compressor or shop vac, does the water level still have to be below the returns?
    2. If the water level is a few inches below the lowest tile line, and there’s a chance that the winter ice layer will be exactly at the height of lens of the pool light, should the pool light be removed at closing?
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    It is good to lower the water level below the returns, otherwise water could get into the return lines. The goal is to have defense in depth. The winterizing plugs should keep water out of the return lines. But if they fail, the water level will be below the returns as well, which will also keep the water out. Any one approach might fail, but several at the same time will be far more likely to work.

    You don't want ice anywhere near the pool light. Often the pool light is deep enough, well below the ice layer, that it can be left in. Sometimes, the water can be lowered below the pool light. But if there is likely to be ice at the level of the pool light you should remove it. Removing it has it's own risks, better if you can adjust the water level.

    When adjusting the water level, assume that more water will get into the pool from somewhere, and leave yourself some room.
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    I've resisted chiming in because the last time I helped close a pool in MA was 30-odd years ago, but... I do remember that our light was in a housing designed to come out, and each winter we'd pull it out and place it up on the coping with a bucket over it. It had a long cable running from the light into the recess, no exposed contacts. Seemed like a really sensible system.
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    Thank you, JasonLion and PaulR.
    PaulR: I have this kind of pool light and last season I did what you described, but without the bucket. Now that our shorter-than-usual summer is almost over I wish we all could be CA boys and gals...
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
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    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    3rd year Closing IGP in Michigan,

    I am curious about this also, I always lower the level below the Plugs but above the Light, and I leave the light in.
    The old owner removed the light, but then I had to replace the light anyway (apparently it didn't do well in the snow drift)

    After our long snowy Michigan winters the pool always ends up filled with snow, in the spring the snow melts and the spring rains fall. By the time we are ready for opening the pool it is filled all the way to the very top, my cover is 3 ft underwater, and stretched to the max. It takes all day to pump the water off the top, and since it spent the fall 3 ft lower it filled with leaves before filling with snow.

    Since it ends up full anyway, wouldn't I be better off leaving the pool full and the cover only sagging a few inches underwater come spring? It also seems that if I had more clean water under the cover, than dirty water above the cover I might have less problems in the spring when I can never pump all the water off the cover and can't lift the cover 3 feet without dumping the last 50 gallons of muck right into the shallow end.

    Also - if the lines are properly blown out, and then filled with antifreeze wouldn't any leakage of the plugs be antifreeze flowing into the pool instead of water flowing into the lines? It seems if my water level were below the level of the antifreeze this would be the case, or am I mistaken?
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    Another approach is to remove the light from its niche and let it hang to the bottom of the pool. Use a nylon cord to keep strain off the wire if it doesn't reach to the bottom.

    I am amazed that 3 feet of water on your cover does not cause serious problems. My cover pump died one year (actually the GFCI died) and two feet of water pulled the cover loose at one end and put real strain on it at the other. Here in NJ we go from rain to snow and back again, so my cover pump is out there all winter. (Rule Industries pump with electronic freeze protection, great invention.) I use a leaf net to keep cover clean. In Spring, pulling a dry, mostly clean cover makes opening real easy. With a small cinder block and some bungee cords, I can do it by myself.
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    MJCP's Avatar
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    Durk, now you're really making me curious,
    I don't use a cover pump all winter long, only in the spring to get all the water off before opening.
    NJ isn't that much different than MI, so I'm wondering how it works. My pool fills up with inches of snow at a time, any melting freezes again and would not be pumped out before the next several inches, add drifting snow to that, and after a short time I have an accumulation of snow and ice that doesn't thaw till spring. I would think that a cover pump would get some of it out, but I might be missing the way it works - thanks
    15x32 Lazy L Inground / Concrete - 20,000 US Gal 1979 build
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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    This is what I did in order to solve the problem of melted snow topping off the winter cover. It worked.
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    Well I figured I might as well chip in with my 1.81 cents ( Can vs American)

    I am north of all of you, we receive TONS of snow all winter long, easily 8 feet over two months of Dec/Jan.

    I do not lower my pool below returns. I use those duck mouth plugs, blow out the lines, and in the Skimmer I use an aquador, which has a lid that closes securely over the opening.

    I do all this, as the PB that closed my pool the first year, took water below returns, taped up the skimmer opening, blew out all the lines, added anti freeze, then was done after putting big expanding plug in skimmer.

    I opened the pool the next spring, skimmer was full of water, plug held fast, water was 1 foot above returns, due to snow melt an rain. I asked about this, and they said that was normal, so I then asked about the idea of filling water back up after closing, they said no problem, so that is what I do, I do not use a cover in the winter, due to watching neighbors fighting with it in the spring. My pool opens in 2 hours.

    I question, if the piping, would ever bust from freezing anyways, its that soft pliable spa hose, very thick, but otherwise pliable to some extent.

    4 winters now, and not one single problem has occured. Perhaps the 10 gallons of antifreeze I use does help, but not really sure.

    Am curious what everyone thinks about this method?

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    Re: Water level at pool closing in the snow belt

    Quote Originally Posted by MJCP
    Durk, now you're really making me curious,
    I don't use a cover pump all winter long, only in the spring to get all the water off before opening.
    NJ isn't that much different than MI, so I'm wondering how it works. My pool fills up with inches of snow at a time, any melting freezes again and would not be pumped out before the next several inches, add drifting snow to that, and after a short time I have an accumulation of snow and ice that doesn't thaw till spring. I would think that a cover pump would get some of it out, but I might be missing the way it works - thanks
    The Rule pump turns on for a few seconds every 3 or 4 minutes. If it can't pump (no water, or discharge blocked), it turns off right away. I think NJ is a fair amount warmer than Michigan (last 12 months NJ-4679 degree-days vs. MI-6034, and this was a very cold winter for us). We get thaws or winter rain that do away with all the snow and ice a couple of times each winter. Snow doesn't just stick around, like it does in MA or NH where I have also lived.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

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