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Thread: To lower or not to lower...

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Hunterdon County, NJ

    To lower or not to lower...

    I have a combination of factors that make me think that I may be better off not lowering my water level for the winter. I have a Pebblesheen pool with a sun shelf that's about 15" deep. When closing my pool last year, I lowered my water level down below my returns which put the water level at about even with the surface of the sun shelf. Due to do the shape of my pool, a raised spa, and a raised wall, we do not cover our pool. Throughout the winter my water level rose a little with rain and snow. From time to time, I would pump it back down with a submersible pump. When we opened our pool this spring, we noticed that there were quarter-sized spots on the sun shelf where the Pebblesheen was flaking off. We went a few rounds with both our PebbleTech installer (who seemed to be playing dumb) and PebbleTech corporate. In the end, PebbleTech concluded that the flaking was caused by freeze damage which they repaired. Apparently, a small amount of water penetrates the surface of the Pebblesheen. When the water freezes, it expands and loosens the surface of the plaster. Even if I kept the water level below the sun shelf, rain and snow could also freeze on the surface. PebbleTech's answer was to cover the sun shelf with plastic. I think it is going to be near impossible to keep water off the sun shelf all winter. Also, if I keep my water below my sun shelf, it will cost me about $500 to fill it back up every spring.

    I'm thinking about solving this in the other direction. If I keep my pool full all winter, I think it's going to take one heck of a freeze to get a layer of ice down 15-18 inches to freeze the surface of the sun shelf. What are the risks in not lowering my water? I have tile around the waterline. Do you think the surface ice likely damage the pool tile? I'll have the skimmers protected with an antifreeze bottle, so I don't think I'm at risk of cracking my skimmer.

    You advice is greatly appreciated. I haven't been able to figure out the right answer so I haven't closed my pool yet. Tonight, it's dropping below freezing so I need to do something soon.

    31,000 gal gunite/Pebblesheen pool w/spillover spa, 2-speed 1.5 HP filter pump, 3 hp spa jet pump, 2 hp sheer decent pump, blower, DE filter, Jandy automation and SWG, Jandy 400K BTU gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner with booster pump.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: To lower or not to lower...

    I know nothing about how much ice you get in NJ but from posts around here the tiles will be your biggest concern. Maybe someone with experience in your area will chime in soon.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/╝hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    New Jersey

    Re: To lower or not to lower...

    I'm right next door (Somerset County). I probably sit at a higher altitude unless you are up on **** Mountain or something so I'm probably a little colder. I always winter a few inches below the tile line (~4"). No matter where I put the water it will line up with the tile trim on the steps or the swim-out, so I leave it at the second step. No damage there after six years. I don't drop my light and my plugged returns sit at about 10" depth and I never lose a plug. (My returns are deep, about halfway down the shallow wall.)

    How much depth would you have on the shelf if you left the water right at the bottom of the tile? If it was 10" or more I doubt you'd freeze to the bottom. Ponds around here rarely freeze enough to skate and the ice gets to 6 or 8" max. Ponds may have springs to keep them warm with nice 50┬░ water. With pools, it's hard to know, especially since I cover mine.
    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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