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Thread: Possible freeze damage

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Possible freeze damage

    Count me as one of the affected. One of my winter concerns has now come true:

    Well, freezing temps and a drop light w/ tarp over pump, basket, fliter has not proven worthy of my attempts to keep them from freezing. Water in pool, on top of mesh cover and skimmer is fine...not frozen. We had to reprime pump and filter last week to dump water from pool as well finally got a lot of rain, but then forgot to drain again. I'm thinking we had overnight feezing temp Wednesday nite and that's when things froze up, didn't know things were frozen however. Not cognizant of overnight lows that night. However, heard weather report for Thursday night for lows in teens, went to turn pump on and found out things were already frozen. ****! Only put drop light/tarp out last night after discovering things frozen, pump would not engage after one try.

    We will have temps in the high 40s today and 50's again tomorrow. Overnight lows in the mid 20s tonight. I'm keeping the drop light/tarp on throughout the day. Hoping by doing that, as well as the increased ambient air temps and suns rays, will melt the frozen water in the pump, basket and filter. I'm sure underground pipes are fine as they are insulated 3 feet deep in the soil. I'm not worried about them. (You'll really have to convince me otherwise, as our water line from the well is no deeper than that and it's never frozen).

    So how much damage have I done to my pump and filter at this point?

    CaryB
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It is very difficult to know what has happened from just that information. It could be a simple as the starter switch inside the motor sticking a little or as complex as several places with freeze damage. Does the motor make any noise when you turn it on or is it silent? And if noise what does it sound like, humming, ticking, etc? Also try turning the motor on again in the warmest part of the day and see if it starts up then.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    The pump makes a hum sound, but does nothing else. I only tried it once, more to see if the freezing water was just on top of the pump basket. Guess not. Pump frozen too.

    Once pump basket thaws, I'm trying the pump again. But then my concern is the filter.....can't see inside that big beast. I'm assuming that's frozen too. If the freezing and expanding water has damaged the guts (laterals) of the filter, what will be those signs and symptoms when and if the pump engages?

    Thanks guys.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Hey Cary, sorry to hear this has happened!

    I think you're right about the buried lines, but what about the pipes above the ground at the filter? Unfortunately, those may have frozen too Tarping the system and providing a heat source (the light) is the way to defrost the affected equipment - a bigger heat source will shorten the time it takes. Can you get the lid off the pump to find out how thick the ice is? The pump basket is the only place you'll be able to visually inspect, so use that as a guide as to whether there may still be ice in the other areas.

    The pressure gauge is probably broken from the freeze, but that's minor. Also remember there is lot more water in the filter, there is a chance that you caught the problem before the latterals could be damaged. If the latterals were crushed by the expanding ice, you'll start to see sand collecting in the pool and/ or coming out of the returns when the pump is running in filter mode.

    As for the pump itself, as Jason pointed out, the shaft may have coincidentally rusted up when you discovered the ice, but the ice is probably seizing the impeller, preventing it from spinning - once the ice has gone, it should sound normal again. Expanding ice is a force to be reckoned with, the materials exposed to that force may have failed Be sure to check for leaks after the system thaws and is running again - there's a chance that some of the internal pieces of the pump cracked, but they don't cause leaks, just a loss of efficiency and can be dealt with when the weather warms up again.

    Again, sorry this happened - we'll be here to help all we can
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Good news and bad.

    The pump basket is thawed. Stuck my hand in and still a lot of ice around inside diameter of hole connecting to pump. Tried pump breaker again, but still a dull hum. Put drop light practically up against pump housing. Will continue this through tomorrow...temps up in the 50s Don't think I'm going to get refreezing effect again tonight. Quite a bit warmer under the tarp. Hopeful this will keep temp up enough to prevent any more ice. I have extra pressure gauges, o-rings, sealants, etc from last season so prepared to fix the easy things. But, overall my life is pretty blessed and if a new pump is required, that's a good enough reason to go to a 2 speed. Always seeing the silver lining.

    Hubby said to pour warm/hot water directly on the pump, and I'm not sure this approach is kosher at this time. However, the pump does get rained on so it IS waterproof. I'm more concerned about the rapid thaw effect. Any ideas from youse guys?

    Thanks for all your help.

    CaryB
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Educated guess, rapid thawing is not a problem, the ice will 'shrink' back into water, it's the expansive force that wrecks things. Hot water would do the trick, the material the pump is made of can handle tap water temps easily - alternately, hot water in the strainer housing would help free up the impeller at least. A hair dryer could also be used as long as it was kept a safe distance away from any water.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Sorry to hear you have some potential damage. Here along the Southeast NC coast, we had low temp of 22 degrees on Thursday morning and had 15 degrees early this morning. Even though we use a winter cover due to the heavy leaf fall, we are running the filter pump through the night when temps are below freezing. No problem with frozen lines as long as the water is moving. This is when a 2 speed pump would really be nice! Also thinking about some modification to the pump start circuit to add a temp controller that would auto start the pump when the temp fell below the freezing point. Anyone done anything like that?
    Fiberglass Trilogy Pool,
    15x34 8900 gal.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Timers with freeze protection thermostats are easy enough to find, see for example the Intermatic PF1102T or any of several other models they offer. Such a timer is a good investment if you don't close the pool for the winter. Most of the automation systems also provide freeze protection. It is also possible to get one separately from the timer. A freeze protection thermostat turns on the pump any time the temperature is below a preset level.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    hot water in the strainer housing would help free up the impeller at least..
    I did this 3x and still had a good deal of ice around the pump entrance. I do believe it is frozen good. I still have the drop lite and tarp, and move drop lite from left/right of pump every 3 hours or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    A hair dryer could also be used as long as it was kept a safe distance away from any water.
    You mean I can't dry my hair on the diving board?? Just kidding. Hubby actually had a pretty savy idea....take our indoor rated ceramic heater and put that under the tarp for the night. I nixxed that idea. I'll do it tomorrow am when we're awake and can keep an eye on it through the living room window.

    Thanks guys
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivyleager

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    A hair dryer could also be used as long as it was kept a safe distance away from any water.
    You mean I can't dry my hair on the diving board?? Just kidding. Hubby actually had a pretty savy idea....take our indoor rated ceramic heater and put that under the tarp for the night. I nixxed that idea. I'll do it tomorrow am when we're awake and can keep an eye on it through the living room window.

    Thanks guys
    I almost suggested a space heater (ie, bigger heat source), but know the potential danger in using one, unless it's closely supervised. The space heater will make the thawing go faster, but be sure to keep an eye on it

    Please keep us 'posted' on the progress, good luck!!

    BTW - you CAN dry your hair on the divingboard, just don't splash the hairdryer nor let it get splashed 8)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Pump is thawed, turned the breaker on, and the pump started right up. As Ralphie says at the end of A Christmas Story: All is well with the world.

    Heard some clinking sounds through the return pipe from the filter, assuming its some ice chips. Occurred briefly, then it stopped completely. Pressure gauge is shot....prior to starting pressure was sitting at 35 psi. After starting pump, pressure shot up to 50 psi. Can I assume 35 is now my zero, and I am currently running 15 psi, which is almost my normal running psi? Will get through this afternoon and evening, leaving pump running. It's going to be in the 60's tomorrow, so my intention is to drain the pump and filter for good. I'll rely on my itsy bitsy cover pump to dump water should we get more rain this season (here's hoping anyway).

    Thanks guys.

    CaryB
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    I don't think those pressure gauges hold up very well to winters. I replaced my gauge after last winter and I just went out there and mine looks like it is off again. Maybe this time I will learn. I think when I replace this one, I will keep the old one and swap it out for those winter months. They aren't that expensive, but I'd just as soon not have to replace it every spring.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    I actually followed through and drained the pool equipment. Does everyone's sand filter drain that s l o w l y. It think it took about 25 minutes. And not huge gush of water, but steady stream. I digress.

    Do I need to change the position of the filter handle to winter? Currently it's still on filter. Please advise.

    CaryB
    Go Canes! (still suck)
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Yes, you should move the filter handle to "winter" if you have that position, or an in-between position if you don't, for the winter. That will allow any water that might get into the valve area to drain out.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Cary, glad to hear you're now ready for the next freeze (of course now that you've drained everything it won't freeze again )

    25 min is fast for a sand filter to drain!

    Jason is, of course, right about the multi, however he didn't mention another good reason to put the valve in 'winter' or an in- between position -- it keeps the plate from bonding to the gasket (if the plate and gasket bonded, the gasket would shred the first time you changed positions and need to be replaced)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivyleager
    Does everyone's sand filter drain that s l o w l y. It think it took about 25 minutes.

    I drain mine for a month.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
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