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Thread: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

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    Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    You've all made our first experience with a pool a great one, so I'm hoping to help out future first-time pool owners with a write-up of the closing process. But I still need your help with some questions! I'll edit the process as questions are answered. Questions are in blue and everything else is what I've picked up from reading other posts. Please edit as you see fit!

    * This process is for my pool's set-up, but I think the information should be useful for others as well.

    Location of pool: northwest of Boston MA
    Type: ~ 21,000 gallon inground pool with 2 year old vinyl liner
    Skimmers: two total – one on each side of pool
    Return jets: three total – two main ones, and one for Polaris pool cleaner
    Main drain: one main one in deep end of pool, which is about 6 feet below top of pool
    Maintenance: I used the BBB method over the summer to maintain the pool. No tabs!

    Tools:
    Shop vac: Ridgid 6 hp vac with blower mode
    Compressor: 2 gallon mini compressor

    Water testing prior to closing:
    1. Wait for consistent pool water temperatures in the 60 degree F range.
    2. Perform full chemical test and adjust as required per BBB method.
    3. When the test results are stable, proceed with closing process.

    Pipe blowing and capping-off process, with questions:
    1. Drain water level down to between return jets and skimmers – I have a Loop Loc cover.
    2. Refer to picture #1 that shows the pipes and connections by the pool pump and filter (the “pad”?). Disconnect the plumbing hose clamps and connectors labeled #1 in picture.
    a. For skimmers only: Use vacuum mode of shop vac and suck out as much water as possible prior to beginning the blowing process.
    b. Use one of these two blowing options for this step:
    Option 1 – I actually ended up using the compressor pictured later in this thread and connecting it via a nipple to the pump. See picture below. That made it really easy to blow out the return jets, skimmers, and main drain.
    3. Water will be forced into the pool via the return jet. Perform until no water comes out of end of return jet or skimmer buckets.
    4. Cap off the end of the return jets in the pool with plug. I used Teflon tape wrapped around the threads of the plug.
    a. Plug the Gizzmos into the skimmer box(es) when no more water is blowing out.
    b. For the main drain, let the air blow until a continuous stream of air bubbles come out of main drain at the bottom of the pool. Turn the valve that controls water flow from the skimmers and main drain to the "off" position, where no air or water can enter the pipes. Water will still be in the pipe that leads to the main drain, but there will now be a pocket of air in the pipe that forces the water level to remain below the frost line of the earth/dirt. To preserve the air lock, I could not add anti-freeze to the main drain’s pipe.
    5. Pour antifreeze into pipes leading to return jets.
    6. Then plug with rubber expansion plugs.
    7. Pour antifreeze in the skimmer boxes. I actually put some non-hardening rubber rope caulk around the edge of the opening of the skimmer box, then put the lid on. I'm hoping this keeps out some of the rain water that would otherwise get into the skimmer box and dilute the antifreeze.
    8. Then drain the big filter canister (I have DE) and flush out the grids. I still need to do this.
    9. Gather all the parts and store them in a location of your choosing. I'll likely store the pumps in my basement.

    Equipment questions:
    1. Disconnect filter canister, drain and clean it per directions in the forums. Store it in an outdoor shed or the home’s basement?
    2. Disconnect the pump and store it in the basement? Does the pump need a special cleaning or just drain and store?
    3. Is a pool cover pump needed? If not, how can you get by without it?
    4. Unscrew bolts for pool ladders from pool deck and store ladders in shed. Put anti-seize on bolt threads and put bolts back into holes to prevent freezing/rusting of holes?
    5. Use caulk and fill in any cracks in the concrete deck – will start another thread on this as I don’t have the pictures on me.

    Pool chemistry questions:
    1. Is it necessary to add chemicals (e.g. bleach) during the winter or is it “set it” at the closing and “forget it” until next opening?
    2. If anti-freeze is added to the pipes, then how is it safely removed when opening the pool next year?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Picture of the skimmer and the plumbing at the pump and filter.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Morning. Any feedback to the process I outlined and answers to the questions would be appreciated! I want to make sure I do this correctly and not cause more harm than good. I would be kicked to the curb if that happens, as the wife has been saying "just hire a professional".
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Hi all. I might try to do a dry run today and test blowing out the lines. I'm still unsure of where to blow from. Should I disconnect the union that connects the pump to the suction valve and insert the blower nozzle into there?

    Also, what is that black cap at the back of the valve?

    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    I think you are correct that you want to blow from the union, or you could do it from inside the pump.

    If you are talking about a gray valve with a cap on the side (can't see the pix here) it is a place to add grease lubricant.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    I'm going to screw in a 1/4 NPT air compresser fitting into the drain hole for the pump and do it that way- then I can snap the air line right to it. I don't think you want a shraeder valve- those are very restrictive and have a low flow rate.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Ok, so I'm going to screw a fitting into the pump's drain and hook a compressor up to it.

    When I'm done blowing out the main drain and skimmer lines (the white pipes in the attached picture), do I simply put the valve handle in the off position and leave it at that over the winter?

    Thanks
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    Ok, so I'm going to screw a fitting into the pump's drain and hook a compressor up to it.

    When I'm done blowing out the main drain and skimmer lines (the white pipes in the attached picture), do I simply put the valve handle in the off position and leave it at that over the winter?

    Thanks
    When the compressor is blowing air through the lines , your 3 returns will start bubbling one at the time, when the 1st one bubbles plug that with one of those rubber plugs with the wingnut.

    Then your 2nd will bubble and plug that .

    Then your 3rd and plug that.

    The last thing will be your main drain, when that bubbles , turn the black Handel on that valve in your pic to Off on the main drain. You want to create an air lock on that line.

    I also then remove the pump and put another black plug in the pipe where the pump hooked up to.

    That's just incase my main drain valve that I created a air block with leaks a little.

    The position the valve is at in your pic is where you want it to be when you start to blow out all lines

    Right in the middle so it services both skimmer and MD

    There should be one or two drain screws on your pump basket At the bottom, you can remove one and insert a 1/4 fitting to hook up your compressor to.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Samt,

    Thank you, I think I got the idea of hooking up the compressor to the pump basket from you based on your reply in another thread. I will take a picture of the process and post to this thread for future reference.

    Do you plug your return jets using the black rubber plugs or the hard plastic white ones that have a simple o-ring? Which is "better"?

    Thank you again.
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Also, do you pro's prefer to use the Aquador for the skimmer and keep the water level up in vinyl liner inground pools, or just drop the water level about 5 inches below the skimmer box? I'm in MA, just west of Boston.
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    Samt,

    Thank you, I think I got the idea of hooking up the compressor to the pump basket from you based on your reply in another thread. I will take a picture of the process and post to this thread for future reference.

    Do you plug your return jets using the black rubber plugs or the hard plastic white ones that have a simple o-ring? Which is "better"?

    Thank you again.
    I use the black ones for the returns. the white ones with the o rings for the skimmers.

    And drop a gallon jug with 1/4 anti freeze in it,in each skimmer after I have put some antifreeze in the skimmer pot.

    I have had gizzmos leak even after putting teflon tape on them. The white ones with the rubber seal works great for me.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Thanks Sam.

    I can't pull the hand rail out of the concrete deck for the life of me (yes, the bolts have been removed). I have a feeling the previous owner didn't take them out for a few winters, thus the cracks in the deck and the fact they're rusted into the metal cups they sit in? I've soaked with PB Blaster and will try again. If all else fails, I'm thinking about using some pieces of wood on the horizontal sections of the hand rail and a car jack to slowly lift the whole thing out of the ground. Any thoughts?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Mine get stuck as well. I have decent luck by tapping with a rubber mallet until I can get some "wiggle" and then just rocking back and forth and tapping it, it eventually comes loose. If yours have been in that long, it might be a tougher job.

    I don't think the car jack alone is the correct answer. But you could use it by applying SOME upward pressure and then try tapping it to see it it will break free.

    On a side note, I think the concrete crack is a stress crack where the original expansion joint should have been extended all the way to the pool edge....probably not from the cups freezing.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Next year, when you set the handrails back in, lube the lower portion of each rail with marine grease first, then insert - makes it a lot easier to get them out again.
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    Thanks Sam.

    I can't pull the hand rail out of the concrete deck for the life of me (yes, the bolts have been removed). I have a feeling the previous owner didn't take them out for a few winters, thus the cracks in the deck and the fact they're rusted into the metal cups they sit in? I've soaked with PB Blaster and will try again. If all else fails, I'm thinking about using some pieces of wood on the horizontal sections of the hand rail and a car jack to slowly lift the whole thing out of the ground. Any thoughts?
    Well it looks like you tried everything I would have done. Just keep wiggling it back in forth and maybe using a 2x4 as some kind of upward leverage devise is all I can think of with PB blaster.

    You need to be able to put the same presure on both at the same time. Good luck.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Thanks guys, I'll try to remove the hand rail again in the next few days. I even used ratchet straps to try to pull the base of the two pipes closer together, to no avail. Oh, we just moved in this year and the rail was installed by the previous owner.

    So the pool is now closed, and the cover is on. But...I was hoping you guys can answer these questions and critique these steps for me so I can update my procedure above to help all future newbies (and remind myself next year).

    1) With the skimmer pipes all blown out, I waited a few minutes and then blew air into them again. I stuck my ear into the skimmer box and heard water gurgling in the pipes. Is that ok? I'm assuming the water is way in there and at the low point of the piping system.
    2) I added antifreeze directly into the skimmer boxes and let it flow into the pipes. I blew air into the pipes to let the antifreeze mix with the existing water in the pipes. I put o-rings onto the bottom of the gizmo for added leak protection, added teflon tape, and then screwed them in. I then poured 32 oz of concentrated antifreeze into each skimmer box (2), but noticed the level dropped to what you see in the picture below. What could cause the leak? What's the extra plugged hole next to the one that the gizzmo is plugged into. Was everything I did in this step correct?
    3) I also added two gallons of antifreeze into the skimmer pipe at the pad.
    4) Yesterday, I dropped the water level to about 5 inches below the skimmer box, which left the water level right at the tops of the return jets. This afternoon, which was sunny and about 70 degrees out, I noticed the step which was above water started to wrinkle. Please see the pic below. Am I in trouble here? Would filling a couple of water bags and throwing them into the corners of the top step help? My wife is not going to be happy.
    5) I blew air into the main drain until it bubbled for about a minute and then closed the grey valve on the white pipes to create an air lock. I then disconnected the union between the grey valve and pump, and stuck a rubber expansion plug in there to make it extra air tight.

    Thanks all!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    And here's a picture of the NPT fitting I screwed into the drain hole of the filter basket of the pump. I hooked up the air compressor to it and it worked great for blowing out the pipes.

    Question: Is it okay for the compressed air to blow (less than 10 psi) through the multi-port valve and the DE filter casing? I was hesitant to do so and made more work for myself b/c I only used the NPT fitting to blow out the skimmer and main drain. I then blew out the returns individually. If it's not a problem to blow air through the valve and filter, I'll leave the entire system hooked up next year and blow all the air out of all pipes using the NPT fitting.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    hanesian's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    As a new pool owner myself I can't answer any of your questions, but I want to thank you for taking the time and effort to make this thread. The photos in particular are helpful!

    Keep it up!
    25,000 gallon, vinyl IG, Pentair Superflo 1 HP Dual Speed pump, Hayward S-240 sand filter, SWG, Raypak M206A heater, Polaris Pool Cleaner 280

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Yeah, nice thread, gb99. Thank you for your efforts.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Newbie: Picture book instructions for closing pool

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    And here's a picture of the NPT fitting I screwed into the drain hole of the filter basket of the pump. I hooked up the air compressor to it and it worked great for blowing out the pipes.

    Question: Is it okay for the compressed air to blow (less than 10 psi) through the multi-port valve and the DE filter casing? I was hesitant to do so and made more work for myself b/c I only used the NPT fitting to blow out the skimmer and main drain. I then blew out the returns individually. If it's not a problem to blow air through the valve and filter, I'll leave the entire system hooked up next year and blow all the air out of all pipes using the NPT fitting.
    I have a sand filter and I blow it through that and the multi port valve all at the same time. I do backwash the filter real good first.

    After the pipes are done, I remove the drain screw on the bottom of the filter , loosen the air screw on top off the filter, remove the pump and the pressure gauge and that's it.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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