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!
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.
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?