Until this year I always pumped my in-ground down 1.5' below the tiles, put on a mesh cover, and left it until opening, at which point the winter thaw and spring rain typically have it full.
This spring I replastered with SunStone and the contractor says I shouldn't leave any plaster above water! Since I live in PA where we do freeze that sounds dangerous and difficult: seems like freezing with water at the tile level is likely to pop tiles. Also it's just 8 inches to the bottom of my cantilevered cement deck, which I imagine a freezing surface could heave and crack.
Does anyone close their pool with water this high?
And are there any automated pumps you can leave in the water, through the freeze cycle, to ensure water draining through the cover doesn't reach too high?