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Thread: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

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    Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    I have an in ground pool with a built in cover in southern Indiana. If I follow the pool school instructions and drain below my returns, my cover will not be able to rest on the water. I have a cover pump, but it still feels risky. Could someone please weigh-in on this issue?

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    Re: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    Hi-
    I have the same auto cover. Last year for the first time we had the lines blown out, (years past they added tons of antifreeze) and we did not remove any water, because the cover needed to rest on the water. It worked great, no issues.
    IG 24,000 vinyl lined
    18x36
    sand filter
    chlorinator
    automatic cover with no fence

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    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Southwest Indiana
    Posts
    61

    Re: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    How do you handle the skimmers? Use a gizmo or some other method?

    I contacted the mfg of my auto cover and they said it was fine to use as a winter cover and to not drain the water any lower to the bottom of the skimmers.

    I would guess with the water level so dangerously close to the skimmers that it could possible raise a little bit and bi in the skimmers and therefore could freeze.
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

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    Re: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    We have it closed by the pool company that built it. They blow out the lines and did have something in the skimmer. I was really concerned about lowering the water too, but they assured me they do this with many pools and no issues so water basically stays at normal level. They did use a very small amount of antifreeze.
    IG 24,000 vinyl lined
    18x36
    sand filter
    chlorinator
    automatic cover with no fence

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    Re: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    I have the same setup, but in northern Indiana. Instead of draining, I actually filled the pool completely full right to overflowing. I did this so I don't have to worry about pumping the water off the cover this winter, as I will be down south for several months. I put an empty gallon jug into the skimmer inlet, a 1-1/2" PVC pipe with male adapter and rubber ring inside the skimmer instead of a gizmo, plus filled the skimmer up with closed cell foam as well as another empty 1 quart bottle. This way there really isn't much water, relatively speaking, inside the skimmer and any that is and does freeze wont' be solid enough to cause any damage. In addition, the water in the skimmer is about 18" deep, so I don't think it will ever freeze at the bottom unless we have an extraordinarily cold winter.

    I blew out all the lines, including the skimmer and main drain, and shut the valves to airlock them. I also poured antifreeze down into the skimmer pipe just to make sure, but this level is about a foot below the bottom of the skimmer, so it shouldn't freeze anyway. The returns were blown out with a shop vac very thoroughly, with a plug in the one, then plugged the other with the air bubbling out like crazy. Note, this is a great way to get wet! By leaving the shop vac on and alternating between both returns, I was comfortable that both had most of the water removed, plus I then added some antifreeze. Another advantage of doing this is you can tell if the plugs have any leaks as they bubble under water. I had a problem with the one and it kept leaking a small stream of bubbles, until I replaced the rubber gasket.

    With the pool completely full, it won't have more than 1/2" of water or so on the cover as it builds up enough to overflow the side track. My thought process was that experience has shown that the water level INSIDE the pool will always be at the same level as the water on top of the cover when you have a water proof cover. This is because the water on top of the cover will displace the same amount of water inside the pool, so unless you're very religious about pumping it off the cover, you WILL get water inside the skimmer if you only drain it down just below the bottom of the inlet.

    I learned this last summer after a very hard rain that left about 4" of water on the cover, which was all it could hold anymore. I opened the cover slightly, and noted that the water inside the pool was also right at the edge of overflowing. When I thought about it, it made sense, as the cover doesn't do anything other then separate the water inside and outside the pool, and other than the slight buoyancy of the cover, the two water levels will be the same, particularly around the edges of the pool. Therefore, if you only drain it to just below the skimmer and don't do anything to protect it, you have to be very consistent to keep the water pumped off or it will come up enough to put water back into the skimmer.
    21,000 gallon, IG Fiberglass, Hayward S-244T High Rate Sand filter, Hayward 1 HP pump

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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    252

    Re: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    That's why you keep an automatic submersible pump on the cover all winter long. I not only lower my water level to below my skimmer, I also have a cover that goes over the whole skimmer/inlet opening. I use my automatic cover as my winter cover and have absolutely no problems for the past nine years.
    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: Closing an in ground pool with a built in cover

    Quote Originally Posted by h2ctpdjl
    That's why you keep an automatic submersible pump on the cover all winter long. I not only lower my water level to below my skimmer, I also have a cover that goes over the whole skimmer/inlet opening. I use my automatic cover as my winter cover and have absolutely no problems for the past nine years.
    So what happens if the water on the cover becomes a block of ice with the pump embedded in it? The pump doesn't completely remove all the water, plus the hose will have water in it, and everything will freeze solid. I don't see this as being a good idea and good for the longevity of the pump. I'm concerned that the pump will try to run sometime when it's in the ice and burn it up, or even if it can run, it won't do anything if the hose is frozen, and also possibly burn it up.

    I can see some thawing occurring in the winter, enough to turn on the pump, but it not being able to actually pump the water. I just never heard of leaving the pump on the cover and plugged in all winter, and it seems the pump instructions say not to leave it on the cover all winter, though I could be mistaken and would have to dig them out to verify.
    21,000 gallon, IG Fiberglass, Hayward S-244T High Rate Sand filter, Hayward 1 HP pump

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