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Thread: Winter.....To close or not to close

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    buzzworth's Avatar
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    Winter.....To close or not to close

    Hello again, I've been busy with my contractor getting my new gunite IG pool completed before cold weather sets in. The limestone patio is complete and we're trying to tie up a few more loose ends.

    I've had a couple of AG pools in the past and always closed them for winter, but my contractor says I can leave this one running 24/7 and it will be fine. I'm in Louisville, KY so we do get snow and freezing weather. I have a backup generator so that's not a problem.

    We built the pool about 18" above the patio height for a couple of reasons. It is more of a water feature and it allowed us to alleviate the need for a fence around the pool. There is fence at the end and self closing gates at the patio steps. I have cleared the design with both the local authorities and my insurance company. (see pics) The south facing wall is 4 feet tall so it covers the 4" fence/wall requirement.
    The pool is 4 feet in the shallow end and 5 feet in the deep end.

    The support equipment is enclosed in a room of the garage and will not be exposed to freezing. The pool is not heated. It will be salt water, but not until next spring.

    I have spent the last month brushing the plaster and following the chemical regimen to cure it properly.
    Anybody see any problem with keeping it running through winter?

    16 x 32 gunite IG pool. Hayward Super pump, Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter, Intellichlor chlorine generator, Polaris 260 cleaner "Pool Boy"

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    Won't running 24/7 all winter be a little expensive?

    How long do temperatures stay below freezing (hours, days, weeks)?

    Your temperatures don't look much worse than mine. We rarely get below freezing for more than 8 hours at a stretch and that isn't long enough for the water to freeze solid in the pipes so I don't bother running the pump. I once put a 12" piece of 2" PVC pipe filled with pool water in the freezer and even after 12 hours, it wasn't solid and the freezer is at 0 F. Wind can speed up the process some but I think 8 hours is pretty safe.

    For freezing periods of longer than 8 hours, there are other things you can do besides running the pump like tarp the pad and use an incandescent bulb for heat. That will prevent the pad equipment from freezing.

    For freezing temps that last for multiple days, you might be better off draining the pad equipment for those days. The underground pipes should still be ok as long as the freezing doesn't last too long.

    Also, the good thing about cold water (< 50) is that algae does not grow very fast and I have had my pump off for weeks without any algae growth so this is a good option for the very cold periods of time. Once the water/air starts to warm up again, you can start the pump back up. This has worked well for me the last several years.

    Under very cold conditions where the pool surface water starts to freeze, you can have issues with skimmers cracking. But I don't think your temps are that low for that long.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    buzzworth's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    Mark....thanks for all the good info. Your research answers some of my questions about freezing in pipes. All of the piping is at least 2 feet in the ground, under the patio so the ground temperature should keep it fluid. Both the main pump and the pool cleaner pump, along with the filter and salt equipment is indoors so it is unfazed by freezing.

    Keeping the pump running is not very expensive. We figured it costs about $13 a month to run 24/7.

    We have 4 main returns to the pool and had another line run to a corner seat to act as a bubbler/water feature. This will be shut off for sure.

    If I am drawing water from both of the main drains and the skimmer in cold weather do I run the risk of freezing in the skimmer? I suppose I could draw from the mains and put a Gizzmo or antifreeze bottle in the skimmer.

    I will be putting a net cover over the pool soon. The leaves seem to have a way of guiding themselves right into the pool.
    16 x 32 gunite IG pool. Hayward Super pump, Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter, Intellichlor chlorine generator, Polaris 260 cleaner "Pool Boy"

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    I looked at your temperatures and I don't believe you will ever get to a situation where the pool surface water will start to freeze so I don't think there is any risk for the skimmers but with the pump running, it shouldn't be an issue anyway.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    buzzworth's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    Well.......everything was going so well. We had a few days of temperatures zero and below and the pool kept running and all seemed good.
    But then the temps went up and sunday morning I noticed we were losing water. The pump was still running and all systems were working fine. It appears the conduit that runs from the light to the above ground wire connections (and stays full of water) froze and broke under the patio.
    The PB has a crew coming here today to use a watertight fitting that goes into the back of the light fixture to seal this line. Something they say is new to them.
    I've been draining it down below the light and hope that this will solve this little hiccup. While they are here they are going to pressure test the lines to be sure the integrity of all is good and probably purge the lines and plug them for the balance of winter.
    oh.....we did the calcs again and it is more like $50 a month to keep the pump running 24/7. No small change.

    sean
    16 x 32 gunite IG pool. Hayward Super pump, Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter, Intellichlor chlorine generator, Polaris 260 cleaner "Pool Boy"

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    AimeeH's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    We use a timer with a thermostat down here in SC. Doesn't sound like that would have stopped your problem if you were running 24/7. Think about the thermostat timer if you don't want to close in the winter. I know this winter brought unusually cold temps unusually further south. I was a bit worried but we seem fine here. Pump kicks on at about 35 degrees for us.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    buzzworth's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    Great idea, AimeeH. I'll look into that for future winters.
    At this time, they purged and plugged all lines but didn't plug the light yet. I refilled the pool and it is still going down so it has to be the light line. We'll handle it as things warm up.

    Nice to have problems before we even got to use the pool......but it looks real pretty in the snow.
    16 x 32 gunite IG pool. Hayward Super pump, Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter, Intellichlor chlorine generator, Polaris 260 cleaner "Pool Boy"

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    AimeeH's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    I'm pretty sure this is the one we have. We are further south so have never entertained the idea of closing our pool.

    http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-PF1102 ... B00435J5VI
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    buzzworth's Avatar
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    Re: Winter.....To close or not to close

    Thanks for the link. I'm heading to Charleston in a couple weeks to get away from this. My brother has a house on IOP for the month of February.

    sean
    16 x 32 gunite IG pool. Hayward Super pump, Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter, Intellichlor chlorine generator, Polaris 260 cleaner "Pool Boy"

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