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Thread: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

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    Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Hi all - I am a new in ground pool owner and am new to posting in this forum but have been reading for several months now. We are in Arkansas and the freezing temps we are having tonight and over the next several days are very unusual for us. We elected to keep the pool open for the winter but in this frigid weather, we are having trouble keeping the skimmer basket free of ice. At first I thought the thin layer of ice on the surface was breaking up and getting lodged in there, but we are having to clear it every 30 minutes or so. I now feel like it might just be so cold that it is freezing in the basket. Pump is still running and water is circulating so long as we keep clearing it but we are wondering what the best course of action is here. Should we try to drain the pad equipment? I'm concerned it's so cold that the water won't drain out if we try to do it. Should we keep running the pump and stay up all night clearing the basket? I'm just not sure what to do. If anyone is up and has some advice, it would be greatly appreciated!

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    You need to keep water flowing through the skimmer. Your equipment can be replaced. The skimmer could require significant labor if it freezes. Unless the pool water is near freezing, you should be okay as long as the water keeps flowing.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Thanks John - it looks like it will be a long night! Do you think it would be OK just to leave the basket out? It seems like that's what is causing the logjam and there isn't really any debris in the pool at the moment, save for th ever thin sheets of ice floating on the surface.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    It would probably be okay, but water flowing should be enough to melt what accumulates. Watch your pressure gauge. If it starts to fall you'll know water is being blocked.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Just back in from clearing it again. I'm not sure if we can stay ahead of it all night. It's getting colder and ice is accumulating faster. Might just have to hope for the best. I am guessing we aren't the only ones who are experiencing this tonight; this is extremely unusual weather for us.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    If you have a 2 speed or variable speed pump putting it on high instead of low may help keep the water speed in the skimmer high enough to avoid ice formation.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Morning update -

    The sun is now up but the top of the pool is completely iced over with .5" - 1" of ice. I don't see anything coming from the return jets. The pump is still running and there is ice in the filter but I think I can see at least some water moving through it but not much.

    So what to do now? The high today is supposed to be 10 degrees. We can't do this all day and all night again, and Mother Nature is winning the battle anyway. Do you think we should just put a half water/half antifreeze 1 liter bottle in the skimmer, shut off the pump, and pray? At this point I think we are just trying to minimize damage as opposed to avoiding it altogether.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    About the last thing I would do is shut the pump off. What do you mean you can see ice in the filter? Is the pool water frozen over the top of the skimmer? If so, Bust it up.

    What does the psi gauge on your filter indicate? What is it normally?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Make sure the skimmer weir is open to allow water into the skimmer. If possible, just pop it out.
    TFP Moderator
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    Drag.az's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    I was goin thru same issue. Remove wier and basket from skimmer thats what i did andnow doin good pointed jets to surface last night. Temp is 9 right now and i only have a little ice on other end. Good luck
    13k - Martinique 15x30 52"
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    Drag.az's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Stubby fingers and phone do not mix.. I bet the weir froze stickin up thats why not enough circulation that happen to me last week
    13k - Martinique 15x30 52"
    Sta-Rite crystal flo 22" sand filter & 1.5 spl rated
    Gorilla pad / waveless wall foam / foam cove
    Buried 2ft TF-100, TFPC

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    We did point the return jets up last night but the layer of ice on the pool right now is so thick I am not sure they are operating correctly. I did hear back from my pool company finally (I could hear their phone ringing off the hook; they are a little covered up today!). Basically they said there is nothing to do at this point but continue to run the pump and hope the jets go back to working normally after this thaws in a couple of days. They said as long as the pump was running, there is some circulation somewhere, and to call back if the pump quits. Fingers crossed we make it through another frigid night without too much incident. We have a shop light pointed at the equipment in hopes of keeping it warm, and bought a real tarp at Walmart this morning to tent it after the sun goes down.

    As for the skimmer, we propped the weir open with a bottle of antifreeze. The pool guy said the main drain at the bottom of the pool is probably circulating enough to make up for it.

    Thanks all for your great advice!

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Similar issue here in OK.
    Sub-10 degrees with sub-0 windchill.
    20x40x9 vinyl, 2 skimmers, no heater, with freeze guard, and sand filter.
    Pool surface frozen over/slushy.
    Running my slide too, because this dummy didn't close the pool for winter.
    Came home from dinner to find pump running but nothing coming down slide.
    Both skimmer baskets filled with ice.
    Emptied both but pressure didn't come down. Right now it is 4 psi over the red limit. (13 over what it was 2 days ago)
    I've poured hot tap water directly into the skimmer, thinking maybe it would help melt some of the ice that may have formed in the filter when the air got through.
    I'm a little worried, with temps not getting above freezing (barely) until the weekend.
    poolice.jpgpoolice2.JPG

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    I suspect this spring the cost of valves, skimmers, pumps, filters, etc, etc, etc will skyrocket! I know so many areas where pool owners are worried, so that leads me to think there will be lots of spring issues.

    Hopefully all of you in this thread fair well through this mess.
    DIY 18x36 IG Vinyl Rectangle with 2 foot radius; Steel Walls. 8' steps w/t 2 step jets; 2 MD, 1 Skimmer, 2 returns; Hayward Pro Series 24 Inch 300# Sand Pool ; Hayward color logic 4.0 LED light; 2" PVC pipe 4 Jandy Valves, Hayward PL-P-4, SWCG

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    Re: Help! Ice in the skimmer!

    Update: I filled four empty 16-oz water bottles half-way with anti-freeze, and set them in each skimmer basket to float.
    The slushy ice-packed skimmer condition did not return, even though temps stayed under 10 F. What did return was the pressure back to normal after about 12 hours.

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