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Thread: First time pool closing

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    Task's Avatar
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    First time pool closing

    This is the end of the first summer since our pool was installed last fall. Once the build was complete last year, the builder covered the pool and winterized the main drain. He didn't cut the hole in the liner for the returns and skimmer until opening this year so there wasn't any water in the lines last winter.

    I've read that some people let the water level drop below the return lines and some people don't. Are the any specific reasons to drop below returns? Any reasons not to drop the level below the returns? My pool info is below, I'm mainly worried that if I lower the water below the returns, I'm concerned about the liner possibly shifting. Am I over reacting? For the liner to shift would the water need to drop significantly lower than the return?
    16'x32' Inground Vinyl, 21,100 gallons, Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump, Hayward Pro Series S244T 3.1ft Sand Filter
    TFTestKits, Pool School, ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Chlorine/CYA Chart, PoolMath

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool closing

    You're fine with draining up to the point where there is 1 foot left in the shallowest part of the pool. Liner should not shift unless you go below that.

    I'm going to go below the returns this year. It has always been drained that far by previous owners. Likely 2-4" below them. I still am toying with the idea of not going below the returns but I'll likely go below them due to ice concerns. We'll get PLENTY of ice in the pool. I bet last year, which was very long and very cold I had nearly a foot of ice. I'd rather not have that pushing on the return fittings even if they do have flat, screw in style caps. If I didn't go below returns and just below skimmers, the ice would be centered right on the returns.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Task's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool closing

    I guess its just a matter of preference for people. I think I'll also go a few inches below the returns. Just seems really low to me. I have a solid cover for my pool, but my water level did rise significantly last winter from all the snow run off so I guess it will slowly rise throughout the winter anyway.
    16'x32' Inground Vinyl, 21,100 gallons, Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump, Hayward Pro Series S244T 3.1ft Sand Filter
    TFTestKits, Pool School, ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Chlorine/CYA Chart, PoolMath

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    Re: First time pool closing

    I cannot go below returns because of my auto over. I blow out and antifreeze lines. Remove light from wet niche. Plug skimmer and lines obviously.


    30x20 vinyl IG, Hayward SD60 with Pentair Dynamo 340219 2HP pump, Compupool CPSC24 SWG, Hayward H200FDN heater. APC automatic pool cover.
    Central Illinois

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    Task's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool closing

    should i be concerned with my cover sagging way down in the middle of the pool? I'm pretty sure that if I drop my water level below my returns, my cover won't have anything (water) under it supporting it. Do I even need the water to support the cover? I've got a solid safety cover with a small pump that sits on top to pump off rain water.
    16'x32' Inground Vinyl, 21,100 gallons, Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump, Hayward Pro Series S244T 3.1ft Sand Filter
    TFTestKits, Pool School, ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Chlorine/CYA Chart, PoolMath

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    Re: First time pool closing

    If it is a safety cover, the water needs to be a minimum of 12" below the cover, the water helps support the cover.

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    Re: First time pool closing

    I do not drain much, just lower a few inches probably close to the bottom of the skimmer. Still plenty of water above the returns. My mesh cover needs the water to be that high. I also do not winterize the light. I simply blow all lines, cap them. Thats it. Last year we had a hard, unusual, did I mention HARD winter here in MD. I had ice that was probably thick when I checked in February. Thick enough I could not budge it when pressing on it. When I opened in late March it still had ice bergs floating around. I had not a single issue with freeze breaking anything. Frankly, I was surprised. It was my first winter with a pool, I closed it myself with just help from this forum and it was our worst winter in history.
    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: First time pool closing

    I ended up dropping the water just below the returns. Once I got it below the skimmer, it was only about another inch or two lower to get it below the returns. I was mostly concerned with having the return plugs being so close to the surface that the ice might freeze around them and pull from the returns, allowing water into the returns or possibly cracking the end of the return pipe.
    Unfortunately, I had pretty much gotten all the work done to winterize the pool and only had to blow out the lines and put the cover in place and i was unable to get the water out of the lines with my shop vac. I even tried rigging my gas leaf blower to the hose and blowing out the lines. Another failure. So it left me with a choice to make - A) Pay the pool company $200 to winterize the pool, B) Spend some money on a second shop vac that may or may not be able to blow out the lines, C) Invest $330 on a cyclone blower designed for clearing the lines. I opted for the cyclone as I knew it was the sure thing. My pool builder charged me their wholesale price (at least thats what they said) of $330 and even delivered it to my house the next day as they were working on a job not far from my house. Once I had the cyclone, I had the lines cleared and plugged and the cover on the pool in under an hour (with the help of my neighbor).

    Now my pool is all closed up. I closed with my FC elevated to keep the algae at bay for a little while. The water temp was still a bit warm (68 degrees), but my chlorine supplier was out of 12.5% and they weren't planning on ordering any until the spring so they didn't get stuck with it all winter. I have a solid, Merlin safety cover, so I'm assuming the sunlight won't be able to penetrate through to the pool water. Hopefully the FC level will hold for awhile and I won't open to a green pool next spring.
    16'x32' Inground Vinyl, 21,100 gallons, Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump, Hayward Pro Series S244T 3.1ft Sand Filter
    TFTestKits, Pool School, ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Chlorine/CYA Chart, PoolMath

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