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Thread: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

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    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    St. Louis MO
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    Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    Hello,
    My husband and I are attempting to close our pool for the first time. The previous owner offered to show us how he closed it, but given the state of the chemicals when we moved in and the stories from our neighbors, I think we are better off working it out ourselves.
    There are no threads in the skimmer pipe, so I do not believe a gizmo is an option for us. My husband bought an aquador, but it is not mounting flush to the pool wall. The screw holes are just slightly off, causing minor warping. This means the "Tupperware" door will not snap on.
    To complicate matters, we have a pinhole leak on the pipe for the main drain, just before the (dying) pump. Our plan was to cut and cap the main drain with a valve allowing us to blow out the line. We would then replace the pump and redo the plumbing in the spring.
    We also have whirlpool return jets in the staircase, a couple of inches below the bottom of the skimmer.
    Could we leave an in-ground vinyl pool drained by 12-18" all winter (below stair returns)? If not, what other options do we have to manage the skimmer box? If we plugged the skimmer drain with a duck valve, could we put an empty jug/foam in the skimmer box and refill to normal levels?
    This is our first pool season, so I'm not sure what to expect as far as ice thickness in St. Louis. But I'm not expecting this to be a particularly forgiving winter...
    Thanks for your help!
    15k gal, IG vinyl, 26 yrs old, 1.5hp variable speed pump, sand filter, peristaltic pump (liquid chlorine feeder), dolphin triton (Mr. Roboto), TF-100 + speedstir

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    Re: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    I would be surprised if the bottom of your skimmer didn't have threads, if it didn't, then your use of a duck plug would not work either, the only option you would have would be a pressure plug. Really check to see if there are threads there. Gizmo would be the best option, baring that, you could use a pressure plug and then add in some cut up pool noodles to absorb the growth if any ice should form in there, fill it with antifreeze too. Duck tape over the front of the skimmer on the pool side, the from inside the actual skimmer you can insert the used up antifreeze container. It will act as insurance too. Drain the pool below all returns, even the ones in steps. All lines need to be blown out, that includes your Jacuzzi jets in steps. Simply connect your shop vac and blow all lines free of water, once a fine mist is coming out one line, plug it, and let the air flow out the other lines, you work around the pool in succession until all are free of water. You can then add antifreeze to the line you were blowing in and work your way around the pool again until u see the antifreeze blowing out of lines or simply give it one good blow and move that antifreeze into the lower sections of pipe where the water will lay. It is your call if you want to raise the water level back up or not, some do, some don't. I find the fill will occur from fall rains and melting snow, so I leave them as be.

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    Re: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    So that brings up another interesting question. First, you're right. I forgot the duck plugs are threaded. We planned to use duck plugs to blow out our lines without draining the pool. We would have to drain about 30" to get well below the regular returns.
    But when you talk about antifreeze, we have no direct access to the lines. We planned to blow the lines with an air compressor from the port on the pump. would we just pour some anti freeze in the pump basket to blow it through, bypassing the filter?
    If we left the water drained, with about 12" in the shallow end, would we need a cover that reaches the lowered water level? Our current cover is just a sturdy tarp stretched across the pool (inherited from previous owner).
    15k gal, IG vinyl, 26 yrs old, 1.5hp variable speed pump, sand filter, peristaltic pump (liquid chlorine feeder), dolphin triton (Mr. Roboto), TF-100 + speedstir

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    Re: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    Just confirmed. No threads on skimmer pipe. The previous owner did have one pressure plug in his closing kit. We're assuming that's what he used.
    15k gal, IG vinyl, 26 yrs old, 1.5hp variable speed pump, sand filter, peristaltic pump (liquid chlorine feeder), dolphin triton (Mr. Roboto), TF-100 + speedstir

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    Re: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    I do not use a compressed pump system, I use either a cyclone or a regular shop vac. I don't think you should be blowing through the pump, that's pressure that could do damage I think. There are pressure plugs with adapters that would fit into a ball valve or a union. If you are going to be having a pool and saving the money on a pb closing it, then I would highly suggest a cyclone or a shop vac. With duck plugs, you will require one for each return and those two Jacuzzi jets in the steps.

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    Re: Can't get Skimmer door on. Need more options!

    Ok. Thanks for the feedback. We should be able to use the shopvac for everything except the main drain, which we will blow out through the capped end.
    15k gal, IG vinyl, 26 yrs old, 1.5hp variable speed pump, sand filter, peristaltic pump (liquid chlorine feeder), dolphin triton (Mr. Roboto), TF-100 + speedstir

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