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Thread: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

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    Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

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    OK, I read through the posts in this topic and nobody really suggested anything close to what the guy from the local pool place did last season. This is a 22000 gal Aqua Star pool, vinyl liner, originally installed by the same pool place.

    That time, pool closing here in central Virginia (near Charlottesville) didn't happen until January (it wasn't my pool until then) and that day the pool had a thin layer of ice on the top and the pool guy didn't want to break it for fear of damaging the liner. Tried to run the pump and old wiring to the motor blew like a fuse, soldering iron wasn't handy, so that didn't happen. So all that he did was to drain the pump and (Hayward) sand filter, add some chemicals, and put the cover (tight fitting mesh type) on. No antifreeze, no blowing out of lines, no lowering of water level, etc. There were compressible canister plugs that screwed into the skimmer returns, designed to keep the round plastic skimmer housing from being broken by standing water. The lines to the pump from underground are flexible, and I was told they would handle the freezing temps.

    I couldn't tell you what exact chemicals were added, but since the pump didn't run, those chemicals didn't make it into the lines.

    A couple weeks later the coldest snap of the season happened, the lowest was around 5 F overnight, just one night at that level. In the spring there was no apparent damage, just a slight leak at a joint between the pump and filter which was easily repaired.

    Given the above, should I do anything much different from what was done last January?
    Inground 25,000 gal, vinyl, Hayward sand filter

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

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    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

    Hi Carl, and welcome to TFP!!

    I went to W&L and lived in Richmond for a good few years (doing swimming pools).

    I think you were very lucky to have gotten away without a proper winterization!

    You are in a forgiving enough climate to not HAVE to close the pool (but you would need to run the pump any time the temps got to freezing - and a few hours per day -- there's info here on that, if you have trouble finding it, I'll just tell you)

    You ought do a full closing, given your possible winter conditions It's not too involved and shouldn't cost much money. It will take a few hours - 1/2 day, but that is a minor consideration compared to having a pipe burst from ice and need to be replaced/ repaired

    There is info on the subject available here and a LOT of folks who will help you do the winterizing
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

    I think you were very lucky to have gotten away without a proper winterization!
    Probably a bit more than luck. I've since talked to my (new) neighbor who has a nearly identical pool, and he doesn't lower the level, nor blows the lines, nor adds antifreeze, nor runs the pump in freezing temps. He's had his pool far longer than mine has been in the ground, and both pools were installed by the same company. I think perhaps the pump lines are sufficiently underground that they don't freeze solid, or the lines are flexible enough to withstand it. The lines exiting the ground to the pump are definitely flexible, and if water is standing in those lines at pool level, it would be at least a foot below ground, maybe more.

    Looking around the web, I can find a lot of varying advice about how to close a pool, and most of that advice is written for maximum safety under uncertain weather and pool construction conditions. I can understand how only that kind of advice might be given. But I wonder if there are other pool owners who do nothing much more than what I did last January and survive every winter without issue.

    Chemical-wise, I've heard stories of some locally who just add lots of bleach just before closing. If other chemicals are more effective and/or less expensive, I'd love to hear about that. My cover is a tight-stretched mesh type - no barrier against water. I also know that there's some copper in the water due to an algaecide added when opening - an acceptably low level, not enough to see stains during the season. Should I try to get that out or is it no problem? And what about pH, it's on the high side right now.
    Inground 25,000 gal, vinyl, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

    Carl,

    Depending on the climate, people do a full closing process and some do nothing different whatsoever.

    If you put the cover on, I would get your pool as clean as possible and then shock it with a high level of chlorine. Then simply runn the pump when you suspect overnight freezing temps below say 25-30 degrees. We're a little warmer than you here in Raleigh but the closing process I would suggest would be almost identical.

    YOu have to tell us what your pH is before we can comment on it. A full set of current te4st results would be very, very helpful.

    The copper cannot be removed from your water except by splashout and replacement. I'd ignore it (since you are not experienceing problems with it) and make sure you add no more to your pool.....it won't go away.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

    pH is 7.8 or maybe a touch higher. I hit it with a gallon of muriatic a couple months ago, knocked it down to 7.3 and it crept up over that period (adding nothing but bleach in the meantime). We had a 2-3" rain a couple weeks ago, no effect on the pH, guess there's no acid in our rain.

    Other test results have been consistent for months - cyA 50, FC 5, CC 0, CH 200, TA 100.

    So, can't get any love for the theory of 1/2 closing that worked last time even with one night @ 5 F - that is, drain the pump and filter, install gizzmos, don't worry about the lines or water level. I know the previous owners never plugged the returns - there were no plugs, and they left everything behind. I could see lowering the water level as a precaution if the lines aren't blown and sealed - the water left in the lines will be deeper underground where the temperature is higher.

    I definitely don't want to run the pump over the winter - other comments about "running the pump may not be enough" and "what if the power fails" come to mind.
    Inground 25,000 gal, vinyl, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: Winterizing an inground pool- a few q's....

    I would suggest lowering the pH back down to 7.3 or so before you close.

    It sounds like you already have a closing plan that worked for you last year and are going to stay with that.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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