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Thread: Skimmers Full of water

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    spiazza's Avatar
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    Skimmers Full of water

    I had a service close my pool this past fall. I am in NJ and we had about a foot of snow last week. After an all-day rain storm yesterday, the snow has washed away. Today I noticed one of the skimmer covers raised up. I know when the pool was closed, the skimmers were sealed up and an empty antifreeze container was placed on top.

    Today I slid the raised skimmer cover back from the mesh winter cover and I can see the skimmer has water in it and the empty antifreeze container has floated to the top, therefore pushing the skimmer cover up.

    I assume the water got into the skimmer from the rising level of pool water (water was dropped below skimmer in the Fall) or water that found its way in through the finger hole in the cover.

    Is this normal? If not, is there something I should do to fix this situation? I'm concerned about the water freezing and cracking the skimmer.

    Steve
    My Pool Stats
    IG Pool - 21,000 Gallon - Vinyl Liner
    Hayward 1.5HP Super Pump EE; Hayward DE Filter; Goldline SWG
    32' x 16', 8' deep at the deep end, about 3' shallow end

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    This is fairly common, though not desirable. Depending on how well the closing was done, it might not be a big deal at all, or it might be something you need to take care of right away.

    In areas where you get a true hard freeze you want to protect the skimmer from damage in several different ways. Even if one of the methods fails, the others should still protect you. Protection for the skimmer can include preventing water from getting in in the first place, putting anti-freeze in the skimmer so that even if water gets in it won't freeze, and putting something compressible (like a mostly empty jug or some pool noodle material) in so that if the water does freeze the compressible material will absorb the force and prevent the skimmer from cracking.

    If all of those things were done, you are still fairly safe, since two of the three protection methods are still in place. If they skipped the anti-freeze and the jug floats too high in the water, you could be at risk. Depending on how confident you are of all those steps being taken, and just how cold it gets in your area, you might want to vacuum the water out, add some anti-freeze, and put something compressible into the skimmer to insure you have all three layers of protection.

    There are additional complications if the pool really has risen high enough to get water into the skimmer. At that point any anti-freeze that was in there will have been diluted too much through water exchange with the pool to be dependable. If that has happened, you need to pump down the water level in the pool and treat all of the skimmers again.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    spiazza's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    Thanks for the comprehensive response. A lot of items to think about.

    We are not in a true hard freeze area.

    Upon further inspection, the water level of the pool is just below the top of the skimmers. Our area received a lot of water in December. I re-secured the jugs in both skimmers.

    I recall the pool filling up last year over the winter period and then using a surface pump to remove any excess water from the cover (as suggested by pool service). I didn't have any skimmer problems at opening. Maybe just lucky.

    Tomorrow I will call the pool service and question the closing. This is the second year I've owned the pool. This is the also the second company I've used to close the pool. Both companies dropped the pool water level 1" below the skimmers. Neither company said to drop level of pool if it gets too high over the course of the winter.
    My Pool Stats
    IG Pool - 21,000 Gallon - Vinyl Liner
    Hayward 1.5HP Super Pump EE; Hayward DE Filter; Goldline SWG
    32' x 16', 8' deep at the deep end, about 3' shallow end

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    If your concerned about the water level in the pool, go to HD or Lowes and get a pump that pulls water through a connected hose. Slide the hose under the Loop Loc or thread it though the skimmer, through the weir and into the pool.
    With a Loop Loc mesh cover, you dont want the water more than 18 inches below the top of the pool. With that kind of cover, you normally pull the water down to ~2-3 inches below the skimmer. That should put the level around 15 inches below the top of the pool. That way, increased water levels sahould be compensated for. In my area, we get very little rain, mostly snow after we close. We also get a lot of evaporation still in the late fall. When the water is still 60 degrees and the air temp is 20, a LOT of water gets pulled out. I even ADDED a couple inches last month. Remember, the rule of thumb for snow is 12-1, give or take. So it takes a lot of snow to make 1 inch of water. Trust your gizmo and jugs/styrofoam in the skimmer. As long as you have "stuff" in there, the ice will compact the "stuff" before the skimmer will crack. Dont be too hard on the pool company. They have no way to predict the snow/rain fall you will get after close. Again, trust the gizmo
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    spiazza's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    Thanks bk406. Your information put me more at ease about the skimmers.
    My Pool Stats
    IG Pool - 21,000 Gallon - Vinyl Liner
    Hayward 1.5HP Super Pump EE; Hayward DE Filter; Goldline SWG
    32' x 16', 8' deep at the deep end, about 3' shallow end

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    The bottle should not be empty. At a minimum, when a gizmo or related device is not usable for whatever reason, the bottle used to absorb the pressure expanding ice creates should be 1/2 filled with pool water or non toxic antifreeze, capped and turned upside down in the skimmer. This keeps it floating in the water found in the skimmer but low enough not to push the skimmer lid up and off usually.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    I'm not far from you (west of Philadelphia). I pumped my pool down 17" below the coping and put a gizmo in the skimmer when I closed. Given how much rain and snow we've had, I had to pump the pool down twice more so far this winter. When I pump down the pool I use a wet vac and remove all water from the skimmer. If I didn't remove water, the pool would have overflowed by now.

    Given the long range forecast for the rest of the winter, I'm planning on pumping down the pool once or twice more before opening. The goal, of course, is to have the water level perfect when opening so I don't have to add or remove any water. After all rain is free, is very low in calcium, and has no CYA.

    I suggest you get a submersible pump and wet vac. You should be monitoring the water level over the winter and removing water from the pool and skimmer when necessary.
    11x27 in ground, vinyl pool
    ~12,500 gal
    PAC FAB (Pentair) Pinnacle 3/4 hp pump
    Pentair 24 sq ft DE filter
    One skimmer, one return (no main drain)

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    A submersable pump is great to pump water off the top of a solid cover. But, to get the whole pump under the cover, or worse yet, have to pop 4-5 springs off a loop loc (especially with snow on it) is a big pain. I got a pump that pulls water though an attached garden hose that i can thread under the cover or though the skimmer weir and i dont have to take off part of the cover.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    For In Ground Pools:

    Vinyl liner pools don't need to be lowered unless they have an attached tile track with actual tiles inserted. Rain and snow melt will normally seep out the joint between the skimmer body and extension collar to the deck. I have only seen one liner pool overflowed and that was because the entire yard was flooded. Having as much water in a liner pool as it will hold in the off season helps prevent liners from floating.

    Fiberglass pools don't need to be lowered unless they have a tile line glues to them.

    The vast majority of gunite pools have tile lines and should have an automatic pump set on the 1st step of a deep end swim out or the 1st step if there is an inch of plaster showing between the step and tile or on the second step(raised a few inches with a couple stacked flat patio stones) on the shallow end to keep the tiles from cracking or popping off when water expands as ice is formed.

    This is true regardless of whether you have a solid or mesh cover. The automatic pump will lower the water to below the tile line, keep the water less than the 18" maximum from the underside of a safety cover and removes any water that is displaced when a snow load presses down, keeping the tile safe. For mesh safety covers and solid safety cover with mesh drains, it also remove the rain water that gets in.

    In the Spring, homeowners should unplug them after the threat of ice forming thicker than 1/4" has passed. When the pool is first opened, it's water level, if the cover is mesh or solid with mesh panels, will be as full as possible. The initial vacuuming should be done to waste so as not to gunk the filter and to lower the pool level.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    spiazza's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    Sounds like conflicting suggestions as to what I should do. Lower ware/don't lower water. My pool in vinyl. Last winter I didn't lower the water and the pool opened up with a level just above the skimmer. This was unknowingly fortunate because the pool required a couple days of back washing due to debris in the pool.
    My Pool Stats
    IG Pool - 21,000 Gallon - Vinyl Liner
    Hayward 1.5HP Super Pump EE; Hayward DE Filter; Goldline SWG
    32' x 16', 8' deep at the deep end, about 3' shallow end

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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    No conflict. Vinyl liner pools need as much water in them as possible to help prevent liner float. The only time I lower a liner pool at closing is if it has a track that holds actual tiles and the tiles are left in place. Then I also put an automatic step pump in, just as I do for a concrete pool or fiberglass pool with tiles at the water line.

    The only time I have ever seen a liner pool overflow was after a flooding rain. The pool was not exactly the highest priority when that happened. The entire yard was under water and creating damages.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmers Full of water

    It is worth noting that there are many different ways to close a pool and all of them work nearly all of the time. I tend to go with approaches that are extremely reliable, with several redundant approaches to preventing any possible problems. Things do occasionally go wrong, and I like to be totally protected. At the same time, many many people use simpler closing approaches and never have any problems.

    I like to lower the water level, regardless of tile or not, because it helps prevent any chance of water getting into the plumbing. At the same time, skimmer door covers, winterizing plugs on all the plumbing outlets, and anti-freeze in the pipes should be sufficient nearly every time (assuming no tile) even if the water level is high, or becomes high. I just like to have that third layer of redundant protection.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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