Anyone Have a Winter Pool Dome - Ameridome or Others?

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,837
Grand Rapids, MI
Good morning, dr. Way. A friend of mine who used to build pools thought storing it in water would be ideal but in our case we never found a container that would suit and seal. We use a little plastic mini-shed with two front doors and a roof that lifts up.

My friend’s conviction that water is the best storage for vinyl leads me to think seasonal users storing it in the pool itself may work. The mfg told me that many people who shut it down for a few of the winter months will leave it deflated on top of the water but keep the water heated to above freezing. Why not call him and ask what he thinks in your situation? Eg. Can the heat pump keep the water a bit above freezing?

One trick that has worked for me in cleaning and drying it out has been to powerwash it in place after washing down everything with a 20% solution of bleach and water, cover the water itself, and let the air warmer and sun dry it out in place. — That would be harder for you in cold weather but possibly still doable if you have the air warmer unit with your blower.

I then deflate and fold it in place — eg fold it “off” the pool using a few strong guys that I typically have to hire, and puff some baking soda onto it as it is rolled. This helps keep it dry in the box/shed, plus three desiccant hanger bags, which fill by the the time I take it back out. This has kept it dry and completely prevented mildew.

We’re on season 3 now, having erected it yesterday. This year the trick will be undoing the doggie trauma for our new Portuguese Water Dog, who wants to know where the heck the pool has gone ;) He hasn’t had a chance to “discover” dome swimming yet because hubby thinks it’s best we introduce him during daylight when we can see ;)
 

Kitana

Bronze Supporter
Aug 28, 2017
32
Sterling Virginia
We use and store the dome pretty much the same way as Swampwoman. I'm still covered in corn starch :/ I tried power washing it off...nope..A pool towel and some elbow grease seems to work on the parts I can reach. At least it kept the dome dry this spring/summer.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,865
Tucson, AZ
Not that I own one but I would suggest using baking soda for storage as opposed to corn starch. Corn starch is fine for a baby’s bottom but it is still a carbohydrate compound that can easily become a sticky, gooey mess when exposed to water and will be good for bacterial growth. Baking soda, on the other hand, is simply a soluble salt of sodium and bicarbonate ions. It completely dissolves in water and rinses freely away. Since most baking soda is sold as an anhydrous product, it will absorb moisture over time. It doesn’t absorb as much moisture as cornstarch but it should do the trick and be a lot easier to wash away.

Just my dime-store chemistry opinion...
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,837
Grand Rapids, MI
Lol. With the baking soda, it’s still a bit messy and takes a bit of time to completely clear too. But I’d be nervous about storing without it...the dome can go away dry but the box has to stay dry too in summer’s humidity. Those desiccant bags are FULL each year by Sept!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,865
Tucson, AZ
Yeah, if it’s in a box, I’d buy one or two of those four pound desiccant buckets and put them in there too.

How about a giant vacuum sealer like you see on the QVC channel....just fold it up and suction it down to size of a small suitcase :laughblue:
 

drway

Member
Apr 10, 2017
8
Westchester NY
Thanks all! I just sent an email to Tim Merino at Ameridome if he’s heard of anyone storing their dome underwater.

Swampwoman thanks for the tip. Unfortunately we don’t have the capability of warming the water once the ambient temperature drops below 40° or so. There are some other Arctic heat pumps out there that can operate below freezing, but ours can’t.

Kitana, thanks also for the link to the vinyl tent cleaning advice.

At this point our dome is sufficiently dirty and quite a bit of work to restore that I’m wondering if it’s better to just call it a day and try to start over again with either a new Ameridome or similar Chinese-made dome. There are also some interesting inflatable event tents that are also available now but they aren’t made for pools specifically, and would also probably do poorly in the rain.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,837
Grand Rapids, MI
If you’re thinking about replacing it anyway, I would go ahead and experiment with storing it in the pool over the winter, under a cover, folded but free-floating, maybe with some guide ropes wrapped around it to manouver it for removal come spring. If the top part freezes bit isn’t under pressure because it’s not anchored, it may survive fine. The only issue I think to having it down but anchored without heat would be the possibility of ice formation and shifting tearing it.

You might find that storing in the chlorinated water cleans it up ;)

Storing it in the pool when it’s already down is a bit different than using it like a cover.

If it didn’t work, you have the hassle of removing it, but compared with the cost of new, might be worthwhile.

I was thinking about this when our power went out in the middle of the night last week and I awoke to dome-down conditions :) Eg. Wondering in your case if it wouldn’t be just fine laying on the top layer through the winter with a winter cover over it to protect from leaf staining, downed limbs etc in winter.
 

drway

Member
Apr 10, 2017
8
Westchester NY
Thanks for the tips again. I’m leaning toward giving it a try. However, Tim wrote back and didn’t recommend the underwater storage due to the potential for the dome vinyl to react with the pool vinyl.

That said, I may cut a small piece of vinyl that came as a loose piece originally when it shipped and actually see if it’ll react on the bottom on a test patch of the pool liner, to see if there’s discoloration or worse yet any sort of sticking.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,837
Grand Rapids, MI
Starlog dome update winter 2019 brief

The dome survived and self-righted after snowpocalypse week ;)

I’ve found the best approach is to just wait...if you refrain from interfering, a collapsing/collapsed dome seems to rectify itself. Don’t be tempted to knock snow off the ends...then it will stay sunken in middle!

The generator was the BEST thing I bought for surviving ice-storm, power outage week!

Plus. Ambient weather now sells a pool thermometer that connects to its weather station and can be viewed on mobile phone with alerts.

So, it’s been a great dome season, despite last two weeks of weather shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans, here’s a pic of my Portuguese Water Dog who is why I never have a spare moment to post anymore. In front of the collapsing dome ;)




90E6BBE2-7DFE-4280-9DD2-09E5B4BB43FA.jpeg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,329
Tallahassee, FL
Leggings?? HOW CUTE IS THAT!!!! LOVE IT! Love the look............."what?? Oh I know I am cute!"

I love having my gennie. It gives me such peace of mind! Glad you got one and had it when you needed it!

Kim:kim:
 

mxnathantamar

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2018
46
The Villages/FL
Thanks all! I just sent an email to Tim Merino at Ameridome if he’s heard of anyone storing their dome underwater.

Swampwoman thanks for the tip. Unfortunately we don’t have the capability of warming the water once the ambient temperature drops below 40° or so. There are some other Arctic heat pumps out there that can operate below freezing, but ours can’t.

Kitana, thanks also for the link to the vinyl tent cleaning advice.

At this point our dome is sufficiently dirty and quite a bit of work to restore that I’m wondering if it’s better to just call it a day and try to start over again with either a new Ameridome or similar Chinese-made dome. There are also some interesting inflatable event tents that are also available now but they aren’t made for pools specifically, and would also probably do poorly in the rain.
Do you have an Arctic heat pump? Which one? I haven't found any distributors in Florida, where I live, just online suppliers. I also wonder if regular heat pump technicians can service and install it, as it seems to operate differently from most heat pumps.
 

drway

Member
Apr 10, 2017
8
Westchester NY
Hi everyone: in case anyone’s in our situation (dome for the spring-summer-fall) which is the seasonal opposite of Swampwoman’s situation (hi!)... I’m pleased to report that our vinyl liner did not stick to the pool dome we stored in the pool water itself, this winter.

What I did back in the autumn was to lower the dome onto a solar cover, once I had prepped the pool to winterize it. Surprisingly the solar cover (the one that looks like bubble wrap) was buoyant enough to keep the dome afloat. I folded the edges of the dome inward so that there wouldn’t be dome vinyl touching any of our vinyl pool liner, just to lower the risk of the vinyl fusing to the other vinyl. I then dispersed and sprinkled some shock powder over the dome in the hopes it would keep some of the algae etc from forming over the winter, since it was hard to get 100% of the leaves off of the dome as I was doing this in the fall.

In the spring, I had basically reversed my steps, and also over-filled the pool on the first step to bring the dome up high enough to grab the edges and pull them back over the edge of the pool. It’ll probably make more sense to send a rope or wire through the channel in the future and keep one end out of the pool, if I do this again.

Hope this might help someone in the future. Not a great idea to risk vinyl fusing to vinyl, but if you’re in an odd setup like ours where you cant get the dome out of the pool area to unfurl on a large lawn or driveway, this might be a non-official way to keep your Ameri-Dome stored and cleaner (underwater) over the winter.

Thanks for the tips again. I’m leaning toward giving it a try. However, Tim wrote back and didn’t recommend the underwater storage due to the potential for the dome vinyl to react with the pool vinyl.

That said, I may cut a small piece of vinyl that came as a loose piece originally when it shipped and actually see if it’ll react on the bottom on a test patch of the pool liner, to see if there’s discoloration or worse yet any sort of sticking.
 

Kitana

Bronze Supporter
Aug 28, 2017
32
Sterling Virginia
We put our dome up yesterday. This time we did not treat it in any way before storage as I felt the corn starch was not a good idea. Happy to report after a thourough cleaning before summer storage (stored wrapped in solar bubble blanket in water tight bin) the dome unfolded perfectly and there was no cleanup to be done.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
481
Spring Valley, NY
Sez Isaac-1, owner of an indoor pool that I would kill for in the depth of winter ;)

With that said, it IS nice this time of year too if you don't think too hard about the gas bill ;) I always use the hot tub to warm up first so even for the leg exercises when I'm half above water I don't actually mind the cold air.

Isaac, I may have to pick your brain on cc-reduction strategies once the dome comes to life, btw. Different kettle o fish with the higher cya required for swg run the latter of which I'll really have to dial down without much UV. I'm also thinking my MA additions will have to be with the door wide open...
You may have to add a UV system to the equipment pad to keep your CC in check. This would be similar to an auto covered pool that sees very little or not enough natural UV.