Automatic water level control for winter - leaving our pool full

KopaPool

Member
Jun 27, 2020
6
Suburban Atlanta, GA
Hey everone. We live in middle Georgia - so we don’t have to worry about lines freezing and we leave our pool full in the winter. We install a safety cover to keep out leaves, critters, and neighbor kids. It’s a cover that lets water through. Issue is - our pool is 15-ish years old and has a liner. We were told by the previous homeowner that if the water level gets too high it can get in behind the liner and cause bubbling, ruining the liner. I’m assuming that’s true....makes sense to me. Previous homeowner suggested letting water out once it gets within a few inches of the top of the liner. This is easy to do - just dump water out through the filter pump, and takes 10-15 minutes. Problem is - if we go somewhere in the winter and happen to get a lot of rain, then I’m forced to rely on a neighbor or a pool service to dump the water and lower the level before it gets too high and causes damage.

I’d like to put a pump in the bottom of the pool, operated by water level float switches, so that the pump automatically kicks on to drain the pool a few inches, then kicks off when it hits the bottom switch. In my head, this is a simple concept - two float switches, water level being is between the two switches and when it raises high enough to activate the top switch, it energizes a relay and powers the pump, pumping water out of the pool until it lowers it to the bottom float switch, which deactivates the power to the relay and stops the pump. I have to assume other pool owners face this issue - but I cannot find a ready-made solution out there on the market for this. Does anyone have any suggestions or do you use something similar in your pool to deal with winter rains??? Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,166
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
What you describe has multiple points of failure and is likely to be no more reliable then your neighbor or pool service.

If you do proceed that way you need to get a pump that is rated for continuous submersion. Some folks who have put a float controlled pump on a step to pump out water found the bottom of the pump rusted and left a rust stain on the pool floor.
 

KopaPool

Member
Jun 27, 2020
6
Suburban Atlanta, GA
I agree it’s more complex.....but the float switches i already use in my day job....and a relay is pretty straightforward. I think a small submersible pump with plastic on the bottom shouldn’t be too hard to find?
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
402
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
ha ha, you sound like me when i had more energy. Nothing was designed right and i had to modify everything.
True on the liner issues. To low and you can have a problem, to high and water around the coping, could be another problem. Me, today, i would lower the water to the bottom of the skimmer upon leaving. That should give you room 10" for added water when you're gone ? Me, back in the day i would make up a "thing" just as you described BUT i would just "hang" the pump a little below or at the now water level. Put that sucker on the bottom and you might come home to a DRAINED pool.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,716
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I like Sammy's idea of suspending the pump at a "max drain" level. That would solve for the rust staining on the bottom as well.

But I might suggest another way (which I use myself). Can you tell by looking at the cover when the water is too high? If so, install a pool cam and just keep an eye on the level from anywhere, via app. Put the pump on a home automation switch or plug, and control that, too, from an app. This solves for the water level issue, allows you to monitor the pump and confirm the draining has happened, but only as needed. Also allows you to keep an eye on the pool for other problems while you're away: blown off or ripped or otherwise failed cover, animal intervention, pesky teenagers polar-bearing it in your pool, whatever. If the pump doesn't go on, or doesn't go off, you'll know it, and you can then send the helpful neighbor over to help out.

Actually, you wouldn't even need a submersible pump. Just a self-priming one, anywhere in your yard, with the inlet-side hose in the pool. If you set the hose end at the desired water level, you wouldn't even have to closely monitor the drain. It'll just stop draining when the water gets to the end of the hose (assuming you can find a pump that won't be damaged when run dry for a few minutes).

If you get a pan-tilt-zoom cam, you can keep an eye on the whole yard. I don't cover my pool, so I can also zoom in and check for things on the bottom, or algae or any other pool/yard problem.

Stepped away just now, as my cam caught my bug guy in the yard, while I was typing. Just in time for me to get dressed! See? All sorts of uses for this solution...