Closing an in ground pool

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piku

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 12, 2008
259
Hatfield, PA
Something to add here, and any recommendations are most appreciated. My returns are 18" below water surface and my light is 24"-34" below the surface. So if I was going to take this tact I would want to drain 38" of water from the pool?! Wowza. Or would I try to shoot the razor thin margins between under the returns and above the light. Or would I do what seems right and drain to a level half-way between the returns and the skimmer mouth just for the sake of keeping water out of the skimmer. I know I won't get a gargantuan ice block here in southeast PA but I will get an ice block. I'm honestly not sure what to do. When I got the pool it had evidence (water line) of resting at about that level for a number of years.
 

thtmnbhndthecrtn

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 26, 2008
12
Southern New Mexico
Jason---just going over this good post from last year. Now, I have been having a sparkling and beautiful pool all summer with the BBB method first year ever. Not one CELL of algae all season...really good. Now my question is--is optimizing the borates to 45-50 ppm a good idea (yes, prbly) and if so, is polyquat (what is that anyway?) even needed? If so, what is the lifespan of polyquat in a cold, covered pool? Need replenishing?

Also, wanted to say that my loop loc brass grommets and screws are nooooo problem, but I take the time once a year to clean off the grunge and put a light coat of grease on them. Learned that after destroying a couple of the stuck ones.

mb
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Borates are a great idea if you have some experience with muriatic acid and it doesn't bother you, not something a complete novice should attempt.

Polyquat is a specific kind of algaecide that has fewer negative side effects than the other kinds. Borates also help kill algae, so polyquat isn't as important when you are using borates as it would be if you aren't. I still think it is worth using polyquat, every little bit of extra insurance against algae is worth it in my opinion.

How long the polyquat lasts in the water over the winter mostly has to do with how much algae there is in the water to start with and if any gets added over time. If any organic debris is getting into the pool then algae will be getting in also. A properly closed pool with a solid cover is normally fine all winter.
 

coilerman

Bronze Supporter
Sep 29, 2008
157
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'm a relative pool newbie here and I'm going to try closing the pool for the first time this fall. I'm going to shoot some questions here but first I thought I'd make a suggestion about the pool light in response to piku's inquiry.

My light is a sealed unit that is attached to a housing in the side of the pool. It is held into the housing with a single Phillips screw. For winter, my contractor removed the screw and let the light hang down into pool, below the freezing level. It is held there by the light cable.

Now my question - is it always necessary to blow out the pipes with air? The reason I ask is that in the past two closings, done by my pool company, I never saw them blow out the lines. They just drained the water below the level of the returns and I assume the water just ran out via gravity. Does this make sense?

If I do blow out the lines, how do you control which pipe is being blown out? If the compressed air spreads out into the various pipes, I wouldn't think there'd be enough pressure to blow out all the water. I was thinking of installing all the rubber plugs and then removing one at a time to concentrate the air into that pipe.

Any comments?
 

Kinguni

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2007
144
Winnipeg, Canada
coilerman said:
If I do blow out the lines, how do you control which pipe is being blown out? If the compressed air spreads out into the various pipes, I wouldn't think there'd be enough pressure to blow out all the water. I was thinking of installing all the rubber plugs and then removing one at a time to concentrate the air into that pipe.
That's what I do.
 

DaveNJ

LifeTime Supporter
May 22, 2007
520
Toms River, NJ
I hook the compressor to the pump. After I blow out the main drains and skimmers I use a rubber plug in the pump on the input side. All air goes through filter, heater, returns. I also plug returns one at a time starting with the closest to the equipment.
 

JasonLion

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You want to blow out one pipe run at a time. If you have valves on each pipe run, you simply turn all of the others off. If you don't have individual valves you will need to plug all of the other lines

If you don't have valves on each pipe run, then plug everything and remove one plug at a time approach works well.

It isn't a question of air pressure. The air follows the path of least resistance. Once one line is blown out, all of the air will go through that line and none of the other lines will get blown out. So you have to block the blown out lines one way or another to make progress on the remaining lines.
 

coilerman

Bronze Supporter
Sep 29, 2008
157
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how it goes.

Regarding my original post - can a pool be designed so that all the lines are self-draining? I am sure the pool company did not use a compressor last year.
 

swhimsey

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2007
45
Poplar Bluff, MO
Getting ready to close my inground fiberglass pool, this is the first year using an swg, wonderful!!! My question is this. I've been reading a lot on here and my pool company showed me how to close the second year after I paid them $350 the first year, figured what they did wasn't that hard and they added lots of pool anti freeze....didn't blow out any lines. They have me add approx. 25 gallons of anti freeze to all the lines and plug the holes when it begins to show coming out of the lines. I've not had any problems with this before, also they had me drain water level to half way in the skimmer and then put an empty antifreeze jug in the skimmer to keep it from freezing and expanding. My cover is a safety cover that does allow water to get into the pool through out the winter...so my water level at opening is usually at the top of the pool. My question is this. Since I've not had any trouble with this type of closing should I continue with it or since I have the swg should I do something different? Thanks for all your help in the past.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
If you are comfortable with that method, so be it. I personally prefer to remove the water from the lines and add ~1/2 gallon to each, just as insurance against the little bit of water that will always remain in the line, then plug them so no water can re-enter them over the winter. At $5 / gallon of antifreeze you're spending $125 just on antifreeze :shock:

The only issue I have is with the empty bottle for skimmer protection - it CAN'T work!! The empty bottle floats and therefore can not provide any ice expansion protection! However you can ~1/2 fill the empty bottle with gravel or sand so that it remains 'neutral buoyant' and will stay in the block of ice and collapse if the ice expansion is hard enough to risk the skimmer walls 8) I prefer the way that Jason said to winterize the lines but, can not 'naysay' your method because I have no experience with it.

I hope you have a great winter and that the pool is trouble free all next season :!:

I hope you'll continue to stop by here over the winter - while the site is less active, there are still a goodly number of great posts! :wink:
 

dadof3

New member
Dec 13, 2007
4
My pump and filter are below my pool (about 6 feet). Once I drained down, no problem blowing out my returns. What is the best method to get the water out of the main drain line? Haven't seen any mention regarding closing with equipment "below" the pool. Thanks in advance.
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
coilerman said:
Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how it goes.

Regarding my original post - can a pool be designed so that all the lines are self-draining? I am sure the pool company did not use a compressor last year.

I seriously doubt it :(

At a minimum you'd want 1/4" drop per 1' of pipe and the pipe's slope would have to be constant with no place for water to puddle.

Some of the "old school" pool dudes wouldn't drain nor plug the lines figuring that if both ends of the pipe are open, the ice would be free to expand without bursting the pipes. However I read an article a few years ago which said that it's possible if you get a couple quick freeze/ thaw cycles for the ice to form a plug within the lines which a subsequent freeze would wreck the line.

I really prefer to have the lines ~ waterless for closing and adding some antifreeze, just in case...


Dadof3, you'd need a good compressor or shop - vac to blow the line. Please remember that since you're below the water level, it's gonna try to drown you until you force the water back up the pipe to the pool 8) I really hope you have a good valve on the MD line!
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
Here's my tip on filling tubes: I use a pistol nozzle and the sectional wand from a Shop-Vac (the narrow 1 1/4" type, not the big one). One end or the other fits the hole on any water tube, and you shoot the pistol into the other. Keep the wand tilted away from the far end of the tube, or it will back up and you will get wet. Lots of air goes in this way, so no worries about over filling. Then use the thin tip of the wand to flip the cover closed and step on it to seal. No bending over and you can open the pistol flat out when you get used to it, so it fills faster than putting the hose into the tube directly.
 

tcpiii

Active member
Feb 24, 2008
44
Charlotte NC
Jason:
You say in your opening post in this thread that you have the pool cover rest on the water. I've always tried to keep the cover off the water - mainly because that's what the pool store folks did when they closed it our first year. We've used the large, inflatable "balloons" to help in this regard. But it's usually difficult to maintain enough tension to keep the cover completely off the water, and after a few months those "balloons" often lose some pressure.

So: Is there any downside to having the cover rest on the water? That would certainly be easier. It has seemed to me that water soaks through my cover when sections of it rest on the water and, unless I am careful, by spring algae will develop in those sections. But perhaps that is a function of the "hills and valleys" created in my cover by the "balloons."

One other item: We used a solar cover for the first time this year. What do you all do with your solar covers at closing?

Thanks for the advice.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
tcpiii said:
Jason:
You say in your opening post in this thread that you have the pool cover rest on the water. I've always tried to keep the cover off the water - mainly because that's what the pool store folks did when they closed it our first year. We've used the large, inflatable "balloons" to help in this regard. But it's usually difficult to maintain enough tension to keep the cover completely off the water, and after a few months those "balloons" often lose some pressure.

So: Is there any downside to having the cover rest on the water? That would certainly be easier. It has seemed to me that water soaks through my cover when sections of it rest on the water and, unless I am careful, by spring algae will develop in those sections. But perhaps that is a function of the "hills and valleys" created in my cover by the "balloons."

One other item: We used a solar cover for the first time this year. What do you all do with your solar covers at closing?

Thanks for the advice.
The only downside to having the cover float on the surface is if you have holes in the cover :( In that case you would be removing pool water when you pumped off the cover (you should try to keep the water and debris on the cover to a minimum) and the nasty water on the cover will mingle with the clean water in the pool :evil:

Even with a balloon when rain or snow get on the cover it will sink down to rest on the water (of course you could always use more balloons to fully support the cover).


The preceding assumes that it's a solid cover held by watertubes - if it's a safety cover, no balloon is required, but it sounds like the straps need to be tightened to keep the cover out of the water.

If you can take the solar cover inside, that would probably be best - if not you can simply cover it with a UV impervious cover :)


Have a good winter!
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
With a cover held in place with water bags, you want it resting on the water. If you have any significant amount of rain or snow on the cover, it is nearly impossible to hold it up above the water. Worse, as rain or snow accumulate, they will pull the cover down to the water, which will often pull your water bags into the pool, not what you want.

Safety covers are normally held above water level except when show accumulation is expected. Even a safety cover needs the support of the water when holding up the weight of snow.

Above ground pools use a air pillow in the middle to help distribute the pull on the cover uniformly around the edges of the pool. But even then, there is a large ring of cover around the the pillow which sits down on the surface of the water for the reasons mentioned above.

As waste points out, any holes in the cover will allow pool water to get on top of the cover, which will cause problems.
 

czechscott

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 2, 2008
37
In Oklahoma, I have had luck keeping the pump running during the winter season. My wife enjoys looking at the pool in the winter. I have a mesh cover that I got this season from a cast off pool with similar dimensions. My plan is to use it during the time when all the leaves fall. My question is this: Is there any problem testing the water and adding chemicals at one of the skimmers?
 

JasonLion

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Testing the water at the skimmer is acceptable when the pump is running. Ideally you want water from lower down, but it won't make much difference as long as the pump is running.
 
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