Closing an in ground pool

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WalkingPaul

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Nov 17, 2008
2
Houston Texas
HI all, I just joined the forums and just started the BBB Method today after 10 years of pool ownership of an older pool, (~28 y/o, 13000 gallon fiberglass I/G pool), with new Hayward 48ft3 filter, 1 hp. pump and some new 2" plumbing (where I could) (Ike did a number on my pool) that I spent the last 4 weekends installing and just got running last Sunday AFTER two months of dinking around with broken equipment. I have high hopes and full confidence in the info I have received on the BBB method that I have learned on this forum. Thanks one and all.
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I live in Houston, TX, and freeze is not an issue. Usually, I just let it run all winter and dig out about 3 trillion leaves, But, I'm thinking this year, I do want to "close" my pool for the winter, simply for the savings in electricity and the lack of leaf removal. (I have a lot of big trees). And, No one will be swimming at all in it until next May/June. I have an attached hot tub that I use about 2-3 times a week. What I've done before is to put the plug in the pipe between the pool and the hot tub and put the leaf cover on the pool. There has always been some blow by that feeds into the pool from the output of the hot tub and the water level in the tub gets low. OR, leave the plug out, but some water from the pool feeds back into the hot tub and after 4 months of no chemicals, it gets kind of green and "swampy" smelling. I have redone all the intake, but I still need to redo the return (and install a check valve to stop the slight hot tub flow into the pool). I now have a thermal blanket and am considering putting that on first and then the leaf cover over that. My question is that "Should I put this thermal blanket on there?". Will it make the algae grow more? I'm betting it will keep the pool cleaner, but I worry that the greenhouse effect will cause more algae to grow and with slight bleed back into the hot tub from the pool, I'll get the swampy smelling algae water from the pool going. Is there some way to effectively keep the algae down in the "closed" off pool, while still being safe to sit in the hot tub, or should I just seal off the pool and us a garden hose to keep the Hot tub full?

Anyway, Thanks to EveryOne and I really appreciate All the great info that I have learned here so far and any comments/info would be appreciated.

Thank you,
WP.
 

Johnny B

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Mar 19, 2009
588
Charlotte, NC
New guy here & should be asking about opening but I’m at this part in TFP’s pool school.

If you were me, would you close the pool or just run the pump when I worry about freezing?
What are the pros & cons of closing or not?
I have the safety cover with anchors.
Thanks
 

JasonLion

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As long as you aren't expecting a really serious freeze there isn't any need to close the pool. Just be sure to run the pump when the temperature is expected to go below freezing and you should be fine.

Closing is a fair amount of work, so it is nice to avoid it if you can. You really want to close the pool if there is going to be a serious freeze, temperatures in the twenties for an extended period or in the teens pretty much at all. At those low temperatures you could have problems even with the pump running. There can also be problems if you lose power while it is below freezing.
 

tcpiii

Active member
Feb 24, 2008
44
Charlotte NC
Johnny B:
Given that you, like me, are in Charlotte, I would recommend closing the pool. Every winter there are nights down in the teens; we occasionally get nights in the single digits, and every few winters get a few days in a row where the high is barely above freezing.
 

duraleigh

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Paul,

Welcome to the forum. You've got a lot of Texans on here with you and one of them is sure to be along with better info than me.

That said, I would be tempted to leave the leaf net and cover off and deal with the leaves. We tried the thermal cover- leaf net combo during the winter before last and it didn't work well for us. We found it difficult to get the leaf net out of the pool without dumping leaves back in or onto the thermal cover. We have a large pool and that was certainly a lot of the problem but I felt it would be an issue on a smaller pool as well. I also think your pool water will be pretty warm and, yes, you have a very good chance of a huge algae bloom over the winter.

Again, other Houstonites, (do ya'll call yourselves that? :lol: ) will be along and be able to relay some more personal advice.

Like you do now, I simply deal with the leaves (about a trillion....same as you) and keep the pool open. It seems that if I tackle the leaves frequently, it's not as painful as letting them build a foo0t deep but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
 

Johnny B

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Mar 19, 2009
588
Charlotte, NC
tcpiii said:
Johnny B:
Given that you, like me, are in Charlotte, I would recommend closing the pool. Every winter there are nights down in the teens; we occasionally get nights in the single digits, and every few winters get a few days in a row where the high is barely above freezing.
The above is very accurate about our winter weather.

This is the first year that I am maintaining the pool.
In prior years:
-We have never blown air in any lines. Should I?
-We have never used any antifreeze. Should I? There always was some closing procedure with shock & chemical per Leslies- I can ask my wife (now asleep)
-We have never made an attempt to watch the water level -rainfall goes through the safety cover& always fills the pool to the top. From this thread & PoolSchool I now know to keep the pool water off the cover so I will be routinely draining it
-No attempt was ever made to keep leaves etc off the safety cover except for esthetic reasons. From this thread & PoolSchool I now know to keep the cover clean.
-We never dropped the water level. Should I? To what level?
-We never plugged any lined or the skimmer. But because I happened to be dealing with a major PITA skimmer line repair project, I happened to see the entire skimmer be a frozen block of ice in a snow storm during this unusually cold past winter. I wondered if I should say a prayer, on the other hand, obviously it has happened in past years where I wasn’t involved- neither of us ever went out to see if the skimmer froze but surely it has ( no, that wasn’t the site of the skimmer pipe problem, that was 5 feet deeper & was from vacuum force & shoddy install & probably some chemical abuse).

I don’t understand how one keeps water out of a skimmer. I realize if the line is plugged then no water will get in the line but do you seal the skimmer somehow on the deck? Or what if one fails to drain the water level in time- or this is why you drain well below the skimmer so you could keep up even with a 3 inch rainfall etc? I don’t follow how to handle keeping water out of the skimmer area or what measures you use to handle water. It’ll fill & wash out the antifreeze, right?

As I said, we never dropped the water level. But should I? To what level? I am thinking to a few inches below the skimmer & keep it there by routine draining. But above the return lines should be ok because the pool water never freezes or a thin sheet but probably not even (I never peeked but I see water through the cover & seems I would notice ice over the years, never have).

My ideal (swimming) water level is the grout line between two 2-inch tiles, so one upper tile above the water & one lower tile submerged. The bottom of the lower tile meets the plaster as the “tile-plaster line”
My 2 returns are a mere ~ 7 inches from the tile-plaster line.
I have 2 jets a mere 3 inches below the tile-plaster line- so draining “below the skimmer & above the Returns will expose these? Which they never in prior years.
There is a light probably close to 2 feet from the tile-plaster line so a non-issue.

Duraleigh, Do you find the above Charlotte weather description to be like Raleigh? If so, I see you don’t close. Or is Raleigh that much warmer?

Tcpiii- what do you do exactly? You have a safety cover or a solid one with balloons?

Thanks
 

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JasonLion

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There are many different ways to close a pool. The colder it gets, the more through a method you need to use. Plus, there are degrees of risk. They way you close your pool will usually work. But if you had an especially cold winter you could well have some damage. The more through you are, the safer you are. In a climate like yours, it becomes a question of how much work you want to do to protect against a super cold winter that you probably won't have any particular year.

Further north, people put anti-freeze and a gizmo (or something similar) in the skimmer and pull the cover over it so water won't get in. That is usually enough, even if water gets in. The more you are worried about freezing, the more different ways you protect each piece of equipment. Any given step you take might not work. If you protect each thing three different ways, at least one of them is sure to work.
 

Johnny B

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Mar 19, 2009
588
Charlotte, NC
I don’t mind a little work to protect things. I like being safe. The skimmer as a block of ice cannot be good. But it likely happens yearly, so apparentl that isn't a problem- wow, hard to believe. I hope Duraleigh & Tcpiii reply as we are neighbors.

My wife said in prior years she
- got a winterizing kit from Leslie’s, thinks it had some “antifreeze” component.
- Dropped the water level to just below the tile .
- did some backwashing to almost clear the lines.
- Unplugged the 2 pump area plugs which allow water at the (higher) pump area & nearby pipes to flow back into the (lower) pool.
- Early on put a bottle of soda in the skimmer but quit doing that years ago.

I’ll go to Leslie’s & get their procedure she followed then inquire here.

Is it safe to assume that a local Leslie’s correctly coaches winterizing? They sure don’t coach accurately on the chemistry during pool season – from personal experience.

I think I would like to winterize by:
- Keeping water out of the skimmer- cover the skimmer
- put antifreeze in the skimmer & pool water
- keep the water level between the skimmer & the jets
- drain the pool as the rainfall makes the water level approach the skimmer. This cannot be done by the multiport valve’s “Drain to Waste” position, right? Because the plug is out of the motor basket & we don’t want water at the pump are in freezing temperatures. So I must use a pump on the stairs?
- Be sure all the water is out of the pump area & nearby pipes -what's the best way to accomplish this?

If anyone thinks this is overkill or not enough I would greatly appreciate your saying so.


There is a “winterize” setting on my Multiport valve. What happens in this position?

No worries about an unsightly waterline when one keeps the level below the tiles for a prolonged period?

Thanks
 

notvaporlocked

Active member
Aug 4, 2009
32
I have been reading all I can about covers but have not found a proper way to size a cover. I have a rectangular pool, 21 1/2 X 41 1/2. I usually drop the water level to about 18 inches below the top of the deck. I do not know how much I should allow for the bags on the deck.

I am assuming a cover about 26' X 46' minimum. What should the ideal size cover for my pool be?

Terry
 

JasonLion

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If you are buying a cover that is being sold as a swimming pool cover, they will have already added the extra that you need, ie a cover sold for a 10x20 pool is actually about 14x24 or larger. If you are buying a tarp or something that is not sold for pool use, you need to add four to six feet to each dimension.

You need about one foot on the deck and then the cover should run vertically down the wall to the water level, so two or more feet on each edge are required. Having more than that is really nice, because the cover doesn't always end up on exactly straight and centered, so some spot might be missing material. Of course a larger cover is heavier and more difficult to handle, so don't go too large.
 

notvaporlocked

Active member
Aug 4, 2009
32
Thanks Jason

The closest premade pool cover I like is a 30 X 50. So its good to know even though its will be a little big It will work. The company offers custom sizing but it turns out the cost would be almost double. The heck with that!

Terry
 

mickey4paws

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Apr 10, 2009
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I know it's not quite time yet, although it is getting close, unfortunately. This is our first year with a chlorine pool and we have a salt water chlorine generator. Will it be necessary to add anything besides extra liquid chlorine, such as algecide?

Also, do people generally remove their salt cell and bring it in for the winter? The manual says not to, but I live in a very cold snowy climate.
 

frustratedpoolmom

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May 20, 2007
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Not sure on the cell.

You can use Polyquat 60 algaecide at closing if you like. Nothing else is necessary, chem wise.

I haven't used it the last two winters and had no problems, but every pool is different. If you do use it, you add the PQ first and it will consume some of the chlorine, so after you add the PQ then you wait a day to shock, before you winterize.
 

mickey4paws

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Thank you very much, Frustratedpoolmom, I really appreciate it. I think we'll use the Polyquat 60 since this is our first winter with a chlorine pool. It's been such a great summer with a nice clear pool. I'm soooo happy we converted from Baquacil.
 

mickey4paws

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Apr 10, 2009
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Ok, thanks, Jason, I appreciate it. Another question - what do you think of covering the heater for the winter? In the fall we get tons of pine needles and lots of snow and ice in the winter. I've seen where they have a vinyl cover for heaters that has some kind of lining that is supposed to help keep condensation out, but have no idea how well it would work. Then I was thinking I could make my own cover out of a flannel sheet and a tarp.
 

JasonLion

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Most of the time the heater is fine uncovered out in winter weather, though if too much debris gets inside that can be a problem. Heaters seem to suffer from rodents more often than rust. Covering it won't hurt, and it will probably look good for longer, but isn't going to have a large impact on how long it continues to work.
 

mickey4paws

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Thanks, Jason. We never covered our last heater but would usually have problems come spring from critter damage, and we would also have a lot of leaves and junk in it. So I think I will probably go ahead and cover the new heater.
 
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