Closing Help

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
125
IL, NW of Chicago
Closing my pool for the first time. Live near Chicago, so pool will freeze. Wanted to run things by someone who has done it before.

I recently reduced my pH down to about 7.4. Will this change much during the winter? It has been creeping upwards to about 8.0 over the last month.

Pool has been algae free for almost a week now. FC has slowly dropped down to normal levels. I will raise FC to normal shock level (16ppm with CYA=50) for 24 hours with pump running. I will also add polyquat 60 and let circulate 24 hours.

I will bring all the lines (skimmer to pump, pump to chlorinator, chlorinator pool) into the house, as well as the pump. I will plug the skimmer bottom and water outlet (recommendations?).

I will drain the cartridge filter. Does anything related to the filter need to come into the house?

I will store extra acid (31%) outside as it should withstand freezing. I will store extra bleach (6%) inside (or can it withstand outside without bursting or loosing strength?). I will remove stairs and store outside.

I was planning on lowering the water level below the skimmer, but my newly purchased cover requires normal level. Does it really, or can I go 3" below skimmer? If normal level, for the skimmer, what is the consensus: aquador skimmer cover, or a skimmer guard (also called a gizmo?), or broken up noodle in skimmer, or something else, or some combination of these?

Cover states air pillow is required. Is it really? Can I use a passenger tube, or go with a truck tube instead?

Cover has cable and tightener for securing. I will also use bleach bottles filled with water either hanging from the grommets, or sitting on the pool rail.

Anything else I am missing?
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
24,022
SouthWest Alabama
IL_WS said:
I recently reduced my pH down to about 7.4. Will this change much during the winter? It has been creeping upwards to about 8.0 over the last month.
It may creep up but it really won't matter. I'd go ahead and lower it to 7.2 or so.

IL_WS said:
Pool has been algae free for almost a week now. FC has slowly dropped down to normal levels. I will raise FC to normal shock level (16ppm with CYA=50) for 24 hours with pump running. I will also add polyquat 60 and let circulate 24 hours.
Sounds good.

IL_WS said:
I will bring all the lines (skimmer to pump, pump to chlorinator, chlorinator pool) into the house, as well as the pump. I will plug the skimmer bottom and water outlet (recommendations?).
The only thing that bothers me about this is that if water is above the return fitting, and it freezes, the ice could damage the wall fitting.

IL_WS said:
I will drain the cartridge filter. Does anything related to the filter need to come into the house?
I would clean the cartridge good and leave the drain plug off.

IL_WS said:
I will store extra acid (31%) outside as it should withstand freezing. I will store extra bleach (6%) inside (or can it withstand outside without bursting or loosing strength?). I will remove stairs and store outside.
Acid outside, bleach inside sounds like a good plan. If there are any weights in the stairs, make sure they're drained of water.

IL_WS said:
I was planning on lowering the water level below the skimmer, but my newly purchased cover requires normal level. Does it really, or can I go 3" below skimmer? If normal level, for the skimmer, what is the consensus: aquador skimmer cover, or a skimmer guard (also called a gizmo?), or broken up noodle in skimmer, or something else, or some combination of these?
I think you'd be ok lowering it but I don't know what cover you have. If you don't lower it I highly recommend a Gizmo for the skimmer.

IL_WS said:
Cover states air pillow is required. Is it really? Can I use a passenger tube, or go with a truck tube instead?
A large truck inner tube will work better than a pillow.

IL_WS said:
Cover has cable and tightener for securing. I will also use bleach bottles filled with water either hanging from the grommets, or sitting on the pool rail.
I just use the bleach bottles but since you're in Chicago you probably want to use both.
 

X-PertPool

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
1,385
Exeter, PA
I like Aquadors, if you use an aquador you don't need to lower the water level, just disconnect the plumbing from the skimmer and no water can collect inside.

I don't use pillows, just stick an automatic pump in the middle of your cover.

For plugging the return you either a rubber compression plug if there are no threads if there are threads then use an sp-1022c style plug.

VERY IMPORTANT make sure when lacing your cover you do it right (read directions) and make sure not to have the wire on the skimmer, the wire must go above the top of skimmer and return as not to snag and crack them.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
693
Montville NJ
IL_WS said:
I will bring all the lines (skimmer to pump, pump to chlorinator, chlorinator pool) into the house, as well as the pump. I will plug the skimmer bottom and water outlet (recommendations?).
Why are you plugging the bottom of the skimmer? Are you not using an Aquadoor or similar device? If not, then yes you do need to plug it, but you need something for the ice to push against instead of the skimmer walls - either a gizmo or some lengths of pool noodle.

I was planning on lowering the water level below the skimmer, but my newly purchased cover requires normal level. Does it really, or can I go 3" below skimmer? If normal level, for the skimmer, what is the consensus: aquador skimmer cover, or a skimmer guard (also called a gizmo?), or broken up noodle in skimmer, or something else, or some combination of these?
The cover people want them floating on the water, not suspended in mid air like some backyard big top. That is why they want the water level higher. If, when you go below the skimmer, the cover still lays on the water you should be OK. My cover has a LOT of extra length (diamater?) in it because it is for a foot bigger pool to begin with. Yours may be different. As above, if you use a gizmo or noodle then you need to plug the bottom of the skimmer. If you use an aquadoor, then you should leave the bottom open so rain can drain out. What you do not want is the plastic skimmer body to get filled with water, and then when that water freezes and expands have nothing to push against and end up cracking the skimmer.

Cover states air pillow is required. Is it really? Can I use a passenger tube, or go with a truck tube instead?
The air pillow is not there to provide a tent like structure that rain will roll off of. It is there to provide ice protection. When the surface of the pool freezes, the expanding ice can compress the pillow, instead of pushing outwards against your pool walls, skimmer, and return ports - as well as dragging your cover along for the ride. Anything that has give to it will work. To that end the pillow (or whatever else you use) should not be inflated rock hard. It should be softish.

Cover has cable and tightener for securing. I will also use bleach bottles filled with water either hanging from the grommets, or sitting on the pool rail.
The cable just needs to be tight enought to be snug under the rail. Don't crank it so hard it start warping the pool. I don't know about bleach bottles on the top rail. if the cover starts whippping in the wind, they are going to get knocked into the pool. Yeah, they are neturally bouyant and are not going to sink, but it is still a pain to retreive them in the cold

-dave
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
125
IL, NW of Chicago
Thanks for your replies. My cover is 4' larger than my pool diameter.

I will try using the cover with the water level reduced (3" below bottom of skimmer ok?). If it turns out to be too small once it rests on the water, I will add more water then.

Reducing the water will keep me from having to replace the skimmer with an aquador-type with it above the level, or worrying about freezing in the skimmer.

I will use a truck inner tube tied to the center of the pool, and keep too much water from accumulating on the cover. To keep costs down, I will use a manual pump to clear it off.

I will reduce pH a little more this year. I have the acid already, so it is easy enough to do.

On a separate note, can I use the same measuring cups (rinsed after each use) between different chemicals? For now, I have just been eye-balling it, but as I do finer adjustments, this will be far more difficult to do.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
693
Montville NJ
IL_WS said:
I will try using the cover with the water level reduced (3" below bottom of skimmer ok?). If it turns out to be too small once it rests on the water, I will add more water then.

Reducing the water will keep me from having to replace the skimmer with an aquador-type with it above the level, or worrying about freezing in the skimmer.

I will use a truck inner tube tied to the center of the pool, and keep too much water from accumulating on the cover. To keep costs down, I will use a manual pump to clear it off.

Be aware that the "real" water level in your pool is the pool water level plus whatever is on the liner. What this means is that if you lower your level to 3" below the skimmer, and then you get 4" of water (or equivalent snow / leaves / whatever) your pool water may start overflowing into your skimmer. Either leave the bottom open and deal with any overflow, or close the bottom and put in some noodles.

-dave
 

Pauls234

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 4, 2012
436
Chicago, IL
Dave - can you elaborate? If the pool is covered how would extra water get into the pool from rain or snow? I suppose it could enter through the top of the wall skimmer, is that what you are getting at?
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
693
Montville NJ
Pauls234 said:
Dave - can you elaborate? If the pool is covered how would extra water get into the pool from rain or snow? I suppose it could enter through the top of the wall skimmer, is that what you are getting at?

It does not get "into" the pool water. it sits on top of the cover, and pushes down on the pool water.

Try this, take a drinking glass (clear) and fill it to about and inch from the top. Now take a peice of saran wrap. Put it across the top, but let it hang down so it floats on the water, just like your cover does. Now pour more water on top of the saran wrap. Notice how the "pool water" that is under the saran wrap rises in certain spots and falls in others? That is what happens in your pool. When water collects on your cover, it does not spread out in a nice smooth layer, like two layers of a water cake seperated by a layer of pool cover frosting (I like that visual if I do say so). It gets lumpy and bumpy. In every place that your cover is "pushed down" in the middle of the pool, your pool water level around the edges is going to be "pushed up".

-dave
 

Pauls234

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 4, 2012
436
Chicago, IL
Good visual indeed, makes sense to me now. I guess I was picturing the cover being a fairly tight across the top, or at least tight enough that it would not touch the water. That also helps me see your earlier point about having an innertube for ice protection. Can you tell I have never closed a pool?