Closing questions from a first timer


Well-known member
May 22, 2009
I want to try to close our pool this year because I'm tired of paying the PS hundreds of $$ and them only doing half the job.

However, I am SO clueless when it comes to anything mechanical. I think I can handle it, once I know what to do. I'm so afraid of messing it up and ruining our pool.

So, I went ahead and took some pictures so you all can see our set up.

**Disclaimer, I know our water is GREEN right now. We're struggling so much with it. We can get it clear, but it won't stay that way for long. I'm sure it's because we use the Frog. However, I had a case of those BacPacs I wanted to get used up since we already spent so much money on them. I'm going to get the pool clear before I close it up for the year though.

So, here's some of my questions.

1)Should I drain some water? I don't think the PS does at all.

2)I have these two parts (the white screw in plug and the white tupperware lid type thing). Where do they go and should I be using them. The PS does, but honestly, I don't think they always do everything the right/best way.
I can't get the pics to copy and paste to the site, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

3)Can you walk me through it step by step? I know that's asking a lot, but I really don't know what I'm doing. Like first add chemicals, then add drain water, then drain and unhook hoses and equipment.

3)Is there anything I need to do to the pump to get it winterized, other than draining it?

4) What do I do to the filter? I saw in Pool School about removing the multi port. Really? The PS doesn't do that. Doesn't that leave a big opening in the filter? How do I cover it? I don't even have any idea how to get the multiport off.

5) The PS has only ever put the winter cover on and that's it. No pillow, no leaf net, no weights etc. In Ohio we obviously get a lot of rain and snow and ice in the winter. So far it hasn't been an issue, but I probably should be doing something more right?

6)Anything need done to the heater?

Sometimes I think the PS "half-a$$es" things in hope that something major breaks and we'll have to make a big purchase.

Ok, here's our pics.


Darkside of the Pool

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 20, 2010
Kathy3232 said:
I want to try to close our pool this year because I'm tired of paying the PS hundreds of $$ and them only doing half the job.
That is why this site exist. I strongly recommend you free yourself from their grasp. Even if I work in one. However, we need to know how long the pool will be closed? Is it due to the climate (like here in Quebec). If so it is mandatory. If water freezes at skimmer level, the ice sheet will naturally turn destroying the pool. We make sure our customer's water level is 18 inches below the skimmer.

*Parts in Red is if you have a drain*
*Disclaimer: This is for Quebec, Canada*

1- Take a picture of your equipment so you remember where everything goes back next spring. Worth mentionning for others who read this thread since you obviously did that part.

2- Drain your pool 18 inches below the skimmer. You might want to use your vacuum to do so. Remove most part of anything that have grown inside the pool while you're at it. If you had a drain, you could have closed the skimmer and drain through the... drain. NEVER use the BACKWASH position on your filter to do so: Drain/Waste works fine. Shut off the pump, and change function to filtration again. Water would continue to drain otherwise.

3- Winterize part by part from skimmer to water return. This is to make sure nothing's forgotten. Disconnect the drain's pipe where it joins the skimmer's. Keep it higher than pool's water level, put a styrofoam serpentine in it with anti-freeze, and put a plug. Then tie it up on the top of the wall.

4- Disconnect your pump, first from the electricity outlet, then from the pipes. This could get a little messy as gravity works its way, but since water level supposed to be lower than the skimmer, it'll only empty the pipes... which is a good thing. Keep your pump at hand for now AND PUT EVERY GASKET AND/OR SMALL PARTS IN ITS BASKET. You don't want to lose them.

5- Remove the ''plug'' under your sand filter. This will cause the filter to empty itself of water, however, for best results, put a wooden plank under the other side to leave it at an angle. you may leave it that way for the winter. Put the handle on Winterize, this will protect its diverter. If no such function exist, leave it BETWEEN two functions. If Calcium Hypochlorite was used in the season, check for a paste on the sand... open up the head. You don't want a calcium deposit to dry up!

6- Remove anything connected to your water return. This way the return will work like that hole in your bathtub and prevent overflow, and damages to the pool. Once every small parts are put inside your Pump's basket, bring it back home, or inside the garage.

Note that some articles might greatly help protect your pool like a foam for the skimmer, or, if you have trees nearby, a mesh cover (which is costly and without great benefits without trees). Like I said: this applies to northern climates only. I have no idea how to close a pool that just won't freeze.

[Edit] Very Important before you open up your pool again: get a good test kit. Unknowingly, I Pool Stored a lot of customers. Now I know better, but so very few of us know the truth... [/End Edit]

Darkside of the Pool

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 20, 2010
Forgot about the Heater. You might simply disconnect it and put it at an angle like you did with the sand filter so nothing's left to freeze in there. I would also advise plugging its entrances to avoid it housing rodents.

Frogger's an Ionizer? Like EcoSmarte's? People here might pity you for using it... Even if you don't end up using Bleach, Borax, and Bicarbonate, I'd still advise you to follow BBB's philosophy: Know your water chemistry, avoid adding a product if you're not sure it'll help. No method is flawless, but the higher costs of a SWCG (if your pool is not 100% metal) or the extra work of carrying Jugs of Bleach is by far the lesser Evil.

[Edit] Chemicals added (except for anti-freeze) are mostly to keep your pool crystal clear and avoid a lot of fuss when next spring arrives. If you intend on closing it green, well, there's not much they'll do for you. Keep the bottom clear of leaves though. [/End Edit]


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 21, 2010
Mentor, Ohio
Not saying this is right but for purposes of conversation and discussion....

Greetings from a Newbie to the forum who is using the frogger and is in the 5th closing season up in Mentor, Ohio. Agree with all who say to follow the BBB method as long as you will commit yourself to do so! Having said that, I would personally want the green gone before closing if you can do so. It sounds to me like you are missing other parts of the pool store "chemicals cocktail" that we froggers are required to use. We had iron stains from a rust area of the pool (no metals testing in the water currently) and have used Absorbic Acid to clean up that issue even though we only have a month left before closing. Pool looks brand new with re-balancing of the water ongoing!

In terms of closing, I can tell you what the pool store had me do and I still do.... Assuming you do NOT follow this sites instructions (I know, we risk being back here in the spring with even more ridiculous self-inflicted problems), I add a full bottle of the GLB Sequa-Sol metal sequesterant with the pump on (Since I have a heater and do not do the proper nightly checks of my pool the way I should, I understand that I may be causing permanent damage to the heat exchanger of the heater - my disclaimer). If my PH gets too out of wack, I realize I may end up having copper from the heat exchanger in the water at the very least (how much does a new heater cost, anyways)? So, attempting to break the principle of two wrongs never making a right, I add the sequesterant to the water to make up for my initial laziness (adding to other potential chemical interactions and complexities). The Sequa-Sol gets added during my weekly pool treatments (6-8 oz) as well. Enough rambling though. I then shock with about two pounds of shock and then I add algae treatment (again all with the pump on). The algacide is critical IMO if you attempt to keep your chlorine levels as low as the frogger system recommends (given up on that). Again, since I am lazy, I went with the copper based 90-day treatment over the summer. I leave the pump on 24-48 hours before draining. Never have opened up to algae (while my neighbors huge inground pool closed by a company has opened solid green three years running). While my pool is crystal clear and beautiful every year, I am still thinking seriously about dropping the frogger and adopting the BBB method. Not fully sold on my own lazy willpower to see it through unfortunately. I have not looked at what closing entails with the BBB method as I have not had time to consider that with my rusty pool cleanup project. I then drain down to about 3 inches below the return (necessary for me to easily take out my light installed in the water return inlet). I then use a rubber stopper in the hole since there is no threads on the remaining parts to screw the typical plastic cap into (Note: if you do not have a light then you probably have a little plastic ball-like attachment that is screwed into your return inlet providing directional flow to your water return - if so that does unscrew and is replaced by the plastic 1.5" screw cap thingy that you probably have).

I have never thought about leaving the return inlet completely open as an overflow. Wow. New idea!

I am very torn about the whole idea of how much I need to drain the pool. Obviously, when you open it, you will need to fill it and wait for that to be done.
Unless you are a member of a fire dept and have access to a pumper, be very patient (I HATE opening because of THIS).

The next thing I do after draining and plugging the return is to cover the skimmer opening inside the pool. As it has been explained to me, I want to cover my skimmer opening to guarantee that no major amounts of water get into the skimmer, freeze and cause major problems due to expansion. I am guessing that your plastic cover should fit nicely over the skimmer opening on the inside of the pool. I also screw one of the plastic skimmer gizmos into the skimmer opening just to be sure. Any ice forming in the skimmer will compress into the plastic gizmo device thus preventing damage to the skimmer.

Next, I inflate two air pillows to 3/4 full and tie them together and put them in the pool (again, to fight any water expansion). Do not fill them completely full as you want expansion to have some place to go - not simply pressing and exploding your air pillow.

Then, I disconnect all my hoses (throwing them out - after having a gusher of a leak last year, I treat these as yearly disposable items). I write down the sizes, lengths and quantity of each hose as well as the number of clamps needed (I double up on those) so that I can purchase without thinking next spring.

I then clean the pump/DE filter and move everything into the garage along with the ladder that gets taken out of the pool prior to draining it (in-pool ladder with steps help the little ones). I buy the granules online to mix with luke warm water in a 5 gallon home depot pail and then put my D.E. filter in that to clean it. Very easy for me so far.

I then cover the pool with a winter cover and secure with the wire and ratchet process (Ugh). Wife helps with the cover and taking out the ladder. Otherwise it is a one-man show.

Since I have never thought to keep the return open, I am always paranoid about the amount of fall rain and winter snow that eventually will turn to ice on my winter cover. I have always been lucky in that I have never had so much "stuff" on top of my winter cover that it would ever displace water from the pool out over the top of the pool and freeze thus causing problems - never has happened although I am always worried that it could with the return plugged!

I have once measured ice two inches thick on top of the winter cover. I try to drain the top of the winter cover in December and during any other "warm" spell that yields alot of water on top of the cover (no more than 3 times a winter). I bought a Wayne submersible pump over the internet that works really fast at moving the water off (I put it in an old leave rake to keep the pump bottom from clogging up). Maybe I am too anal about this, but again it personally gives me peace of mind. I also get the water off of the winter cover quickly in the spring for opening and can clear any other leaves off the top of the cover just before opening. I have never had one leaf fall into the pool from the way I open the cover. Watch out if you have any oak trees nearby as those suckers will drop leaves through the winter - I have a collection of them from the neighbor next door (for that reason it seems to me the leaf net ontop of the winter cover would not be useful to me as my problematic leaves happen after the normal fall leaf drop and I am guessing that the leaf net kept on throughout winter would not work to well once all the snow and ice forms).

I am very disappointed about the lifespan of my winter cover. Typically I get 2 -3 years out of it tops. Same for my summer solar cover that I wash off and store in the basement. Not sure if I am doing anything wrong here other than not having the right covers?

PS: I use the frogger and have always been told to add the SeaKlear 90-day algacide (copper-based treatment). Never had Algae at all. Just keep in mind all the issues with this process as discussed throughout this forum. I always stayed current with my GLB Sequa-Sol metal sequesterant. This year I changed to Natural Chemistry's Metal Free, but I think if I continue using the frogger I will go back to the GLB product. I hope my rust around the skimmer was the actual cause of my rust stain.

The fall draining and spring filling of the pool seemed to always keep my CYA in check as I have never experienced these issues as of yet. If I get rid of the stupid light (that my family now does not use) from the return inlet, I can plug and easily raise the level of the water that I keep through winter. Although once I go above the return, I feed into my fear that displacement will cause damage over the winter! Decisions. Maybe I need to join the fire dept for pumper access. My Hayward Skimmer Doc talks about lowering the water level to 6 inches below the skimmer opening. Then it states something like "Hayward will not be responsbile for any pool damage done by displaced water." Nice and comforting, isn't it?

As far as the heater is concerned, I have the largest RayPak heater for an above ground pool. I disconnect the hoses and open up the left side to unscrew the drain plug near the heat exchanger and also unscrew the drain plug on the right side underneath the inlet and outlet pipes of the heater (Don't lose the plugs or you will need to buy new ones before startup in the spring). If you have plastic drain plugs and the plastic lip ever was to break off in your pliers, get a blow torch and heat up an old small screw driver and press that into the plastic drain cap (still tightly plugged in). By Holding the screw driver in place while spraying cold water on it, the drain cap will cool and it will still unscrew right out. I have learned to keep two spare plastic drain plugs after that, just in case.

No problems other than this... good luck!

Other Threads of Interest