Do I need to close my pool in the NW?

Vital Signs

Active member
Jul 27, 2020
34
Portland OR
I've got an IG pool with autocover and all my pool utilities (pump/heater/filter/valves) are in a little equipment house so they're out of the direct elements. The average lows in the winter bottom out in the mid 30's with a handful of snow days a year. I just bought this house so I haven't experienced a winter as a pool owner yet.

Closing/opening the pool seems like something I'd like to avoid if I don't have to....is it just a matter of being ok with spending the money to run the pump at night (or run heater on a low temp?) to keep the water from freezing when the temps get low? I've got a spillover spa in the corner of the pool so I'd like the option of being able to open the autocover enough to use it when it's cold out. My setup runs the pool and spa through a single heater but I can shut the valves off for the pool suction/return lines and just have the water going to the spa which i'm assuming is a common setup for spillover spas.

If others are not closing their pools in similar climates I'd be very interested to hear your experiences.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,305
Pacific NW
I've had 5 winters as a pool owner here. Just outside of portland.
We don't get the yearly deep freeze like the east coasters, so I leave mine open & water line at regular level. But I do drain the pump, filter & heater EVERY Thanksgiving. And a half gallon milk jug filled halfway with pebbles goes in the skimmer.

I wasn't draining until that rare once every 5-10 years deep freeze for two weeks we had in 2017. It busted my heat exchanger. I learned from that it's best not to risk. And the equipment is in a shed. I did however have the jug with rocks in the skimmer. Pretty sure that was saved from some massive damage.

I put everything back together on March first for opening day.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,844
Central California
If you don't get enough of a roll call here, you could call a few local pool maintenance companies to ask for estimates for closing your pool for you (whether you use one of those or not), to see what the general consensus is for your area. See if you get a "Oh, yah, ya gotta." or "Uh, nobody does that around here."
 

Vital Signs

Active member
Jul 27, 2020
34
Portland OR
I've had 5 winters as a pool owner here. Just outside of portland.
We don't get the yearly deep freeze like the east coasters, so I leave mine open & water line at regular level. But I do drain the pump, filter & heater EVERY Thanksgiving. And a half gallon milk jug filled halfway with pebbles goes in the skimmer.

I wasn't draining until that rare once every 5-10 years deep freeze for two weeks we had in 2017. It busted my heat exchanger. I learned from that it's best not to risk. And the equipment is in a shed. I did however have the jug with rocks in the skimmer. Pretty sure that was saved from some massive damage.

I put everything back together on March first for opening day.
Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question (I'm a 1.5 months pool owner so I no very little) but just to clarify you're draining your heater/pump/filter and leaving it that way from Thanksgiving till March and then leaving all the piping under the concrete pad to/from the pool to the equipment shed full of water and things are ok? Since you can't circulate water you just don't add any chlorine during this period? The half filled jugs prevent any freezing damage to your pipes/skimmers by giving any ice space to expand to?

I was under the impression that circulation was key to keeping any freezing damage from occuring but like I said I'm brand new to all this stuff.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,844
Central California
A lot of this has to do with the depth of your frost line. Varies from area to area, even in the same state or county. The frost line determines (for the most part) at what depth pipes will or won't freeze underground. There are maps all over the 'net that plot where all the frostlines are in the US. My temps can get down to the 20s for weeks at a time, but my frost line is pretty much ground 0. The pump circulates the pool and the above-ground pipes, so I'm good in spite of the cold.

frost lines.jpeg
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,305
Pacific NW
Correct.
Pool is full, return lines up to the pad would have water in them. As Dirk pointed out, the frost line is pretty safe. All equipment drained. By the time Thanksgiving happens the water is near upper 40's so there isn't any algae growth. It stays at that temp up to March first.

I know pool closing does happen here. The owner of my last house hired a company to close it for them.
I was in the area and decided to drive by the house and the pool was closed & drained below returns.
And that was in June 2018...shame on them lol.
Had I still been there it would be open, running & tfp crystal clear.