Few days of below freezing temp. What to do?

Leebo

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A few random thoughts,

One of the worst things to do when there’s problems is to rush things. Going slow allows you to avoid simply making things worse. Once your pad is drained the best route is to walk away.

Next is the idea of a “one stop guide.” I can tell you, the idea has crossed my mind multiple times. My mind has went from creating an info graph, a new Wiki article, a major revamp of the Pool School closing article and so on. It likely won’t occur to fix all the issues that’s occurred from this storm, but since this same “freak storm” that hit the south this year has occurred frequently over the last few years my gut says we’ll be better prepared for the next “freak storm” that hits the Texas region.
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
170
Tulsa, OK
A few random thoughts,

One of the worst things to do when there’s problems is to rush things. Going slow allows you to avoid simply making things worse. Once your pad is drained the best route is to walk away.

Next is the idea of a “one stop guide.” I can tell you, the idea has crossed my mind multiple times. My mind has went from creating an info graph, a new Wiki article, a major revamp of the Pool School closing article and so on. It likely won’t occur to fix all the issues that’s occurred from this storm, but since this same “freak storm” that hit the south this year has occurred frequently over the last few years my gut says we’ll be better prepared for the next “freak storm” that hits the Texas region.

I’ve learned so much from so many here. I’d like a guide but my plan is to put together a pool binder with all of the manuals and a specific section dedicated to what to do if there is another “freak storm”. I’ll design it to be read and followed by someone completely clueless to the equipment with step by step instructions including diagrams/photos to guide them through the process. That way, there is a plan ready for my specific set-up should I not be around to do it or help. I was not as prepared and didn’t know my equipment as well as I thought I did. Much more confident now and I’m sure there will be more to learn after the thaw. **and I might be researching proper winterization and the cost of a pool cover for next winter 😬
 

ajw22

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I’ve learned so much from so many here. I’d like a guide but my plan is to put together a pool binder with all of the manuals and a specific section dedicated to what to do if there is another “freak storm”. I’ll design it to be read and followed by someone completely clueless to the equipment with step by step instructions including diagrams/photos to guide them through the process. That way, there is a plan ready for my specific set-up should I not be around to do it or help. I was not as prepared and didn’t know my equipment as well as I thought I did. Much more confident now and I’m sure there will be more to learn after the thaw. **and I might be researching proper winterization and the cost of a pool cover for next winter 😬

Every equipment manual has a Winterization section. Copy all of them for your equipment and put them together for easy reference.
 
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Leebo

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This statement goes for all who reads this,

If you do take photos of items like removing drain plugs, placing noodles into your skimmer, or whatever you’ve had to do during this “trial by fire” please…..send them to me. There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be able to use them in the near future.
 

Adamphotoman

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There is no ONE solution. The biggest issue is that the power has been spotty at best. If one had a power generator then one could keep the pumps moving the water. I hope your temperature returns to normal before you get a deeper freeze that breaks your plumbing. I suppose early warning and accurate forecasts would help. Time will tell. So many of you did not expect ice.

Two winters ago we had a storm. First 6 inches of snow. It was in the middle of the night. Then the plows came and covered the storm drains. Then the temperature dropped and finally we got 4 inches of rain. The plows had made snow banks / river banks and the roads were turned into rivers. Since we are at the low end of a hill, our drive way flooded as did our basement.

Now we know to keep the drain clear. We had 24 hour advance warning, but I did not know better.
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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since this same “freak storm” that hit the south this year has occurred frequently over the last few years my gut says we’ll be better prepared for the next “freak storm” that hits the Texas region.
For starters, practice runs of emergency draining now comes standard on all build threads. Yes, yes, we understand you live in Vegas. Now go find your plugs in the beautiful 80 degree weather and pull them.
 

HeyEng

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Nov 7, 2018
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A few random thoughts,

One of the worst things to do when there’s problems is to rush things. Going slow allows you to avoid simply making things worse. Once your pad is drained the best route is to walk away.

Next is the idea of a “one stop guide.” I can tell you, the idea has crossed my mind multiple times. My mind has went from creating an info graph, a new Wiki article, a major revamp of the Pool School closing article and so on. It likely won’t occur to fix all the issues that’s occurred from this storm, but since this same “freak storm” that hit the south this year has occurred frequently over the last few years my gut says we’ll be better prepared for the next “freak storm” that hits the Texas region.

Perhaps an "emergency guide" of sorts. While we all have different set ups, most of what we have isn't that crazy. In the flying business, checklists are used to take care of emergencies. Some emergencies are complex and not easy to solve, such as a unidentified electrical fire. This type of emergency uses a flow chart type procedure... "1) Turn off power to XYZ. Did fire stop? Y go to step 2. N go to step 3" Obviously this could be very complex, but something along the lines could be used. So maybe something that starts with the basics and then dives a little deeper (such as spill over spa or automation that switches between spa and pool). Obviously, it would all but impossible to have a "one stop shop" type of action checklist, but that's the beauty of the Wiki articles, you are able to sort different areas that are easy to sort through. And of course, this won't fix it all. Next time there is a crazy storm, there will still be 32 new threads asking the same thing. :)

But...thank you to Leebo...your hard work is certainly appreciated and I am quite confident that a LOT of pools have been saved thanks to you and others here @ TFP!!!
 

Leebo

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And of course, this won't fix it all. Next time there is a crazy storm, there will still be 32 new threads asking the same thing. :)

The goal wouldn't be to avoid the questions.........it would be for responders to have a quick "one stop" answer plus an article we can send out via email
 
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Hachu

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So I guess I'll be a guinea pig for what happens when non-winterized pool equipment is subject to 20 degree or lower temps for almost 24 hours. When we lost power at 5 am Monday morning, I didn't think it would be out for 22 hours, so this dummy didn't think to go out and drain the pumps and filter. When the power came back on at 3 am today, I thought o Crud, I need to make sure the pumps aren't frozen!!! Too late. And the system had been trying to turn them on for the 5 minutes or so while I got dressed warmly enough to go out (10 degrees in Cypress, TX). Sure enough both pump baskets are solid blocks of ice, and part of the lid lock rings had split in half as if someone had sliced through it (complete circle broken off). So I've got the breakers off, and am going to wait until we get warmer temps later today and then try to pour warm water over the baskets to see if I can get the ice melted enough to pull any big chunks out. Then I'll try to fire up the pumps and pray for circulation.

Open for any other tips you all might have for recovering from bad owner preparation. :)
Thanks for sharing. I think sharing stories like yours is a good way for others to understand and learn from. I thought I had really prepared myself as best as I could from majority advices to keep pump running and keep ice from forming in the skimmers. Unlucky me, pump was running fine til just a few hours of me not checking, ice had formed and blocked my nearest skimmer (b/c of our power shut off and came right back on, that is how I know about the pool). Pump would restart and was working for less than a minute and just stopped). We shut everything off and drained then. Praying for the best now and minimal damage also. Lesson learned, winterize next time to save myself from stress. :)
 
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MCF50

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Aug 18, 2020
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Houston
We have been very lucky and blessed in Houston. Everyone we know is without power, except us. Of course have offered for people to come over. Both pumps running 24/7 for the last 2 days. Keeping them around 2000 rpm so power load is pretty low. Current condition is pool water 42 F and ambient 37F. Noted my freeze protection did come off during sunny part of day. Going to make sure both pumps are on before bed. Did crack open chlorinator a tad. Even though can't grow algae at this temp a little chlorine and CYA can't hurt. It's almost time to start increasing CYA anyway so might as well kill two birds with one stone.
 

nikolausp

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Jul 16, 2020
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Houston, TX
We have been very lucky and blessed in Houston. Everyone we know is without power, except us. Of course have offered for people to come over. Both pumps running 24/7 for the last 2 days. Keeping them around 2000 rpm so power load is pretty low. Current condition is pool water 42 F and ambient 37F. Noted my freeze protection did come off during sunny part of day. Going to make sure both pumps are on before bed. Did crack open chlorinator a tad. Even though can't grow algae at this temp a little chlorine and CYA can't hurt. It's almost time to start increasing CYA anyway so might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Just curious, where at, in Houston? My water temp shows 38 right now. I'm up in Spring. Does your pool get a lot of sun during the day? My ambient is well below 37 too (32 here now)
 

MCF50

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Aug 18, 2020
292
Houston
Just curious, where at, in Houston? My water temp shows 38 right now. I'm up in Spring. Does your pool get a lot of sun during the day? My ambient is well below 37 too (32 here now)

We are just North of 610 - NW of downtown. Equipment is pretty sheltered from wind. No cover though. Weather.com shows temp as 32 (doesn't feel that cold though). Pool equipment shows ambient 37 and water 42. Pumps running will add a little heat to pumped fluid. Pool does get plenty of sun during day. Just went out and have thin film of water on a couple spots on coping....tells me we can't be too far below 32 if at all.
 

nikolausp

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Jul 16, 2020
136
Houston, TX
We are just North of 610 - NW of downtown. Equipment is pretty sheltered from wind. No cover though. Weather.com shows temp as 32 (doesn't feel that cold though). Pool equipment shows ambient 37 and water 42. Pumps running will add a little heat to pumped fluid. Pool does get plenty of sun during day. Just went out and have thin film of water on a couple spots on coping....tells me we can't be too far below 32 if at all.

My power just went out for the first time.
 
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Strawberryshortcake

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They've started rolling blackouts here in Arkansas. Just had the first one, around 30 minutes. But, they did not tell us beforehand! And no text or robocall when it happened. They have been e-mailing and texting all day/yesterday asking us to conserve... so I really expected a warning beforehand. I didn't know if I should panic or not (for myself, pool has been off)..
 

Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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I didn't know if I should panic or not
Please never panic. Then you have *two* problems.

I see it all the time at work. An elderly customer has one of their utilities down and gets so worked up about it that they borderline need an ambulance that is already too busy in the storm, if the phones even work to call them.

Ma'am. Stahhhhhhp !!! Have a seat and take a breath. Grab a blanket and make a hot tea. Sit and enjoy the peacefulness as you hatch a plan free of unneeded worry.
 

JJ_Tex

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Dang, I think newdude just called you elderly. Tell him he has 3 problems coming his way: strawberry shortcake, and both of your fists :laughblue:
 
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AndyTN

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They have been e-mailing and texting all day/yesterday asking us to conserve... so I really expected a warning beforehand.

I don't think someone is sitting in a control room with a plan to turn off neighborhood A at 2am and then neighborhood B at 3am. I am not very knowledgeable on the topic but I think it works like your breakers at home where a section gets overloaded on amps and a breaker kicks off. They are putting really large breakers in the power grid to protect from damage and also cannot supply enough electricity at one time to cover it all. Have you also heard a transformer blow in 100 degree temps causing your power to be off for 12+ hours? Sounds louder than a pipe bomb. The same thing could happen in a polar vortex with extreme electricity demand.

We have not had any grid overload blackouts in Memphis, thank God, but the local news is warning us of water pressure shortages. I think people here are so paranoid about frozen pipes than everyone in the city is running their faucets at full blast.
 

JJ_Tex

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I don't think someone is sitting in a control room with a plan to turn off neighborhood A at 2am and then neighborhood B at 3am. I am not very knowledgeable on the topic but I think it works like your breakers at home where a section gets overloaded on amps and a breaker kicks off. They are putting really large breakers in the power grid to protect from damage and also cannot supply enough electricity at one time to cover it all. Have you also heard a transformer blow in 100 degree temps causing your power to be off for 12+ hours? Sounds louder than a pipe bomb. The same thing could happen in a polar vortex with extreme electricity demand.

We have not had any grid overload blackouts in Memphis, thank God, but the local news is warning us of water pressure shortages. I think people here are so paranoid about frozen pipes than everyone in the city is running their faucets at full blast.
Our blackouts have been annoying but controlled. Im getting pretty good at predicting when we are going off and coming back on.
They do that so the grid doesn’t trip like your home breaker and cause a whole lot more problems.
 

Bketchum5

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Question about my heater. At this point what’s done is done and won’t know until everything melts and thaws.

while I removed my plugs a hair late. The water started freezing so fast in the pump and heater not much drained out.
But I also read somewhere to turn off gas to the heater. I turned of the main supply but didn’t know there was an on/off/pilot inside the heater.

what’s the steps/precautions for making sure the heater doesn’t blow up when I go back to start seeing if it still works? Will I need to relight the pilot? Call a professional?

im fairly handy with my pool but a heater and natural gas aren’t my forte
 

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