First Time Closing

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
New here. I'll try to be brief but will fail.

Realize It's still early to think about closing, but thinking of closing myself this year to take a little more responsibility and maybe save some $$. Pool store has done 3 years since we moved in so trying to plan well ahead.
We have rectangular 18x36 (20x40?) pool. 1 skimmer, 2 returns. We have an auto-cover and live in Southern Indiana. Winters can be harsh (last year) or relatively mild. Done some research on what to do. Hoping for some help to make sure I know what I'm doing heading in. Included a picture of my pump/filter setup to help with answers.

#1. See no way for me to do this myself w/out shelling out $ for cyclone blower. My shop vac unlikely to work and doubt I can rig the leaf blower. Won't save me any $$ from pool store this year, but each subsequent year I will. Beginning to accept this fact.
#2. No idea what chemicals are needed for winterizing outside general balancing and algaecide.
#3. Outlined the (very long) detailed steps I'm planning to follow below. I've put items in red where I'm uncertain.
#4. Regarding the main drain, I've got 2 options I'm considering given my setup.

One other important note... In past winters, we've lost a pretty consistent 1/8" to 1/4" of water per week and would have to add water for the auto cover. New liner went in month back so hoping that was it. Still, concerned about main drain piping so I lean towards diving down and plugging main drain.

Thanks for advance for any advice you can provide.


  1. Add Algaecide to skimmer ~3-4 days prior to planned closing
  2. Balance Water
  3. Backwash filter
  4. Drain water level just below skimmer opening
  5. Shut off filter/pump
  6. Set filter to winterize
  7. Remove drain pot cap on filter
  8. Remove Pressure Guage
  9. Remove Air Bleeder w/ O-Ring
  10. Remove Water Bulb thing??
  11. Open Chlorinator/Drain
  12. Cover skimmer opening
  13. Remove return jet eyeballs
  14. Remove skimmer basket
  15. Suck out as much water from skimmer (shop vac)
  16. Blow Out Return Lines
    1. Open Return line past chlorinator
    2. Suck out some water first
    3. Plug closest return
    4. Blow air thru return lines
    5. Let farthest return bubble for a few minutes (Timing?)
    6. Plug/Screw In Plug on Farthest Return while air blowing.
    7. Unplug closest return
    8. Continue blowing for additional 30s or so
    9. Plug/Screw In Plug on Closest Return while air blowing
    10. Stop air
    11. Quickly screw back in the plug on return line
  17. Blow Out Skimmer Line
    1. Open pump, remove pump basket
    2. Close main line
    3. Blow air thru skimmer line
    4. Once blown, while air blowing, screw in gizmo threaded with nylon tape
    5. While air blowing, close skimmer valve
    6. Air Off
  18. Blow Out Main Line
    1. Option A
      1. Continuing from Step 17, leave skimmer line blocked, open main line
      2. Blow air thru pump to bubble from main drain for a bit (Time?)
      3. As air is blowing, shut valve to main drain
      4. Plug pump with rubber plug as backup.
      5. Dive down and place sand bag over main drain. (?)
    2. Option B
      1. Continuing from Step 17, leave skimmer line blocked, open main line
      2. Dive down and remove main drain grate
      3. Blow air thru pump to bubble from main drain for a bit (Time?)
      4. As air is blowing, dive down and plug main drain with rubber plug
      5. As air is blowing, shut valve to main drain
      6. Plug pump with rubber plug as backup.
  19. Add Winter Chemicals (What?)
  20. Close Auto-Cover – Block front to avoid debris
  21. Cover pump/filter with tarp – leave motor exposed
PumpFilter.jpg
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
While, I do not know your pool, I have put together a real detailed post on closing an in ground pool. Directions are pretty specific, and Poly-Quat is optional. You do not need to dish out for a Cyclone, but can try an air compressor, and possibly a shop vac. There are even plugs with Schrader valves that will work real well in pushing air through the system.

Concept of closing an IG Swimming Pool

The concept of closing an in ground swimming pool
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
While, I do not know your pool, I have put together a real detailed post on closing an in ground pool. Directions are pretty specific, and Poly-Quat is optional. You do not need to dish out for a Cyclone, but can try an air compressor, and possibly a shop vac. There are even plugs with Schrader valves that will work real well in pushing air through the system.

Concept of closing an IG Swimming Pool

The concept of closing an in ground swimming pool
Thanks! Read once, will need to do again. Saw comment on main drain cover as well so that helps. I've also since read it's advised not to close until water <65, which would make for a chilly dive.

I do have a couple of the blow out plugs though didn't know by name. Just black plugs with a screw. Based on my setup at the pump and where my valves are located, I believe the only way I can blow out lines to create an air lock is blowing through the pump suction line back towards the skimmer/main. ??? See pic of my setup if that helps.

PumpFilter3.jpg

Oh, and regarding the cyclone, my shop vac is only 3HP and I don't think it's gonna cut it and I have no air compressor. I don't want to buy a cheaper shop vac/air compressor and not have it work so may just bite bullet on the cyclone. Guess I can read more on air compressors to see how others have done. At least then I'd have other uses for it.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
4,581
Central MD
Just to clarify one item, our recommendation for closing temperature is 60 or less, not 65.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Drew:

I do not know which plugs you have, but they are probably winterization plugs. Please read the thread over and over so you get a good feel. Regarding closing your pool, I close my pool at the end of September and open one month prior to the holiday with a solid tarp. Water crystal clear. I have friends with a quality mesh cover that close mid September and we open up the same time (no algae). If you follow the instructions and close at the end of September, there is a high probability you will be fine. Open early is the key to everything. When you open, the pump only needs to run about 2 hours daily at most and you can even add liquid bleach (2x weekly).

Regarding your plumbing set up, it appears you have plugs that can easily be removed. This is where the pool was probably closed before. It does not matter how you close your pool, from where and with what equipment. Only things that matter is to remove water with air, close off the other side and lock the main drain. Highly recommend looking at the plugs with the Schrader valves for your closing. I order a lot just to have some and gave one away to my friend. Regarding sizes, you will have to measure inside your pump basket to match up the plugs. I will get back to you with sizes as well.
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
Drew:

I do not know which plugs you have, but they are probably winterization plugs. Please read the thread over and over so you get a good feel. Regarding closing your pool, I close my pool at the end of September and open one month prior to the holiday with a solid tarp. Water crystal clear. I have friends with a quality mesh cover that close mid September and we open up the same time (no algae). If you follow the instructions and close at the end of September, there is a high probability you will be fine. Open early is the key to everything. When you open, the pump only needs to run about 2 hours daily at most and you can even add liquid bleach (2x weekly).

Regarding your plumbing set up, it appears you have plugs that can easily be removed. This is where the pool was probably closed before. It does not matter how you close your pool, from where and with what equipment. Only things that matter is to remove water with air, close off the other side and lock the main drain. Highly recommend looking at the plugs with the Schrader valves for your closing. I order a lot just to have some and gave one away to my friend. Regarding sizes, you will have to measure inside your pump basket to match up the plugs. I will get back to you with sizes as well.
You are correct on the plugs. I was re-reading the thread last night and realized what you were referring to is different. That helps on the closing timing too. Last few years I've closed mid-September opened mid-May w/ pool company and have had zero issues with algae. Probably not ideal and I'd probably open earlier next year. Still like the idea wrapping it all up in September.

Yes, I do believe pool company used those removable plugs and then blew out lines from there. I just don't know how I'd lock off main drain blowing out of those top off lines unless I just quickly screw the plug back on. That's why I was thinking going through the pump so I can just shut the valve while air is still blowing. And the reason you suggest I get some of those Schrader valves is so I could then just use an air compressor to blow out lines vs. shelling for the Cyclone?

I really do appreciate the time you're taking to answer my questions. I know this is something that repeats all the time, but I do appreciate the time to answer around my specific questions. And don't worry, I'll be re-reading your thread (and those you link within) multiple times.
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
Looking into the schrader valves and now debating if this is really a viable option for my situation. Don't own compressor, but can find one used for ~50 and seems to do the trick based on several threads I've seen. Seems to start at ~15 PSI and work up to, but not past 30. Certainly would be cheaper than the cyclone and the compressor would have other uses.

Appears this is what I'd want, though I'd need to confirm that my pump is in fact 1 1/2". If so, I could just put in pump and blow air from there and screw on cap when done w/out having to worry about valves.

Or, I could get a couple and use in place of the current plugs on my setup. Am I thinking thru this correctly? Quite sure I'm overthinking all this.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Appears this is what I'd want, though I'd need to confirm that my pump is in fact 1 1/2". If so, I could just put in pump and blow air from there and screw on cap when done w/out having to worry about valves.
Yes, you are correct. You will need 2 valves (one for suction and one for return side). The "air" will be locked in the main drain piping. If you lower your water below the skimmer and have separate valves, you can actually work backwards from the skimmer to purge the line, and then go back to the pump and work on the main drain. Purge the skimmer line, then use a Gizzmo or regular black winter plug and use the same plug to work at the equipment pad.
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
So only thing i guess i still dont get is, on return side, given my setup, how do i to block air from going back towards the chlorinator and filter...or is that non issue?

looks like ill have to buy screw in fitting where the current return line plug is so ihave sometji g for the schrader...or do the threads not cause any issues?
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
So only thing i guess i still dont get is, on return side, given my setup, how do i to block air from going back towards the chlorinator and filter...or is that non issue?
You use winterizing plugs. Go to You Tube and there are many videos showing how to plug a return line. Also, you could just lower the water below the returns if you have a mesh cover and allow to fill back up over the winter and purge the lines this way. How I learned was by watching the PB close the first year and off videos on You Tube.
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
You use winterizing plugs. Go to You Tube and there are many videos showing how to plug a return line. Also, you could just lower the water below the returns if you have a mesh cover and allow to fill back up over the winter and purge the lines this way. How I learned was by watching the PB close the first year and off videos on You Tube.
No can do on the water below returns. We have auto cover so have to keep water up just below skimmer. Learned that the hard way our first winter when we didn't monitor water level and it sunk way down and broke off from side...

Measured the opening in the pump from suction side and the pump opening is 1 1/2" with what I assume is a 1 1/4" pipe fitting entering there from the suction lines. So, I think, the size plug I need is this. Though I have my doubts since I'm not sure if I need a size to plug the pump opening or back into the pipe. I think what I've linked will work. Couldn't find one for 1 1/4" pipe.

Feeling much better about everything now. Air compressor taken care of so it's really just a matter of getting the valve plugs. Still somewhat confused on exactly how I'm going to handle the returns. I know how how I'll plug the returns in the pool with the winterizing plugs (actual have some screw in L sections of pipe that will stick up above the water). What I'm confused about is how I'm going to actually be blowing the air into those lines given my setup. If I blow air from the pipe up from the ground, I'm not sure how I prevent air from going backwards into the chlorinator, those maybe what you're saying is I'd use a plug down in that pipe where it T's off toward chlorinator. I'm quite sure I'm overthinking this...

PumpFilter3.jpg
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
Seems an option I can use on the return is to blow out via the pump, thru the filter with it on recirculate. Doing this, I'd probably plug off suction side so I do one at a time.

Option C, lol... I could just remove the chlorinator and blow thru the fitting where it was connected.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,208
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Drew:

You are over thinking everything. Purchase the items needed for closing. The concept is similar with every pool. You are using air to remove water and plugging the other end. It does not matter how you do it. The main drain can not be plugged, so the water is moved with air and then closed by a shut off valve. If you have no valve for the MD, then the plug is used as the valve as well. Air will remain trapped in the piping and water will not come back and stay under the frost line. Think how hard it is to prime a system if everything is air bound.

Start trying to close the pool early so you have plenty of time. One member took over one month to close his pool and was very successful, but he learned.
 

Drew31

Member
Aug 19, 2018
22
Southwest Indiana
Drew:

You are over thinking everything.
Nothing more true has ever been spoken.

Whats the saying, “ The enemy of a good plan is desire for perfect plan”... Took a deep breath laying in bed last night and feel a little better about things. Think ive started to work thru the aporoach ill take.

Plan is ill do return lines first by blowing air thru pump drain (filter on recirc) with main and skimmer plugged or closed valves. Once those are clear, plugged. Ill use a blow thru valve to blow air from pump into skimmer line and main. Doing one at time via shut off valves. Gizmo in he skimmer, air lock the main drain.

And yes, plan is to start closing quite early and then just take my time.