First Time Closing

bmatcuk

Member
Jul 9, 2020
20
Pittsburgh, PA
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hello again, TFP... closing isn't too far off and I want to make sure I have everything. This is my first pool - came with the house I just bought about two months ago. I've read through the closing doc in the Pool School, and a ton of posts here in the forums. I have a couple questions.

Here's a quick overview of my pool:
pool.jpg
Roughly 15k gallon, in-ground, vinyl liner, one skimmer, two main drains, six returns. Deep end is roughly five feet deep - shallow is roughly three. Two of the returns are in the deep end, four are by the steps in the shallow end. I think the previous owner/builder wanted to have a sort of jacuzzi setup by the steps (hence the extra returns and extra big steps to sit on), but four returns on the same line, far from the pump? Not much water flow. I also have one fiber-optic light in the deep end:
light.jpg

Filter is Hayward DE with accompanying "Super Pump". Suction side has a T-valve diverter that splits between the skimmer and main drains. Return side has a T-valve diverter for the two deep end returns, and the four shallow end returns.
pump-filter.jpg

General plan:
  • Balance chemicals - mostly good there, though, my TA is a bit high (130). Should I worry about that, or is it ok if my pH is good?
  • Bring to shock level - 2 or 3 days before closing, let come down to about half shock level
  • Remove ladder
  • Clean - vacuum, brush, etc
  • Backwash filter - planning on thoroughly cleaning the filter after the pool is closed, too
  • Drain - this one I'm not sure about: I've seen recommendations anywhere from "just below skimmer" to "4 inches below returns". That's a pretty big difference. What about the light? It's even lower than the returns. I live in Pittsburgh, if it makes a difference - winters can be mild, dipping below freezing for a day or two here and there. Or they can be bad, with tons of snow and week-long stretches of below-zero temperatures. I also live on top of a hill, which may mean the water table is lowish here, but I'm not sure.
  • Remove return eyes
  • Blow out lines- plan here is to use a 6.5 HP / 160 CFM wet/dry vac. I saw a post somewhere in the TFP forums from someone with a similar sized pool (just under 15k gallon, 5ft at the deep end) and a slightly less powerful shop-vac (5 HP) who had success, even with main drain, so, I'm hoping it'll work. Back-up plan is to borrow a compressor and have it on hand day-of.
    • Plan is to disconnect filter/pump from respective lines and blow in equipment-side, using the diverter valves to control flow.
    • On the return side, I have some Hayward "Return Fittings" to plug the returns when the water is out: Return Fittings | White Goods | In Ground Pool White Goods - Hayward Pool Products - I think I'll probably pour in some anti-freeze after plugging.
    • For the skimmer, I have a gizzmo. I'll probably pour a little anti-freeze into the skimmer line after blowing, and a little more after securing the gizzmo.
    • For the main drains, I'm hoping I can trap some air using the T-valve diverter after blowing for a few minutes.
  • Cover - I have a large rectangular cover and water bags.
    • Maintenance: small sump pump to remove water from cover, leaf blower to remove leaves, extra water bags in case any spring a leak.
I'm thinking of moving my pump/filter indoors for the winter for two reasons: one, to just get them out of the elements. But, two, I know my filter needs some work: small leak by check valve, check valve doesn't entirely work (water flows backward if I turn off the pump and open the air release valve at the top), and a couple broken fingers. Winter seems a good time to do some filter maintenance =) It's hard-wired to a breaker box as you can see in the picture above, but I don't think it'd be too difficult to remove. Thoughts? Obviously, if I did, I would need to plug the suction and return lines so nothing gets in there.

I think that's everything. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks, TFP!
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey

Have you read my closing thread? There are many ways to attack the closing. If the shop vac is not successful, then you can work with an air compressor. I personally like the blow-thru plugs, but you will need to order them and have them shipped out, so you need a 10 day time frame.

I bring my pump inside for the winter, but I have an old pump that is swapped out, with exactly the same unions and fittings that fit like a glove. I used my old broken pump, etc. Makes a big difference in having the pump motor and housing inside for 7 months a year out of the rain, snow, sleet, cold, buried under snow, etc.
 
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Tbwonder

Gold Supporter
Feb 14, 2020
66
New York
Catanzaro....I’ve been reading through your closing posts for a while and think I have a handle on my first time closing....Inground pool that I myself did the entire Installation this season.

I’m an 18x36...plastic step...3 skimmers, no main drains. I have 3 returns at standard level opposite skimmers....and 3 low returns pointing deep....these are mounted beneath the skimmers at around 24” deep.

All The piping is 2” Individually home run To the pad and each line has its own valve.
Pump, quad DE cartridge filter, multi port valve, Hayward heater, Pentair salt cell.

Can I throw some pictures up here with what I think I’m doing and get your comments?

Thanks


Cat




Have you read my closing thread? There are many ways to attack the closing. If the shop vac is not successful, then you can work with an air compressor. I personally like the blow-thru plugs, but you will need to order them and have them shipped out, so you need a 10 day time frame.

I bring my pump inside for the winter, but I have an old pump that is swapped out, with exactly the same unions and fittings that fit like a glove. I used my old broken pump, etc. Makes a big difference in having the pump motor and housing inside for 7 months a year out of the rain, snow, sleet, cold, buried under snow, etc.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
You are welcome to upload pictures. As mentioned in my thread, you are merely using air to move water and plug the other end. It does not matter where you start. Work on the returns first, and then the skimmers. Have someone shut off the compressor, etc. when you are done with each side. You may need to isolate the suction and return side inside the pump basket with a plug.

Exactly where are you starting to push air through, and what exactly are you using? Thank you.
 

Tbwonder

Gold Supporter
Feb 14, 2020
66
New York
You are welcome to upload pictures. As mentioned in my thread, you are merely using air to move water and plug the other end. It does not matter where you start. Work on the returns first, and then the skimmers. Have someone shut off the compressor, etc. when you are done with each side. You may need to isolate the suction and return side inside the pump basket with a plug.

Exactly where are you starting to push air through, and what exactly are you using? Thank you.


Thanks,

So here is what I have, what I think I am doing...and a question or two.

This pool has 3 skimmers, 3 surface returns and 3 deep returns mounted 21" deep. Every line is home run to the pad with it's own valve.

Drop water level below skimmer/top returns.

Disconnect the suction side and return side at unions.

Isolate each skimmer valve and blow (vacuum or compressor) from skimmer out through the open union fitting. Pour antifreeze in each line. Rubber plug bottom of skimmer. Add antifreeze to skimmer and pool noodles. Put cover plate on skimmer face. Cover skimmer top to prevent water. Rubber plug at union.

Isolate 3 surface returns and blow from return fitting back through the union. Rubber plug return fitting. pour antifreeze. Plug union.

QUESTION: can I/should I just keep the water level below the returns at this point? Does it matter? Seems better to ensure no water infiltration unless there's a down side?

QUESTION: What do I do with the deep water returns? Do I blow them out under water and just quick throw a plug in...add antifreeze from the pad side and hope for the best? Or are these below a freeze point and we don't worry about them? They are mounted at 21"....however if I keep the water level below the skimmers they'll only be about 10" below the water surface at that point.

All of my equipment except the heater will be removed and brought indoors. Winterize and cover the heater in place.
 

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Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
I would only bring the pump inside and leave everything else outside. Of course, you can bring in the salt cell and Zinc Anode if there are unions there. All returns can be and should be closed under water so you can see if air is leaking. Do not overtighten and use new plugs if the old ones leak. Keep flush and push in the returns firmly first before tightening, etc.

Main drains should be cleared and you can shut off the valve to create and trap air "air lock". If you can not get to the deep water returns to plug them, then use the same method as the main drain. It looks like you have shut off valves isolated on the return side, etc.

I do not use Antifreeze, and if you have Gizzmo's and pool noodles in the skimmer, this is all you will need.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
It does not matter whether you use a winter plug and pool noodles or Gizzmo's, what ever you are comfortable with.

Again, can you get down to the low returns in the pool to plug them?

If so, then yes, you should use winter plugs. Keep the plugs flush and press firmly flush and then tighten. I had a little bit of a problem this year with 2 returns (do not ask me why as I do not know) leaking. Because the Cyclone is so powerful, I went back with an air compressor, a blow-thru plug (in pump basket), and very low pressure (under 10) where my whole goal was to keep water from entering back in the lines, then went back and used new # 10 plugs and then fit deep inside and this did the trick.

Even after 6 years of closing pools, you learn something new. Even the deep # 8 plugs actually just popped out from the air inside the lines, so I have to modify my thread to actually just use the #10's as they are better. It is just a matter of placement.
 

Tbwonder

Gold Supporter
Feb 14, 2020
66
New York
Thanks for all this. I’m all blown out. Worked fine.

Water below skimmer but not the returns. All the returns got the blue bungee plug. Worked ok.

do you keep your skimmers dry? Or is it really fine with gizmos/noodles to just let it flood the skimmers?

last question....I have 4x8 plastic stair. I saw something about people putting jugs of antifreeze or something else on the steps to potentially break up ice in the stair.


Is this good idea? If so what do you use?
 
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