FREEZING in Texas with fountains!

lislmont92

Bronze Supporter
Oct 7, 2020
12
Leander, Texas
Hello! Texan here! We have an in-ground pool with 3 fountains. It has been below freezing this season around 20 and 30 degrees, but this Monday it is supposed to be SEVEN degrees (yes 7 degrees here in Leander, Texas!!!) and only 19 degrees during the day. We have an automatic temperature timer that turns the pump on if the temperature hits below 32 degrees. So I expect my pump to run continuously for a few days during this artic freeze to prevent freezing and pipe bursting.

My question is regarding our fountains! I've noticed that they turn on about every 2-3 hours when my pump is running continuously due to the cold weather. I'm not sure why it does this - do my fountains have a separate timer with the pump? Should I manually run the fountains 24-7 in addition to the pump? I am not sure how far in the ground the fountains' pipes are. I am trusting that the water won't freeze in them within a few hours and that the builder thought this through. But 7/19 degrees is really cold!!

Last question: If I do run the fountains continuously for 24hrs (my poor neighbors with the noise!) is there any risk of burning out their motor?
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,587
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Are your fountains powered by your pool circulating pump or are they powered by a separate pump? Are 1 or both pumps variable speed? Do you have automation? You must have a setting in it that determines run time for your fountains. Are they controlled by an automatic valve?
Please update Create Your Signature to help us understand what your current setup is as it be easier to provide guidance.
In general it would be best to run your pool circulation pump 24/7 for the freezing temperatures.
You could run your fountains every 2 hrs or so (assuming you can set that in your automation - if you have that).
I would also suggest wrap your equipment pad with a big tarp - don't let it lie on the pump motor and do not start your heater.
The heat of the pump under cover of the tarp will generate warmth for your above ground pipes on the equipment pad.
The goal is to keep wind off of your exposed pipes and create a tent of warmth for them, so tie the tarp to a fence or nearby structure to keep it secure.
 

lislmont92

Bronze Supporter
Oct 7, 2020
12
Leander, Texas
Thank you for the advice! The tarp is a great idea...I will order one tomorrow off Amazon. I am not super familiar with my pool equipment yet...so I apologize for lack of knowledge of my set up. I should know better....but the previous owners set everything up so I just haven't touched anything. I need to work on my signature. My chemical guy said it would be fine as is but I just wanted some second opinions to make sure! Still learning :) Yes the main pump runs continuously below 32 degrees and fountains are every 2 or 3 hours. I will also get the tarp! Thank you!!
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
The goal is to keep wind off of your exposed pipes and create a tent of warmth for them, so tie the tarp to a fence or nearby structure to keep it secure.

YES, definitely tie the tarp down. Learned this one the hard way this morning. My tent/tarp set-up was no match for Oklahoma winds. If everything goes south (loss of power?), my plan B is to drain all of my equipment, open the lines, and bundle everything back up under the tarp. Had to do a little research but I now know where all of the drains are on my heater.
 
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dkinfowlkes

Member
Feb 11, 2021
12
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
15
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I too have fountain jets powered by circulating pump. Pondering what may happen later this weekend with temps headed to single digits. The jets can be shut off via jandy valve. Valve old and not overly confident in diverter to do its job.
BTW, equipment is covered with heavy tarp, all valves open. My concern is how much havoc will be wreaked by frozen jet nozzles? That of course assumes power holds. Am prepared to drain pad EQ, etc. if needed.

Pool in previous home survived nicely in 2011 with temps in low teens, but had no fountains in the mix.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
10,505
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I ask all this as I have zero experience with fountains,

How hard is it to drain the plumbing and just shut them off? I personally would really worry about these freezing somewhat quickly if a power failure occurs. Plus I wouldn’t count on the builder “thinking this one through” as I’d bet they never thought this sort of weather would hit.

My gut says draining them would be your best bet. This is sure fire way to prevent damage regardless if you have power or not, plus will totally ease your mind and save a few bucks on power.
 
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dkinfowlkes

Member
Feb 11, 2021
12
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
15
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Really unsure about how easy it is to shut off and be sure it is drained. There is a jandy valve that will shut off flow to those fountains. But did notice them dripping a little back in warmer days with valve closed. Not sure if diverter is totally sealing water flow. Am weighing that risk over having them freeze above water line.

I have asked 2 area pool service companies about fountains. Both have said is best to leave open and allow water to circulate through, even if eventually freezes at jet. But as one also said, these temps are mostly uncharted territory back to 30 plus years for most here in N Texas. I doubt I will be sleeping much over next few days.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,322
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Could you add a non-toxic antifreeze to the fountain?
 

dkinfowlkes

Member
Feb 11, 2021
12
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
15
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I have thought about using RV antifreeze. I could only find 2 gallons yesterday. Says to use a gallon per 10 feet of pipe. Not sure I have enough. Plus wouldn't I need to plug the jets?
Am considering just shutting them off if water starts freezing at jet opening. Hopefully only impact would be to that pipe and just be okay with no fountains for this pool.
 

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wedward

Silver Supporter
Oct 20, 2018
37
McKinney, TX
I have a similar worry - that the cycles of waterfall to spa every 15 minutes would be just enough time to freeze the waterfall opening at the projected temps. I have mine fed from the main pump, so am wondering if just closing the valve off and turning off in the automation would be enough, or do I need to do anything for the pipes just past that valve or at the waterfall? I assume the waterfall will drain off to pool level/ground level - but that's just my guess.
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
I have a similar worry - that the cycles of waterfall to spa every 15 minutes would be just enough time to freeze the waterfall opening at the projected temps. I have mine fed from the main pump, so am wondering if just closing the valve off and turning off in the automation would be enough, or do I need to do anything for the pipes just past that valve or at the waterfall? I assume the waterfall will drain off to pool level/ground level - but that's just my guess.
This happened to our pool this week. The cycle time between Pool (spillover) and Spa mode gave just enough time to freeze the actuator valve and it became stuck in spa mode...and drained the spa to the point that the jets were throwing water all over the yard. I opened the valve up and turned the switch to “off” on the actuator to prevent that from now on. With these temps, I’d really watch those moving valves. I opened up the actuator to 80/20 (pool/spa) so that both lines still had moving water in them and then switched the valve off.
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
Did you make any changes to the automation control, or disable that and just leave it on?
I didn’t change anything else except to put the valve in the position that it would pull and return from both the spa and pool constantly. I think I’ve got it set to return more to the spa and pull more from the pool. That was my plan anyway and it seems to be balanced and not flooding the street with my overflow line. The panel thinks it’s switching those actuator valves on but I’ve bypassed that command by turning them to the center “off” position. So far, so good.
 
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lislmont92

Bronze Supporter
Oct 7, 2020
12
Leander, Texas
So, first off, THANK YOU to HermanTX who suggested a tarp over our system! You saved us! It has worked super well. We got a heavy duty tarp and some bricks and the pumps have created their own little heated home under there. We knew it was working when the snow on top of the tarp was melting!

I was able to reach our pool chemical guy (I have someone do our chemicals so I don't poison everyone who swims in our pool!) because he is familiar with our system. He said to keep the pool pump and fountain pump both running continuously until we are above freezing. (Because my fountains were freezing at the spouts with the on/and off freeze protection setting. I was pouring salt on top of them at one point!) So far, so good! The freeze protection mode of turning them on and off was allowing just enough time for them to freeze. So, I manually turned them both on and they haven't stopped in 36hrs and its going great! It actually looks really beautiful in the snow.

Tomorrow we are supposed to hit 36 so hopefully I can go back to regular freeze protection cycling during the day. Counting down the days until we are back in warm Texas air...
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,186
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Good job.

Once you are past this, you can do your own pool water chemistry. Not hard. And it will save you alot of money and your pool will be safer, cleaner, and more pleasant to swim in.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,587
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
So, first off, THANK YOU to HermanTX who suggested a tarp over our system! You saved us! It has worked super well. We got a heavy duty tarp and some bricks and the pumps have created their own little heated home under there. We knew it was working when the snow on top of the tarp was melting!

I was able to reach our pool chemical guy (I have someone do our chemicals so I don't poison everyone who swims in our pool!) because he is familiar with our system. He said to keep the pool pump and fountain pump both running continuously until we are above freezing. (Because my fountains were freezing at the spouts with the on/and off freeze protection setting. I was pouring salt on top of them at one point!) So far, so good! The freeze protection mode of turning them on and off was allowing just enough time for them to freeze. So, I manually turned them both on and they haven't stopped in 36hrs and its going great! It actually looks really beautiful in the snow.

Tomorrow we are supposed to hit 36 so hopefully I can go back to regular freeze protection cycling during the day. Counting down the days until we are back in warm Texas air...
Great news. Glad it worked out. The inside temperature of my tent got down to about 35 degs when a flap blew open which I was able to fix. Most of time it was above 40 degs when outside air was mid-teens. Like you, I just put everything on manually to run 24hrs continuously. About every 6 hrs or so, I would switch over to Spa mode for about 1 hr then back to Pool Mode. My waterfall was on 24hrs continuously as well.
I agree with others - you can do the chemical part as well. It is quite easy. Please update your signature profile so we understand what pool and equipment specs are.
 
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