Freezing Weather - Broken connection

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
We woke up to an empty pool this morning. Upon inspection I found a broken coupling at the waterfalls pump. The freeze protection WAS on but both intake baskets were full of leaves (the freezing temp came with some massive winds). It appears that the pumps kept drawing water in and spewing it out the top until the pool was empty.

I’m assuming that my best course of action is to get this coupling fixed, refill the pool and get it running again. Would there be any reason to just drain the water that’s left and leave it empty for the winter? I think that might cause problems with plaster cracks and such, yes?

Is there anything I should take advantage of the moment to do? For example our pool lights haven’t been working. I’m trying to source new ones this AM so I can replace them while it’s empty. Should I do anything about filling in these divots on the bottom? (Wind blew some patio furniture in.)

Any advise to avoid this in the future or additional thoughts on why it might have happened?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: Sorry it's under these circumstances. TX is getting waxed today with this cold front. It's never good to leave a pool empty. I personally wouldn't worry much about the light until spring. As for the depression in the pebble, you could just leave that as well. Not sure about Allen TX, but you don't want an elevating underground water table to start influencing the stability of the pool shell. My gut is saying fill ASAP and worry about minor repairs later.

Can you update your signature with all of your pool equipment? Perhaps post a pic of your equipment pad? That would help us. If you have a way to fill the pool and just leave normal pool/spa pump operation going while bypassing the waterfall pumps that would be ideal. However, if by waterfall you are referring to the spillover from the spa, then that may change the plan a bit. But tell us (or show us) a bit more about your equipment so we can get you some options. Folks here eager to help.
 

Texas Splash

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For the effected pump itself, here is the Manual in case you didn't have it laying around. Looks to be part # R0446101. If have trouble finding replacement parts, here are some options to get you going as you shop around:
 

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
I've been using the pool math app for a year and stalking the forums. I hoped I'd never need to ask for advice! I unscrewed the lights just to see how they work as I've never dealt with them before.



16500 gal inground pool
two jandy pumps - one for spa/pool and one for waterfall/water features
gas heater
 

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ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
Oh those manuals are awesome thank you. I'm going to go put the lights back in and start filling it again now. (this is going to be an expensive month!!) I can run the main pump and leave the water features off. Do I need to worry about the water feature pipes freezing until I get that junction replaced?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,654
Bedford, TX
Christi,

I too would not want the pool to be empty too long.. Water is relatively cheap, so I would fill it back up..

Open the waterfall pump lid and remove the drain plugs to empty the pump and leave it off.

I don't see a waterfall, so am a little puzzled???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Ha ha. I'm glad you asked the question Jim, I was struggling to find those buggers myself. :crazy:

Christi, once you refill, remember there will be no stabilizer (CYA) in that new water. Your SWG may not work with the cold water either, so you may consider adding enough stabilizer for a CYA of 30 and manually add chlorine (aka regular bleach) to balance as noted on the FC/CYA Chart. It won't take much and you won't have to do it very often this time of year. Do check your pH and adjust if needed once full.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
14,654
Bedford, TX
C,

Ok, they were hiding in plain sight... :mrgreen:

I would drain the waterfall pump and turn the waterfall valves to full open until the Spring...

To clarify my post above.. I would remove the drain plugs on the side of the pump to drain it.. I would reinstall the pump lid after putting the drain plugs in the pump basket so they don't get lost..

That should be all you need to do, waterfall wise..

Jim R.
 

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
You guys are AWESOME. Still trying to get the feeling back in my fingers!

Lights are back in to address another day.

I've removed the plug from the water features pump. When the pool is full I'll return power to the control board and remove the water features pump from the freeze protection cycle. Even with the plug out, there are still a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the pump. Should I worry about this (remove manually) or just let it be? Leave this pump empty all winter or fix and refill?

While we're on the subject the pool cleaner robot has it's own booster pump. Should I leave it on the freeze protection cycle and running all winter or drain and exclude it? It seems like I'll still want it cleaning the pool floor, no?

Thanks for the tips on the chems for the freshwater. It makes sense to add in small batches so I don't overshoot, correct?

Again you guys are AWESOME. Got me on track before the pool's manufacturer even opened for business!
 

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Texas Splash

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As long as the drain plug is out, some residual water in the pump casing shouldn't be a problem. It has room to expand. Not much you can do from there anyways unless you attempted to blow-out the water with air or use a small ShopVac to suck it out. But you can do that if you wish. Overall, I'd leave that waterfall pump off all winter. One less thing to worry about until next Feb/Mar or so. As for the booster, if you feel that its use is warranted, that's fine. Just make sure it's running during periods of low freezes. Last, for the stabilizer, simply use the PoolMath tool or APP to increase your CYA to 30. It should get you quite close to that goal and you'll be good until spring when you can re-test and increase back to 70 for your SWG once the water warms up a bit.

Hope that helps.
 

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
Jimrahbe - you mentioned leaving the water feature pumps full open 'til spring. This is for expansion room? I had the first pool guy we used after moving in label the pipes. Do you see anything I need to change? The pool has three outlets/falls in the pool for water features so I'm not sure why there are four pipes leaving that pump. (click on image of "pumps" for a label of what is what)
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
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If you only see three water feature spills to the pool, I'm not sure about the 4th pipe either. Maybe an additional return jet? You would have to do some investigating by closing it off and walking around looking closely for any changes. Then open back up and do the same.

3 of 4 valves look to be slightly open, while the 4th on the far right is a little more open than the others. But if you leave them open you should be fine. You can position them 90 degrees or perpendicular to the pipe, much like the Pool Return valve is positioned just left of them. This way water can shift/expand if it gets too cold.

In addition, what many of us do in areas where we don't formally "close" like up north, you can cover/tarp that part of the pad. You can wrap the exposed pipes/waterfall pump which helps to take the "sting" off of them from a hard freeze.

Curious though, let us know what that mystery 4th pipe if for. :) If you can't find it, maybe your pool builder can tell you if you are in contact with them.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,827
Northern NJ
When the pool is full I'll return power to the control board and remove the water features pump from the freeze protection cycle.
Open the circuit breaker that powers the water features pump.

Why do you also have a pipe labeled WATER FEATURE off the pool pump return?
 

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
Your comment jogged a thought! This return is different than all the others. I bet this is what it is. (see notes on attached image "4th pipe")

This morning when I was alerted to the problem the freeze protection was still running. I hurriedly threw the control panel into "time out" to shut it down. (yes I should have put it in "service" but I acted quickly) The time out switched off just now and I realized the main pump kicked on and there was water feeding into the WF pump again. I changed this valve (see image "exclude WF") to point inline with the pipe instead of perpendicular. Does that sound right?
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,827
Northern NJ
That says the WF pump does not have its own suction line from the pool. It gets water from the pool pump circuit and the WF pump should only run when the pool pump is running.

What doesn’t make sense is the line you closed is a smaller pipe size then the suction into the WF pump. So I am not sure what is going on.

Problem is you have water in that closed WF pump feed line that can freeze. I would blow out that line from the check valve and get water out of it.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,654
Bedford, TX
Allen,

Keep in mind that we do not live in NJ.. Our cold spells generally are not very low and don't last long.. It will be back above freezing in a couple of hours..

I know of no one down here that blows water out of their pipes. No doubt that in your location it is a requirement.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,827
Northern NJ
Allen,

Keep in mind that we do not live in NJ.. Our cold spells generally are not very low and don't last long.. It will be back above freezing in a couple of hours..

I know of no one down here that blows water out of their pipes. No doubt that in your location it is a requirement.

Thanks,

Jim R.
My thinking was if you are going to pull drain plugs then you may need to blow out lines at the surface.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,654
Bedford, TX
C,

I suspect that the pipe with the label that says "Water Feature" is for your spa overflow and that is why it has a check valve below it. I suspect that your waterfall pump gets its water from the main drain and that is why the pool is empty..

I suggested fully opening the waterfall valves for expansion as you thought..

I missed the idea that the system would come back on... :( Turning off the circuit breaker, as Allen suggested, is a very smart move.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ChristiK

Gold Supporter
Jun 30, 2019
17
Allen, TX
When we moved in nothing was labeled and everything was in a minor state of neglect. I had our first pool service company guy label everything for me but very frankly there is a reason we no longer use him and I don’t fully trust that he labeled everything correctly. Once the pool is filled and running again I’ll experiment with that valve labeled “water feature” to see if I can figure out exactly what it is for.

I switched the main pump to just “spa” since the spa is still full until the pool finishes filling. When doing this I noticed the Jandy valve has a leak out of the bottom. This is keeping the main pump from fully priming. How urgent is this? Like “DO IT NOW” or ”get it done this week?”

There is a gang of three electric switches near the pool supply. Through the process of elimination I figured out one of them is for the water feature pump, one is for the main control panel AND the main pump AND the cleaner booster pump. I still can’t figure out what the third switch is for. I’ve left the one that appears to control only the water feature pump in the OFF position and the other two in the ON position. Hopefully this will keep the pump from firing up even if I mess up the freeze protection programming.

Any guesses on what that third electric switch might be for? My best Guess so far is MAYBE it’s for the outdoor kitchen stuff but I’ll wait til I have another adult at home so I’m not running back and forth between sides of the house to test that.

Also THANK YOU for helping me through this. You’ve saved me over the cost of “supporter” on here today alone (not to mention learning to do my own chems over this past summer). The best way I know to say “thank you” is to support the site - Thank you!