Freezing weather

HeyEng

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Nov 7, 2018
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Oklahoma City, OK
These threads have been quite eye opening for me (and others, I am sure) and hopefully will all be merged into a mega-super-frozen-earth thread for others to reference in the future. It seems as though some advice has been tested and shown to work in some cases, and then maybe not in others. Looking at all the posted evidence, it seems that the most prudent action if you are expecting significant freezing temperatures for days on end...you should do the basic winterization for the best protection.

I think I have been *lucky* in that running the heater and bringing up the water temp is the ONLY reason I haven't had to deal with a frozen pump. Given we still have close to 100 hours of below freezing, I am guessing I will either have to 1) run the heater again (which goes against much of the advice here and the manufacturers) or 2) do a pseudo drain/winterization like so many others have had to do.

The advice of "keep the pump running and it'll be OK" seems to be ill advised *if* the water temp gets to freezing and seems to be where most people have had to thrown in the towel. Yes, science tells us that "running water" takes longer to freeze, but real world experience is telling me that it will freeze eventually, and it might be much faster than you might expect.
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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NY
The advice of "keep the pump running and it'll be OK" seems to be ill advised *if* the water temp gets to freezing and seems to be where most people have had to thrown in the towel
*Freezing is 32. 5 degrees and 35 mile an hour winds means all bets are off. Wind doesn’t make the temperature any less, but it does create lots of evaporation so the water will cool even more below freezing, and faster.
 

DB-Cooper

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Jun 18, 2019
424
Austin, TX
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Ugh, just went and checked, all the above ground pipes are just too cold, the valves won't turn (but they're open). Even tarped, too much wind and just too Dang cold. Hopefully they thaw without busting anything. I'm hesitant to do anything like hot water as it's just too cold and has been too long. Hopefully it's just the valves got sticky.
 
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PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
Ugh, just went and checked, all the above ground pipes are just too cold, the valves won't turn (but they're open). Even tarped, too much wind and just too Dang cold. Hopefully they thaw without busting anything. I'm hesitant to do anything like hot water as it's just too cold and has been too long.
Hate to hear that. I’ve left mine tented and most have heat tape and insulation but I’m afraid to go out there and check. I know there isn’t anything I can do in these temps to help right now. Just heard rumors of rolling blackouts in Tulsa and with the second storm on the way and the worst temps still coming, I’m just going to try to enjoy the extra sleep I’m getting (while tossing and turning wondering if there was just one more thing I could have done or done differently).
 
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madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
223
Little Rock, AR
We're in this boat starting today, and probably going through the week. We have a generator, so if the power goes out, we should be able to keep the pump running.

Based on what I've read so far, as long as I can keep the pump running and leave a tarp over the equipment, I should be okay, right?

If the pump goes out at some point, I'll plan to pull plugs and drain the equipment until we thaw, which looks to be over the weekend.

Sound like a decent plan?
 
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Jimharris99

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May 29, 2020
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Prosper, TX
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I do have to say again how appreciative I and others are with all of the prompt advice and conversations. Without this community, reading things ahead of time, getting ready for what might happen, I would have freaked out this morning seeing the pool iced over. I tried to hold off draining equipment and such as long as possible, but at least I had a reasonable idea of what to do and expect. Decided to drain this morning while it was light out and before we lost power. Everything seemed to drain ok as the pump was still circulating well, but given tomorrow’s temps and threat of more blackouts, decided it was best to pull the plugs. Still nervous and crossing my fingers I did everything correctly, but at least can rest comfortably (relatively speaking) and not be super nervous tonight.
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
We're in this boat starting today, and probably going through the week. We have a generator, so if the power goes out, we should be able to keep the pump running.

Based on what I've read so far, as long as I can keep the pump running and leave a tarp over the equipment, I should be okay, right?

If the pump goes out at some point, I'll plan to pull plugs and drain the equipment until we thaw, which looks to be over the weekend.

Sound like a decent plan?
We had three pumps running and never lost power but when our water temp turned to 32-33, everything went south and the slush started clogging one of the three pumps. The pool equipment pad was tented and covered and we had heat sources bringing the temp in the tent to around 20 degrees even when it was super cold outside. Still had ice in pumps. Evaporation was huge all day yesterday and we topped it off but that is also a big issue if you can keep everything going. So, moving water is a good thing...just keep a close eye on it...a very close eye. We had hardly any ice forming in the pool when the pumps started to go and 20 minutes after draining everything, the whole pool was covered. It was crazy fast.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
223
Little Rock, AR
We had three pumps running and never lost power but when our water temp turned to 32-33, everything went south and the slush started clogging one of the three pumps. The pool equipment pad was tented and covered and we had heat sources bringing the temp in the tent to around 20 degrees even when it was super cold outside. Still had ice in pumps. Evaporation was huge all day yesterday and we topped it off but that is also a big issue if you can keep everything going. So, moving water is a good thing...just keep a close eye on it...a very close eye. We had hardly any ice forming in the pool when the pumps started to go and 20 minutes after draining everything, the whole pool was covered. It was crazy fast.

Thanks for the reply! We have a bit of ice/slush on top in the deep end, and I've noticed the pressure in the system go up a little. It normally runs around 20 PSI. It's running around 26-27 PSI right now, which would normally be my cue to backwash. Tonight will be the worst of it. All my valves are open right now. Would it just be safest to drain all the equipment, cover and wait for the thaw?
 
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Lilypad

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Nov 12, 2016
283
Plano, Texas
What made the decision easy for me was "do I want to pay for new pool equipment and/or pipe repairs? OR pay for possible tile damage at the waterline and maybe skimmer issues?". I drained the pad and dropped antifreeze in plastic bottles into the skimmers last Friday. No 2 a.m. frigid, potentially dangerous trip out to do all the above then. Had also gotten my second Covid vaccine and knew I might be feeling puny on Sat/Sun...and I was.

A HUGE thanks to all the great info on how to prep for this event. I would’ve been stressed to the max, but y'all got me this far and I am very grateful. Upgrading my TFP support level now!!!

All that said, we have to take a good look at when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Best of luck to everyone in this arctic battle!
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
Thanks for the reply! We have a bit of ice/slush on top in the deep end, and I've noticed the pressure in the system go up a little. It normally runs around 20 PSI. It's running around 26-27 PSI right now, which would normally be my cue to backwash. Tonight will be the worst of it. All my valves are open right now. Would it just be safest to drain all the equipment, cover and wait for the thaw?
I wish I had the right answer to that question. For us, we just decided not to risk damage to four pumps, the filter, and the heater (no bypass available). Our pool deck is travertine set in sand and needed to be reworked so if we have underground issues, it won’t be a “cut through concrete” issue. I think if you could drain the equipment and possibly drain your pool lower than the skimmers or at least lower than the tile, you’d be limiting even more risk. I keep second-guessing my decision but I don’t know how we would make it through these record lows for another 4-5 days at least...and storm #2 on the way.
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
6,374
NY
All that said, we have to take a good look at when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Best of luck to everyone in this arctic battle!
I keep reminding myself that a lot of y’all woulda gone down with the Alamo anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the fighting spirit, but it was gonna hurt here no matter what.
 
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madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
223
Little Rock, AR
Okay, so, last set of questions from me before I make a decision, just so I understand the risks. Thank y'all for tolerating me thinking out loud here.

I really don't want to have to worry about this all week, so I'm leaning toward draining my equipment and calling it done until it thaws.

I do have a bottle of antifreeze + coolant for vehicles, but I've never used such products in any of my closings, so I'm hesitant to try something for the first time at this point.

The easiest thing to do would be to drain my filter and pump and be done with it, but what risks does that entail? Some minimal risk to the plumbing? Some risk to the laterals and such in the filter?

All valves are open and water is flowing at the moment.

I could probably drain the pool level below the skimmer, but I hate to go below my returns just to have to refill next week. Plus, I'm pretty sure the drain hose is frozen so I'd have to remove that and shoot water straight out the side of the filter in that case.

There is slush on top of the pool, and it's going to be 5 tonight, then not above freezing until Saturday. Uggh.

Thanks again for the help and moral support so far.
 

Lilypad

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Nov 12, 2016
283
Plano, Texas
The RV/Marine anti-freeze that I used was put in a closed 2 liter plastic bottle and dropped into the skimmer. Half full and it gives any ice something to push against instead of the skimmer walls. This isn't the same as closing a pool up north where it's put into the pipes etc.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
223
Little Rock, AR
The RV/Marine anti-freeze that I used was put in a closed 2 liter plastic bottle and dropped into the skimmer. Half full and it gives any ice something to push against instead of the skimmer walls. This isn't the same as closing a pool up north where it's put into the pipes etc.

That makes sense, and means I don't have to mess with draining it out like a full closing. I'm not as worried about the in-ground plumbing as I am burning up or clogging my pump, then having to act super quick. I guess there's still some danger to the laterals if I just drain the equipment and whatever's left in the filter freezes?
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
223
Little Rock, AR
Okay, pulled the trigger. Two plastic Arizona Tea bottles half full of antifreeze in the skimmer. Pump off and drained. Filter drained. Valves all open.

Using less power, and won't have to think about it until things thaw. If something goes wrong with the laterals, that won't be so bad, because I think there's a problem with them already (I believe they are leaking a small amount of sand into the pool as it is), so I was thinking of replacing that assembly next season anyhow. Just hoping the filter tank itself doesn't crack!

Time to enjoy the most snow I've seen in Little Rock in decades!
 
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Waiawa

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Dec 10, 2020
111
Round Rock, Texas
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I just got my power back on...been a long 37hrs in freezing weather, I placed my food from the refrigerator outside since it was colder out there than in the fridge!
I've been busy trying to save our house plumbing from freezing over, and our pool from doing the same. I have this large iceberg now in my pool now! At least my house plumbing is doing good!

I tried to keep my equipment warm by placing some charcoal in a old muffin pan, but I started that too late...last night was just too cold. I think if I did this the first night I might have been alright...I think!

So today I opened all the drain plugs and flipped the switch on the electrical panel to off, come next week when it's better weather I'll see if I can fill things back up. My valves are all frozen open, so I know there's ice in the PVC piping, when I can open the valves, I'll wait another day and then start things up again.

My heat pump doesn't have a drain plug, so I loosened the coupling and hopefully the water will come out from there. I opened the drain to my cyclone and there was a small drips of water, so I guess the water in there is not frozen solid however, not the same with my pump drain and filter.
In fact my pump skimmer bucket is all iced up and my filter drain has ice at the opened drain port now.
The skimmer at the pool had a thin layer of ice, so I placed some salt tabs in there with some warm water.

This has been a great learning adventure, and I'm hoping to have a generator next year...one of those Gentec ones which will flip on once power to the house is lost.
Tonight's another night, and then Thursday and Friday, but it's slowly getting warmer!Charcoal in pan.jpgIceberg.jpg

Snow Imprint a.jpg
Stay warm and be safe!!
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
489
Austin, TX
I’m happy to report I fired the pool back up yesterday, and everything is working. Thanks all for your advice.


This has been a great learning adventure, and I'm hoping to have a generator next year...one of those Gentec ones which will flip on once power to the house is lost.
Tonight's another night, and then Thursday and Friday, but it's slowly getting warmer
Me too. I already called a few places. I’m going to PM you to see if we can compare notes on generators.
 
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Waiawa

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Dec 10, 2020
111
Round Rock, Texas
Pool Size
13860
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Fiberglass
Chlorine
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I tried to fire my pump backup, but there was some water in the pump wiring, so the breaker tripped.
It ran just long enough to prime, but then it tripped the breaker.
I can't get it to reset, the electrician said there must still be moisture in the wiring/pump.
I dried it up as best as I could, but still no reset.
I'll try again tomorrow.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
424
Austin, TX
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I got my crack repaired, and the pool is running and after a day and night (with system off), it appears to be fully operational. I basically had to replace a good part of that manifold and then the center 2-way valve and check valve, basically all the expansion occurred on that skimmer suction line. I'm glad that was all the damage. Even my Pentair heater that wasn't working right before the storm is now working.

I need to cleanup my pad from the DE from dumping and repaint the PVC, but here are the pictures. I had a heck of a time getting someone out to repair this, I got some really extremely expensive quotes, but my somewhat unreliable pool builder came out with his crew and did it gratis free which I'm grateful for and shows his commitment to his customers and excellence (which has never really been his issue, more of an organizational and timing/permits thing).

20210225_223031786_iOS.jpg20210225_231651876_iOS.jpg
 

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