Help Blowing Out Lines- Thinking about closing pool myself for first time

fezzer0014

Member
May 13, 2019
9
PA
I'm looking at closing my pool myself for the first time, as the local company charges $425 and last year when I opened the PVC pipe coming from my filter was cracked so I suspect they didn't do the best job. I've read the sticky at the top of this section and the guide that's on the site but I still have some questions around how to blow out my lines. I'm fully prepared to purchase a cyclone as in one year of doing it myself I'm already ahead vs paying a company. I've been opening myself for the last few years, completed a pump motor replacement and recently fixed a roll out issue with my heater so I have some confidence that I can do it. I'm located in PA just outside of Philadelphia, so do get some cold weather throughout the winter.

Where I'm confused is how to blow out my lines and part of that comes from my setup. On the suction side, I have one 3-way valve heading into the pump with one coming from the pool and one coming from the spa. I have one main floor drain and one skimmer that both feed into the pump from the pool side. From reading through the sticky I believe I have an old style Anthony skimmer as I have the diverter (Inground Pool Skimmer Plumbing Diagrams | InTheSwim Pool Blog). I'm envisioning that I'll attach the cyclone to the incoming side of the pump, turn the 3 way valve so that air goes to the pool to blow out the skimmer and main drain. I'm a bit confused on the old sytle anthony skimmer, blow it out as I've described, then put the extended #8 in, continue to blow out the main drain then put the plug for the top of the skimmer in? Then turn the 3 way valve to the spa to blow that out? Finally shove a plug into the pump side quickly after removing the cyclone?

For blowing out the returns, turn the cyclone to the other side of the pump and blow through the filter, heater, and returns? Remove the plugs for the heater and pump before doing all of this? I have no unions, which is making this different from other discussions and videos that I've seen.
 

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cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,567
Fletcher, OK
it looks like you have a union on your pump suction side and a union on your heater pressure side... You may have to blow the air back from those 2 points back to the pool..

I just bought these to make it easy, you would just have to make sure all your suction and return side in the pool can use them :)

 

fezzer0014

Member
May 13, 2019
9
PA
Hadn't thought about blowing out from the connection coming out of the heater pressure side, but that's not a bad idea. Unfortunately my returns are not threaded and have to use the rubber stoppers
 

jgf310

Active member
Jul 30, 2016
31
Connecticut
i am pretty much in the same position as the OP. I open my own pool, and care for it, but have never closed it

I have read the guide, but have a question about blowing out the main drain.

i hope it's okay to add to this thread...

anyway - my main drain is at the bottom of the pool, and it goes to a manifold right before my pump - how do i blow that out?
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,823
NY
my main drain is at the bottom of the pool, and it goes to a manifold right before my pump - how do i blow that out
If it’s the traditional 3 way valve that selects either skimmers or main drains, you open the valve to the main drain side (closing off the skimmers) and blow regularly. Usually only a Cyclone blower has enough oomph to blow bubbles out the main drains but a compressor will still lower the water in the pipe enough that it will be below the frost line. While under pressure, turn the valve back to the skimmers and it will trap the air in the high side of the main drain pipe. Then empty/blow/drain/suck the skimmer pipes, add antifreeze, then gizmos and cut up pool noodles to the skimmer box.
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
714
Columbus, Ohio
i am pretty much in the same position as the OP. I open my own pool, and care for it, but have never closed it

I have read the guide, but have a question about blowing out the main drain.

i hope it's okay to add to this thread...

anyway - my main drain is at the bottom of the pool, and it goes to a manifold right before my pump - how do i blow that out?
I use a shop vac to blow the water level down in the main drain standpipe. Mine has a union at the 90 where is comes out of the ground and turns into the manifold. Remove the union and you are left with a vertical pipe. I blow the water level down, remove shop vac hose quickly and pour .5 - 1.0 gallon of antifreeze on top of the water column. Blow the level down again and insert a rubber plug. That way I have an air gap at ground level and anti-freeze both. Probably overkill.
 

anthonypool89

Gold Supporter
Aug 26, 2016
589
Berks County, PA
I'm a bit confused on the old sytle anthony skimmer,
I'm near certain that gizmos aren't recommended for the type of skimmer you're referring to. I have the same thing (having an Anthony pool) and use a double plug - #9 on the bottom and #8 on the top (I think....not certain of that). The reading referred to does not mention much about the proper type of plug to use. Check out this: Pool Skimmer Winterizing and Antifreeze | InTheSwim Pool Blog Has a picture of the type of plug although mine has the two rubber expansion plugs closer together. I blow my two returns lines first and plug them, and then all the air is diverted over to the skimmer. Push the plug in so the lower one directs all the air down to the drain. Once bubbles come up from the drain (give it a minute or two), then you simply push the plug all the way down so the upper plug is now blocking the point where the plumbing t's off to the pump. Turn off the air and done. There ideally should be no air bubbles coming back up in the water that remains in the skimmer pot - although sometimes there is. I used to get overly paranoid about any air bubbles and so would pull the plug and do it all over again...and again...and again. Then, I started taking ALL the water out of the skimmer pot once done with the whole procedure. If water doesn't come back up in the pot, the line is air-locked and nothing more needs to be done. My theory is that there is so much air pressure in the lines by the time the drain is blown that you're bound to get some air bubbles until the compressor is disconnected. I also firmly believe that the water will NEVER freeze all the way down to that drain anyway. If it does, it'd be one doozy of a winter. Theoretically, in spring, when that drain plug is again pulled out, there should still be water pressure down in there that bubbles up. There never is, so how much water actually does get back into the line is anyone's guess. That's why I run a gallon of antifreeze into the reruns and another gallon into the skimmer line. My pool water didn't even come close to freezing last winter. With global warming and climate change, I suspect we'll see less and less freezing temps.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,823
NY
My pool water didn't even come close to freezing last winter. With global warming and climate change, I suspect we'll see less and less freezing temps.
It was mis labeled originally with global warming. Its actually climate change and the climate is getting more extreme in both directions. The Northeast was lucky the last 2 years to avoid the polar vortex and the bomb cyclones. Plenty of the country had violent winters both years.

The temperature here has always moved on a 10 year cycle between mild and wild winters. We've had several mild winters and things will be picking up soon. If not this year then next.
 

anthonypool89

Gold Supporter
Aug 26, 2016
589
Berks County, PA
No...it isn't just climate change. It is global warming AND climate change. Noone will ever convince me otherwise. Global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacier retreat, decreased snow cover, sea level rise, declining arctic sea ice, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, change of species' habitats, etc. On and on. You can talk about 10-yr. (or however long) cycles all you want - still doesn't change what's happening. The last two years don't mean squat in the general scheme of things. When I was in Alaska, I clearly saw evidence of the permafrost melting, e.g. the "drunken trees". Compared pics of when I was there and when my parents were there - what a stark contrast. Winters here have been MUCH milder overall. Early in my teaching career I recall often wearing sweaters, vests, etc. heavier coats - all through the winter months. Last 5-10 years I hardly wore any of that. Spring-like clothing often sufficed during most of the winter. Spring annuals start to pop up here already by March (same for having to mow the grass that early). Last year I mowed the grass one day in December and put up Christmas lights the next!
 
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anthonypool89

Gold Supporter
Aug 26, 2016
589
Berks County, PA
and the bomb cyclones
tell me about it...I went through one off the coast of Norway last March and had to be evacuated from a cruise ship (via helicopter) that declared a mayday. Amazingly I'm here to write this given that it was determined later that we were within one ship's length of foundering against the rocky lee shore. It was said by experienced former sea captains that worse case scenario could have resulted in a thousand people dead. Luckily our anchors eventually held and the ship was able to get one engine restarted (we had total blackout for about a half hour or so...LONG story). Google it: Viking Sky March 23, 2019.
 
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anthonypool89

Gold Supporter
Aug 26, 2016
589
Berks County, PA
Plenty of the world is still having bad winters.
More like freakishly and increasingly bad storms. Look at the current hurricane season - they ran out of letters and so had to resort to using the Greek alphabet (although that did happen once before). The "storm of the century" might now become the "storm of the decade". Ok...enough on all that.
 
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fezzer0014

Member
May 13, 2019
9
PA
I'm near certain that gizmos aren't recommended for the type of skimmer you're referring to. I have the same thing (having an Anthony pool) and use a double plug - #9 on the bottom and #8 on the top (I think....not certain of that). The reading referred to does not mention much about the proper type of plug to use. Check out this: Pool Skimmer Winterizing and Antifreeze | InTheSwim Pool Blog Has a picture of the type of plug although mine has the two rubber expansion plugs closer together. I blow my two returns lines first and plug them, and then all the air is diverted over to the skimmer. Push the plug in so the lower one directs all the air down to the drain. Once bubbles come up from the drain (give it a minute or two), then you simply push the plug all the way down so the upper plug is now blocking the point where the plumbing t's off to the pump. Turn off the air and done. There ideally should be no air bubbles coming back up in the water that remains in the skimmer pot - although sometimes there is. I used to get overly paranoid about any air bubbles and so would pull the plug and do it all over again...and again...and again. Then, I started taking ALL the water out of the skimmer pot once done with the whole procedure. If water doesn't come back up in the pot, the line is air-locked and nothing more needs to be done. My theory is that there is so much air pressure in the lines by the time the drain is blown that you're bound to get some air bubbles until the compressor is disconnected. I also firmly believe that the water will NEVER freeze all the way down to that drain anyway. If it does, it'd be one doozy of a winter. Theoretically, in spring, when that drain plug is again pulled out, there should still be water pressure down in there that bubbles up. There never is, so how much water actually does get back into the line is anyone's guess. That's why I run a gallon of antifreeze into the reruns and another gallon into the skimmer line. My pool water didn't even come close to freezing last winter. With global warming and climate change, I suspect we'll see less and less freezing temps.

I ended up disconnecting the filter to give the fins a proper hosing out and blew out the return lines to both the pool and hot tub through that. I completely drained the hot tub (using pool cover pump and shop vac) then with the water below the skimmer in the pool used a threaded plug to block off the skimmer. I then used the cyclone to blow out the main drain from the pump, then blocked off the pool side with the 3 way valve. This should have air locked the pool skimmer and main drain. I then blew out the hot tub with the cyclone (shop vac again to get any left over water) and quickly inserted a #10 stopper to air lock the hot tub. I then put water back in the hot tub to just below the returns. In my mind this should clear the lines of all water and prevent any issues with damage from freezing. Let me know if I'm off on anything before it gets really cold and I still have time to fix it :geek: