How bad will it be without a cover

cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
So every year I close our pool fairly late in the year and then open it fairly early. I try to keep the water temperature low and so far I've yet to have to even vacuum the pool when opening.

That being said.......how big of a surprise am I in for if I wait until most leaves have fallen and then disconnect / drain my pump and filter and then just leave the pool uncovered?
My parents didn't cover their pool for a few years way back in the 70s-80s and it was always a green disaster when opening but I don't know how or when my dad losed it and opened it. I remember him draining most of the pool and then there being a whole lot of scrubbing.

If I wait until it's in the 20s out to close, and then reopen as soon as the water is thawed enough, is it going to be a horrible experience?
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,319
Spring Valley, NY
It'll be a tad cleaner if covered the whole time but even when the leaf drop season is gone you will still end up with debris from strong wind but other then that you can leave it uncovered and should not make a difference. The problem you run into is the temps will dip to dangerous levels before all the leaves drop and chances of breaking your equipment isn't worth it from my view.
 
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cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
It'll be a tad cleaner if covered the whole time but even when the leaf drop season is gone you will still end up with debris from strong wind but other then that you can leave it uncovered and should not make a difference. The problem you run into is the temps will dip to dangerous levels before all the leaves drop and chances of breaking your equipment isn't worth it from my view.

I'm not terribly worried about the equipment as I let it run 24/7 all summer, so no reason I can't do the same in the fall. I think I should be completely safe until it's actually pretty cold out.
It's a 2 speed pump and doesn't use much in low.
 

Newdude

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TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,599
NY
With no cover, close at Slam level when the fall crud is over and test/add just before it freezes. Test and add again when it thaws and occasionally again until you fire it all back up. Your parents going green was from not maintaining the water in the off season, not the lack of cover.
 
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cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
Would there be any benefit to placing a small 1/6HP submersible pump near the center of the pool to keep water moving down under the ice without a filter?

I highly doubt that would ever come close to freezing, so I'd feel safe with it but I have no way to include a filter that would be serviceable when it's cold out.
There's times we see -10F and colder, and days it doesn't get above 10 degrees so I'd need it to be near the center of the pool at the bottom.
 

Newdude

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TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,599
NY
There is no reason to circulate under the ice. Once it’s frozen the Algae is long dormant if there was any there. Keeping the FC up until it freezes is all you need to do, and this time of year, daily loss is darn near zero for us. Daily tests become weekly, bi-weekly and then monthly. Once it starts warming up, the daily demand will slooooooooowly start increasing. You have all the time in the world to match it before the season starts.

With the pump winterized, just brush the chlorine around real good as it’s heavier than water and might puddle up. It will only take 5 mins to go crazy brushing.
 
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cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
There is no reason to circulate under the ice. Once it’s frozen the Algae is long dormant if there was any there. Keeping the FC up until it freezes is all you need to do, and this time of year, daily loss is darn near zero for us. Daily tests become weekly, bi-weekly and then monthly. Once it starts warming up, the daily demand will slooooooooowly start increasing. You have all the time in the world to match it before the season starts.

With the pump winterized, just brush the chlorine around real good as it’s heavier than water and might puddle up. It will only take 5 mins to go crazy brushing.

I'm assuming keeping the water below skimmer / return are still normal, and instead of draining the cover I'll be draining the pool to ensure this?

What about pillows (ice compensators). I assume that's useless without a cover?
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,599
NY
I'm assuming keeping the water below skimmer / return are still normal, and instead of draining the cover I'll be draining the pool to ensure this?
Yes. This is the choice that everyone has regardless. With a mesh cover or no cover, they drain the pool itself. With a solid cover / tarp they drain above the cover. It’s everyone’s choice if they want to drain more less times, or drain 3 inches each time it’s needed. For you, expect 3 ft of off season precipitation in the NorthEast. (y)
What about pillows (ice compensators). I assume that's useless without a cover?
Pillows work when they don’t pop, but many pop and folks usually eventually skip them with no harm. Any extra steps for insurance are good things. But this one usually isn’t worth the hassle.
 
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cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
Last time I checked the water was down to 48F.

FC 6.8, pH 7.6.
It's certainly not using much chlorine, so there's that.

My hand burns after cleaning all the leaves out of the skimmer mouth so I can pull the basket to dump it.

But so far, I enjoy this much more than the cover.
 
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cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
There was a chart or an article somewhere on what you had to do to protect your equipment at different temperatures but I can't find it.
Does anyone have a link?

We're getting down towards 24f over the next few days and I just wanted to look to see when I need to drain. I'm assuming I still have a few weeks before I need to worry but i want to be sure. We're still in the 40s during the day.

The pumps still going 24/7 and all is happy.
 

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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,599
NY
I'm assuming I still have a few weeks before I need to worry but i want to be sure. We're still in the 40s during the day.
Oh yeah. The water will be the 5 day or so average temp. At freezing it only needs to move a little. The colder it gets the more it needs to move. Niagara Falls for example has never froze in known history.

But. As we found out last year, That 22 degree water that you kept from freezing will freeze solid in no time at all if you lose power. So you are WELL off by figuring all this out before it’s a problem and you are out there at 2 AM with a flashlight. (y)
 

jseyfert3

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Oct 20, 2017
1,880
Southern WI
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I went without covering last year (my first winter), doing the same this winter. Like you I waited, a bit too long last year (see below), till the water was cold. Then I disconnected and drained the pool a bit, and left it all winter.

Here it is in January 2021:
full


Here it is March 13th, first day the last of the ice melted.
full


March 16th, got some pool lights, testing them. Starting to see a hint of green.
full


March 20th, I wake up this Saturday, see this, and realize I need to open the pool NOW or I'm going to have a long SLAM ahead of me.
full


March 20th, a few hours later. I had added a couple gallons of chlorine, then brushed a bit to mix, and netted out most of the leaves. Then I started filling while setting up my pump and filter (now visible off to the left side of the pool).
full


March 28th:
full


Hopefully this helps you. My key takaway is once the pool fully melts, without a cover you need to get it open ASAP, cause the debris and sunlight will cause algea to start growing. On the flipside from the time I closed to the time I opened I paid zero attention to the pool. No need to buy/install/check/drain a cover.

Also as you can see when caught early the little algea I vanish immediately. You can see in the pics how in a matter of like 3-4 hours the pool went from green to blue. Caught early, with cold water, easy to manage. I suspect your dad had issues without a cover because it was not caught early when the water was cold, so it was a fight to clear the water.

Oh yeah. The water will be the 5 day or so average temp. At freezing it only needs to move a little. The colder it gets the more it needs to move. Niagara Falls for example has never froze in known history.
From closing too late last year, I'd like to point out that moving water not freezing is a myth. I would say the reason certain moving rivers and waterfalls do not freeze is because they are churning up water in contact with ground below the frost line, i.e. not frozen, so it keeps the water from freezing.

If your water is well circulated such that it's all the same temp and if the temp of that water gets to 32 °F, it WILL begin to freeze, even inside pipes with moving water. This is what happened with me last year. Kept my pump running 24/7, fine through freezing nights while the water was above 32, finally waited long enough we had a cold spell starting where it wouldn't even get above 32 in the day, water got down to 32, ice formed over the pool surface. Went out and pump was struggling to pump water. Started disconnecting hoses from the pump and they had ice building up inside them. Put the disconnected hoses on the ground to drain water out of the pool by gravity and the pipes froze up and stopped draining. I managed to get the pool drained enough by punching through the ice and using a submersible pump and garden hose to drain the pool. Then I had to drag my sand filter inside cause it didn't have time to drain and the temp wouldn't get above freezing that day.

Bottom line is you're fine going below freezing if the pump is running (and you don't loose power), AND the water temp is high enough above freezing it won't hit freezing overnight. But if the water temp is getting close to freezing, GET IT WINTERIZED ASAP before you hit that mark!
 
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jseyfert3

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Oct 20, 2017
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Southern WI
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P.S. I did learn from my first year. We dipped below freezing by a few degrees in the weeks leading up to this week. Pool water was plenty warm though. Tuesday evening I noted it was still 45 out but that Wed the low was 20 or less, so I got my pool winterized before things really started freezing up on me. Now I can ignore it again until late Feb/early March.
 

cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
P.S. I did learn from my first year. We dipped below freezing by a few degrees in the weeks leading up to this week. Pool water was plenty warm though. Tuesday evening I noted it was still 45 out but that Wed the low was 20 or less, so I got my pool winterized before things really started freezing up on me. Now I can ignore it again until late Feb/early March.


I'm over here like

giphy.gif
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,319
Spring Valley, NY
Not sure what gain there is waiting for the last minute. I will say working outdoors at close to freezing temps is very uncomfortable when it involves water. Once the water gets in to the high thirties is when you should get it done. I have one pool they insisted to play the waiting game and flirt with nature and the rest is history. The next season it was the heater core and plenty of exposed pvc which could've all been avoided.
 

cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
Not sure what gain there is waiting for the last minute. I will say working outdoors at close to freezing temps is very uncomfortable when it involves water. Once the water gets in to the high thirties is when you should get it done. I have one pool they insisted to play the waiting game and flirt with nature and the rest is history. The next season it was the heater core and plenty of exposed pvc which could've all been avoided.

Waiting for leaves to fall.
I'd say we're at 50% left.
 

cj133

Well-known member
May 6, 2018
506
NJ
Well,
I drained the pool down to a safe level using my vacuum hose by siphoning and shut everything down, got the equipment drained and by that night the pool got a decent coating of ice on it.

Water temp was 44F when I started but we had a low of 19F that night. Honestly I'm amazed how fast it froze considering I had many nights that cool with the pump running and there wasn't ice anywhere except the skimmer lid. Surprising what happens just because the pump stops.

FC is around 6 PPM, pH is 7.6. Might be 1 or 2 leaves in it but overall it's looking very good.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,319
Spring Valley, NY
Well,
I drained the pool down to a safe level using my vacuum hose by siphoning and shut everything down, got the equipment drained and by that night the pool got a decent coating of ice on it.

Water temp was 44F when I started but we had a low of 19F that night. Honestly I'm amazed how fast it froze considering I had many nights that cool with the pump running and there wasn't ice anywhere except the skimmer lid. Surprising what happens just because the pump stops.

FC is around 6 PPM, pH is 7.6. Might be 1 or 2 leaves in it but overall it's looking very good.
Just walk away and don't look back till spring.
 
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