How to deal with a frozen pool

Leebo

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As the days go on I do hope to expand this thread into some additional tools so that in the future were better prepared. How we’ll do that, who knows. I wanted to get the info out there to members who are unprepared to deal with the skating rink in their back yard and who’s eager to see what damage may have occurred. One of my largest goals here was to rush this thread to simply get members to SLOW DOWN as I suspect we’re gonna see several people wanting to hit their pools in full “attack mode,” and my gut says that’s gonna end poorly.

As for winterizing verses freezing verses closing……my desire there is to let Google and search results drive the terms we use. 😉
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kellyfair

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Jun 29, 2016
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I’m feeling a little guilty here in FL. Best wishes to my frozen TFP friends!
 
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melodyanne

Bronze Supporter
Jan 12, 2018
10
Waco TX
I finally became a supporter during this time. I’m so thankful for all the time given and knowledge shared!!

Is there a wiki article on what it means to “prime a pump?” I drained the equip pad so will need to learn how to refill. Do I just keep filling at the pump basket until the water level in the basket begins to hold? And can I use the faucet on the pump or should I use the hose? And then keep the bleed valve on the filter open for a bit to let out the air? A step by step on that would be great for a 101 like me.

Anytime I mess with the equip, my anxiety goes up a bit.
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
36,065
Laughlin, NV
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Is there a wiki article on what it means to “prime a pump?”
Pool pumps are 'self priming'. You can dump a bucket of water or run the hose into the pump basket if you like, then replace the lid after cleaning and lubricating the gasket with Pool Lube, secure it tightly, and then start the pump. It should prime in a minute or so. Especially if your pool equipment is not more than a foot or two above the pool water line. Be sure to have your filter relief valve open until it shoots out water.
 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
516
Bryan TX
Well. . .
January 11th we had snow here in the Bryan / College Station area. Now that was fun, a change of pace.
The weather this week, not so much. Our pool was recently completed and we're still in the two weeks of brushing stage. Unfortunately we didn't brush the pool yesterday (Wednesday) we had freezing rain Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Too cold and too slippery. Oddly enough, just now I just peeked my head outside while the dog diddled and ice was falling from the trees. It sounded like rain. For a sec I thought something was wrong with the pool!

But the deck is icy and there's no way we're attempting anything over there. I think it was Sunday I was brushing and watched my 125lbs great Pyrenees girl slip on the deck. Just woah. No way. She still loves that area to patrol and won't stop walking on it despite the ice. Our other dog will listen and goes back to the side yard and tries to find a spot without snow.

Thankfully we've never lost power although our tankless water heater, installed in a garage outside wall, froze up. No hot water for two days. As soon as it was fixed I was in the shower. If anyone has watched the TX clips on Dallas, it's not just Dallas that's suffered through this. People were not prepared to have their power shut off for rolling blackouts . . .Which weren't blackouts but permanently shut off, no water, can't boil water they do have, and it's 30 degrees in the house. I heard people sit in their cars outside to try and keep warm.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,232
NY
If anyone has watched the TX clips on Dallas, it's not just Dallas that's suffered through this.
Oh yes. We are well versed in how big Texas is. And have been sending our collective well wishes to the general region including, but not limited to, TX and OK. 😁

The news has to pick a spot to broadcast from so DFW gets all the ‘attention’. But I assure you that we’ve been rooting for ALL of you.
 
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Leebo

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I finally became a supporter during this time. I’m so thankful for all the time given and knowledge shared!!

Is there a wiki article on what it means to “prime a pump?” I drained the equip pad so will need to learn how to refill. Do I just keep filling at the pump basket until the water level in the basket begins to hold? And can I use the faucet on the pump or should I use the hose? And then keep the bleed valve on the filter open for a bit to let out the air? A step by step on that would be great for a 101 like me.

Anytime I mess with the equip, my anxiety goes up a bit.

While it’s a very poor article as a whole, it’s a start. We’ll take Marty’s response and catalog it for future use. Additionally in time we’ll add to this article as I can see where it’s beneficial for users to have this sort of thing noted. 👍 Additionally, Thanks for Supporting TFP!

 

HeyEng

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Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
686
Oklahoma City, OK
I think it was Sunday I was brushing and watched my 125lbs great Pyrenees girl slip on the deck. Just woah. No way. She still loves that area to patrol and won't stop walking on it despite the ice.

This can be a REALLY bad deal if you aren't careful. Our cattle dog ruptured his CCL (like a human's ACL) during our October ice storm. The surgery was $3,000 and included THREE MONTHS of very restricted activity. The vet that did the surgery said we were the SEVENTH CCL he had to operate on because of the ice. I would do EVERYTHING in your power to keep her off of the ice, or figure out something alternatively to keep this from happening.
 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
516
Bryan TX
I would do EVERYTHING in your power to keep her off of the ice, or figure out something alternatively to keep this from happening.
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I feel for you and going through that with your dog! It's interesting we've kept both dogs away from the pool build since late October. The challenges this year keep on building. Let's see. Since I wrote we've had hard freezes and tomorrow (Saturday) we'll finally start to really thaw. Thankfully our pool pump has never stopped running. Pool was brushed by hubby today (Friday) after he cleared the ice off the deck.

We haven't heard from our pool builder since Saturday, almost a week. Pool school with them was to be on Thursday. I mainly want the chemicals they supply and for them to hook everything up. Right now only the pump is, and that's a good thing. I am ready for spring!
 
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sri

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 6, 2015
9
Dallas, TX
Well Texas, that was fun wasn’t it? While there’s still some poor weather down south, things are looking up.

We’ve noticed over the last few days many of yinz down south aren’t used to what we up north call “Winter.” We’ve compiled a list of some very simple tips and tricks to help you out as the cold snap breaks and you get back to your regularly scheduled weather. This list is nowhere near a complete guide, but with some help we’ll get your pool back up and running in no time. If you do run into any issues we ask that you please start a new thread so we can give you some customized advice.
  • Be extremely careful when walking around your deck
    • Let’s be honest, you just saw your first actual winter weather. Fun isn’t it! It does get better!! That wet spot on the ground turns to ice when it’s cold outside, and that ice is slicker than snot. Be extremely careful when walking that you don’t end up on your rear because I promise, it hurts like heck!
    • Keep a very close eye on little ones! Kids and puppy’s will be very interested in exploring. Keep every set of eyeballs you have on them as the deck is a very dangerous area right now.
  • Be prepared for additional power outages
    • Once things start to come back online there’s good odds you’ll see spotty service at first in addition to the possibility of cool weather. If your pump is already dry, it maybe a good idea to wait a few days to let everything catch back up before restarting. Rushing out and blasting that pump on high will only cause additional demand on the grid
    • If you do restart, don’t rely on your SWG. With this cold water it’s not gonna work. Prepare to use some bleach
  • DON’T force ANYTHING!!
    • If it’s frozen, walk away. There’s no need to go dumping hot water onto a pipe simply to heat it up. The expansion and contraction is what tends to break stuff. If it’s stuck, don’t force it. In time it’ll warm up and odds say it’ll move on it’s own again. Forcing that valve to open will only cause it to break
  • Don’t go smashing things with a hammer!
    • Odds say your pool will have a layer of ice in it, it’s ok. There’s no need smashing up the ice, in fact it could make things worse. Liner pools can have their liner torn or smaller chunks of ice could get sucked into places you don’t want them. If it’s frozen, leave it alone!
  • Careful when you reinsert the drain plugs
    • Many people are going to be re-inserting the plugs for the first time ever. Take a few minutes and make sure they’re not cross-threaded. If you see any leaks, somethings not right.
    • If the plugs were removed, take a second to lube them before inserting them back in
  • It’ll be awhile before your pool turns green
    • Algae has a very difficult time growing in cold water. Because of this odds say your pool won’t turn green overnight. Don’t rush to start things simply because you want to avoid algae
    • If you do find yourself very low on chlorine, dump some liquid chlorine into the pool and brush the walls. By brushing it’ll mix the chlorine into the water without the need of a running pump
  • If your pump isn’t priming, don’t stress out!
    • If you were one who totally drained your system there’s a good chance the pump is going to need a TON of water to get it’s prime back. If it doesn’t catch a prime right off the bat, keep adding water. Odds say it’ll prime in time.
  • Inspect everything for damage.
    • This is a tip that I suggest all pool owners do at least yearly no matter the weather. Now that your system is off-line, what better time to peak at all the parts for tears, leaks, or any other general damage?
    • While you’re at it, what better time to lube all the o-rings and gaskets? The system has taken a beating the last week or so, since you’re not going to go swimming, give things some maintenance.
  • Be prepared for leaks
    • While the likelihood of broken pipes is small, there is a chance. If you have any fears of a leak it’s in your best interest to preform a bucket test to see if all is well or if you have a dreaded leak.
  • If you do happen to have a leak, take a look at this article on repairing pvc. There’s some good tips to help you out.

Above all we encourage you to take your time! There’s no need to go out there and rush things. As a fellow enthusiast I get it and am proud of your go get em spirit. But the hidden parts will take longer to thaw. Like that frozen feed pipe that looks ok and then sucks a hand grenade sized ice chunk through the pump. Please don’t rush things, go back inside and enjoy a bowl of Chili you made during the cold.
Thank you for this timely link. What is meant by adding water to the pump to prime. Where do I add water? I thought I just turn it ON and wait. Can you please link to article on this topic.
 

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mhayes549

New member
Jun 1, 2017
4
Dallas, Texas
Hello! Temps are finally warming up in Dallas! I left my pump on with the intention of it running 24 hours a day until the cold weather subsided, however with the extended power outages, my pump stopped and completely froze up. The damage looks pretty rough. Any thoughts on whether it would be worth my time to take it apart and hope that only the casing is busted, or just bag it and buy a new pump? Many thanks! Please attached photos.
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el duderino

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Jun 15, 2008
179
Austin, TX
Pool Size
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Hello! Temps are finally warming up in Dallas! I left my pump on with the intention of it running 24 hours a day until the cold weather subsided, however with the extended power outages, my pump stopped and completely froze up. The damage looks pretty rough. Any thoughts on whether it would be worth my time to take it apart and hope that only the casing is busted, or just bag it and buy a new pump? Many thanks! Please attached photos.
I'm no expert, but I would try to take it apart and assess the damage. If it's just that plastic flange that cracked, that could be repaired for a few dollars via a quick amazon search. A new pump will set you back quite a bit.
 

RMcGirr83

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2018
968
Tuscola, TX
She who must be obeyed, aka my wife, and I moved from CT 3 years ago to get away from the snow (and the taxes). After living in CT for 30+ years, yeah the white stuff can get on your nerves. This past week has been a challenge, to say the least. We lost power in the wee hours of Monday morning. First thing I did Monday am was drain the pool equipment and turn off the water to the irrigation system. Forgot about the drain plug on the pump🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. Those few days without power, and water, were B O R I N G. The town of Abilene was completely shut down.

We finally regained power on Wednesday at ~7:30pm. I came back home from work (went to take a shower and wash some dishes and while there fixed a few leaking pipes) to the wife dancing in the kitchen. I should have known it wasn't because I had returned from work. ;)

Lesson learned, apparently Texas doesn't believe in the thought of winterizing even though they had gone through the same conditions in 1989 and 2011.

Everything has started to melt but I think it's evaporating more than anything as the ground isn't sopping wet. Humidity in West Texas right now sits at 31% and that's probably due to all the snow. Typically it hovers around 20%.

Haven't gone out to the pad as of yet and won't until everything is thawed, supposed to be 70 on Tuesday. Then will do a thorough analysis to see if anything's busted....like the pump housing 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. This tiktok basically sums it up (hope the link works).

 

Green25

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2020
96
DFW
Pool Size
12800
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Chlorine
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A Texas sized thank you for this post and to everyone who answered questions last weekend in preparation for the storm. We’ve been fortunate to have avoided broken pipes and water damage so far :::knocks on wood:::, but I am frankly not even sure what to look for pool wise, beyond the obvious above ground cracked pipe at the equipment pad. I’m planning to go out this afternoon to assess, but we’ve only had water since Labor Day and I want to know what trouble spots I should be looking for.

What kind of damage should we keep an eye out for along the tile, skimmers, water features? We still have the equipment and water features tarped.
 

mw63

Bronze Supporter
Apr 1, 2016
4
Plano TX
Any specific recommendations for frozen filters, mine is cartridge? Pool was doing fine with freeze protect until we lost power the day it dropped to 1 degree F.
I removed the drain plugs from filter and pump the next morining, already frozen.

Assuming allow to thaw then disassemble to inspect before attempting turn on after thaw?

Thanks again for all the info, we don't know how to deal with a pool you can stand on in TX ; )
 

Rodex

Gold Supporter
Jun 2, 2019
114
Mansfield, TX
Pool Size
11000
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Plaster
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This forum was an invaluable resource.

I still have no idea how I faired, not going to start everything up until the ice layer on top of the pool is thawed, but seeing all the texts with cracked pumps and filter housings from people we know - we could have come out a lot worse.

Now how do I cash in on the Gold status?! 💃🏻
 
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Waiawa

Silver Supporter
Dec 10, 2020
109
Round Rock, Texas
Pool Size
13860
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
YeeHaww....things here are starting to warm up!
Great suggestions in the thread as usual. I have all my plugs open and unions on my heater loose (I couldn't find a drain plug) also decided to loosen the union on my UV...water is dripping out from all the plug holes and lose unions, so that is good. My pool skimmer is not frozen over, so glad for that. I did use a shovel (very carefully) and broke up the ice around the edge of the pool...did this 3 times, for expansion. I'm not sure if the expansion would harm the fiberglass since it was all frozen...frozen in my mind = fragile!

I'll be lubing all O-Rings and don't plan of tightening up the unions until everything has thawed...again frozen, don't want to strip any threading.
I also figured this would be a good time to clean my cartridge filters, since am at everything else....might as well get to know how ALL things work.
I must say, it was kind of fun and exciting to go through all of this...coming from Hawaii there's not much action other than Hurricanes every 10yrs or so.
So now while I'm waiting for things to thaw, I decided to smoke some ribs, so I don't get too anxious to fiddle with the equipment.

Again, thank you to all that helped us Southerners get through this cold spell...keeping my eye on Spring!

Aloha...Y'all!
 

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