I'm in Houston and I don't have a cover... what should I do?

lordmundi

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2021
48
Texas
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I've read the article in the Pool School on closing for the winter a couple of times and did some searching but I'm uneasy about what I'm supposed to be doing for the incoming winter here in Houston.

I don't have a cover for the pool and this will be the first winter I've had for my first pool, so I'm trying to understand the basics of what I'm trying to prevent. As best I can tell, I'm trying to prevent water freezing and cracking some PVC or plastic somewhere, and I suppose I'm also trying to prevent algae growing in the water as the temperatures spikes hot in the south? I'm not really sure.

Even though it doesn't get very cold in south Texas, we do have occasional freezes (including the famous really bad one last year), so I have to assume there could be freezing weather occasionally. And similarly, even though it is winter time, it is very common in the winter to have spikes of warmer weather from time to time.

So, what do I do? If I didn't get any other guidance, I'm thinking I would:
  1. raise the chlorine level quite high
  2. add polyquat? Not sure... i've never done that and I'm not sure if it is needed or if there are ramifications of getting rid of it when I open back up
  3. drain the pool below the skimmers and returns, then use the shop vac in the bottom of each skimmer to try and blow any water through the lines and out of the returns
  4. i don't have any plugs... i'm not sure if that is something i need to buy or where I would use them
  5. open the drain plugs on my pumps (i have 3 of them - pool, waterfall, and polaris robot)
  6. Put the control panel into service mode so that none of the scheduled running of the pump or the cleaning robot happens anymore (or maybe just figure out how to remove power altogether)
Again, not sure how this all changes if I don't have a pool cover. Thanks for any help and I really appreciate anyone else that lives in the warm south that can offer experience with their in-ground pool closing.

Here is a picture of my pool and my pool equipment:
img-34.jpeg

PXL_20210518_210946277.jpg
 

Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
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Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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In most cases, winter is very easy for us. The video below talks quite a bit about how us warmer areas need to plan. In a nutshell:
1 - Maintain a normal FC level according to your current CYA per the FC/CYA Chart.
2 - No cover required. Just keep the pool relatively clean if you can.
3 - No polyquat required since you are not completely closing like up north.
4 - DO keep the water moving when we get freeze warnings. Moving water won't freeze.
5 - Consider wrapping the pipes or having a way to cover the equipment pad to keep hard freeze weather off.
6 - Again, no need to lower the water level or blow out lines like up north. We don't "close" like they do. We just go somewhat dormant, but the pool is still working.

Last Feb was an extremely odd situation with the blackouts. I don't expect to see that happen again, although we can have a normal power outage at anytime. If temps are below freezing and power does go out, just have a Plan B. Know where your drain plugs are if you have to let the water out of the filter, pump, etc.

 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
Lord,

Most people in Texas don't close their pools.. They stay open 365...

In my case, the only difference between winter and summer is that it is too cold to swim in the winter... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

lordmundi

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2021
48
Texas
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
ahh... thanks for the replies. So for Jim and Texas Splash... do you pretty much just keep doing the same thing over the winter that you do over the summer? Like measure and keep chlorine levels up and run the pumps and cleaner on the regular schedule? What exactly is different in the winter for you?

Thanks so much... this really helps to put me at ease!
 

Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
33,862
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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Chlorine
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do you pretty much just keep doing the same thing over the winter that you do over the summer?
That's about it. You can reduce pump run time a bit if you want, and you won't need to add as much chlorine when the water gets cold, but everything is pretty much the same.
 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
Lord,

In my case, I have saltwater pools... The Saltwater Chlorine Generator (SWCG) shuts off when the water temp get below about 55 degrees. When that happens I start using Liquid Chlorine.. For me that is really the only difference... I continue to test but as the water gets colder the less FC the pool needs so I test less often..

I still run my robot, clean the skimmers, etc...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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lordmundi

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2021
48
Texas
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
one more question for Jim and Texas Splash (and any other Texas folks here)... so what do you do when you see a freeze coming in the forecast (particularly over night)? Do you run the pump all night? Do you drain and try to blow air through the pipes before the freeze gets there? Add pool anti-freeze to the water? I'm particularly interested in what you did during the great freeze last year when the power also went out. How did people handle that?
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
so what do you do when you see a freeze coming in the forecast

Lord,

My VS pump runs 24/7, so I do nothing.. I also have an automation system that would start the pump if the air temps gets close to freezing, if I was not already running it.

The main problem with the "Deep Freeze" is that a lot of people lost power... I was lucky and did not... But, it is very important that if you have lost power that you know how to quickly drain your filter, pumps, and anything that holds water. You don't really need to do anything with pool itself, as unlike the people in the North, our pools are not going to freeze solid, like a skating rink.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jun 22, 2014
33,862
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Besides letting my run run continuously, this is what I did just in case power went out - which it did on a few occasions.

full


full


full
 

superuser

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2020
218
Spring, TX
Hey, that's some nice weatherproofing Tex! Pretty good idea!

I ran mine all winter too, adjusting my maintenance to the lower chlorine demand. In freezing temps, most controllers will keep the pump running continuously, if not just turn it on manually. Water in motion won't (easily) freeze. When the big freeze hit last February, I was fortunate in that power was only out for 16 hours, and it was roughly 6am-10p. Still, as soon as the power went out I went to the equipment pad and drained everything. There's drain plugs in all of your equipment (pump, heater, filter, etc.) that are usually easy to remove, but to be sure it is a good idea to check them while it's still warm outside. Maybe not remove them entirely because you'll have to reprime and get the air out of the system, but at least locate them all and make sure they will turn if the need arises. I left the plugs out overnight after the power came back just to be sure it would stay on, but the next day I had the pool up and running again.
 
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