Is opening myself worth it?

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#1
Hi,
I did the TFP methods all last summer with enormous success. I decided to pay a company $235 to close my pool with a full plan to figure that out and do it myself in the future. I assumed I would be able to figure out opening by reading a few posts here. Well, now its almost spring.

I was talking to a friend with a pool (a non TFPer) and he said I'm crazy. He suggested letting the company who closed the pool also open it in case they screwed something up and it would be part of their warranty to fix a frozen pipe if I wasn't messing around with it myself.

In general, is that the case? Do companies not get involved if a DIYer opens the pool after they botched a close? Also, I wonder how common it is to actually have frozen pipes (i'm in MD). I watched him pour a gallon of antifreeze in the pipes and they appeared completely blown out.

Think its worth paying a company a few hundred bucks to open this baby just in case they screwed something up or does that seem excessive?

Thanks,

John
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
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Jul 21, 2011
8,064
Eastern Ohio
#2
With the mild winter we've really had combined with a proper close the odds of a frozen pipe is very low. If you don't mind some work the task of opening will save you the $250. That savings is likely gonna be your chemicals for the year. Opening takes me maybe two hours each year and often I'm able to do it myself.
 
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JohnA902

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#4
Yeah I still might try to do it myself. Seems so easy, other than priming the pump. The DE filter seems easy to put together, I can take my cover off myself. My only concern is that some of the valves were closed and I was under the impression they were all open just in case water got in, the water could expand without a break. Still, unless I'm picturing freezing of a pipe more like a house pipe (closed pipe frozen, water expands and boom) and since there is so much water blown out, with so much room for expansion, and the fact that the pipes come out a few feet above the ground that this probably wont happen.

Hopefully worrying about nothing.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,340
San Clemente, CA
#7
Interesting setup that the main drain is shared by the suction and return side. I assume that is for a deep return for use with the heat pump.

As for priming the pump, the valves are in the correct positions so as long as the plugs are removed and you fill the pump basket with water, you should be good to go.

Do you have water features?
 

Murray16

Gold Supporter
Mar 30, 2016
37
Baltimore, MD
#8
My pool has the same setup with the main drain, in fact the plumbing looks almost exactly the same to mine. My guess is A/S had the same subs do both of ours as I'm in Baltimore too.
 
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JohnA902

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#9
Thanks. Yes, I have deck jets. And yes, I have a deep return for the heat.

- - - Updated - - -

Quick update - I had a chat with a guy from the company that built the pool and he agreed with you all that a frozen pipe is very rare. He added that when it does happen it mostly occurs at the pipe locations above ground so it is really easy to fix. He said you'll know immediately b/c the pump won't prime.

So now I'm just waiting until April and it's GO TIME!
 

bmoreswim

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TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
4,391
Central MD
#10
Just for my two cents, it's a no-brainer to open yourself if you can manage the cover. The rest is easy peasy, plugs, fittings, breakers, water, voila. My guy's price to open is $230 + $95 for a mesh cover removal. $1,400 saved so far! Our pools sort of look like twins from your profile picture.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#11
Just a quick tip in advance, John. When you start up the pump, turn your filter to waste if you're able for a few minutes to flush the antifreeze in the lines. While pool antifreeze is rated as okay (eg non toxic) if it gets in the pool, each year I come across threads with high chlorine usage or false ccs that later seem related to a lot of antifreeze having discharged into the water. Others don't seem to have a problem, but I thought it was worth mentioning NOW instead of after you opened ;)
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
#12
Forgot to address one of your other points. My pool person says in his warranty certificate (that he photocopies, signs and dates each fall - it's kind of endearing actually) that damage identified before May 31st due to improper closing will be remedied at his cost. He seems completely genuine about it it conversation too. He knows I open and can't imagine he would ever deny fixing something due to his closing process. Of course he may be just saying this but he tells me he's never had an issue related to freezing on any pool he's closed. Certainly there could be frozen pipes below ground here in MD (some years at least), though nearer to the surface would be more likely.
 
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JohnA902

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#13
Just a quick tip in advance, John. When you start up the pump, turn your filter to waste if you're able for a few minutes to flush the antifreeze in the lines. While pool antifreeze is rated as okay (eg non toxic) if it gets in the pool, each year I come across threads with high chlorine usage or false ccs that later seem related to a lot of antifreeze having discharged into the water. Others don't seem to have a problem, but I thought it was worth mentioning NOW instead of after you opened ;)
So this would mean to set the DE filter to backwash while priming and starting the pump so the water in the pipes will wash the antifreeze out to my yard rather than into the pool?


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Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#14
^i believe that's how you'd handle it with DE, but I have a sand filter, so I'm not 100% certain whether there is any reason to do it differently with DE filter. In essence, to waste before to filter ;)
 
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JohnA902

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#15
^i believe that's how you'd handle it with DE, but I have a sand filter, so I'm not 100% certain whether there is any reason to do it differently with DE filter. In essence, to waste before to filter ;)
I'm not sure the backwash is the same as a waste. I think the antifreeze and water would go directly into the DE filter and then out to the lawn, the same way the normal water would get rid of the old DE.

I'm also not sure how to prime the pump and get it going if it's directly into a backwash. I wonder if that is feasible.


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Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#16
Sorry I've never used a DE filter to clarify. On your filter, is there a setting that goes straight to waste? Either way, reducing the amount you get in the pool, even if you have to prime for a minute first, isn't a bad plan ;)
 
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JohnA902

JohnA902

Well-known member
Apr 3, 2016
109
Baltimore MD
#17
I'm not familiar with the term "waste" for the filter. I've only see backwash, which would take the water from the pool through the DE filter and then out to the lawn. I wonder if that's a reasonable idea to expose a dry/just wet filter to concentrated antifreeze? Regardless, i'm going to start a new thread with a complete step by step plan on what I am going to do to open the pool this weekend. I'd like to avoid any hiccups and problems so the more clear I can be the better. Worst case I just open the pool with a gallon of AF in it. I'm pretty sure that's all the guy dumped into my skimmers. Thanks.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
#18
My pool gets it's annual dose of antifreeze next week. But I don't have a plumbed-in option to do it another way. The bigger the pool the less potential it has.