Pipe froze and broke overnight - In Austin, TX

Telnet64

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2013
82
Austin, TX
Hi - In Austin, I was watching pool temp all day yesterday and looked good overnight (34 degrees), even at 3am. This morning went to look and pool is half full, pump was on, and a pipe broke at a ball valve. It's 12 degrees now and everything seems frozen at pad, can tell about filter.

Down stream from the VSP pump is a UV light tower, connected with a top (out) and a lower (in) pipe, each with ball valve and there's a connector pipe between those with a connector (usually closed), that allows the UV to be isolated.

The pipe broke right over the ball joint on the 'connector' line.

Is there anything to do at this point besides cutting power? It's 12 degrees now, high in upper twenties today. It may get above freezing Wednesday, or it may be Thursday.

We are in a hilly part of Austin, so the pool is mostly in ground, but has a 3-4 foot wall on the "downside". Two water features in that wall and on in a tanning ledge, which is now exposed to air. The spa is elevated, with a spillway into pool and still has water (not ice) in it.
 

peril

LifeTime Supporter
May 20, 2012
51
Newark, DE
:( II'm in a similar boat in Allen, TX- ran out this morning. turned off the circuit breaker, pulled plugs on the pump and booster pump, and filter seemed to mosly drain out. The booster pump appears frozen already so not sure that helped anything, but the VSP glugged some water out of one drain plug (but not the other.)

Was thinking about what else to do - couple that I thought of:
  • if it's not too frozen already (if you are handy ) pull the pump off the unions, and disconnect the power, and bring it in,
  • also - could build a little foamboard house and put a space heater out there on a timer
  • for the skimmer - take some antifreeze and put it in a gallon bottle and jam those bottles upside down in the skimmers (give a bit of flex in in the skimmer in case it freezes) but have to get those in while it's still thin enough to break thru.
  • maybe cover the whole pad area with a tarp
My concerns were for the impeller, and pump / filter housings, not sure the ice will build quick enough in the skimmers and pool to cause any hydraulic problems. I had a vinyl pool before so never has the same kind of concerns.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,657
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Shutdown the pool power CBs; pull all the drain plugs from the pump, filter, and heater; open all the valves to let water drain out of lines; put crushable plastic bottles in the skimmers; forget about the pool until temperatures get above 40F.

No reason to cover stuff after you drain.

Relying on heaters are only good if your power is up.
 

PaigeMark

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2019
159
Tulsa, OK
:( II'm in a similar boat in Allen, TX- ran out this morning. turned off the circuit breaker, pulled plugs on the pump and booster pump, and filter seemed to mosly drain out. The booster pump appears frozen already so not sure that helped anything, but the VSP glugged some water out of one drain plug (but not the other.)

Was thinking about what else to do - couple that I thought of:
  • if it's not too frozen already (if you are handy ) pull the pump off the unions, and disconnect the power, and bring it in,
  • also - could build a little foamboard house and put a space heater out there on a timer
  • for the skimmer - take some antifreeze and put it in a gallon bottle and jam those bottles upside down in the skimmers (give a bit of flex in in the skimmer in case it freezes) but have to get those in while it's still thin enough to break thru.
  • maybe cover the whole pad area with a tarp
My concerns were for the impeller, and pump / filter housings, not sure the ice will build quick enough in the skimmers and pool to cause any hydraulic problems. I had a vinyl pool before so never has the same kind of concerns.
I had the same issue with a pump draining out of one plug but not the other. I poured warm (not hot) water in the pump basket (that one drained) after replacing that basket drain plug. A few minutes later, that warm water melted the slush in the pump and it all drained out of that second drain plug.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HeyEng and geekgurl

peril

LifeTime Supporter
May 20, 2012
51
Newark, DE
oh - and probably couldn't hurt to throw anything you have that floats into the pool (I'm using a couple of foam pellet fillled animals - and a big floaty chair. so the ice on the pool surface isn't pushing too bad on the tile. Probably more a concern with the water BEHIND the tile vs the pressure on the walls from the ice.
 

peril

LifeTime Supporter
May 20, 2012
51
Newark, DE
I had the same issue with a pump draining out of one plug but not the other. I poured warm (not hot) water in the pump basket (that one drained) after replacing that basket drain plug. A few minutes later, that warm water melted the slush in the pump and it all drained out of that second drain plug.
BRILLIANT - running hot water now -
 
  • Like
Reactions: PaigeMark

PSJ

Active member
Apr 8, 2020
35
Dallas, TX
I have the same issue in Dallas. Our pump was running but we lost power for 6 hours and everything froze over (including water in the SWG). Tried to turn my jandy valves and they are frozen up. My filter shows pressure at the operating level (~17 psi) even though nothing is running.

Once the power turned on, the motor wasnt running, so I turned it off. Anything I can even do here? It's about 8 degrees outside, not sure if it's even worth it to play with hot water outside at this point.
 

minmex

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2011
37
Far North TX
So far so good here in North TX, I think...

I build a small shanty over my equipment pad on Saturday, and it's been running the whole time. Most of the pool surface is frozen, but there's a couple foot wide area where the pump is moving enough of the surface to keep it from freezing, so far.

Hit -4F here last night which is insane.

I think I could walk across the rest of the pool, which doesn't seem good.

If the power goes out I'm in trouble, but seems like it's holding together to this point. I suppose I could put a sterno thing in the shanty if that happens, which would hopefully keep things good until the power came back.

Can I do anything else at this point? or do I just hope for the best?
 
  • Like
Reactions: geekgurl

minmex

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2011
37
Far North TX
Well..thanks to our third world power grid, I had to switch it off and drain it, grrr.....almost made it but with rotating blackouts going on, too risky.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

Telnet64

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2013
82
Austin, TX
Thanks for the replies and good luck to everyone!

All the equipment was frozen solid when I tried to pull drain plugs, etc. When the pipe broke Sunday night, it drained about 18" of pool water on to pad and surrounding area - which was all solid ice by the morning, when I found it.

Silver lining, I suppose? The skimmers are empty since the water level down, the pump was still drawing from the secondary wall intakes.

I'll find out more whenever the weather warms up, later this week. I'll keep an eye on the drain plugs and may try using some warm water to loosen things up.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,657
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
may try using some warm water to loosen things up.

Don't bother. Whatever damage is done and thawing and freezing cycles can only do more damage. Leave the pool alone until things settle down and warm up naturally.
 

Telnet64

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2013
82
Austin, TX
Don't bother. Whatever damage is done and thawing and freezing cycles can only do more damage. Leave the pool alone until things settle down and warm up naturally.
Thanks, that's good to know and will be less time wasted! I was able to break up surface ice and get some floats in, but now it's time to wait.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If you ever experienced a third world power grid, you would think the icecweather in TX and related power issues are just a tiny insignificant event.
Trust me on that one.
That may be true (and I have, many times). But the United States of America is supposed to be setting its bar a little higher...
 

FirstPoolLastPool

Platinum Supporter
Mar 19, 2013
119
Southlake, TX
I have the same issue in Dallas. Our pump was running but we lost power for 6 hours and everything froze over (including water in the SWG). Tried to turn my jandy valves and they are frozen up. My filter shows pressure at the operating level (~17 psi) even though nothing is running.

Once the power turned on, the motor wasnt running, so I turned it off. Anything I can even do here? It's about 8 degrees outside, not sure if it's even worth it to play with hot water outside at this point.

PSJ I am in the same boat. Warmer weather is letting see the rest of the story now. I wish you well.
 

ciaka

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
195
Austin, TX
Trust me on that one, USA has set and implemented the "bar" quite higher than any other country in the World.
I lived in Canada, where many point a finger at "we should do it like they do". Guess what, they have power outages too....and I lived 15 minutes from a hydro plant (where water generates electricity from Niagara Falls).
Well, water never stops flowing, but power outages are still present.
And compared to USA, I would take our TX grids over Canada's any time of day, every day.
Also lived in NY, OH, CA, PA, MS, among several countries throughout the World. Nothing compares to TX grids.
Yes, we should have power outages at ZERO. We should also have ZERO deaths due to accidents, or murders, etc. but it still happens. It is what we call life.

Bottom line, reliance on someone for your needs will fail you every time. So just be prepared for yourself.




That may be true (and I have, many times). But the United States of America is supposed to be setting its bar a little higher...
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Bottom line, reliance on someone for your needs will fail you every time. So just be prepared for yourself.
Agree. This is now what I am looking into myself...