Preparing a pool for vacation when you can't run the pump


Active member
Oct 21, 2018
Northern Tennessee
I'm planning a week-long vacation and I'm trying to figure out what we need to do to prevent our pool from turning into a swamp while we are away. I do not feel comfortable leaving the pump running while we are away since our pool is surrounded by trees, and I don't know anyone who lives nearby who can come check on the pool daily and dump out the skimmer basket. I plan on getting the pool up to shock level before I leave, and I can probably get an older family member to come here after 3 days to pour in some chlorine in front of a return and run the pump for a short period of time to distribute the chlorine around the pool. If I can convince this family member to do this, how long would he need to run the pump after adding the chlorine before he could shut it off and leave? (I don't want to make him stay here any longer than necessary.) If he came after 3 days, should I just give him enough chlorine to get the pool to shock level since most of the chlorine will have probably burned off after 3 days? I only lose 2 ppms of chlorine right now but I assume I will lose more than that if the pump is not running. Has anyone ever calculated how much faster chlorine burns off if the pump is not running? I don't want to teach my family member how to test the chlorine level so I will have to estimate how much chlorine I will need and leave it for him.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
It sounds like a good plan, and I would figure on losing half the FC every day. So if you left it at 20, day 1 would be 10 FC , day 2 would be 5 FC, and day 3 would be 2.5 FC. Or whatever. But no matter what the actual numbers, you could just go for the full amount. You won't be over that much, and it doesn't sound like anyone will be getting in.

Empty the skimmer, maybe skim the surface with the leaf net, fire up the pump, dump the bleach, let it run an hour while he/she watches Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, shut it off and go.

Yours is one of the very few situations where an algaecide might be worthwhile, just for peace of mind. A Polyquat 60 algaecide is what to look for. Add it a day before you leave so it has plenty of time to mix. It may increase the Fc consumption a little bit for a few weeks as it breaks down, but that's still going to be less than an algae bloom would require.
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Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2016
Another option is to attach a leaf blocker in front of your skimmer to prevent clogging. You could still run you pump the minimum amount of time. This is from another post...

DIY...Low Cost Leaf Blocker : CMW Skimmer Wizard - Skimmer Guard, Fully Assembled (Basket is 20"x 13"x 5"deep, to fit All Skimmer Openings) : Garden & Outdoor

Excellent suggestion from Amazon. I had not even thought of something like that for vacations. Very nice.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Do you have a main drain that will assure the pump of water even if the skimmer were a bit...full?
Do you have a cover you could just bring the pool up to SLAM level then cover it for the week. It should be fine then. With the SWG and the pump on a timer and a cover, we've been able to leave town for up to 17 days without problems.

Maddie :flower:
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