Pump loses prime before we can get water low enough for winter closing?

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
To save money when the pool company closes our pool, I always lower the water level to a few inches below the skimmers. Our pump is HIGHER than our pool, so it take a while on start-up to prime, and I'm wondering if it's also why we CANNOT figure out a way to remove enough water using the pump without it losing prime. As soon as the water no longer covers the opening inside the skimmers, our pump loses prime. Even if I close the skimmer valves and only keep the bottom main drain valve open, it doesn't draw enough water to keep the pump filled. We always end up removing 3-4 inches with a sump pump and garden hose. That's fine in normal years, but this year, the pool company is coming November 1, and I need at least 12 hours to drain the pool with a hose, so on Halloween night I will be removing the last few inches. It is supposed to be 26 degrees that night, I can't run the pump because the water is too low, and I can't wait until the morning to drain the pool because there is no time. What am I doing wrong when trying to drain the pool using the pump? Is it dangerous to have the pump turned off on a night when the temperature is 26 degrees?
 

Mendy48

Bronze Supporter
Apr 27, 2018
737
Midland, MI
So when you keep the main drain open, it doesn’t pull enough water through? Could your main drain be clogged? I can’t figure out why water won’t come out through main drain. I’ll let an expert chin in here shortly.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,800
Northern NJ
Sue, where are you located? Please put your location in your profile and Create your signature with details of your pool. It lets us give the best advice for your local situation.

I suggest you read...

 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,833
Damascus, MD
How much less do they charge not to pump your water out? I didn't even know this was an option. With my closing company it's part of the base (cheapest) service. They bring a gas pump and it takes them 15 minutes to pump down a few thousand gallons.
 

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
I'm located in St Louis. I will try calling the pool company and review the cost of them draining the water as a last resort, but I sure hope to figure out a way myself!
 

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
Also, is the freezing danger to the equipment pad (which I could cover and probably keep warm) or is it to the pipes in the pool (like the skimmer pipes) and those pipes around the pool that are underground?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,800
Northern NJ
Looking at the forecast for St. Louis the temperature is predicted to drop below 32F for less then 8 hours early Friday morning with a low of 27F. The The Physics of Freezing and Freeze Protection says ...

So if you would like to be able to go without automated freeze protection OR you would just like to have an extra layer of protection, then you can follow some of the suggestions listed below. The temperature ranges and time are using the thermal loss spreadsheet above which are fairly conservative freeze estimates (i.e. assumes 15 mph winds, full sky exposure with maximum radiation losses and ignores latent heat in filters and surrounding structures).

1. Air Temp 32F->25F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 1" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

2. Air Temp 32F->20F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 1.5" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

3. Air Temp 32F->15F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 2" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

4. Air Temp 32F->10F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 2.5" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

5. Air Temp 32F->0F->32F for <10 hours. Tarp equipment and use an incandescent light bulb underneath OR use heat tape available at your local hardware store.

6. Air Temp <0F. Drain all equipment and plumbing.


Also the frost line in St Louis is around 20". So any pipes below that are not in danger of freezing.

I think you should be fine. Throw a tarp over the equipment if you want to be sure.
 
Last edited:

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
Thank, you, I'm thinking the same thing. The water temperature is still 64 degrees and that combined with the short amount of exposure to freezing temps, makes me feel a little better.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
495
Spring Valley, NY
Looking at the forecast for St. Louis the temperature is predicted to drop below 32F for less then 8 hours early Friday morning with a low of 27F. The The Physics of Freezing and Freeze Protection says ...

So if you would like to be able to go without automated freeze protection OR you would just like to have an extra layer of protection, then you can follow some of the suggestions listed below. The temperature ranges and time are using the thermal loss spreadsheet above which are fairly conservative freeze estimates (i.e. assumes 15 mph winds, full sky exposure with maximum radiation losses and ignores latent heat in filters and surrounding structures).

1. Air Temp 32F->25F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 1" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

2. Air Temp 32F->20F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 1.5" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

3. Air Temp 32F->15F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 2" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

4. Air Temp 32F->10F->32F for <10 hours. Plumbing 2.5" and above is safe. Tarp or drain for smaller pipes.

5. Air Temp 32F->0F->32F for <10 hours. Tarp equipment and use an incandescent light bulb underneath OR use heat tape available at your local hardware store.

6. Air Temp <0F. Drain all equipment and plumbing.


Also the frost line in St Louis is around 20'. So any pipes below that are not in danger of freezing.

I think you should be fine. Throw a tarp over the equipment if you want to be sure.
20" ?
 

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
I will snap a photo tomorrow of the equipment pad. And yes, I assume I have a small suction leak somewhere. Any time the pool starts up in the morning after being off all night, I get a large bubble or two coming out of the returns, followed by smaller bubbles, then normal flow. Could never figure out why, and checked the obvious--pump lid--but it was always tight with a good o-ring and well lubricated, minimal bubbles in the pump pot.
 

kittersue

Member
Nov 7, 2012
16
313C7395-A231-4782-AB2F-D89C87717424_1_105_c.jpeg
Gosh, hope I did this right, I have never posted a photo, but we have two skimmer valves (left side/blue handles) then the bottom drain valve (1st black handle on bottom) then a valve that controls I guess draining the pool (I was told to touch it only when reversing heat flow from bottom drain). The top right valve controls our slide, I think.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,833
Damascus, MD
For future reference you can copy and paste a picture into your post. No need to upload or find a hosting service. Just paste it right into the post.