Thinking about DIY closing, but not sure I'm up to the task...

Hi, TFP crew. Shortened pool season this year, late start for various reasons, but I took it from swamp to clear with a 4-day SLAM and endless leaf raking from the depths. I am determined to open to a clean pool next year.

I've never closed a pool, and this setup which we inherited is relatively complex. I hope my pool photo album and descriptions load properly so you can make out what I'm dealing with. After reading through the various extensive threads on closing, I understand the basic process. I could use some guidance on specifics related to my pool, especially the blowout. So here's my starting point/plan, and follow-up questions:

1. Optimize chemistries, bring to shock level (not planning to use polyquat), drop the water level below the skimmers (why not also below the returns?)
2. Remove eyeballs from all returns
3. Decompress/drain filter and remove cartridge at this point?
4. Blowout. I'm still confused on this, and I have several circuits to deal with. The easiest method is a shop vac at the skimmer (?), and the water goes... where? All the way through the pump, empty filter shell (plug replaced), heater (no drain plug), and back to the returns, which I can presumably plug up one by one? And do this through each skimmer separately and pop in a gizzmo afterwards?
5. Blowout, #2. Small pipe to booster pump, not sure how to handle. Could close all outflow valves to pool and spa returns, maybe? And then there are the bubbler and two spa pump circuits to deal with. Actually, the bubbler circuit is 100% air. Should I try blowing out directly from each pump before disconnecting them? Or just remove the pumps and blow out inflow and outflow lines one by one? How to achieve a decent seal?
6. Blowout, #3. I understand that clearing the main drain line can be a challenge.
7. Blowout, #4. Waste line. Bypass filter with valve and blow from skimmer to street?
8. Blowout, #5. I saw a video where someone was vacuuming directly from skimmers into a shop vac? I don't see anyone here recommending this.
9. I'm already losing my train of thought. If anyone can direct me through the proper sequence here, or if you gently suggest that I let the pros handle it, any feedback appreciated. Thanks as always!

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Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
Hey locust !!

1). Yes to the chemistry portion. You need to lower below the returns in order to blow them out, or use ‘duck plugs’ which kill 2 birds with one stone. the have a one way valve so you can blowout through them.

2). Yes. Part of plugging the returns

3). I bring my filter inside but many leave it. Either way you need to take out and clean the filters and then let them dry completely. Once bone dry (mine take a week with daily flipping over, the first few days in the sun and once they are kinda dry they go to the garage to finish). After that you can reassemble it in place and cover it.

4). You can use either the suck port or the exhaust port (to blow). I have used a cut 10 ft piece of garden hose to snake down the skimmers/ returns and duct taped it to the shop vac hose to suck out whatever didn’t blow out. I also have used my backpack leaf blower to blow from the equipment side. (Duct taped to the pipes for air seal). The skimmers get gizmos to stop water from getting back in the pipes. and cut up pool noodles to absorb and freezing even more than the gizmo does.

4.5). All pipes once blown/sucked get RV antifreeze. I use a gallon a pipe. It’s probably over kill. For $4 a gallon I don’t care.

5). Not too sure about spas but it should follow the same as above. Either drain below the returns and blowout or use duck plugs and blowout. Then add antifreeze from the equipment side. I use a small cut garden hose here also. Snake it a few feet down each pipe and have a funnel taped onto the other end for pouring.

6). Yes it takes a lot more ooomph to clear the main drain. You only need the remaining water to be below the frost line. Blow and then seal off the pipe with the valve and it will hold the air in the high side of the pipe.

7) yes. But if there aren’t any P-traps or ‘U’s’ in the pipe it it should be downhill, gravity fed and always clear. It will not hurt to blow it anyway.

8). As above you can. I got 1 inch clear hose from the hardware store that is fairly stiff and garden hose pieces that aren’t. Some spots do better with one or the other. Get them as far in as you can by twisting the hose while pushing. It helps to bend the end so if you twist it just right when it hits a 90, it will go through it. Then tape it to the shop vac hose so it sucks better with no air leaks.

9). A). Balance water
B). Lower water
C). Clean and dry filter
D). Blowout and antifreeze all pipes (no antifreeze in main drain, it just goes right in the pool)
E) Plugs and gizmos. (Unles you already used duck plugs.
F). Cover pool.
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TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
Morris Cnty NJ
I wouldnt DIY this if I was you. A basic pool is pretty straightforward but the spa is tricky and you have alot of piping. You need an air compressor and some RV antifreeze for that section. Damage from frozen piping is catastrophic compared to the money spent on winterizing. Best thing to do is be there when they do it amd ask questions then you would know if your up to the task next year
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Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
^^^^^^^^. This. Pay for the education of your exact setup/system and decide afterwards if you can/want to next year.
My last thank-you didn't post, so I'll say it again: thank you all for the awesome advice. I'll see about being around for the closing if I can. Bad news about leaks is, it looks like I already have one. So that's another issue to deal with.
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