What to do with pool in freezing IA winter?

Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
New pool owner here. I have a Bestway ABG vinyl pool, 24 ft. With summer coming to an end here in IA soon, I am now wondering what to do in winter with it? I really do not want to take it down and put it away. I'd rather not drain 13k gallons of water if it can be helped. I'm looking for best advice on how to leave the pool up during the winter.

How do you close it and winterize it?
I've been reading for a while, but most closing threads seem to be milder climates.

The pool came with a cover. So I was thinking drain the pool below the intakes, take off the pump and hoses and put them in the basement. Plug up the 2 inlets with the little plugs that came with the pool.
How would you plug the return outlet? Or just leave the hole in the liner open?

Pool came with a solid cover. Do you do a Cover or No Cover? Wondering what to do about snow or melting snow/rain if I cover it? Or do I just go with no cover, and deal with leaves in the spring after thawing? I can try skimming them/sucking them up with my poolmaster big sucker, which uses a garden hose so no need for the pump, until it freezes.

At some point the pool will freeze solid like a giant hockey puck. Is that ok?

How do you prepare the water for freezing winter? Without a pump to circulate chemicals, do you need to mix chlorine somehow until it freezes?

Those are just of my initial questions at this point. Thank you!
 

mknauss

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Read this article. It provides some guidance.
Also, this Saturday at 11AM EDT, we will have a TFP Expert Discussion on Winterizing your pool.

 
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Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
Read this article. It provides some guidance.
Also, this Saturday at 11AM EDT, we will have a TFP Expert Discussion on Winterizing your pool.

Thank you!
 

Texas Splash

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Using a cover or not .... personal choice. Some people leave a cover on all winter, some only during the period of heavy leaves falling. Keep in mind that the winds in your area require careful thought to keep the cover secured. Once the pool freezes, leave it alone. It will be fine. The links above should answer most of your other questions, but if you have more concerns let us know.

@jseyfert3 anything else you might add?
 

jseyfert3

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Plug up the 2 inlets with the little plugs that came with the pool.
How would you plug the return outlet? Or just leave the hole in the liner open?
On my Intex I left both my two inlets and my return unplugged. Snowfall filled up the pool and during early initial thaws the water just dribbled out of the inlet holes. Plugging them should be fine as well.

Do you do a Cover or No Cover? Wondering what to do about snow or melting snow/rain if I cover it? Or do I just go with no cover, and deal with leaves in the spring after thawing? I can try skimming them/sucking them up with my poolmaster big sucker, which uses a garden hose so no need for the pump, until it freezes.
I did not, cause I’m lazy. As I understand doing a cover properly so it won’t blow off and such is at least a moderate pain. But you have to balance that with the pain of extra maintenance with no cover. Since I haven’t done a cover I can’t tell you first hand which is easier. It’ll all come down to personal preference.

IIRC I mostly just kept netting out the majority of the leaves. I now have a robot (Pool Rover Jr) that should help with that if I want to ignore the instructions not to run it below 50 °F…

In the spring there were quite a few leaves, but it wasn’t that bad to net them out. Note between the leaves and no cover, my pool started going green almost immediately upon first thaw. Within a week it was no longer “is that slightly green” but “I gotta put chlorine in this NOW.” I got some chlorine, added, brushed and it went back to blue within an hour or so. That day I hooked up my pump and filled the pool. So I was officially “open” a week after it thawed but two months before it was warm enough to swim. Chlorine demand is really low in the cold though, so it was mostly just emptying the skimmer and occasionally netting. I figure a clear blue pool is nicer to look at than a covered one, or maybe that’s just what I tell myself to justify not covering it. :D

At some point the pool will freeze solid like a giant hockey puck. Is that ok?
Yup. Here’s my Intex last winter:
full
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
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Corona de Tucson, AZ
Wow, it doesn't freeze solid in Janesville? :) (He's well aware that I am quite familiar with that area now... since I lived there for a couple of years in the past.) I shouldn't talk, tho.. my solar cover in in three main pieces now, and several little ones.. so likely that will be my winter cover... two years out of the bugger only.... We never close here, but there is a nailbiter or two in January/February near midnight... Gotta keep that pump running those days.... Honestly.. closing a pool kinda scares me from reading what y'all need to do....
 

Pauls234

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Jul 4, 2012
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Chicago, IL
Is the black cover that came with the pool a "winter" cover or is a winter cover something special?

Is it basically just a tarp but round with ringlets to string a cable and winch through it? If yes, then that is a standard solid winter cover for AGPs. In addition to preventing leaves and debris from falling in, the other advantage to a cover is that it will prevent the sun from consuming all of your chlorine. I have used a solid cover for the 9 or so winters I have had a pool and I open in late May/early June to clear water and usually a FC reading of 4 after closing it at SLAM level of 16FC. The downside to a solid cover is that it will collect water, snow, etc. so I usually drain mine 2-3 times through winter and spring, though I always leave some water on top to prevent the wind from really getting under there and causing the cover to parachute - it helps considerably. I have also found using plastic clips around the railing to keep the cover in place to be VERY helpful, and pretty much a necessity.

Oh, and Janesville? I've never lived there myself, but my parents grew up there and all of my cousins, aunts and uncles still live there so I've been a regular visitor since about the mid 70s.
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
This is my closed pool last year. I covered it cause you can see I have a million trees. I did not drain any water and I plugged the ins and out. I closed it in November and did not add any extra chemicals. It worked out just fine and we had tons of cold and snow.
 

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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
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Corona de Tucson, AZ
I moved from Iowa to Arizona four years ago (rural .. north of Cedar Rapids). I only had small Wally World style pools (Intex and probably the Bestway IIRC) in Iowa when the kids were little, and I took them down every year. Doing that pretty much destroys them after 3 seasons or so. The Bestway probably isn't much different than the smaller cheap ones I had in design, but it would be much more expensive to fix once the damage is done from taking it down. You can never store the liner properly no matter how hard you try! As long as you remove the equipment, even if the water does freeze solid, there is no pressure on the expanding column with the open top, so freeze damage is rare. You don't want plumbing exposed, and removing it and storing (drained!) is probably the easiest option I can think of for an above ground pool.

Just drain down past the level of the plumbing and remove the equipment, or plug the holes. That's not a luxury that I'd have with my inground pool here in AZ.

Covering is desirable because it will also have the secondary effect of being a solar cover and trapping in heat in the late winter and spring so your ice puck might get warm enough to melt and eventually swim in faster as well.

I'd still add a small amount of LC until you no longer can and keep the levels up as much as you can, but a SLAM is still going to be needed in the spring.. it even is for us in Tucson where we don't ever close.
 

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Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
Thank you for all the reply's. I will be taking the pump out tomorrow after I slam the pool, doing one last cleaning and vacuum and and I think I will go without a cover and am thinking of adding a netting just to catch leaves?
I have the solar cover on now to keep most leaves out. I'll see how bad it is in spring and re-think the cover. My concern is mostly the wind and snow to deal with a cover.

I want to not drain it if I can. I plan to plug the 2 inlets with the 2 black top hat plugs that came with the pool. I've seen a video from someone that leaves the outlet valve through winter and has made it 4 years, but not sure I believe it won't crack through winter.
Do you know wat can be used to plug the outlet side if I wanted to not drain the pool?
Worse case will be I drain to the outlet hole.

Thanks,
D
 

Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
This is my closed pool last year. I covered it cause you can see I have a million trees. I did not drain any water and I plugged the ins and out. I closed it in November and did not add any extra chemicals. It worked out just fine and we had tons of cold and snow.
How did you plug the inlets/outlets?
Thanks,
D
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
How did you plug the inlets/outlets?
Thanks,
D
I used the 2 tophats to plug from the inside and I also plugged the outside with rubber plugs. I found the tophats were not leak proof.
I unscrewed the piece from the return that is on the outside of the pool and capped it with the cap from the sand filter. The cap from the backwash port.
 

Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
I used the 2 tophats to plug from the inside and I also plugged the outside with rubber plugs. I found the tophats were not leak proof.
I unscrewed the piece from the return that is on the outside of the pool and capped it with the cap from the sand filter. The cap from the backwash port.
Good to know about the tophats. How big of a rubber plug did you find to fit? Do you have a picture of what that sand filter cap looks like or a part number, that would be great. I don't have a sand filter. Thank you so much for the help.
 

jseyfert3

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I found the tophats were not leak proof.
Interesting. Probably poor quality control on a cheap product. Mine have not leaked at all that I've noticed since I filled the pool in March this year.
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
Good to know about the tophats. How big of a rubber plug did you find to fit? Do you have a picture of what that sand filter cap looks like or a part number, that would be great. I don't have a sand filter. Thank you so much for the help.
I have an Intex, so I don't know if the sizes on your Bestway are the same, but I used these rubber plugs:

The sand filter cap is Intex part number 11456 (drain valve cap).
 

Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
I have an Intex, so I don't know if the sizes on your Bestway are the same, but I used these rubber plugs:

The sand filter cap is Intex part number 11456 (drain valve cap).
The filter cap doesn't look like it would fit, unless it's really big. I can't find the diameter size. My valve looks like this one (at the 2 min mark)

I'll just drain it down to this valve opening this year since I still can't think how to block that. Wind blew the cover off and it's full of leaves now from the rainstorm. So I'm going with no cover. I'll suck up the leaves and I bought a pond leaf net that I'll stretch across to catch most of the big leaves and may suck up the leaves that get through again once they are all off the trees. I have one of those leaf suckers that runs on a hose so don't need the pump.

Without a cover, how often should I test and add chlorine until it freezes?

Thanks.