When and how to close?

robrinker

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
178
Northeastern Ohio
I am nearing the end of the swim season here with my first pool. Can anyone direct me to a "howto" document on closing an IG pool?

Also (for the northerners), when do you typically close your pool and why do you choose that particular time of the year?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
We don't have a good closing overview here yet. Any volunteers?

I close when the water temperature gets below 60 degrees, hopefully before most of the leaves fall.

Quick IG closing outline:
Shock
PolyQuat
remove ladders
pump water down
blow out plumbing
remove and store drain plugs, pressure gauge
anti-freeze in pipes
seal openings to plumbing
cover
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
I pump down about 18 inches, enough to get below my return. It is important to get below any waterline tile work and any skimmers/returns which are going to be above the freeze line. Deeper returns can be treated as if they were a main drain. If you have a mesh cover you want to drain a little extra to allow for rain raising the water level. If using a solid cover you don't need as much clearance since the solid cover will catch any rain.

There is a special fitting you can get that seals the main drain pipe and still allows you to pump in air through a tire air valve. You seal the pipe and then pump in air until you get bubbles from the main drain. Depending on your plumbing you can sometimes do this directly to the main drain pipe, and other times have to pressurize most of your system and then turn off the main drain valve.

In some cases you can simply leave the main drain alone, as lowering the water in the pool may bring the water level in the main drain piping below freeze level. It kind of depends on how your pipes run and how far north you are.
 

TripleB4me

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
224
Maryland
Pool Equipment in Winter

I live in north central Maryland and was wondering if people that live where it snows do anything about their pool equipment that sits outside? I was thinking about using tarps to protect some of the equipment, especially my Intellitouch.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
 

pooladdict

TFP Guide
In The Industry
May 14, 2007
819
New Brunswick Canada
Hi Jason:

Its not necessary to remove all the water from the main line. We do it up in Frozen Country like this.

Leave it open, cover off the main lines you have removed from the pump end, pour in about two gallons of Anti Freeze, and raise the closed lines above the level of the water. Ice will only cause a problem if it doesnt have a way to grow. By leaving this line open, the expanding water simply moves up the line. The only reason I know this, is I was baffled at my PB closing my pool this way, I was sure they would have to remove all water from this lines but they insist you dont have to with no worry about damage from ice.


Triple, I leave my pool competely open, and I also refill the pool up to over the returns, my reasoning is the pressure of the water an ice will keep everything as it was with water in it. I do not cover, its easier to remove stuff then having to fight off all the gunk in the spring that will be on your pool cover. Other then leaving the filter (Again with Anti Freeze) I bring everything else in, and I suggest you do the same as well.

Hope this helps, and Jason PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.

Rik
 

TripleB4me

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
224
Maryland
So you're suggesting to completely disconnect the pumps, I have 3, and bring them inside? I know I need to leave my heat pump outside, it's just too big and cumbersome to move. I can't imagine disconnecting the Intellitouch and all the relay boxes and bringing them in. As for my cart filter, that would be one of the easiest things to disconnect and bring inside, besides the pumps.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
pooladdict - the add antifreeze to the pipes and don't worry about the water approach will work if you add enough anti-freeze and it mixes through the whole pipe. I don't normally recommend that approach for a couple of reasons. First, it is much less forgiving of using too little anti-freeze. Second, it isn't always possible to leave the ends of the pipe open. Your approach works best with flexible pipe with compression fittings that are easily removed, common enough but hardly universial.

Leaving the water level above the returns can be risky. If the pool freezes solid around the return fittings and then the water level changes (deeper freezing pushing up, or a leak, or water getting around the ice block and floating it up) the reurn fittings can get ripped right out of the wall. Now in many areas the pool won't freeze all that deeply and water level changes aren't usually going to happen, so this may not be an issue for those people. I suppose it all depends on how far North you live.

There are many aspects to closing, and many different ways of dealing with each of them that work. Plus the best approach to each issue can vary dramatically in different places. In Canada, or some Northern parts of the US, the top several feet of the pool will freeze solid. When that is going to happen you need to be careful that there isn't anything for that ice block to get hung up on, becuse if it catches on something that something is going to move, possibly causing serious damage. Compare that to the Southern US where all you need to do is have the pump on when it is below freezing.
 

crabboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
628
Suwanee, GA
Compare that to the Southern US where all you need to do is have the pump on when it is below freezing.
That's what I plan on doing. My timers have a freeze sensor and should turn the pumps on. The slide pump on the other hand will need to be drained.
 

ric

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2007
217
Ohio
Hi robrinker
I live about 80 miles south of cleveland Ohio. as far as the date of close I shut the heat pump down about Oct. 1 and let the water cool to 60 then I pretty much follow what Jason L. said. I also add a 1 inch rubber hose by 3 foot long sealed at both ends to the main drain plumbing. I have 1 1/2" flex pvc to the flapper valve and ground water can still fill the main drain line with it plugged. This is how my pool manufacture told me to do the main drain. Jason L was kind enough to send me a link to show me how this valve works and it can let ground water back in the line. I have never used the Polyquat but this year i will try it because i always open to no cya low ph and low ta. I always try to get it all done before those leaves fall. :-D
 

robrinker

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
178
Northeastern Ohio
Ric,

Sorry, I don't quite understand what you said about the main drain...

Do you just slide this 1 inch host into the pvc that leads to the main drain, or do you somehow take the main drain at the bottom of the pool apart and insert it there?

Or do I just have my terminology mixed up?
 

ric

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2007
217
Ohio
Robrinker
if you use the hose method your equipment will probably have to be flex hose to the main drain. This would mean you have no 90 deg elbows. all are equipment for our pools are different. if you have flex hose and you can get to the pump side of the main drain that would be ware you slide the hose in. make shor you have something to stop it from falling all the way down so you can retrieve it in the spring. if this method cant be done you will have to blow the line and add the pink antifreeze.
 

robrinker

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
178
Northeastern Ohio
Thanks for the clarification. I'm all PVC, so I don't think that method will work for me.

My pool is IG and the main drain is 8.5 ft down on the bottom of the deep end. Wouldn't we have to have a serious freeze for the water to freeze that far down?

How do you get the antifreeze back out in the Spring when you are ready to open again?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
It is extremly unlikely the pool will freeze all the way down to the main drain. But it could freeze some distance down the main drain pipe.

In the spring you open up the skimmer, fill the pool, close any drain plugs, set the valve on backwash and backwash as much of the anti-freeze out of the system as possible. You can never get it all so some will get in the pool. You use special pool anti-freeze, not regular car anti-freeze, so getting some in the pool isn't really a problem.
 

ric

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2007
217
Ohio
yes you are right it wont freeze 8.5 feet but it can and will to about 36 ". so you must protect the lines to there. I would say you will have to blow the main drain line and fill it with antifreeze as far as you can. you could hire this done and watch and learn how to do this. most companys dont have any problem with teaching you. as far as the pink antifreeze in the spring I just let it go to the pool and never had a problem. To close is not a tough job but it is easier if you can watch how it is done.
North east Ohio sounds like the snow belt to me. I dont know how you make it through the winter with the huge snowstorms blowing of the lake. We have snow here but nothing like north east Ohio. :-D Ric W
 

MikeS

LifeTime Supporter
May 24, 2007
22
Burtonsville, MD
I am in Maryland. I close by very early October, otherwise leaves fill my pool faster than I can skim them out.

I use a mesh cover, and I periodically use a leaf blower to get the leaves off the cover.

Over the winter, I also use a garden hose(with a shutoff fitting on the end to maintain the water in the hose) as a siphon. This allows me to manually control the water level in the pool, as rain trys to fill it. By late March/April(past potential freezing weather), I let the rain bring the pool back up to normal level. I open in mid-May.
 

ric

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2007
217
Ohio
Hi Poolhelp
I use a 5hp for my pool and it works great just ask my wife who looked down the skimmer while i blew the line. That was a long time ago and I still have trouble getting help :-D Make sure your shop vac has the blow port on it. I no one guy who used to rent a insolation blower from lowes and used that, and get this on one guy used his truck exhaust with a flex hose so he wouldnt burn his plumbing and he said it worked great. I have always heard 4hp and above on the shop vac. hope this helps. Ric W
 

AnnaK

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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 15, 2007
1,138
Eastern Pennsylvania
Re: Pool Equipment in Winter

TripleB4me said:
I live in north central Maryland and was wondering if people that live where it snows do anything about their pool equipment that sits outside? I was thinking about using tarps to protect some of the equipment, especially my Intellitouch.

I'm right next door to you in Eastern PA. I cover the wedding cake steps and the filter/pump with a tarp, primarily to keep the dirt off so I don't have all too much step scrubbing to do next season.

Anna