Featured Winterizing my AGP Intex

Aleksey

Member
Mar 6, 2021
17
Saratoga Springs, NY
Pool Size
6450
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Winterizing your pool….. naturally it is the hot topic of the current season. So here I am jumping on the bandwagon along with everyone else trying to figure out the best approach.
Given my history on winterizing methods, I’d say I still need to figure some things out….see photo below :
2020/2021 winter
0DF30906-2031-47FE-A5E6-304A25444909.jpeg

That was not a happy pool liner. However, I think I figured out how this happened and admittedly it’s my own darn fault. For no logical reason I opened the outlet valve once the pool froze up and never closed it back up. Ice started to melt, water drained from the valve, lowering the iceberg and pulling the strainer assembly with it…..and officiate destroying the liner in the process.

Suffice to say we got a replacement pool this past summer and I admit that I’m nervous about closing it up for the season.

Here is my current set up for the 18x48 intex.
I haven’t changed or modified anything and the inlet/outlet heights are accurate in this picture as they are in my pool:
A37FB79D-D2D9-4B5A-9909-BF63F81272B2.jpeg
Here is what my outlet strainer and Inlet jet setup looks like:
91098778-B120-41D8-8BA6-09B21A2D23AB.jpeg
5EA13DAD-917B-485A-9E76-69993670F69C.jpeg
3AAC5F90-383F-4113-BFA7-C367A8CF246F.jpeg
3D5B44FA-B9BA-4CA1-80D2-FC90812C185B.jpeg

66BEDE7A-8CF8-4A3B-A7FD-DA5A105C21F6.jpeg
7DD09C9E-7E4E-4127-ACE3-175D43DB1918.jpeg
So here is where I am at right now and please correct me where my thought process may be wrong.

I will be using an air pillow and solid cover with a pump to remove accumulated water until the freeze kicks in.

I don’t want to drain my pool any more than I absolutely have to.

I wanted to plug the outlet strainer ports and the inlet jet to prevent draining when I remove the plumbing and pump. However I realize that Living in upstate NY, we get plenty of precipitation and snow:
7B638D57-A171-4796-9493-E7165BD62E3E.jpeg
so I may need to drain slightly below the inlet jet to make room for pool water displacement from the weight of snow build up on the cover. That’s fine with me.

My current debacle now is how to plug the outlet stainers and the inlet jet.
I was looking for threaded caps to replace the strainer cap but those are nowhere to be found I have the little black plastic tophats. I was going to plug the outlet strainers poolside and on the outside using the little black tophats.

Question 1: will the tophat plugs stay in place on the outlets when the pool freezes over and then thaws?


Also looking at the inlet jet assembly setup, I don’t see a way to plug it with the little tophat… am I missing something here?

So let me know, am I on the right track? Am I way off?
I want to do it right this time and not have to buy a 3rd pool next summer.

Thanks!
Aleksey
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,605
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I can understand your concerns to do things a bit differently this year. :brickwall: There is of course more than one way to address some of the plug questions you had, but I'll tag @jseyfert3 for some input. Stand-by and we'll get you some replies.


 

jseyfert3

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,845
Southern WI
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
First off so we are all on the same page, on a pool the inlets are where the water exits the pool and enters the pump. In other words, the inlet to the pump. An outlet or return is the jet or jets that push water back into the pool. Your Intex, like all I'm aware of, has two inlets and one return jet.

My first year with my 26' x 54" Intex (last year) I drained a few inches below the two inlets. I removed all hoses and fittings and left the pool uncovered. This year I'm plugging the inlets, draining to a few inches below the return jet, and also leaving it uncovered. I removed ALL fittings, the inlet strainers, the inlet strainer threaded pieces that insert into the rubber "hose" that's part of the pool wall, the return jet, etc. I did not want ice causing freeze damage to anything.

so I may need to drain slightly below the inlet jet to make room for pool water displacement from the weight of snow build up on the cover. That’s fine with me.
If you drain below the return jet (single, upper one that you called inlet) and remove the fitting/valve (so it doesn't get freeze damage) then any displacement will just drain out the open hole.

My current debacle now is how to plug the outlet stainers and the inlet jet.
I was looking for threaded caps to replace the strainer cap but those are nowhere to be found I have the little black plastic tophats. I was going to plug the outlet strainers poolside and on the outside using the little black tophats.
So the little black plastic tophats (I like the name) are to plug the inlet holes from the inside. Remove the threaded strainer, then loosen the hose clamp and while holding the hose in place twist and pull to remove the inserted inlet strainer base. Plug the hole using the little plastic tophat. Repeat for the second one.

Question 1: will the tophat plugs stay in place on the outlets when the pool freezes over and then thaws?
I haven't actually had these plugged yet myself for the winter. I plugged them this spring when I refilled. Last winter I had drained below them (again not going to go that low this year), but I haven't used them since I added a through-wall skimmer. I don't see how they'd pop out if they installed on the inside of the pool. If you can even install them on the outside of the pool, which I doubt, I wouldn't think they'd stay in place.

Also looking at the inlet jet assembly setup, I don’t see a way to plug it with the little tophat… am I missing something here?
To my knowledge there's no included method to plug the return fitting. Again I'd remove all that to avoid potential freeze damage to the valve and either leave it open. If you really wanted it plugged I'd remove the eyeball fitting and get a plug for a permanent pool, they sell these as inground pool owners need to plug all inlet and return fittings so they can drain and blow out the water lines to prevent freeze damage. In this case you'd still remove the valve itself from the assembly. But I'd err on just removing the fitting and leaving the hole open myself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Texas Splash

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
I basically do the same, but I use a solid cover and a pillow. To close the return, I remove the piece on the outside of the pool and use the cap (covers the backwash port) from the sand filter to close it. With my Intex, it's a perfect fit.
I put the tophats in the interior as explained above but for some reason mine don't fit as snugly as I would like. They allow a small drip, so I plug the outside as well with rubber pool plugs (from Amazon).
 

Aleksey

Member
Mar 6, 2021
17
Saratoga Springs, NY
Pool Size
6450
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Sorry I’ve gone MIA from this thread. Work has kept me busy and away from pool duty. Now that I have some more time off, I’ve listened to all of your advice and suggestions and tried to apply it to my situation.

1) I drained the pool about 2-3 inches below the jet (into the pool).
2) Chemicals have been balanced (finally).
3) Removed the the fittings and hose from the pump to the eyeball return jet.
EA228804-C2D9-44C7-A584-47DA19391095.jpeg
4) I removed the 2 strainers and plugged the holes with the little black tophat plugs. Wedged them in as flush as can be to the pool wall.
5) I wasn’t sure how secure the plugs would be so I used hose clamps on the outside to try and secure them.
69B938C1-4A01-4844-947E-6B20A30F3F2F.jpeg

I’m not seeing any leaks from the plugs so here’s to hoping! Do you guys think the clamps are a good idea?

As a side note, I have the pool pillow attached, with a solid tarp over it and plan to pump any excess rainwater off the tarp throughout the cold season.

Thank you all again for your suggestions an insight!

Aleksey
 
  • Like
Reactions: jseyfert3

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Sorry I’ve gone MIA from this thread. Work has kept me busy and away from pool duty. Now that I have some more time off, I’ve listened to all of your advice and suggestions and tried to apply it to my situation.

1) I drained the pool about 2-3 inches below the jet (into the pool).
2) Chemicals have been balanced (finally).
3) Removed the the fittings and hose from the pump to the eyeball return jet.
View attachment 380568
4) I removed the 2 strainers and plugged the holes with the little black tophat plugs. Wedged them in as flush as can be to the pool wall.
5) I wasn’t sure how secure the plugs would be so I used hose clamps on the outside to try and secure them.
View attachment 380567

I’m not seeing any leaks from the plugs so here’s to hoping! Do you guys think the clamps are a good idea?

As a side note, I have the pool pillow attached, with a solid tarp over it and plan to pump any excess rainwater off the tarp throughout the cold season.

Thank you all again for your suggestions an insight!

Aleksey
@Aleksey you wouldn't happen to have a picture of the opposite side of the clamp and top hat? I am trying to imagine how they go in from the pool side and how the strainer assembly is exactly removed

Edit: nevermind I see it clearly in the pictures above. Thanks
 
Last edited:

Aleksey

Member
Mar 6, 2021
17
Saratoga Springs, NY
Pool Size
6450
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
@Aleksey you wouldn't happen to have a picture of the opposite side of the clamp and top hat? I am trying to imagine how they go in from the pool side and how the strainer assembly is exactly removed

Edit: nevermind I see it clearly in the pictures above. Thanks
@chi-chi I don’t have any photos, but I surely can take some. Basically I pushed the tophat plug into the hole from inside the pool to the outside.

The wide round base of the plug is pretty much flush against the pool wall in the inside of the pool.

Hope that makes sense.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chi-chi

charliej

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2017
141
Siloam Springs, Ar
I,too, have an Intex pool and I have always had luck with using the tophat plugs inside the pool, as the strainer threaded cap reattatches after you put the plug on. Theye can't come off and so that solves that problem. I have the Hayward sidewall mount skimmer....so this is what i do:
1. Drain pool about 3 inches below the lowest, which is the inlet holes. Take off all hoses to everything, let dry and store in clean area. Then plug the holes with tophat plugs. Don't forget to reattatch strainer caps. In the skimmer i use a tophat plug for drainhole, although it is a little sloppy fitting, so put plastic bottles around it and/or use rags to fillit up. This also keeps varmits from entering your pool.
2. Keep pool vaccumned and free of debri while I am doing a slam. Then let FC level graduate back down.
3. Make sure Pool stays clean a free of leaves and such. If it doesnt..keep it vaccumned.
4. Next comes the Polyquat as directed. I know it says to leave pump on, hense pool filled until you do a slam and polyquat to mix it up good, but with half the water, i just use a small pump and leave it on off and on for hours. If your weather is permitting, you could get in, or have kids get in and get a whirlpool going.
5.Then the floatie/pillows and winter cover. I used pillows first year and midway through winter the cames loose enough they didnt stay where they needed to be, so now I just use one of the kids floaties and tie it so it stays put. Good luck so far. First year I got a one size bigger winter tarp and with our wind here, i still fought the wind in some spots where there were no jugs. I hated to put too many jugs up that high weighting it down and void warranty on cover/tarp. That is why I now buy a heavy duty winter tarp that goes almost to the ground.
6. I then use sand filled bleach jugs (as I seem to have plenty..:cry::cry:) and zip ties to hold them down.
7. I drain the pump and sand filter of water, clean up the pump,take off all O-rings, put them in baggie and replace in basket. Our sand filter is too large to move, so i drain the water the best I can, cap off all returns/inlets and put a blanket around it, then wrap it up tight with tarp and duck tape for weather protect and to keep blanket dry. Blanket is just for a little insulation...Last year was brutal and scared me. (You can't get the sand dry.)
The pool was already drained for s little rapair, I hated to fill all the way up and then just have to drain again. That is why it was drianed below the hoses. Water bill is not our friend these days!
The heavy duty larger tarp is a little pricey, but so worth it.
If anyone can think of anything I forgot to list, chime in as my pea brain doesnt think too well these days!
Hope this helps someone!! Have a great winter and PRAY it is not a repeat of 2020 or worse.:cry:😫🥶❄️❄️

EDIT... I did forget to say that the first year I did use pool noodles . Also by getting the larger tarp/cover, it goes over wall skimmer, so a little extra protection.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: chi-chi

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
I,too, have an Intex pool and I have always had luck with using the tophat plugs inside the pool, as the strainer threaded cap reattatches after you put the plug on. Theye can't come off and so that solves that problem. I have the Hayward sidewall mount skimmer....so this is what i do:
1. Drain pool about 3 inches below the lowest, which is the inlet holes. Take off all hoses to everything, let dry and store in clean area. Then plug the holes with tophat plugs. Don't forget to reattatch strainer caps. In the skimmer i use a tophat plug for drainhole, although it is a little sloppy fitting, so put plastic bottles around it and/or use rags to fillit up. This also keeps varmits from entering your pool.
2. Keep pool vaccumned and free of debri while I am doing a slam. Then let FC level graduate back down.
3. Make sure Pool stays clean a free of leaves and such. If it doesnt..keep it vaccumned.
4. Next comes the Polyquat as directed. I know it says to leave pump on, hense pool filled until you do a slam and polyquat to mix it up good, but with half the water, i just use a small pump and leave it on off and on for hours. If your weather is permitting, you could get in, or have kids get in and get a whirlpool going.
5.Then the floatie/pillows and winter cover. I used pillows first year and midway through winter the cames loose enough they didnt stay where they needed to be, so now I just use one of the kids floaties and tie it so it stays put. Good luck so far. First year I got a one size bigger winter tarp and with our wind here, i still fought the wind in some spots where there were no jugs. I hated to put too many jugs up that high weighting it down and void warranty on cover/tarp. That is why I now buy a heavy duty winter tarp that goes almost to the ground.
6. I then use sand filled bleach jugs (as I seem to have plenty..:cry::cry:) and zip ties to hold them down.
7. I drain the pump and sand filter of water, clean up the pump,take off all O-rings, put them in baggie and replace in basket. Our sand filter is too large to move, so i drain the water the best I can, cap off all returns/inlets and put a blanket around it, then wrap it up tight with tarp and duck tape for weather protect and to keep blanket dry. Blanket is just for a little insulation...Last year was brutal and scared me. (You can't get the sand dry.)
The pool was already drained for s little rapair, I hated to fill all the way up and then just have to drain again. That is why it was drianed below the hoses. Water bill is not our friend these days!
The heavy duty larger tarp is a little pricey, but so worth it.
If anyone can think of anything I forgot to list, chime in as my pea brain doesnt think too well these days!
Hope this helps someone!! Have a great winter and PRAY it is not a repeat of 2020 or worse.:cry:😫🥶❄️❄️
@charliej Question about the top hats and strainer... do you remove the entire strainer assembly and put the cap on afterwards? And also do you put them in from the inside so the top hat goes in and the flat part lays flat on the inside pool walls? Any pictures of the setup with the strainer and top hat would be helpful..

Looks like I'll be draining below the strainers although I planned not to
 

charliej

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2017
141
Siloam Springs, Ar
@charliej Question about the top hats and strainer... do you remove the entire strainer assembly and put the cap on afterwards? And also do you put them in from the inside so the top hat goes in and the flat part lays flat on the inside pool walls? Any pictures of the setup with the strainer and top hat would be helpful..

Looks like I'll be draining below the strainers although I planned not to
Yes, I put them on from inside. I take off the strainer threaded cover, the top hats sit right over the round protruding middle of the the part that is attatched to the pool..see above photo labeled poolside. Then I put the threaded strainer cap back on and this holds them on. When finished it will look like the next phot showing the strainer cap on.I will look, I think all photos I have are with cover already on, but I can sure take some in the morning.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chi-chi

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Yes, I put them on from inside. I take off the strainer threaded cover, the top hats sit right over the round protruding middle of the the part that is attatched to the pool..see above photo labeled poolside. Then I put the threaded strainer cap back on and this holds them on. When finished it will look like the next phot showing the strainer cap on.I will look, I think all photos I have are with cover already on, but I can sure take some in the morning.
@charliej OH I see and think I get it and see where the confusion was...

It sounds like others were taking off the threaded strainer cap and also the "plate" labeled "poolside" and reversing the "top hats" to go inside the hole with the top hat end going in through the pool wall inside first and out through the non pool water side leaving the flat part of the top hat flush against the liner, when that isn't the way I saw pictured in the diagram (I'll try and post a picture of that tomorrow)

Instead what you did might make sense for me this time around. No need for a picture as you're all covered up and set. I understand now. You put it over the pool side Plate with the top hat bottom (flat piece) down against the plate and then securing it with the threaded strainer cap which I assume puts pressure against the top hat part of the top hat. That combined with any water pressure if it rises or isn't drained.

Now that that's figured out I am considering if I should even drain below them or not at all? But if I do drain below them as a safety precaution I will try and replace them when it comes time to open in the spring. If possible I'd like to replace the assembly so that it could still be a strainer when in use but when not in use it would have a threaded inside that can accept a standard threaded plug or blow out plug like so (see attached) if anyone knows of something like this?? thanks in advance for responding
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20211105-073452_Amazon Shopping_copy_359x425.jpg
    Screenshot_20211105-073452_Amazon Shopping_copy_359x425.jpg
    19 KB · Views: 0
  • Screenshot_20211105-073520_Amazon Shopping_copy_360x393.jpg
    Screenshot_20211105-073520_Amazon Shopping_copy_360x393.jpg
    21.5 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:

jseyfert3

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,845
Southern WI
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
It sounds like others were taking off the threaded strainer cap and also the "plate" labeled "poolside" and reversing the "top hats" to go inside the hole with the top hat end going in through the pool wall inside first and out through the non pool water side leaving the flat part of the top hat flush against the liner, when that isn't the way I saw pictured in the diagram (I'll try and post a picture of that tomorrow)
Yes, that’s what we were doing. Pictures I just grabbed this morning while letting the dog out:
full

full


My pool has been like this since spring, as I haven’t used the inlets at all this year (using a Hayward through wall skimmer). Haven’t leaked a drop of water that I’ve noticed. Though I haven’t done it before I will not be draining the water below the inlets this year. I’m draining below the return, removing that, letting the inlets stay underwater and freezing. I can’t really see how they’d be damaged from that, but I could always be wrong. I’ll know more next spring, but I doubt I’m the first person to do this.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chi-chi

charliej

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2017
141
Siloam Springs, Ar
@charliej OH I see and think I get it and see where the confusion was...

It sounds like others were taking off the threaded strainer cap and also the "plate" labeled "poolside" and reversing the "top hats" to go inside the hole with the top hat end going in through the pool wall inside first and out through the non pool water side leaving the flat part of the top hat flush against the liner, when that isn't the way I saw pictured in the diagram (I'll try and post a picture of that tomorrow)

Instead what you did might make sense for me this time around. No need for a picture as you're all covered up and set. I understand now. You put it over the pool side Plate with the top hat bottom (flat piece) down against the plate and then securing it with the threaded strainer cap which I assume puts pressure against the top hat part of the top hat. That combined with any water pressure if it rises or isn't drained.

Now that that's figured out I am considering if I should even drain below them or not at all? But if I do drain below them as a safety precaution I will try and replace them when it comes time to open in the spring. If possible I'd like to replace the assembly so that it could still be a strainer when in use but when not in use it would have a threaded inside that can accept a standard threaded plug or blow out plug like so (see attached) if anyone knows of something like this?? thanks in advance for responding
Yes, i do what you replied, not what others did. Im not covered yet. I can send photos, That was last years photos I was referring tp. We are still a little dark here, so I will send in a bit. I leave one covered all year, as I don't need it. In the spring, I take the other one off to hook up hoses. I am not hard plumbed.
 

charliej

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2017
141
Siloam Springs, Ar
This is what the one I use for hose connection when I fill and hook up pump. The inside is done just like the other. I don't want to chance the plug coming out if it is just inserted in the black rubber part that is attached to pool.IMG_20211105_080747940.jpg
 

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
I guess seeing it both ways makes one wonder which top hat method would work best over the winter... I am almost inclined since there are two inlets to do one, one way and the other the other way and compare directly the results in the spring with them not being drained below them. I'd just Backwash to waste to get the water level below my hayward skimmers which are on a separate pump/filter and much higher than those two inlets. I'll post results to help others for sure but need to decide by tomorrow as it's officially closing day.
 
  • Like
Reactions: charliej

Aleksey

Member
Mar 6, 2021
17
Saratoga Springs, NY
Pool Size
6450
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
@chi-chi I originally wanted to do what Charliej did, but the tophat plug didn’t stay on as securely as I had wanted it to. Not only that, but keeping the strainer screwed on was the reason my pool liner tore up. The ice grabbed on to the strainer cap, and pulled it down when There was water displacement (my fault).

I ended up doing exactly what @jseyfert3 showed in his most recent photos. All outlet fittings removed, Tophat plugs pushed into the 2 holes from inside the pool, with the wide base flush against the liner/wall. Just to be more secure, I fastened the plugs on the outside with clamps.

Idk if that’ll work, but it seems to be the only reasonable solution offered on the forum without having to drain out half the pool.

We already had a bit of snow here, so it looks like this winter might be a doozy.

Good luck!
 

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
@Aleksey thanks for saving me lol I'll remove the strainer and use the flipped top hat method. I did have a concern of freezing cracking the strainer so I guess it's best to remove all plastic and external pieces from inside the pool. Worst that can happen is water would leak out from there if the top hat should fail I guess but the liner would be safe!

I'll use the original top hat and strainer method when the pool is in use and I need to block off an inlet. Thanks everyone this place is awesome!
 
  • Like
Reactions: charliej

chi-chi

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2019
120
Ashburn, VA
Pool Size
8403
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
@Aleksey thanks for saving me lol I'll remove the strainer and use the flipped top hat method. I did have a concern of freezing cracking the strainer so I guess it's best to remove all plastic and external pieces from inside the pool. Worst that can happen is water would leak out from there if the top hat should fail I guess but the liner would be safe!

I'll use the original top hat and strainer method when the pool is in use and I need to block off an inlet. Thanks everyone this place is awesome!
So I'm hoping I'm not going to regret this but since I closed down so late I didn't take out the strainer and just put the top hat on and the strainer cap back on just like @charliej . We will see how it holds up if it freezes. Wish me luck guys..
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support