by Rob Cox November 1, 2013
Partial Pool Winterization
Winters ain't what they used to be. Global warming means that the planet is getting a few degrees warmer - and it also means that these temperature differences produce some extreme weather, in odd times of the year.
If you're a sunbelter, with a swimming pool where you don't normally winterize, you have to be vigilant and alert to the potential for sudden temperature dips, into freezing cold territory.
If the pool pumps aren't running when 32° hits - you can quickly suffer very expensive repairs that can range from a few hundred dollars for small systems, to thousands of dollars for more complicated pool systems.
In the past few years, sunbelt states have seen more snow and more freezing temperatures than normal. This year is no exception. According to Almanac.com's Long Range Forecast, the Southeast and Deep South areas of the country will be colder and snowier this year.
|"Winter will be colder than normal, with below-normal precipitation and snowfall in all but the northernmost part of the region. The coldest periods will occur in early to mid- and late December and in early to mid- and late February. The snowiest periods across the north will be in late December, mid- to late January, and in early to mid- and late February." - Almanac.com|
So, faced with more opportunity for freeze damage, especially December - February, maybe you'd rather close the pool this year. You'll save money on chemicals and pump run time, and avoid a possibly terribly expensive freeze damage repair.
Are you ready to close the pool? Maybe not yet. Wait until the water temperature is below 60 degrees, and most all of the leaves have fallen from nearby deciduous trees. To get ready, order a winter chemical kit, and some winter freeze plugs so you have everything on hand.
After balancing the pool, shocking and cleaning the pool thoroughly, you are ready to lower the water level, 8-12 inches below the skimmer opening.
Sand and DE filters can use backwashing to lower the level, as long as you can close off or plug the skimmer, to continue pumping lower than the skimmer.
A siphon set up can work as well, although it's painfully slow. A small submersible pump is also a good option for lowering the pool water.
Shut off the power to the pump at the breaker, and remove the drain plugs on your pool pump, filter, and heater if you have one.
Use a blower/vac, or a strong wet/dry vac to blow water from the skimmer into the pump, where it can drain out (remove the pump lid). Blow air back to the main drain and when it bubbles, close off the main drain valve.
Now push the hose into the pump to blow air through the filter and heater and back to the pool returns. Use freeze plugs on the skimmers and returns to seal them up.
A winter kit is a simple way to get enough chemicals for your pool size. Our chemical floaters contain no chlorine, so they won't stain your pool. Also included is a Winter Algaecide, Winter Shock and Winter Stain Away.
Pool Antifreeze, is a non-toxic antifreeze for use when you aren't sure that all of the water is out of the pipes. Just pour it into the skimmer, or use a hose to drain it into the return lines or main drain pipe.
What about the Pool Cover? The "bean counters" upstairs aren't going to like to hear this, but in the true "partial winterization" the pool is not covered. That's what's "partial" about it. The plumbing and equipment is protected, but the pool - although chemically protected, has nothing to block sun and debris.
In most cases, a pool closed for 3 months won't fill with too many leaves, especially if you've done fall clean-up and the area around the pool is fairly clean. If you plan to winterize for 4-6 months however, a winter pool cover would be a wise investment, and if there are children nearby, use a safety pool cover.
A great alternative to the expense and hassle of a proper winter cover, is a Leaf Net. These are normally used on top of a solid winter pool cover, to allow the pool owner to pull off all the leaves in one easy motion. It can be used by itself however, stretched tight across the pool and staked to the grommets, to keep leaves and debris (except for very small bits) from getting in the pool during winter. Rain and snow pass right through, so no need for pumping and dredging to clean, just pull it off the pool and shake it off. Very lightweight and strong.
So, there you have it - just THREE steps to a Partial Pool Closing. If you have any questions regarding specific winterization instruction specific to your pool, leave a comment below, send me an email, post a thread in Pool Talk, or catch up with me on Twitter or Facebook, or Google+. ;-)