Why so sad? Is it because pool season is coming to a close? Or is it because you didn’t want to pay a company to close your pool and now you are concerned that you may not be closing your pool properly? You may have thought that it can’t be that difficult, or maybe you are thinking that since you saw how the pool professional closed your pool last year, then you know exactly what to do. Unfortunately for you now that it has come time to close the pool you are second guessing everything. Perhaps you are wondering what the worst thing that can happen is. Well allow me to shed some light on this.
What could happen if a pool is not closed properly?
There are several things that can happen if your in ground pool is not closed properly for the winter. One thing that can happen is something very unlikely and that is nothing. In very rare instances your pool could go the entire winter without being damaged. Unfortunately if you live in a northern state that will probably not happen. Instead, what will likely happen is that you will find that one or more of the plumbing lines running to your pool has froze and ruptured. This is not a very easy fix. For instance if it your main drain line freezes and busts, then you are looking at a quite expensive repair. This is due to the fact that the main drain line runs the deepest and it is very difficult to determine where in the line the rupture is. It may come down to running a new line to the main drains.
That would mean that to repair it you would have to bring in some heavy equipment to run the line. In addition to that, the bottom of your pool would have to be busted up so that the new line could be hooked up to the main drains. Then the bottom of the pool would have to be repaired, and you would more than likely have to purchase a new liner. On top of that you would have to pay for the water, chemicals, and the cost of heating the pool back up.
If the line that breaks is a return line or skimmer line then the repair may be a bit easier. It really all depends on the sidewalks around your pool. If you have 4′ walks around the pool then it wouldn’t take to much effort to dig underneath them to expose the line. If you have an enormous amount of concrete around the pool then you are looking at a more expensive repair.
These are the reasons why pool professionals typically blow out the lines and then dump antifreeze into them. When closing a pool the goal is to get the water out of each line and get at least a gallon of antifreeze in. By doing this it will ensure that the lines won’t freeze a rupture over the winter. In addition to that it is important that your equipment also be free of water. I also tend to tell folks that they may want to keep certain equipment components inside their garage or pool house to make sure it stays safe over the winter. I always take out the o rings and all the small parts associated with the equipment and store them in the pump basket for safe keeping. I will also make sure that the heater and filter are free of water. The filter is a bit more difficult to do this with but I have found that if you take the plug off the bottom of the filter it will allow the majority of water to drain out. This will give any water left over room to freeze and expand without damaging anything. However when it comes to the multi port valve I always make sure I blow it out. There is not a lot of room in it already so it is important to make sure it is free of water. To do this I hook my blower up to the inlet side and go through each setting except for closed and filter. The closed setting will not let the air flow through and the filter setting will cause any water in the tank to come through the valve and out. Obviously if you are trying to rid the multi port of water then it is counter productive to put water into it. Also, if the equipment is inside a room then I wouldn’t want to make a mess. If the valve is free of water and the drain plug is off then the filter is good to go for the winter. When I am finished blowing out the valve I will turn it to winterize, or closed depending on the valve. This will prevent any water from getting into the valve over the winter.
As I said before, the main drains are another part of what I would consider a vital element of your pool. Obviously they are on the bottom of your pool. This makes it somewhat difficult to ensure that the line is free of water. There is a trick to this that I will get to shortly but first you must realize that when closing a pool there are a couple of ways to do things. You can either drain your pool down to below the returns or you can leave the water in the pool and take a couple extra steps of precaution. Either way, the main drains will remain under the water. So how does one ensure that the main drain line is free of water. This is where that little trick comes into play. First you have to realize that there is a lot of weight pushing down on the main drains. That being said, it will allow you to achieve an air lock. To do this I would blow through the main drain line until both main drains begin to bubble. I usually allow them to bubble for a good ten seconds or so to ensure that all of the water is out of them. At this point I very quickly remove the blower and plug the line. This is how an air lock is achieved. The weight of the water pushing down will not allow the air to come out and the air in the line trying to get out will not allow the water from the pool to come into the line. This is called air lock. At this point the main drain is properly closed. Even though there is no antifreeze in the line, there is also no water so there is nothing that can freeze and cause the line to rupture.
When it comes down to it, closing a pool is not all that difficult. However it is something that requires a lot of care and attention to make sure that it is done properly. Nobody wants to deal with expensive repairs in the spring so if there is any doubt about it at all, then it may be best to leave it up to the professionals to close the pool. One reason is that they generally have the experience and the know how to get it done right and another very important reason is that they will usually take responsibility if something does happen and repairs are needed. So before you close your own pool you need to first ask yourself these questions.
Before closing the pool.
1. Do I know what needs to be done?
2. Am I confident that I can do it?
3. Do I have the materials that I need to get it done?
After closing the pool.
1. Do the return lines and skimmer lines have at least a gallon of antifreeze in each of them?
2. Did I get an adequate amount of bubbles coming through the main drains?
3. Am I confident that I have properly closed down all components of the pool and can rest assured that no damage will be occur over the winter?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions then maybe you need to consider allowing the professionals to close your pool. The information in this post is just a reminder of what can happen if your pool is not properly closed. It is not to be taken as instructions to close your own pool. In my opinion it is always better to have a pool professional work on your pool. They will generally have the experience and know how to get done what needs to be done, and do it with confidence to ensure that there won’t be a problem. In addition to that, if for some reason there is a problem, then they will be responsible for taking care of it.