Forum Title: general closing questions (including balancing levels)
Hey all, have a few questions before I attempt my first closing this weekend: 1) 'm wondering what the recommended chemical levels are for closing (with a vinyl liner). I went to a free pool closing seminar at the local pool shop put on by their chem supplier, which was interesting but obviously they were trying to sell their products as well, so I'm somewhat critical of their recommendations. One that did seem to make sense was that they suggest raising the PH slightly above normal levels as too much acidity in the pool can cause the liner to swell and wrinkle (and they included several photos of pools they have seen where this occurred, including one where the liner had been in for less than a year). I don't recall seeing this, or anything come to think of it that specifically talks about closing levels vs normal levels for chems - so wondering what people's thoughts are on that. 2) How should I winterize the pool pump? also in the above mentioned seminar they suggested filling it with antifreeze to keep the shaft seals from drying out. They said that if you simply drain the water out that will prevent freeze damage of course, but that the seals can lose their flexibility if they remain dry too long. This also seemed logical but thought I'd check if others were of a similar mind 3) is there any consensus on how low I drain the water? it seems everyone suggests below the skimmer, but I see various opinions on whether to go below the returns or not. It seems going below the returns is certainly EASIER from the perspective of ensuring they are completely blown out, otherwise, if I understand right, you're basically trying to put a plug in a hole that has air blowing out of it. It seems to me that no matter how fast and accurate you are, you're inevitably going to have some water that leaks back in as you're getting the plug in. The Pool School page on closing an IG does mention draining below the returns. 4) the lights - I know that the previous owners (and the pool company who used to do closings) would remove the lights and sink them to the bottom via old bleach bottles filled with rocks. that makes sense in the shallow end, but in the deep end I'm wondering if it goes all the way to the bottom? the pool angles in towards the deep end (it's not a 90 degree corner at the bottom, more like a 45), so I can't imagine dropping it down and having it slide along the angled bottom - but if not, can it just hang with the weight attached? I have never taken the lights off before so I'm not sure how they're set up. if it's just a cable I wouldn't want to put tension on it all winter, but if there's usually some kind of tether then it seems fine. I guess I'll find out when I take them off, but thought I'd ask in case others do this 5) Lastly, I know I've posted this before, but I'm still stuck on the concept of blowing out the main drain (and incidentally, at the seminar I mentioned above, the local pool company said they never blow out main drains in the last 40 years of operation and have never seen damage caused by freezing - EXCEPT in the skimmer; particularly in above ground pools). Mind you, where I live our winters are fairly mild, with average temps probably around 25-35, and only a week or two where a cold spell drops to around 0 (if ever). In any case, I will probably attempt the main drain with my shop vac if it's powerful enough, so I want to make sure I understand: The skimmer and main drain lines connect to a 3-way jandy valve, which then goes to the pump inlet. So I set the valve to the main drain side, and connect the shop vac (or air compressor or whatever) to the line that would connect to the pump inlet, correct? I blow air until it bubbles from the drain, then close the valve (turn it to the skimmer side, which will have a plug at the bottom of the basket so water shouldn't be in that line anyway, right?). Done? Does the Jandy valve seal airtight enough to maintain enough air pressure all winter long? It seems unlikely - I don't believe they are designed with maintaining air pressure in mind. 6) Oh - one last thing, I used to have a Lock-in style pool cover, kind of like this: https://www.poolsuppliescanada.ca/images/templates/liclanding/custom.jpg until a mouse decided to burrow through the entire roll and nest in the middle. Rather than spend $600 this year on a replacement, I bought a simple rectangular 40' x 25' tarp that I plan to lay over top and weigh down around the edges with whatever I can find, and probably add a few ropes tying the corners and edges to the fence posts around the pool. is that sufficient? I don't know how others cover their IG pools so I really have no idea.
Category: pool Post By: AMY ALLEN (Beaumont, TX), 02/25/2019

Re:�general closing questions (including balancing levels) Have you read the articles in pool school (Closing an in ground pool), and also have you reviewed my thread? Concept of closing an IG Swimming PoolThe concept of closing an in ground swimming pool Everything should be there. Once the main drain bubbles, shut off the valve to trap the air (Your done). The thread goes into detail on almost everything you are looking for. If questions are not answered after you read everything, please come back with any areas that are still confusing.- - - Updated - - - BTW, nice cover!

- DANIEL ANDERSON (Wauwatosa, WI), 03/07/2019

Re:�general closing questions (including balancing levels) Hey Catanzaro, yes, I did read both your thread and the pool school articles (specifically, the closing an IG pool article, which I referenced in my 3rd question). I understand that my post was a bit wordy, but I'm guessing you either didn't read it or skimmed it quickly. 1. The pool school article suggests the PH is adjusted to between 7.4 and 7.6, but that doesn't address my question 2. neither the article nor your thread addresses my second question 3. while there are many places that talk about how low to reduce the water level, I don't really understand the pros/cons to each. Is there any reason I should be aware of why I shouldn't drain below my returns? 4. also not addressed in the article or your thread (other than that you turn the breaker off to the lights) 5. This is definitely addressed in many threads including yours - I just question whether the Jandy valve is airtight under pressure for 5-6 months given that it is designed for water flow, and was wondering if anyone knows details on that 6. yeah, it *was* a nice cover.. until it got shredded. very unhappy about that. Might replace next year, but for now I'm just going with a rectangular tarp. Was asking if anyone has tips - I'm hoping we don't get strong enough wind to tear it off, but with water/snow on top and weights around the edge I hope that's enough

- BYRON DANIEL (Manchester, NH), 03/08/2019

Re:�general closing questions (including balancing levels) 1)I'm wondering what the recommended chemical levels are for closing (with a vinyl liner). I went to a free pool closing seminar at the local pool shop put on by their chem supplier, which was interesting but obviously they were trying to sell their products as well, so I'm somewhat critical of their recommendations. One that did seem to make sense was that they suggest raising the PH slightly above normal levels as too much acidity in the pool can cause the liner to swell and wrinkle (and they included several photos of pools they have seen where this occurred, including one where the liner had been in for less than a year). I don't recall seeing this, or anything come to think of it that specifically talks about closing levels vs normal levels for chems - so wondering what people's thoughts are on that. The pool school article suggests the PH is adjusted to between 7.4 and 7.6, but that doesn't address my questionOn the forum, we have had no one post any issues with their liner in the winter. My PH is around 7.5 upon closing. When I open, it is always lower (because of the solid cover) at around 6.8. Within hours, the PH is increased to 7.2 and I aerate or add more borax to get up. My liner, after 5 years is in good shape. Close your pool with the normal PH. If you have a mesh cover, then 7.4-7.6 is exactly where you need to be. Clearly, they are trying to sell you products for the liner. If they only stated that the range should be between X & Y upon closing and nothing else, that is a different story. I have seen pool after pool that has been around for quite a long time without swelling and wrinkling. Main thing with the liners is the fading and once in a while a small piece will come off the track, probably due to a tight fit. Yes, liners will stretch, etc., but your PH will also change through the winter. There is nothing you can do about it. 2) How should I winterize the pool pump? also in the above mentioned seminar they suggested filling it with antifreeze to keep the shaft seals from drying out. They said that if you simply drain the water out that will prevent freeze damage of course, but that the seals can lose their flexibility if they remain dry too long. This also seemed logical but thought I'd check if others were of a similar mind neither the article nor your thread addresses my second questionNever heard of this one. I have actually read on line that antifreeze should not be placed directly to a pump as it could damage the seals. When you clear the lines, there should be no water in the pump. There drain plugs are usually removed to all any remaining water to be removed. If there is any product to use on the shaft seals that prevents them from drying out during the winter and closing season, I am not aware of this. One would think a lubricant is necessary. 3) is there any consensus on how low I drain the water? it seems everyone suggests below the skimmer, but I see various opinions on whether to go below the returns or not. It seems going below the returns is certainly EASIER from the perspective of ensuring they are completely blown out, otherwise, if I understand right, you're basically trying to put a plug in a hole that has air blowing out of it. It seems to me that no matter how fast and accurate you are, you're inevitably going to have some water that leaks back in as you're getting the plug in. The Pool School page on closing an IG does mention draining below the returns. while there are many places that talk about how low to reduce the water level, I don't really understand the pros/cons to each. Is there any reason I should be aware of why I shouldn't drain below my returns?I close my returns under water for the sole reasoning that you can see if the winter black expandable plugs are leaking air. A little bit of water will always be left in the plumbing, no matter what. It is entirely up to the pool owner to decide what they are comfortable with. Drain 1 below the skimmer. Some people leave as is 1/2 way up the skimmer. There is no right or wrong answer. 4) the lights - I know that the previous owners (and the pool company who used to do closings) would remove the lights and sink them to the bottom via old bleach bottles filled with rocks. that makes sense in the shallow end, but in the deep end I'm wondering if it goes all the way to the bottom? the pool angles in towards the deep end (it's not a 90 degree corner at the bottom, more like a 45), so I can't imagine dropping it down and having it slide along the angled bottom - but if not, can it just hang with the weight attached? I have never taken the lights off before so I'm not sure how they're set up. if it's just a cable I wouldn't want to put tension on it all winter, but if there's usually some kind of tether then it seems fine. I guess I'll find out when I take them off, but thought I'd ask in case others do this also not addressed in the article or your thread (other than that you turn the breaker off to the lights)Your water level in the pool during closing should always be above the lights, no matter what. Most pool water will not freeze more than 2?-4? at most. There is too much latent heat behind the concrete, liner, fiberglass wall, soil, etc. You can even close a pool with the water level � way up the skimmers. Pool professionals do not sit and drain the water when they come and close the pool. All up to the homeowner to do this. I have never heard of anyone removing the lights for closing in the winter, but it is very possible. Again, you have to be comfortable where the level is and what you do with the lights. 5) Lastly, I know I've posted this before, but I'm still stuck on the concept of blowing out the main drain (and incidentally, at the seminar I mentioned above, the local pool company said they never blow out main drains in the last 40 years of operation and have never seen damage caused by freezing - EXCEPT in the skimmer; particularly in above ground pools). Mind you, where I live our winters are fairly mild, with average temps probably around 25-35, and only a week or two where a cold spell drops to around 0 (if ever). In any case, I will probably attempt the main drain with my shop vac if it's powerful enough, so I want to make sure I understand: The skimmer and main drain lines connect to a 3-way jandy valve, which then goes to the pump inlet. So I set the valve to the main drain side, and connect the shop vac (or air compressor or whatever) to the line that would connect to the pump inlet, correct? I blow air until it bubbles from the drain, then close the valve (turn it to the skimmer side, which will have a plug at the bottom of the basket so water shouldn't be in that line anyway, right?). Done? Does the Jandy valve seal airtight enough to maintain enough air pressure all winter long? It seems unlikely - I don't believe they are designed with maintaining air pressure in mind. This is definitely addressed in many threads including yours - I just question whether the Jandy valve is airtight under pressure for 5-6 months given that it is designed for water flow, and was wondering if anyone knows details on thatThe valves are air tight as I have opened my pool in where air was still trapped in the line. This is why upon opening it takes a minute or so before the pump primes. I have even cleared the main drain in the spring, locked the valve, then opened the valve only to have water come back up the main drain plumbing, making my life easier as well. Entirely up to you if you want to winterize the main drain or leave alone. You will hear the valve hissing and the main drain losing air, therefore being reflected by bubbles in the deep end. You could quickly isolate behind the valve with a black plug as well, which is what I usually do. This year, I will swap out the pump, so this will be done after the fact. In addition, I turn my skimmer Pentair Valve in the direction of the main drain as well. Skimmers are closed with a Gizzmo or plug, thereby not needing trapped air in the line.

- CATHY DAVIDSON (Roswell, GA), 03/27/2019

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