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Freezing Weather
Here in central Texas we are accustom to shorts, flip-flop, and heat... so what should you do to protect your pool and equipment on occasions when we are faced with freezing temperatures?
In our region, it is pretty rare for temperatures to drop below freezing and remain there for more then a couple days at a time (though we have seen this happen as in the 2021 freeze). For this reason, the best approach to protecting your pool and equipment is to keep the water moving by running you pumps 24/7 during freezing temperatures. The water in most in-ground pools is insulated by the earth that surrounds it. This keeps much of the water in the pool warmer that the surface and exposed plumbing. Circulating your system mixes the water to help keep the more susceptible areas from reaching 32 degrees. This is usually sufficient during short freezes. Most pool automation and timer come with freeze guards that will activate the pumps once the temperature reaches the set point.
Here are some tips that we hope will help.
Running you equipment through the freeze:

Important: This option is not without risks. If a power outage occurs during extreme weather conditions, your equipment will be in jeopardy. When your equipment loses power for even a brief amount of time, it’s possible that water inside your equipment can freeze, which can cause severe damage.

If you choose the option of continuously running your pool pump and filter, here are the necessary steps:

  • Prior to freezing weather and low temperatures, clean or backwash your pool filter. This ensures proper water flow during the cold.

  • Run your pool pump and filter continuously. Moving water freezes more slowly.

  • If you have a variable speed pump, run it at higher speeds throughout the freeze period to ensure proper water flow.

  • Listen to your pump motor. If it makes a loud noise during operation, there may be trouble with bearings. As soon as the temperatures get above freezing, have the motor serviced by a professional.

  • Insulate plumbing lines with blankets or towels to prevent freezing. Even pool noodles can serve as good insulation around pipes.

  • Open all lines to ensure proper water flow. If a valve is shut off, no water will be flowing through that pipe and there is the danger of freezing damage. Special circumstances may apply for spa lines. These lines if opened may cause the spa to empty into the pool. In this cause, insulted these lines the best you can.

  • Warning: The use of any type of electric heaters, electric blankets, portable gas heaters, or heat lamps on or near your pool pump and filter can damage equipment or create a fire hazard. USE EXTREME CAUTION.

PRO TIP: For short-term cold spells with temperatures between 0°F and 32°F, you can run your pool heater, as long as you started before freezing conditions began and as long as you run your pump continuously. However, prolonged heater operation with water temperatures below 50° is not recommended. It can lead to serious damage that might not be covered by warranty.

 

Power Outage - For pools with equipment elevated higher then the pool:
If your equipment is below the pool level you are at risk of draining the pool, please contact us prior to following any of these steps.

Should a power outage occur, try following these steps:

  • Make sure all equipment has been shut off and that the breakers to your equipment have also been turned off.

  • Open the air relief valve on your pool’s filter.

  • Remove the drain plugs from the front and rear headers of your pool heater. If you have a heat pump, remove those drain plugs too.

  • Remove the lid and drain plugs from your pump.

  • Remove the drain plugs from the filter or any other unit, such as a leaf trap, that holds water, including in-floor system water valves.

  • Remove the top on diverter valves, check valves, or other valves. If necessary, open the valves so water can move down the pipe.

  • Put empty plastic gallon jugs in your pool to take up ice expansion and protect your pool tiles or finish from freezing weather. Make sure each jug has enough water to give it weight (but not full) so it breaks the surface of the water but is not fully submerged.  You can also use floats or anything that can absorb pressure. Place a weighted 5 gallon bucket on your steps or hanging over the edge in the pool. Again, the bucket must break the surface of the water.  

  • Put an empty plastic drink bottle in the skimmer to protect it. The bottle should have enough water to give it weight but not be full. Do the same for in-deck debris traps for in-floor cleaners.

  • If there is an auto leveler, wrap a towel around the vac break (backflow preventer) and floor cleaner modules to prevent damage.      

PRO TIP: As long as freezing water has somewhere to go in the plumbing, there will not be any damage. On the pool water surface or in skimmers, the goal is to not allow a single, complete sheet of ice.

Recovery if You Didn't Prepare

If freezing weather hits your pool without enough notice for you to properly prepare, damage is difficult to avoid. Frozen water in your equipment, valves, and other elements is generally quite destructive.

One option for late recovery is to cover and insulate your system's pipes as best you can. As mentioned above, you can use pool noodles, blankets, towels, or other options, but be mindful of how any option could interact with any piece of equipment that puts off heat. Adding fire damage to freeze damage is the last thing anyone wants.

 

 

There are no guarantees when is come to nature but following these steps may help prevent and/or minimize damages that may occur. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistants.