Closing Your Pool

Summer time is almost over ūüôĀ … I know that there wasn’t much of one anyway. ¬†On the other hand we did have some good days for swimming. ¬†Here in the northern states people will be thinking about closing their pools in the next few weeks. ¬†I know it seems like this summer has gone by too fast. ¬†The kids are gearing up for school and the moms and dads are breathing a sigh of relief. ¬†I am sure that there are many of you who will have a company come out and close your pools. ¬†In my opinion that is the best way to do it. ¬†It allows you peace of mind to know that it was done right and in most cases if not, then it will be that companies responsibility to repair anything that happens due to them improperly closing the pool. ¬†At the same time I am sure that many of you are thinking that it can’t be that difficult to close a pool. ¬†Even more so I am sure that some of you have had companies close you pools in the past and after seeing the bill you are seriously contemplating closing the pool yourself. ¬†So how do pool professionals close your pools?

To begin they come fully equipped to handle anything that might occur.  They will usually have a truck full of tools and know what to expect.  You on the other hand may have some tools but are not sure what you will need, and there is nothing worse than needing a tool right now and having to wait on it.  Here are 10 typical tools that a pool professional is likely to have for closing a pool:

1. Large channel locks
2. Small channel locks
3. A roll of tape
4. Rags
5. Flat head and Phillips screwdrivers
6. Antifreeze (specifically for pools or marine craft)
7. Plugs
8. A mighty vac (Powerful shop vac)
9. PVC pipe and fittings.
10. Assortment of rubber pressure plugs.

These are all things that will help a pool professional close your pool.

The Process:

1) First thing is first, they will have to shut off your pump and heater.

2) Now they are ready to disconnect the plumbing.  Hopefully the person who initially plumbed the system did it using unions.  Unions make it much easier to disconnect the plumbing and close the pool. (Be sure to remove all of the o rings in the unions and save them in a safe place)

3) It is important to drain the filter of the water. (at least most of it)  There is usually a cap near the bottom of the filter that can be unscrewed for the water to drain out of.

4) I would usually stick the nozzle of the mighty vac into the filter head and switch the multi port valve from one setting to another to make sure that it too is free of water. (If this is done while on the filtration setting water will spray everywhere.)

5) They will also remove the sight glass and pressure gauge from the filter.

6) The pump is another thing that they take care of.  They will remove the plugs from the pump.  There are usually two that will unscrew using a flat head screw driver.

7) It is also a good idea to blow out the heater or heat pump as well.

8) They will also have to blow out each of the lines going from the pool to the pump. Blowing out the
returns and skimmers are where the PVC pipe and fittings come into play. ¬†Using the pipe and fittings they can make “up pipes”. ¬†These are pipes that get threaded into the return fittings and the skimmers and stick up above the water level. ¬†Before they can thread these pipes into the returns they will need to remove the eyeball fittings, and they will need to put these pipes in all of the returns. ¬†Once the up pipes are in place the will blow the lines out from the pump side. ¬†Typically one return will be blown out before the others. ¬†When that happens their helper will put their hand over the pipe to force the air through the other return line.

9) When the lines are free of water they will then dump a gallon of antifreeze into the line and get ready to plug it. (for the returns they will need to remove the PVC up pipe they made. ¬†To do this they will need to plug the up pipe they made so water doesn’t get into the line while they are removing it and they have to have fast reflexes, because as soon as that pipe is free, water will start to enter the line again. ¬†They will have to quickly plug the return. ¬†Repeat the process for each return.

10) ¬†The skimmers are a bit different, typically they can close the pool with water in the skimmers. ¬†They will need to have some sort of foam on hand to do this effectively. ¬†First you will want to remove the skimmer basket and insert the up pipe they made into the skimmer. ¬†Ideally they will want the pipe to be long enough to be above the water level but short enough so that it does not stick up past the deck height of the pool. This pipe is going to stay there all winter so they will make sure that they have plenty of teflon tape around the male adapter so that it doesn’t leak. ¬†Again they will blow out this line from the pump side. ¬†Once the line is free of water they can pour a gallon of antifreeze into the line, and plug the opening. ¬†Repeat this process for each skimmer. ¬†They will then fill the empty space in the skimmer with the foam. ¬†This will keep the skimmer from cracking when the water freezes

11) The main drains are again a bit different.  Typically on newer pools there will be two main drains on the bottom of the pool.  They will be plumbed together and being that they are on the bottom of the pool would be difficult to plug.  However they are actually easier to winterize.  They simply have to blow out the lines until they see bubbles coming out of BOTH main drains.  It is good practice to let them bubble for a good 30 seconds to make sure that all of the water is out of the line.  Again this is a point in which they will need fast reflexes because they will have to plug the line at the pump side and quickly.  As soon as the blower leaves the line water will begin to enter.  Once the plug is in place, then the water can no longer enter the line.  If bubbles come up from the main drains after they plug it then they need to blow it out again.  Once they have all the lines blown out they can start plugging the openings to the pipes at the pump side.  I always plug the openings on the pump, filter, and heater just to make sure that no critters get in there over the winter and cause any damage.  I also find it convenient to store all of the plugs from the filter, and pump in the pump basket along with the o rings and sight glass.

12) The next step is to place anything that can be removed inside a garage or storage area so that they are out of the elements.

This process may be different from person to person.  Not all companies work the same way.  This is just some general information on how a pool professional would go about closing a pool.  In my opinion it is always best to let the professionals take care of things like this just so if there are any problems it will be the professionals responsibility to correct them.

For more information regarding general swimming pool information and specifically vinyl liner in ground pools please check out my other posts.  My entire blog is geared toward vinyl liner in ground pools and I have used my experience as a pool builder and service technician to put together information that I feel a pool owner may be interested in knowing.