With cold temps comes the threat of frozen pipes. So we thought it might be good to go over some ways to prevent pool leaks that come from freezing pipes. Because it is warm enough for algae to grow we are going to talk about a pool that is open and operational. Not a pool that has been winterized.
1. Don't think it won't happen to you.
Often times we might think 'well it has all been fine the past'. And then one day it happens. You have a leak! This is because pools age. Equipment and pipes have a lifespan and depending on the age of your pool it may be more susceptible to damage. This is especially true with seals. Most seals have a rubber portion to them and that rubber will get brittle when cold. After so many years the rubber will not 'cycle' through the temperatures as well as it did in the past causing leaks, most commonly at the pump and motor.
2. Watch the weather.
Now that we got number one out of the way we can take action. We are prepared that it could happen to us. So this brings us to the 2nd step. Watch the weather. Here is where a smartphone can be your friend setup alerts for when the temperature is expected to drop below a certain temperature. Be alert to the fact that it may drop below that temperature.
3. Keep all your valves open.
When water freezes it expands this is what causes all the problems. By keeping valves open you can prevent a lot of headaches as this allows the water to move and shift. When valves are closed for example a skimmer valve or a valve going to a water return like a fountain or waterfall. You are asking for damage. While these positions may not be optimal for cleaning or water flow, it can save you a ton of money in repairs.
4. Leave the pump on.
We can not stress this enough moving water doesn't like to freeze. If you keep water moving through the pump AND filter you will be OK! Now this is where we get thrifty sometimes. We think well its not going to be that cold maybe only 34 that night. So we think to save some money on electricity we will turn everything off, after all no one will be using the swimming pool anyway. WRONG. First, they may be 'predicting' 34 but what happens if it hits 30? Second, your temp may vary in your specific local. Third, elevated pipes are susceptible to freezing at warmer temps. So play it safe and when temps are 40 or below keep everything running. This will save you a lot more money in the long run and give you some piece of mind, which is priceless.
5. Get a freeze guard.
Here is where spending a little money up-front can save you a ton of cash in the long run. These will automatically turn on your pool pump when outside temperatures reach a designated temp. Set this much higher than you might think especially if it is near anything that could cause it to read a higher temp than the real air temperature might be. Again 40 degrees is a good safe baseline setting. A basic unit installed will start at only about $175. But there are many options available including units for multi speed pumps. There are also fully automated pool controls that have this feature built in like an Aqualink system that has this feature built in. These are far more control than just turning the system on. However, make sure if you already have a system like this that the freeze guard setting is 1) On and 2) Set to 40. Often times while this feature exists the swimming pool builder forgets to set it correctly if at all.
6. Winterize the pool
As cold weather approaches, you will want to start thinking about just closing and winterizing the swimming pool. The main purpose in winterizing your swimming pool is to protect it from damage due to freezing water. Another reason to close the pool correctly is to keep it as clean as possible for the next season. Closing your swimming pool properly can save you a lot of work when it comes time to open the swimming pool for the spring. We sell and install quality covers for any swimming pool design.