First winter w/ Inground Pool in Texas

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pool_girl
Pool Newbie
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Posts: 7
Joined: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 08:41

First winter w/ Inground Pool in Texas

Postby pool_girl » Sun 07 Oct, 2007 12:43

This forum really helped me learn pool chemistry 101 and, thanks to you, I had a successful swim season - thank you! Now it's time to "close" the pool, although living in Texas I don't think I need to really "close" it. Is that right?

We have a mesh "safety cover" the prior owners left us - mainly to keep the leaves out they said. My questions are:

1) the cover touches the water in the center of the pool - is this okay or should I get a pool pillow to add to the life of the cover? And/or should I lower the pool water level?

2) I vacuumed and shocked the pool before putting on the cover. How can I add chemicals (or do I need to) to keep the water balanced over the winter? Will my test strips be accurate if I dip them in the skimmer water? It's all I can access with the cover on.

3) At what outdoor temperature can I not worry about algae? I've been adding a phosphate remover preventively during the summer and only had one algae episode when I let my sanitizer levels dip by accident. Maybe I don't even need a phosphate remover if my sanitizer levels stay in check.

4) At what point can I reduce the filtration time, and will 4 hours per day be sufficient?

Thanks if you can help with any of these questions!

Barbara


Walter
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Joined: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 08:11
Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Postby Walter » Mon 08 Oct, 2007 08:37

Don't lower the pool water, you should be abel to tighten the straps on the safety cover to get it out of the water. You will have to pull the cover back to add chemicals into it, your strips should be fine at the skimmer as long as you don't have sticks in the skimmer(not suppose to at all). I would cut it back to a 6 hour schedule to make sure, you just won't use as much chemical in the winter because of less bather load and exposer to sun. You will just have to judge and adjust the timer to make sure you are still generating chlorine at a cut back time for the pool to run. Good Luck
We are a custom pool and spa builder. We can only offer suggestions with the information given. Don't hesitate to email me if you have a questions and I will answer it as best as I can or point you in the right direction.
all4him
Swimming Pool Wizard
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Joined: Mon 05 Jun, 2006 12:45
Location: Texas

Postby all4him » Tue 09 Oct, 2007 11:37

What part of Texas due you live? I am in San Antonio and I have an inground pool which I run for 3 hours per day from 3 am to 6 am. The only catch I have is I have a salt system and I keep generating chlorine at 100% for those 3 hours.

I also have a solid safety cover with a sreen in the center. When I have my cover on it also touches the water with no ill effects.
IkeRay
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Joined: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 13:58

Postby IkeRay » Tue 23 Oct, 2007 22:30

yeah, i was wondering about closing the pool as well. my pool is kinda an algae paradise right now, but with my new pump seal its starting to get clean. up until yesterday morning, the water was still bearable to swim in too but now that the nights are getting down to 50* it kinda chills the water.

questions:

do i need to close the pool?
do i need to get a pool cover to keep leaves out?
can i run it, like all4him does, 3 hours a day, and on the nights it gets down to below freezing run the pump all night (moving water doesnt freeze; at least not at 30*)?
chem geek
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Location: San Rafael, California

Re: First winter w/ Inground Pool in Texas

Postby chem geek » Wed 24 Oct, 2007 10:59

My responses in bold.

pool_girl wrote:This forum really helped me learn pool chemistry 101 and, thanks to you, I had a successful swim season - thank you! Now it's time to "close" the pool, although living in Texas I don't think I need to really "close" it. Is that right?

If your pool water does not get to freezing temperature (32F) then you do not need to do the traditional closing procedures in colder areas such as lowering the water level below the return lines, flushing the pipes of water filling them with anti-freeze and capping them, draining solar heaters, removing railings and storing it, etc. However, for solar heater systems, it is wise to drain them if even an overnight would get to freezing since they are very efficient heat absorbers and therefore heat drainers so can freeze very quickly.

We have a mesh "safety cover" the prior owners left us - mainly to keep the leaves out they said. My questions are:

1) the cover touches the water in the center of the pool - is this okay or should I get a pool pillow to add to the life of the cover? And/or should I lower the pool water level?

This was answered in another post -- its not a problem for the water to touch the cover.

2) I vacuumed and shocked the pool before putting on the cover. How can I add chemicals (or do I need to) to keep the water balanced over the winter? Will my test strips be accurate if I dip them in the skimmer water? It's all I can access with the cover on.

A good closing procedure is to first shock with chlorine, then after a day or two add a large dose of PolyQuat 60. PolyQuat is quite viscous so you want to distribute that around the pool and keep the pump running so obviously you do this before putting on the cover. After a few days, check the chlorine level and add a little if needed. After that, you can periodically (say, monthly) check the chlorine level and if low you can add some chlorine. Chlorine should last a long time in cold water that is covered. The PolyQuat will prevent algae even if the chlorine level gets too low. Testing the water in the skimmer is fine if your pump is running and you can very slowly add chlorine to the skimmer if the pump is running. If the temperature is so cold that you shut down your pump and clear your lines, then you don't add chlorine, but generally don't have to as the water is too cold for algae to develop (especially with the PolyQuat).

3) At what outdoor temperature can I not worry about algae? I've been adding a phosphate remover preventively during the summer and only had one algae episode when I let my sanitizer levels dip by accident. Maybe I don't even need a phosphate remover if my sanitizer levels stay in check.

Algae can grow even near freezing temperatures, though grows very, very slowly. Usually below around 50F the algae growth is so slow that you needn't worry about it. If you follow the procedure above, shocking with chlorine and then using PolyQuat 60 algaecide, your pool should not develop algae regardless of temperature. You are right that you don't need a phosphate remover if your sanitizer levels stay at a minimum FC level that is 7.5% of the CYA level (11.5% is a better target).

4) At what point can I reduce the filtration time, and will 4 hours per day be sufficient?

If you normally run your pump to achieve one turnover of water volume per day, then I'd set the time for one-third to one-half a turnover per day which should be sufficient for cooler water temperatures. Since the pool is covered, there is less need for filtration (since there's less junk that gets in the pool) and the cooler water makes circulation less important since algae and bacteria grow much more slowly so are less likely to use up chlorine locally.

Thanks if you can help with any of these questions!

Barbara
chem geek
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Joined: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 21:27
Location: San Rafael, California

Postby chem geek » Wed 24 Oct, 2007 11:06

My responses in bold below.

IkeRay wrote:yeah, i was wondering about closing the pool as well. my pool is kinda an algae paradise right now, but with my new pump seal its starting to get clean. up until yesterday morning, the water was still bearable to swim in too but now that the nights are getting down to 50* it kinda chills the water.

questions:

do i need to close the pool?

See my response above. You don't need to close the pool if it does not freeze over in the winter.

do i need to get a pool cover to keep leaves out?

That's up to you. It makes spring startup easier. Otherwise, you have more of a mess to clean up. The leaves will tend to use up the chlorine a little, but with cool water temperatures this will be slow.

can i run it, like all4him does, 3 hours a day, and on the nights it gets down to below freezing run the pump all night (moving water doesnt freeze; at least not at 30*)?

If the weather only gets near freezing briefly, say during parts of some nights, then you can just run the pump to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes. Generally, a few freezing nights won't have the ground freeze and if your pump is in a pool house it may not get to freezing either, but running the pump is playing it safe.
IkeRay
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Joined: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 13:58

Postby IkeRay » Wed 24 Oct, 2007 11:45

thank you very much chemgeek, very helpful!

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