closing pool for first time

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Old 09-21-17, 07:38 AM
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closing pool for first time

I've never closed the pool before this year but decided to. opened this spring for the first time and that went fine. but I know I have to be careful closing due to freezing etc. my skill level's pretty good. I've replaced the seals, clean the filter out pretty regularly etc.

I've watched a bunch of videos and they kinda all over the place and don't really lay out the principles of the process.

My pool is a 36000 gal vinyl lined pool. it has a hayward pro grid DE cholorine system and raypac heater with three skimmers. I live in NNJ.

I expect that the basic goal here is to make sure there is no water left in any lines or equipment to freeze and cause damage.

Unfortunately I was never home in the past to watch the service guys close for me before. But I can tell you they lowered the water level just below the skimmers, used rubber plugs in the returns and one of the holes in the skimmers. no gizmo's. took out all the plugs in the pump, filter, and heater and left them out.

the videos I've watched as I say can vary. Some drain below the returns (easier to make sure they are empty? but don't you want more water in to keep the cover higher?). Some use anti-freeze even after blowing out the lines. most user gizmo's in the skimmers. some take out the pump and filter (mine never did).

I've got a compressor (I open/close my irrigation system yearly), and plan to connect to the 1/4" (I believe) drain hole in the pump to blow out the system. Do I shut the other valves off (like when I'm vacuuming) while i blow each out? Put the plugs in while the compressor is running? drain the filter before I blow out the lines?

Sorry for such basic questions but I don't want to take a chance. but it's definitely in my skill level -- I just want to be sure I understand the goal, and best way to get there. And concerned that there seems to be so many different approaches.

Really appreciate the help as always guys!
 
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Old 09-21-17, 10:22 AM
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There is a lot to it but I'll start off. I leave in nNJ too. I winterized my pool last week for the 45th. time. Mine is +24k gallons 20x40 inground cement. I have a little pumphouse with an open back.... looks like an oversized doghouse. My filter gets emptied but stays outside.

You don't want any water in the supply or return lines. You are told to drain the pool below the returns so that the water drains out, plug the fittings and refill the water. I drain to my winter level and pressurize the lines. I have a valve in my air compressor line so that I can control the system air pressure. A small regulator will also work,

I connect my compressor to the pump housing using a 1/8" pipe in the drain hole. I close the valves on the suction lines. Put filter to AUX circulation. Blow out and plug the closest return. It will be the one where most of the air is coming out. Here comes the hard part..... there will be air coming out of the other one. You need to start inserting the plug and reducing the air pressure at the same time. I use the pressure gauge on the filter to stay below 5psi during the capping. If you don't you won't get the plug in. I bump the system to 10psi and see if the plugs hold. That's it the returns are done.

Put filter valve in CLOSE. Open shallow drain/skimmer suction line. Now... here's where there may be a difference. I have special two rubber plug.... plug assemblies. Do you have something similar ? I put air in the system.... it will come out the skimmer. As the plug is started in.... it blocks the skimmer and all the air comes out the drain. Reduce air pressure to 5psi or the plug won't go in. Push the plug assembly all the way in and tighten the wingnut. Check for air coming out of the plug. There should not be any. Close the shallow suction line trapping 5psi in the shallow suction line.

Same routine for the deep end.
 
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Old 09-22-17, 10:30 AM
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thank you!

OK thanks very much for this! Frankly I'm still a little concerned about all this given the risk of damage, but I really want to figure this out myself. ridiculous to pay someone!

I've attached a picture of my setup for reference. as you can see I've got four lines in and out. three skimmers . five return jets plus on connection for the vacuum. Let me run through what I intend to do based on your input and what I've read.

First, the goal is to get all of the water out of all of the return and suction lines, and all of the equipment including the pump, filter, and heater. everywhere but the pool itself.

I'm going to start by lowering the water below the skimmer, and the return jets (I know this is not mandatory but seems like a good idea to make it foolproof for a newbie).

I'm going to then drain all the equipment using the drain plugs on all. I'll take the DE cartridge out and clean it off (done many times).

Then I connect my compressor with a 1/4 fitting to the drain hole under the basket (U can just barely see it in the pic).

Here's the question: I need to clear both drains and returns. how do I do each separately?

If I start with the skimmers, I can do them one at a time while shutting the others off, as I do when vacuuming? I do this in regular "Filter" mode? (My settings are "Filter" "boost" "waste" and "Backwash"). in each skimmer, I can put in a plug (thats what my guys did) or better yet use a gizmo once all the water is out? Should I put some antifreeze in as an extra safeguard?

So I do all the skimmers -- should I do in a particular order, i.e. far to near?

Then how do I move on to the returns? Is this a different valve setting? and what about the connection for the polaris vacuum? ?

Once I've cleared all the lines, and drained all the equipment, I'm done.

Does this sound right? Appreciate it!
 
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Old 09-22-17, 07:05 PM
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You mentioned a lot of items. The returns are all on one pipe leaving the pump. The return pipe is not visible in the picture. The 4 valves are suction lines. Do you just have 3 skimmers and the vacuum..... no floor drains ?

Try using the boost valve setting. You want a setting where the water would recirculate without going thru the filter.

I do the returns first.....
When you drain the water down.... you are draining the returns via gravity. A little blast of air wouldn't hurt. Then you need rubber plugs to plug off the returns. Usually the return assembly unscrews from the pool and the rubber plug is set in the threaded part. Rubber plugs shown below. After capping your returns you'll need to raise your water back to winter level.

You'd have the four suction valves off when doing the returns. Now you'll open one at a time. Since the returns are plugged..... your system will pressurize with air. In your case I'd blow out the suction lines one at a time. Open the valve.... when the air comes out..... close the valve.

When I blow my suction lines out.... I end up with pressurized air in the lines. That's done by closing the suction valve and capping the skimmers. Don't let the system air pressure rise much over 10psi.

My system can't use the gizmo due to the way Sylvan set up their combo skimmer/floor drain valve system. So I put a piece of soft wood in the skimmer as an expansion device. Don't ask me how but water ALWAYS ends up in the skimmers.
 
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Old 09-22-17, 07:20 PM
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I received a few PM's from members curious as to how the skimmer can control the floor drain. In the following diagram..... If I drop a 1' piece of pipe down (in blue)..... it blocks the drain and just the skimmer operates. With no pipe.... the drain and the skimmer is on. If I screw in a threaded plug (pink)..... just the floor drains operates. This was a way to reduce piping and additional valves.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 06:24 AM
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Sorry about that -- here's a pic of the other side of the system (I have a shed built around it as well). the return is a single line out, thru that cartridge filter we never use, in to the heater then out, and splits in to four again.

this is all really helpful and making sense.

some q's/clarifications:

I only have the three skimmers and the vac port -- no floor drains.

I have lot's of #10 plugs to use from past years all in good shape. -- my guys always used plugs not gizmo's in the skimmers and nothing else for expansion. how do I know if I can use a gizmo and why didnt they?

After I drain and bring level back up, what is "Winter level"? a few inches below skimmer?

on the Return process as you outlined, when do I put in plug or gizmo? before closing the valve? does it matter?

otherwise seems to be making sense! just with all the warnings on damage I'm being overly cautious!

one more -- when do I drain all the equipment (Pump, filter, heater) -- at the start belore blowing out lines?

Again really helpful! I like to understand the why's of what I'm doing vs. just "following steps".
 
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Old 09-23-17, 08:07 AM
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If you have never had anything in the skimmer for water expansion then you don't need anything.

I have tile so my winter line is based on that. I don't what your winter water level is. Where was it set to in the past ?

I don't see any valves on the returns.

On the skimmers I cap the skimmer and when the system air pressure just starts to rise.... close the valve.

The equipment is all drained at the end when all the lines are blown out or drained. .
 
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Old 09-23-17, 12:13 PM
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no valves on the returns -- just the suction/skimmers. what does that mean?
 
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Old 09-23-17, 01:08 PM
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The returns will only be blocked at the pool side. Mine is the same way. rarely are there valves on the return lines.
 
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Old 09-23-17, 04:07 PM
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thx. big help here as usual.
 
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Old 09-24-17, 04:43 AM
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sorry one more -- how do I drain the line for the vacuum/polaris?
 
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Old 09-24-17, 08:15 AM
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Hard to help you with that one.

It's on one of the suction line and has its own valve. So that means it gets blown out like one of the skimmers. I'm not sure what kind of fitting the cleaner uses.
 
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Old 09-24-17, 09:18 AM
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OK -- and I started this morning (ironically it's gonna be 90 here today) and discovered something that should have occured sooner -- because I dont have a main drain, I dont think I can drain any more water out than to the level of the skimmers -- right? duh! SO I'll dsrain to the skimmers, then use the air pressure to clear the returns rather than gravity. tho I was hoping to drain below the returns just to be sure.
 
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Old 09-24-17, 11:08 AM
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update -- help!

OK so I drained the water down below the skimmer line. pulled all the drain plugs on the heater, polaris pump, regular pump. drained everything. shut all the suction lines so I could start with the returns. put all the plugs back in and pressurized the system with air. bubbles come out the returns, so I go where the most bubbles are and put in a #10 plug. go around and do same for all the others. seems to be working ok. but I see bubbles around the plugs despite tightening them pretty tight. cant be right I assume. no bubbles cause that means water is going back in? bubbles only with air pressure. but I assume once the air is off and the bubbles stop thats when the water goes in? I tihnk I'm getting there!
 
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Old 09-24-17, 10:56 PM
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You could drain using the vacuum hose or the cleaner hose.

If you have too much air in the system the rubber plugs may not go in all the way. The pressure is trying to push them out. You need to strike a balance so that the air gets reduced as the plug is installed. I've sent plugs flying across the pool when the pressure got to high.

Those plugs can be a pain in the *ss. I coat mine with a little vaseline before putting them in.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 09:24 AM
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home stretch on pool closing!

I thought I'd start a new thread on this since i've learned a lot in the last day or so and made great progress. So only focusing on the key outstanding issues.

I believe I've managed to blow out all the pipes: I drained all the equipment (pump/filter/polaris/heater), put the plugs all back in (for now till I'm done), put about 15 lb. of pressure in the system, closed the skimmer valves, plugged all the returns with rubber plugs (I wrapped them with some teflon tape, lowered the pressure enough to get them in and got a good seal -- no bubbles), then opened the skimmer valves one at a time and plugged with rubber plugs. With 15 lbs of pressure still in the system, I went back and pulled out the equipment plugs one at a time (two on pump; one on DE filter; two on heater; one on polaris pump to get anything still there. Little bit of spitting but everything seems dry. I may go back and check each plug again with the system pressurized to double-check.

Still to do:

when finished I'll pull out all the equipment plugs and leave them out.

Should I keep the skimmer valves shut so there's a little pressure in there?

Water level -- it's too high, and just below the skimmers, so no room for any rain or snow melt. I'd like to get it down at least a couple inches below skimmers (I dont have tile its all vinyl so I dont have to worry about that). as to the water level rising, I assume it's all the water I blew out of the pipes that ended up back in the pool!).

As to draining, I dont think I can use the vacuum since the system is all blown out and dry. should I just rent a small pump?

and regarding gizmos, I know I didn't have any in the past few years, but early on the service I paid did put the soda bottle with sand in. I think I'll do same just for some insurance?

I tihnk that's it. does this sound right?

appreciate the help with you guys walking me thru.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 09:36 AM
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Threads combined. When a new thread is started all the questions that have already been asked and answered get asked again.

15psi is a little on the high side as it could possibly blow the plugs out.
After charging the line I close the suction valves to trap extra air in the pipes.
The equipment plugs just get removed. Those are gravity drain and air is not required to empty them.
 
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Old 09-25-17, 10:58 AM
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thank you very much! was trying to avoid the duplication
 
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Old 09-27-17, 07:09 AM
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all done!

I tihnk I got it all set thanks again for all the help! one last question -- what position do I put the valve in for the winter?
 
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Old 09-27-17, 10:10 AM
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Valve position makes no difference.
 
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Old 09-27-17, 10:24 AM
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great thx again for the help done till the Spring
 
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Old 09-27-17, 11:50 AM
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Now the cover cleaning process begins.
 
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