After Cold Weather Tips

After Cold Weather Tips

With the recent cold weather happenings and prolonged lack of power even pool owners who thought they had properly prepared for the cold weather likely have frozen pipes, pumps, and heaters. Many of us lost power during the middle of the night and by the time we thought about the pool it was too late. If you were able to get the piping and equipment drained before they completely froze you may have avoided damage.

Now as temperatures are supposed to get back into the 60’s this weekend you should take the time to do these things prior to restarting the pool equipment.

First allow the time for the piping to thaw before starting the pumps.

  • Make a quick visual inspection of the piping and valves going into the pump filter and heater looking for cracked PVC pipes or fittings.
  • Continue the inspections of the pool equipment itself looking for cracked filters,pump bodies, pump lids, chlorinators, and external connections.
  • If all of those appear to be good the next thing would be to reinstall the drain plugs if you were able to winterize the equipment.

Next would be to turn on the pumps.

  • If they do not immediately start up or start with a grinding or humming noise you most likely still have ice within the pump itself.
  • Turn it off immediately to avoid burning up the pump motor.
  • Allow some more time for the ice to thaw.
  • Remember many of us have pool equipment located on the side of your home that get very little sunshine on it so it may be one of the last areas to warm up.
    If the pump motors turn on the freely then you can now turn them back off and add water to the pump strainer to prime the pump.
  • Once you do that make sure that you pump the pump lid back is place securely and you can turn the pump motor back on to get the circulation going.
  • Be aware that since you may have drained the system piping that it may take a few minutes of running before you get the pumps to prime.
  • If not initially successful turn off the pumps and try refilling the pump strainer basket with water again. Then restart the pump motors once again. Hopefully, you get water flow and pressure back to the pool filter.

Now stand back and make another visual assessment of the pool equipment and piping.

  • This time look for leaking pipes and equipment. This is especially true of the pool heater which may have been damaged internally and may only show water leaking for the underside of the heater cabinet.
  • If anything is leaking turn of the pumps to prevent further damage and to avoid draining the pool.
  • Make a note of what you have seen or better yet take a picture of what you see so that you can send that to the pool repair service so that they are prepared for the right type of repair.

Here’s the good thing about the cold weather

With the cold water temperatures there is very little need for the filtration systems to run in order to maintain water clarity. Secondly the need for chemicals is almost none with water temperatures are below 60 degrees so the need for the chlorination systems to be operating or adding of chlorine in a non-operational pool is not needed. The fact that you pool has not filtered in many cases since Monday hasn’t really been an issue in regard to the water chemistry and clarity.

Now for the bad.

There are predictions that there are over a 100,000 pool equipment packages statewide that have sustained significant freeze damage and the timing to get these items repaired may be lengthy. The pool industry like many other industries has be greatly affected by the Covid 19 situation and the supply chains were already behind demand prior to these freezing temperatures. Our patience will certainly be tested both as an owner and as a pool professional as replacement parts or new equipment will be hard to come by. It is often possible to bypass certain pieces of equipment if they were damaged in order to get the pool filtration back in operation while the new parts are obtained from the supply chain. All that is really needed to keep you pool usable is a filtration pump and filter. All other items can done without on a temporary basis.

Remember: Pack your patience. My favorite saying is “If you close your eyes and jump in the water it will still be wet no matter what the surroundings”.