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January 30, 2010 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Mid-winter pool question... Calling all pool owners! We have our pool 'closed' every winter for the season, where the pool company puts in chemicals, plugs things up, and drains the pool about 3/4 to 1/2 way empty. But we've had a WET winter - snow and rain - and now the pool is FULL.

Do we need to have the pool company come back out and drain the pool again? Other than the fact that it's practically overflowing, is there any 'problem' with having the pool so full? Is there any reason we would need to lower the water level again that I'm not aware of?

It seems simple, but I've managed to screw up enough home maintenance things that I figured I should ask.
posted by matty to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am not a pool owner, but I thought the primary reason for lowering the pool level had to do with it freezing and expanding. If no room to expand then the cement and maybe even piping cracks. I would drain a bit.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:21 PM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: The biggest issue is the freezing / expanding as stated, but of the piping that is underground, and lead to the pump and exist in the frost zone. The water level of the pool is lowered so the intake and outlet jets can be properly drained, then sometimes a foam 'snake' thingy in pushed into the ports to provide an expansion buffer against any possible remaining water.

You shouldn't 'need' the pool company to come drain the pool again, but if the pool water does overflow, you can't control the direction (ie. if it is next to the house, it could easily overflow such that it ends up flooding the basement). Pumping now means you get to say where that water goes. If you have a submersible pump and hose you can do it yourself, just don't leave your pump in the water overnight or when you are not pumping to lower the risk of ruining that pump in the case of freezing.

I haven't heard of pool water freezing and cracking the walls / concrete, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible.

/experience: past 29 years growing up with inground pool in central ontario, several times we did a mid-winter drain, but usually the snow / ice water levels end up near the top of the pool.
posted by Mahogne at 4:35 PM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: I agreee with everything Mahonge said. My father bought a submersible pump and used it every autumn (IIRC we closed the pool every autumn without help from poll guys) and after heavy rains during pool season. The pump pays for itself over a couple of rentals.
posted by philfromhavelock at 4:57 PM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: You should just call the pool maintenance people and ask. Another issue not mentioned yet is the water chemistry. Evaporation concentrates the chemicals and refilling with fresh water restores it close to normal. Rainwater on the other hand, will dilute the chemicals, and draining back down keeps the concentrations the same, for a net loss. They may want to adjust it back up to keep algae and stuff from growing.
posted by ctmf at 5:04 PM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: And adding chemicals could end up being a bigger pain in the butt than it sounds like if your recirc pump piping is plugged and drained. You can't shouldn't just pour a few gallons of chlorine in the pond and call it good, you need to mix it up. Normally your pump/filter system mixes it. So they might have to bring a portable recirc pump and let it run for a while after they add the chemicals. (which is better than drain down, unplug piping, refill above pump system, fill and vent pump system, add chemicals, recirc, drain pool, plug and drain pump piping.)

On the other hand, they may just decide to let the chemistry go and tell you to just drain the pool back down. I'm sure they won't mind answering your question on the phone, though.
posted by ctmf at 6:21 PM on January 30, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all! Looks like it's best to go ahead and drain the pool.
posted by matty at 6:22 PM on January 30, 2010

That's "shouldn't." [sigh]
"preview" should send it to someone else to proofread and approve. I can't see my own errors until later.
posted by ctmf at 6:24 PM on January 30, 2010

Just a data point to the contrary-- my parents' yearly winterizing of our inground pool (mid-Atlantic, so fairly cold winters, mostly below freezing, but nothing like Ontario, I'd imagine) involved plugging the plumbing and filling with antifreeze, and putting a cover atop the full pool, but little else. The pool was pretty much always full for the winter, and 25+ years later, it's still in good working order.
posted by Bardolph at 6:56 PM on January 30, 2010

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