Winterize a Pool – Lower Water Level

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 52,571
    Jonathan Broga with Potomac Pools shows you how to winterize a swimming pool including lowering the water level.

    Jonathan Broga: Hi! I am Jonathan Broga with Potomac Pools. And today I am showing you how to winterize the swimming pool. Right now we are going to be lowering the water level. This particular pool has a Mesh safety cover, safety covers require that the pool be lowered approximately 16 inches. We want to lower it enough, so that if it fills with rain water over the winter, the water does not come up to the tile line where it can freeze and expand and damage your tile. On the other hand we need to lower it not so much that should a snow load arrive on top of the cover, that it has no where to go. We want the water to support the cover. So we are going to shoot for about 16 inches, which should put us right in that sweet spot. To do so, I am going to be using a little giant submersible pump, this may or may not be available at your local Big Box retailer. It pumps about 30 gallons a minute, we use several of them. I may even use a gas pump in addition to this to lower the water quickly. As a homeowner you may choose to lower your water the night before using a smaller submersible pump that it can attach to a garden hose. When you are lowering your pool, be sure you know where the water is going. You don't want to flood your neighbor's basement and you don't want to kill their shrubs, so know what the water is doing. Additionally test your water, when winterizing a pool it's important that your chemistry be properly balanced for the winter to avoid scale or other problems that can come from imbalanced water. Check your chlorine levels, having them as low as possible, in fact zero. When you pump it out, well ensure that you are not causing damage to your local ecosystem. We will add chlorine back to the pool, once it's lowered. We have decided with this Mesh Cover, to drop it approximately sixteen inches. Again the Mesh Cover needs support from water underneath, so you can't drain it too far, yet we want to keep the water off the tiles. So you have to drain it far enough. If you had a solid safety cover, it would only be necessary to drop the pool just a few inches below the tile, just get it below the skimmer throats and the tile. With the solid safety cover, it's imperative that you put a pump on top of the cover when you completed to keep water on top from displace in water beneath, that would cause the water level in the pool to rise to the level of the tiles where it could freeze causing you damage. The same goes for a water-bag cover, if you have a large tarp that you secure to the pool with heavy objects like water-bags or cinder blocks, you also only need to lower the water this far. Two additional considerations when lowering your water are the type of pool you have and whether or not you have a light. With this pool we have two lights; it's important that during the winter the water level not beyond that lens where it can potentially freeze, expand and break your light lens. So make sure that your water is either clearly above or clearly below your light during the winter freezing months. Additionally, this is a Gunite Pool with tile, if you have a Vinyl In-ground Pool; tile breakage is not a consideration. However, you will still want to take into consideration support for your cover. At this stage you should also be removing any ladders, the handrails or other removable obstructions from your pool. As we wrap up the lowering of the water, I am going to open the skimmer valves on the filter system to suck the water out of the pipes that's currently in the skimmers. Then I will turn off the filter system. So, now that we have lowered the pool, let's move on to blowing out the lines.