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Thread: It's Almost Closing Time Again

  1. #1
    CarlD's Avatar
    CarlD is offline SuperMod Emeritus Vortex Adjuster CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars
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    Unhappy It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Today, it's sunny and clear, but the temperature outside was down to 50 last night and now, is in the high 70's. But it's September in the NorthEast and that means lots of rainy days and overcast skies. If it's sunny, my solar panels can still get the pool up to nice swimming temperatures, and the solar cover (which will be trashed after the season) is still holding heat it, while it's not shedding plastic bubbles.

    So it's time to think about closing and plan for it.

    Personally, I only use 2 chemicals: Chlorine and Polyquat (60%). I've had very good luck, opening each spring to clear water, just with lots of pollen and winter dust on the bottom.

    Actually, I use a third chemical: Teflon lubricant to lube and protect O-rings over the winter so they don't dry out.

    Here's how I prefer to do it.

    1) Get my ordinary pool chemistry as close to perfect as I can. Then raise pH to the 7.6-7.8 range. Meanwhile, I pull out the ladder and drop-in stairs, power-wash and store them.

    2) Let the water get cold. I turn off the solar panels and remove the solar cover (which is either cleaned, dried and stored, or trashed). I want the water to be AT LEAST in the low 60's when I close--50's is better.

    3) I run the Free Chlorine level up the shock level appropriate for my Stabilizer/CYA level. Since CYA is around 40ppm, Shock Level is 15ppm.

    4) I add a quart of Polyquat 60% algaecide to the return stream and let it act for 48 hours.

    5) I then check my FC level, which usually has dropped like a stone (from the Polyquat) to very low levels--even zero. Don't panic, it's normal.

    6) I add bleach/Liquid Chlorine to bring FC back to Shock Level (again, this year it's 15ppm). Now I'm ready to physically close the pool.

    7) I backwash the filter, turn off the skimmer's ball valve (you can plug it instead), and, while backwashing, let the water drain down below the returns, at least a couple of inches. If you have a cartridge, you can just pump to waste, but I figure I'll backwash my sand filter at the same time--with that 15ppm FC water to kill anything growing in the filter.

    8) I plug the returns, the low drain, and put the Aquador on the skimmer and screw in a Gizmo. If you don't have the Aquador, the Gizmo should be enough, but you can protect it better by using Al's trick and stuffing pieces of a kid's noodle in it--you can do both together. This prevents ice from forming in the skimmer completely and expanding and breaking it...the Gizmo and the foam get crushed by the ice instead, and displace a lot of water.

    Plugging the low drain can be cold. I have an inexpensive wet-suit that allows me to get into the pool when the water's really cold, but usually I can reach the low drain from the side--I'll put on a neoprene glove so even if my arm is icing up, my hand still works. In the spring I duct-tape a slip-joint wrench to a length of wood to unscrew the low plug--necessity is the mother of invention!

    9) Now I disconnect the plumbing. I have quick releases EVERYWHERE to make it easy--at each return, the skimmer and the low drain. Ball valves double as quick releases--mostly I have the valve on the hose and base part stays on the pool--that way the valve isn't wintering.

    10) Every ball valve and quick-release has an O-ring. Unless ALL your valves and quick-releases are the same brand, you'll need to mark them. I grab a box of sandwich bags and a Sharpie and write the ID for the O-ring on a baggie, coat each one with teflon lube, slide it into the baggie, press out all the air and seal it. I do the same with the BIG O-ring from the 6-Way valve.

    **** The next two steps may be different if you have an integrated filter and pump, or a DE or Cart filter.

    11) I drain the hoses and store them, disconnect the pump from the filter and drain it and empty its strainer. It goes in the basement.

    12) I drain the filter and remove the 6-way valve. I leave the drain open. I put in the gadget that keeps the center pipe centered, cover the filter with a contractor's garbage bag, and duct-tape it tight. No duct tape goes on the filter but only on the bag. The O-Ring from the 6-Way valve gets lubed and bagged, and the valve gets stored.

    13) Now I drain my solar panels. This is a pain because mine have hoses that go from panel to panel and I have about 30 panels (all 4'x2', not the 4'x20' most people have--after all my panels are also my deck). I hook up the shop vac to blow them out, but I find I have to disconnect a lot of the hoses to get them clear. I also remove any leaking panels for repair or replacement.

    14) FINALLY, I can put on my winter cover. I have a safety mesh. I used to put a pillow under it but I no longer bother--it isn't necessary.

    15) Now I go to clearing and storing all the other summer fun stuff--umbrellas, swim toys, the Blue Diamond, and disconnect and take down the outdoor speakers. I don't REALLY need to do that, but we NEVER use them when we are outside in the winter, so I have quick releases for them, for their wiring as well, so why let them weather?

    Then I'm done....
    Carl

  2. #2
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Last weekend I was out by the pool and it was a beautiful sunny day, but the signs for the end of summer were there. Then a perfect V of about 100 Canada geese flew very, very low overhead and I got all melancholy about the end of the season. I like having 4 seasons but hot weather time is just so short here. Sigh.

    Thanks once again for everyone in the forum. Another summer of excellent water, stress free. New liner installed, poured new cement ladder pads; rejuvenated the cedar pool shed/change room; next summer I'm thinking about trying the salt and borate thing.

    Found 40% poly algecide here so thanks for the closing instructions Carl, I'll take care of the chems that way.
    IG 32' x 16', vinyl 19,500 l, Sand filter, Hawyard Low NOx 250,000 btu heater
    Heating? Great info on why a solar cover saves $$$?
    http://energy.gov/energysaver/articl...ng-pool-covers

  3. #3
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Carl,

    Thanks for the very detailed post, It'll definetely come in handy.
    Remind me again why you recommend raising the PH to the 7.6-7.8 range for closing?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Watermom's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    I'm not Carl, but I have a feeling he raises his for the same reason I do. The rain around here is pretty acidic and it causes my ph to fall. If I start with my ph at the high end of normal, it keeps my ph from dropping below 7.0 before the next spring. Ph readings below 7.0 are acidic and can damage your pool.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Hi Carl,
    It's closing time here in Nebraska, unfortunately. Our temps have been in the 60's to low 70's, and in 40's to 50's at night. Tomorrow our high is in the 50's and low of 35 with patchy frost. After that it's supposed to get back up into the mid 70's after a couple days, but night's still in the 40's.

    Yesterday my pH was at 7.2 - it stays there consistently and with our iron (well water), I have good luck keeping it there. For closing I was gonna raise it a tad as this year it was a tad low when I opened. Last night I added between 1/4 and 1/2 cup 20 mule team borax to raise it. I forgot to check it today before I added my polyquat60 for closing. I added 2 qts, read that somewhere when I first got our pool. When I checked my pH now it's purple... really high! Could the polyquat that I put in about 4 hours ago tamper with my testing?? Or could that little of borax raised it that much? I diluted it and put it through the skimmer. I have muratic acid I could lower it with if needed.

    I have an 18x34 AG, 3620 DE Filter, .5hp Northstar hayward high efficiency pump - run system 24/7 as I don't see any increase in our monthly bill. My levels are:
    TC - 12
    pH - ??
    Alk - 150-160 vinyl liner, ok under 180
    CYA - 35
    Temp - 73 brrrrrrrr I have to go take steps out in a few minutes!!!!!! Just took my solar blanket off today and turned my solar panels off, so it should drop in temp pretty quickly.

    Would appreciate your opinion, probably gonna put my winter cover on tonight as we are harvesting here now and getting help is like pulling teeth this time of the year, and have volunteers for tonight. I'm gonna leave my pump running at least tonight yet. Thanks!
    Sincerely,
    Donya (huskerfan)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Anyone?? Can a large dose of polyquat60 effect the testing results of your pH... possibly make them high, or would it turn the pH high? Thanks.
    Sincerely,
    Donya (huskerfan)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    I don't know about Polyquat, but high levels of chlorine can give a falsely high PH test result. With your stabilizer at 35, a chlorine level of 12 is fairly high. Maybe that's affecting your PH test.
    Why BBB? Because money can't buy happiness, but saving it sure can!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Thank you - that was the culprit. I just left it alone yesterday and re-tested tonight and my chlorine level was down to 6 and my pH just over 7.2, so I added a little more Borax through the skimmer. I remember Carl always saying to add sparingly, re-check after it has had time to circulate, then add more if needed; good advice. Between my pool rover plus, an occasional vacuum with my pool buster (yes, I learned about cool pool "toys" from Carl too), and a small dose of bleach each day my pool was very simple to care for this summer. It just threw me for a loop when my pH was reading sky high, so thanks . Even after my 3rd summer there's still things to learn. Temps are in the 40's now and will get to 30's with frost, water temp is in 60's and leaves are just starting to turn here; so glad it's covered up and ready to hibernate for the winter. Have a couple days coming up back up in the 80's so left my pump/filter running yet. Will drain soon and put away all my equipment and plumbing, then will wish for spring! Thank you again!
    Sincerely,
    Donya (huskerfan)

  9. #9
    gwrace1 is offline Registered+ Thread Analyst gwrace1 0
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Closing who's closing. The pool temps here in south central Texas have been in the upper 80's to low 90's.

    I plan to put on the solar cover here in the next couple of weeks or so just to keep the pool at that temperature.

    It's beautiful swimming weather...

    33' Artesian Echo Canyon Ultra II round with 54" wall 26000 gallon capacity -- 1.5 HP 2 Speed Pump / Pentair 26" Sand Filter with Zeolite filter media
    Aquarite Salt Water Generator -- Complete aluminum deck with fence kit
    Aqualuminator with Fountain -- Solar Pool Lights
    Pool Pictures at the link below
    http://community.webshots.com/album/548241672nKeuyR

  10. #10
    aylad's Avatar
    aylad is offline SuperMod Emeritus Burfle Ringer aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars
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    Default Re: It's Almost Closing Time Again

    Quote Originally Posted by gwrace1 View Post
    Closing who's closing.
    Not me!!

    We're still swimming--water temp today was perfect 86 degrees!!

    Janet

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