Yes, A Pool’s Water Level Must Be Lowered For Winter

The arrival of winter is the start of winterizing for outdoor pools. Should the water level in a swimming pool be lowered? The answer is yes. 

Why Lower the Water Level in a Pool

During winter, if the outside temperatures are cold, the water can turn into ice. And, it’s a scientific fact that ice takes up more space than water.

Result: by applying pressure through its larger volume, ice will damage all the walls of the pool as well as its coating, and the piping, the filter circuit, etc.

To avoid any damage due to ice, it is advisable to empty the pipes of the swimming pool filtration system before winterizing the pool and to lower the water level in the pool to just under the skimmers. Therefore, the water will be drained from the filter system and pump. There is now no risk of freezing the pipes.

By How Much Should the Water Level Be Lowered

It is advisable to lower the water level just before or after a shock treatment with chlorine, and after having thoroughly cleaned the walls and the entire pool.

Lower the water level to about 15 centimeters or 6 inches below the outlet jets and the skimmers. Remember that winter rains can raise the water level. So don’t hesitate to lower it further. It is advisable to keep the water at the correct level throughout the winter.

After lowering the water level, you must drain all the pipes of the filtration system so that no water remains in these pipes.

Note: these recommendations are not applicable for swimming pools that have a rigid submerged cover. However, the water level should also be monitored so that the shutter is not driven higher than normal.

Winterizing correctly will allow your pool to be properly maintained during the winter. Read my post on how to correctly winterize an above ground pool for winter.

How To Close an Above Ground Pool for Winter

Every fall is the time to close the pool. It is best to wait until the water temperature is below 12 degrees Celsius or 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool water will retain its properties and algae will not be able to grow. In addition, it will be easier to reopen your pool in the spring.

Several steps are necessary to close an above-ground pool. Remember: the water will not freeze completely inside the pool. Without proper precautions, you could damage the pool and related equipment.

Here are the steps to close an above ground pool.

  • Stop the pump.
  • Move the 3-position valve valve so as to close the skimmer and leave only the bottom drain open.
  • Put the filter in the drain or waste position.
  • If necessary, unroll the filter drain hose into the garden.
  • Start the pump.
  • Lower the water level in the pool to 18 inches below the skimmer line.
  • Stop the pump
  • Move the 3-position valve so as to close the pump inlet and leave the skimmer and the bottom drain open.
  • Remove the jet from its location and store it.
  • Gently remove all the external pipes (between the pump and the 3-position valve, between the pump and the filter and between the filter and the jet.
  • Store the pipes.
  • Remove and store the pump caps and rotate it in all directions to remove any remaining water.
  • Clean the pump basket.
  • Store the pump.
  • Remove and store the basket and the skimmer valve.
  • Remove and store the filter cap.
  • Remove and store the pressure gauge from the filter.
  • Remove the glass eye of the filter with the sealing rubber.
  • Put the filter handle in the ” winterization ” position or between two positions.
  • Store the filter drain hose and blow air through it so that no water remains.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the skimmer.
  • Add a gallon of antifreeze to the skimmer.
  • Add and securely fix a gray expansion rod of approximately 24inches in the skimmer pipe.
  • Add a set of 2-parts above-ground skimmer foam to the skimmer
  • Don’t forget to put a wooden stick to hold the 2 foam blocks
  • Place the skimmer cover in a plastic bag and replace it.
  • Add a set of sealing chemicals to the pool water.
  • Winterize the water heater if necessary.
  • For an electric water heater or heat pump
  • – If necessary remove the drainage plug.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Tilt the water heater a little forward.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a gas water heater
  • – If necessary remove the drain plug under the water inlet and outlet or on the sides.
  • – Remove and store the pressure switch or pressure valve.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Shut off the gas supply on the main cylinder or on the outlet near the main inlet.
  • – Shut off the gas supply near the water heater.
  • – Set the intensity indicator to the ” off ” position.
  • – Put the pilot indicator in the ” off ” position.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a solar water heater
  • – Remove as many stoppers as possible from the line leading to the panel.
  • – Blow air through to be sure that no water remains.
  • – Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the automatic actuator.
  • – Reinstall the caps.
  • Other Equipment
  • Store the steps or ladder.
  • Store the lights.
  • Store all small parts inside the pump basket so as not to lose them.
  • Store the chlorinator and drain the water inside.
  • Dispose of the contents inside of the chlorinator.
  • Install the winter cover or net on the pool if available.
  • Put boat grease on the bolts which might rust during the winter.
  • Secure the pool area to avoid any risk of injury or drowning.
  • Safely store the pool chemicals in a dry place.

TIPS:

  • Clean your pool before closing.
  • Keep your pool free of algae and make sure the water quality is good before closing.
  • Put a leaf net or liner over the pool to reduce the number of leaves in the pool. In addition, the pool will be safer.
  • Switch off the electricity supply to swimming pool equipment ( pump, water heater, salt system).
  • Store the pump and the salt system indoors or under cover if possible.
  • Clean your pool equipment before storing them (ladder, step, light).
  • Secure the entrance to the pool so that no one has access to it.
  • Never break the ice in or on the pool.
  • Do not walk on the pool during winter.
  • In spring, as soon as the ice in the pool has melted, open the pool.

Common Mistakes

It is important to look after your pool. Homeowners often forget a few steps which, if not done, will damage equipment.

The most common errors are:

  • Forgetting to close the drain valve. Result: the pool empties;
  • Forgetting to add antifreeze, which leads in particular to broken pipes;
  • Storing the pump outdoors, causing premature wear.

If done correctly, the closing of the pool has an advantage. In the spring, it will be easier for you to reopen the pool and benefit from it during the first hot days. You will also save money due to less faulty or broken equipment.

How To Add Hydrochloric Acid To A Swimming Pool

I will explain here what the hydrochloric acid is used for in the swimming pool: by descaling and the dosage to lower the TAC and the pH.

Hydrochloric acid is a dangerous chemical compound. It should be handled with care, especially gloves and protective glasses. For the treatment of the swimming pool, one can often use other products, less dangerous.

To use it, it must be diluted in a large volume of water: 30% acid and 70% water. Always pour the acid into the water and never the other way around.

Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to metals. So the pool pump and other equipment are not going to like it at all.

After putting hydrochloric acid in the pool. you should avoid bathing for 24 to 48 hours.

Why Use Hydrochloric Acid in the swimming pool?

For the maintenance of the swimming pool, hydrochloric acid can be useful for 3 reasons:

  • lower the pH
  • lower the tack
  • Descaling

Use Hydrochloric Acid To Lower the PH

The hydrochloric acid allows to lower the pH of the swimming pool, strongly. The dosage of hydrochloric acid in the swimming pool is approximately 10mL per m³ to lower the pH by 0.3. It is very powerful!

For comparison, pH-lowering products containing sodium bisulfate or sulfuric acid have a potency of about 0.15 per 10mL per m³.

Like any product that lowers the pH, hydrochloric acid also lowers the TAC. Compared to products lowering the pH, hydrochloric acid will have an even greater impact on the TAC. Moreover, the dosages to be carried out depend on the TAC of the swimming pool: the higher the TAC, the more chemical product is required.

Use Hydrochloric Acid To lower the TAC

Hydrochloric acid helps to lower the TAC of the pool. It is even very effective in this area. The hydrochloric acid dosage is approximately 2mL per m³ to lower the pool’s TAC by 1 ppm (0.1 ° F).

Use Hydrochloric Acid to Descale the Walls of the Swimming Pool

Hydrochloric acid dissolves limestone. It is sometimes used for very scaled toilets.

In a swimming pool where the water is particularly hard, limestone can form on the walls and at the bottom. To prevent this problem, there are lime sequestering agents. To correct the problem, one can use hydrochloric acid.

If the pool is very calcified, then empty the pool and spray hydrochloric acid on the walls, little by little, then wipe with a sponge.

I also recommend putting hydrochloric acid 40cm away from the coping, leaving it to stand overnight and then turning on the filtration for 48 hours, without swimming.

7 Ways To Heat A Swimming Pool

The water in your pool is too cold? In this case, you are probably not going to swim. If you don’t want to enjoy your pool only on sunny days, you should opt for an efficient heating system.

Without heating, the water in your pool will not exceed 22 degrees, and maybe even 25 degrees if it’s really hot. However, even for a sports swimmer, the water temperature is only pleasant from 26 degrees. Most pools are even heated to 29 or 30 degrees.

In addition, a heating system allows you to enjoy your swimming pool much longer. Without heating, you can only swim in summer. With a heater, you can easily swim for more months. Some systems even allow you to swim all year round.

But which type of heating system should you choose? The choice is wide and the ideal choice depends on many factors such as the type and size of the pool, the current heating installation in the home, how often you want to swim and the temperature, as well as the period. during which you want to enjoy the swimming pool. Below we walk through several known heating systems for swimming pools.

alternative energy building clouds energy

Heating a swimming pool with solar energy

Heating a swimming pool with the sun seems at first glance simple and interesting. It is an environmentally friendly and energy efficient way of heating the swimming pool. However, this category of pool heaters includes several options which all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Heating a swimming pool with a solar water heater

Solar water heaters are mainly used to heat a house or for sanitary installations. The precise application depends in part on the number of panels that are on the roof. Besides the house, you can also use a solar water heater to heat the swimming pool.

It’s significantly more environmentally friendly than gas or oil heating, but you still need the energy to run your solar water heater.

We do not directly recommend solar water heaters as pool heating. The efficiency of the solar water heater will be lower on cloudy days. And this is precisely when the solar water heater has to work a lot to heat the pool or maintain its temperature. To heat your pool, you, therefore, continue to depend on the sun.

Heating a swimming pool with solar panels

Solar panels do not produce heat, but energy. This is the big difference with a solar water heater. This energy is  totally ecological  and is used to heat the house and the swimming pool with an electric heating system.

To quickly heat a house or a swimming pool, solar panels will preferably be combined with an electric heating system such as a heat exchanger.

The price of these solar panels depends on the number of panels, the type and quality of the panels, their capacity and the size of the family. The bigger the family, the more energy it will have to produce.

For solar panels, it is also necessary to provide a large surface which, in the best case, will be oriented towards the south.

It is quite possible to heat your swimming pool with solar panels. It’s ecological and the energy is completely free. But you need a considerable budget and area to install the solar panels.

Advantages

  • Negligible consumption cost
  • Very ecological

Disadvantages

  • High purchase price
  • Can only be used in summer
  • Additional area required for solar collectors

Solar or EDPM mats to heat the swimming pool

These solar mats are often used  to heat a small swimming pool  that is removed for the winter. When a swimming pool is heated with solar mats or EDPMs, the water circulates through the mats. It is warmed there by the sun. Indeed, the sun heats the solar mats, which then transmit the heat to the water of the swimming pool.

As we have already indicated, this solution is mainly offered for small swimming pools. The main reason is that with a pool having a large volume, it takes a long time for all the water to pass through the solar mats once. Therefore, it takes a very long time to fully heat a large swimming pool with these mats.

In addition, a large area should be provided for installing these rugs. It is advisable to provide an area of ​​solar mats as large as the area of ​​the swimming pool. Usually, these heating mats are installed on a flat roof. However, this means that the pump must have sufficient capacity to bring water to this height. If the pump is not powerful enough, the water will heat up more slowly.

The real downside to these solar mats or EDPMs is that they are weather dependent. Without the sun, the mats will transmit too little heat to the pool water.

Heating a swimming pool with dome-shaped solar collectors

The operation of these solar collectors is very similar to that of solar mats. The difference is that the pipe is coiled under a kind of dome. The water is heated there. Compared to solar mats, much less space is required for this system. With 1 dome, you can heat 5,000 liters of water. For an 8m by 4m swimming pool with a depth of 1.5m, you therefore need 10 such domes.

However, this heating system is only recommended for small pools. This heating also depends on the sun and consumes a lot of energy to pump water through the domes. For the same pool, it will, therefore, be a little cheaper than solar mats.

Heating a swimming pool with a heat pump

With a solar-powered heating system, you depend on the amount of sunlight. A heat pump is therefore a perfect alternative that does not depend on the sun. It has therefore been the most popular swimming pool heating system for years.

It must be said that the heat pump has many advantages for heating a swimming pool. It is very efficient, energy-efficient, easy to use, and durable. This type of heating is much more environmentally friendly than a swimming pool heated with gas or oil. In addition, heat pumps have a long service life. If you are looking for a cost-effective heating system, you will opt for a quality heat pump.

How a swimming pool heat pump works

A heat pump uses electricity to draw heat from the ambient air and return it to the water. It therefore does not generate heat itself.

Heat pumps therefore depend on the outside temperature. As long as this temperature is above 10 degrees, heat pumps are profitable. For 1 kW of energy consumed, they produce no less than 5 kW of heat.

If the outside temperature drops below 10 degrees, it is better to stop the heat pump. Therefore, the heat pump is the ideal heating system to enjoy the swimming pool from April to the end of October. However, there are specific heat pumps that you can use at lower temperatures. If you want to bathe all year round, you can use a heat exchanger in winter.

A comparison between heat pumps and other pool heating systems

An electric pool heater is expensive to use. The consumption of an exclusively electric system is so high that this option is only possible for whirlpools with a maximum capacity of 1500 liters. For a standard swimming pool of approximately 50,000 liters, the use of an electric heater is excluded.

As for gas or oil heating, it has too low an efficiency. These heating systems need 5 kW of energy to generate 1 kW of heat. With a heat pump, it’s exactly the opposite! Therefore, you need a lot of energy to heat a large swimming pool.

Solar systems are very popular for swimming pool heating, but the problem is that they are dependent on sunlight.

Advantages and disadvantages of swimming pool heat pumps

The major advantage of the heat pump is its high efficiency and low energy cost. Unfortunately, heat pumps slowly heat the water; therefore, it takes a few days to heat your swimming pool by about 15 degrees to 28 degrees. It takes about 2 degrees gained per day.

In addition, the heat pump depends on the ambient temperature. The efficiency increases with the temperature, and if it drops below 10 degrees, the efficiency of the heat pump will be low.

Often it is thought that a swimming pool heat pump is very noisy, but it is not that bad. The noise is comparable to that of a quiet conversation. You will only be disturbed by the noise of the heat pump within a radius of 5 m around it.

Advantages

  • High efficiency
  • Low cost of consumption
  • Longer life
  • Very silent
  • Ideal for heating large pools
  • Possibility to swim from April to October
  • Ecological heating technology
  • Easy to use

Disadvantages

  • Higher purchase price
  • Depends on ambient temperature
  • Recommended use at room temperature> 10 ° C

The ideal location for a heat pump

It is advisable to install your heat pump outdoors. You will therefore not need a technical room with a good air inlet and outlet system.

An open-air installation is ideal for blowing the cooled air as far as possible. The direct ambient temperature of the heat pump is thus higher, which translates into better efficiency.

The heat pump does not necessarily have to be installed in the sun, although it is true that the ambient temperature is an important factor. 50 cm of free space should be left all around the heat pump. On the fan side, 3 to 5 m of free space should be provided, again so that the cooled air can be blown as far as possible.

When installing a heat pump, you should also pay attention to noise. While it is true that heat pumps are becoming quieter, you might as well try to limit noise to the strict minimum, for example by installing the heat pump in a corner or behind the pool house.

Heat a swimming pool with a heat exchanger

To quickly heat the water in a swimming pool, a titanium heat exchanger should be used. It is ideal for people who are not often at home to enjoy the pool. In one day, the pool is heated and you can enjoy it. It is therefore the ideal system for a swimming pool in a second residence or for someone who only wishes to swim very sporadically.

The heat exchangers are made of a corrosion resistant titanium thermal element. Electricity heats the resistance, which in turn heats the water flowing through it.

This titanium heat exchanger connects to the heating system of the house. As a result, the installation of this heating system is inexpensive. On the other hand, its main drawback is its consumption. Constantly heating your pool with a heat exchanger can be very expensive.

In addition, this heating method is less ecological than solar collectors or a heat pump. The advantage of the heat exchanger is that it can heat the water even when the ambient temperature is low and there is no sunlight. This is why the heat exchanger is often combined with a heat pump or a solar water heater.

The titanium heat exchanger allows the water to be heated quickly to a comfortable temperature, while the heat pump or solar water heater easily maintains the water at the desired temperature without having to constantly turn on.

Advantages

  • Cheaper to install
  • Heat water quickly

Disadvantages

  • Large consumer 
  • Less ecological
  • Often combined with a heat pump 

A pool cover to maintain the temperature

It is important to heat the water in the swimming pool, but it is even more important to maintain the temperature of this water as long as possible in order to have to use the heating system less often. This is why we recommend covering the swimming pool with a cover, or better yet, with an automatic roller shutter. This will significantly limit the cooling of your pool water. 

If you choose solar slats, the water temperature will increase even when you are not using the pool. On an annual basis, this represents a considerable energy saving!

In this way, your investment is recovered over a period of 2 to 3 years and this will have a very positive effect on the consumption of your installation. A swimming pool cover can reduce heat loss by 50%! If you opt for an automatic roller shutter with solar blades, your pool cover will even allow you to raise the temperature.

How To Prepare The Ground For An Above Ground Pool

The ground where we install the pool must be FIRM AND RESISTANT (do not install on balconies/terraces, soft or filled ground) LEVEL AND SMOOTH (without holes, or grass, roots or stones that could pierce the liner). The installation should be carried out between two or three adults, on a day without wind and when the heat is not excessive (first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon). The length of the installation will depend on the size of the pool (see your pool label or instructions).

How To Find The Perfect Spot For An Above Ground Pool

Choose a sunny area near an electrical socket (to connect the pool pump), the water intake (to fill the pool) and the drain (to empty the pool), and where there are no underground connections (water, gas, electricity). There is no risk of flooding because of rain. Find an area protected from the wind and without trees (pollen and leaves make the pool dirty). DO NOT install the pool under power lines.

Ground Preperation

Once the Place of Location has been chosen, you have two options:

– Install on a concrete or cement platform (perfectly smooth).
– Directly on the ground, after preparation.

Mark Out The Area

You will mark the area in which the pool is to be installed. If the pool is round, you should mark out the area 1 meter more than the diameter of your pool. If the pool is oval, mark the area out 1 meter longer and 2 meters wider than the pool. If the pool is square, mark the ground 1 meter bigger all round. Tools you would need Screwdriver, rope, funnel, flour.

Level the ground

Never add soil where the ground is sloped downwards, always remove soil where the ground is uphill. Clean roots, stones, etc. Compact the earth so that the ground is solid and supports the weight of the pool once it is filled with water. The ground must be level. So use a plumbers level on top of a long piece of wood to check the level of the ground. Tools you would need Hoe, shovel, level.

Once the ground is clean and leveled, you will spread a thin layer of sifted sand (maximum 1 cm thick), water it and compact it. Check again to make sure the ground is level. Tools you would need Water, garden roller, level, shovel, sifted sand.

Tools needed to assemble your pool

For the assembly of your pool, you will need, apart from those already mentioned. The following tools are usually necessary: Gloves, Phillips screwdriver, tape measure, utility knife, wrench set.