Thawing a Frozen Pool


If your swimming pool is in a location that occasionally has freezing temperatures, or if you did not winterize your pool in the fall, the pool may form an ice sheet in the winter. While a thin layer of ice should not do any damage to the pool, a sheet thicker than 1/2 inch may cause pressure to build on the pool tiles or in the pool plumbing, which can cause expensive damage. There are several methods you can implement to aid in thawing a frozen pool and to prevent further freezing.

Things You'll Need

  • Heating pads
  • Portable space heater
  • 3 milk jugs, 1 gallon
  • Antifreeze
  • Ice equalizer pillow
  • Apply heat to any part of the pump pipes that may be frozen; the pipes must be thawed before the ice sheet can thaw. Wrap heating pads around any frozen pipes or face a portable space heater next to the plumbing system to warm the pipes and force out the ice.

  • Turn on the pool pump and run it for up to eight hours per day. Circulating the water helps thaw an ice sheet, and it prevents further freezing.

  • Empty out three 1-gallon milk jugs. Pour antifreeze into each milk jug, filling it halfway. Tightly seal the milk jugs, then float them into the pool water once the ice sheet is thin enough to break through with your hand.

  • Add an ice equalizer pillow to the water, which you can purchase at most pool stores. The ice equalizer pillow equalizes any pressure the ice causes to build up in the pool, and prevents damage to the skimmer, tiles and walls.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your pool is frozen several inches deep, you have to wait for the weather to warm up and the pool to begin to thaw on its own before you can put antifreeze jugs or an ice equalizer pillow below the surface. Never try to drill, break or melt water that is deeply frozen, as you could hurt yourself or damage the pool.
  • Properly winterizing the pool, including lowering the water level below the tile line and continuing to run the pool pump all winter long, further prevents damage if the pool does freeze, and may prevent freezing altogether.

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