One of the most important maintenance chores for pool owners is winterizing the pool at the end of the season. Proper winterizing ensures that the water in your pool does not freeze during the winter and present serious issues for your pool system. However, if you overlook this task and your pool does freeze, you can take steps to prevent permanent damage to your pool fittings, pipes and other equipment. You must act quickly, though, so respond as soon as you notice that the water has frozen.
As soon as you notice that the water in your pool is frozen, start running the filter and pump systems continuously. Approximately two weeks must pass for water inside your filter, pump and pipes to freeze completely, so your pool's lines may not be frozen just because there is a layer of ice on top of the water surface. Running your filter and pump helps prevent freezing from occurring because moving water typically does not freeze unless temperatures are below zero for many days. Keep your filter and pump running until you take other maintenance steps.
Break up Ice
To utilize certain pool equipment, you must access the water. As a result, the ice on the water surface must be removed before you can take any additional steps. Removing the top layer of ice can also protect tile borders along the edge of the pool from cracking due to further expansion of the ice. You can use your skimmer's pole to try to carefully break up the ice. If you are having difficulty, the ice is likely too thick, so you need to wait for it to thaw slightly before you can remove it.
Lower Water Line
Once you have removed the ice from the water surface, lower your pool's water level. Getting the water line below the skimmer is crucial to ensuring that significant damage does not occur to your pool. Use a submersible pump to drain the water. These pumps usually connect to a garden hose, so the water drains through the hose. Lower the water level until it is just below the skimmer to prevent the skimmer from cracking if the water freezes again.
Blow out Lines
If there is water in your pool's lines, it may freeze and cause serious damage to pipes and other equipment. Once you have broken up the ice and lowered the water, you should blow any remaining water out of the lines to decrease the chance of expansion and cracked pipes. To make the process easier, add calcium chloride to the lines prior to blowing them out. Calcium chloride is available for purchase at your local pool store and can deice any areas in the line that may be partially frozen. After administering it, use a shop-vac to blow out any remaining water from the lines. Once the lines are clear, add antifreeze to prevent freezing in the future. If your pipes are already frozen solid, you should consult a pool professional to advise you on what steps should be taken.