Close? What does that mean? Here I just turn the pump off when the pool
drops into the low 50s or 40s. I don't have to worry about freezing but if
it does freeze I turn the pump back on. A hard freeze is rare but last year
it happened several times. Which is really rare here (Central Tx). Last
winter was strange.
The only in-ground vinyl pool I've ever seen was a a hotel in Niagara Falls.
Close means you drain a portion of your pool and throw a big tarp over it
and watch the snow and ice accumulate over the next 5 months. The Tarps are
help down by water bags that act as weights. Drain every drop out of your
filter, blow out every drop of water from your hoses, and finally pack all
the pool tools away in the garage for 7 months.
And then there's 'open'. In a perfect world, 'open' is a one day,
$100 worth of chemicals event.
In the real world it is a little trickier. There, 'open' is when you
find out that you missed a 1/2 cup of water and it cracked the PVC-
setting you back 1 day and a few bucks. It is also when you discover
that the pump has set up from sitting 7 months. Finally you break it
free, but it makes this god-awful screech that the neighbors [1/4 mile
away] can hear. Now you're set back another few days and a couple
You also find where a rodent chewed a hole in a corner of the leaf
tarp so he could chuck a bushel of nuts into your pool. And while
pulling off the cover you dump 20 gallons of green slime, pollywogs
and leaves into the pool. You can get most of that out with a hard
day of leaf skimming. [the 'professional' leaf rake was expensive- but
worth every penny today.]
This is all done on a weekend where the weather is unseasonably warm-
you sweat your butt off to get it all done. Then, as soon as the
water turns clear enough to venture into, the weather turns again. It
will be rainy and cold for at least 2 weeks after the pool is ready to
use. Hopefully, when it warms up again it hasn't turned green from
all that rain.
You forgot one thing: the renting of the highest HP gas pump, and all that
fire hose, to drain all the melted snow and ice water, mixed with dead mice
and leaves from 17 maple trees from the top of the tarp, so that you can
remove the tarp. Then after all that you discover that your tarp tore and
you need to get a new one for October.
If you don't take the tarp off soon enuf, your backyard will be infested
with flies and mosquitoes.
That would suck. You really have to want that pool.
Some winters here it never drops to freezing. I had to really keep an eye on
it last winter. I just bought a new heater and I'm afraid, if it gets cold
again, I may need to do something similar to what you have to do. Those
heaters are expensive.
5 months! I'm in New York about 6 hours east of you and common
practice here is Memorial Day [May 30ish] to Labor Day [Sept 6ish] -
essentially just June, July & August.
I can't imagine those lakes heating thing up-- are you just that much
tougher than us?
[who does enjoy a daily soak in the backyard hot tub year-round]
I'm an hour west of Toronto in a town called Georgetown but I live in a
weird geographic zone because of the great lakes. We get a lot of hot
summer weather trapped here because of the shape of Lake Erie and Lake
Ontario, that's why a tornado every year I guess. There's never much spring
or fall. I have peach trees in my backyard for example. Yes the winters
are cold but we get 80 degree F weather in late April early May. Mind you
we get mid 50's in mid June at times too, like last week.
Many people heat their pools here. I use one of those bubble solar
blankets and I heat my pool to 76 or 78 degrees with it but some of my
neighbours have natural gas heaters and heat to mid 80s.
My pool was opened April 23 and first swims were second week of may. We'll
close it end of September before all the leaves fall into it. Most of my
neighbours open their pools 2nd week of may.
This is my first house with a pool, that's why all the questions I'm asking
Takes about five years to learn the intricacies of taking care of it.
About every two years you realize that everything you know is wrong.
I.e. you finally realize that using stabilized chlorine tablets in a
feeder is a really bad idea when the place that's been selling you those
tablets admits that they cause a lot of problems.
We generally use the pool from the end of May to the end of October,
about five months. I don't really "close" the pool, but when it gets
cold there is little need for chemicals. The big thing is getting the
leaves out so the phosphates don't build up.
Very rare to have fully tiled pools any more, and very expensive and
difficult to maintain. Pebbletec or similar surface looks very good and
is less prone to algae and calcium problems, but is pretty costly. I had
my pool done in Pebbletec about six years ago, I think the pool had
never been replastered prior to that, about 20 years since it was built,
and it was badly pocked and difficult to keep balanced.
Here's my photos of the project: "http://nordicgroup.us/pool /"
Remember, after you plaster or tile or Pebbletec, and are filling the
pool, always fill the deep end first.
My idea is starting to sound pretty dumb to me.
My pool isn't hard to maintain now. It's only about 5' deep at the deepest
point and a mere 10k gal pool. Yours is much larger. The chlorine and pH are
easy to maintain. The dreaded black algae grows in the little pockets and
cracks and it's real tough to get out. The mosaic around the edge is in
need of replacement tiles that can't be found; of course. I also need a deck
overhaul but I'll have to do that. Pebbletec look great but I'm sure it's
more than I want to spend.
Any ceramic tile will stand up to chlorine, and just about anything
else you can throw at it. It's "ceramic". Grout is cement. There
are no more durable materials for pool service.
The reason they use 1" (etc.) tile for pools is to form to the
inevitable slight irregularities in the substrate.
Probably. If algae is a problem, "Phosfree" is the solution.
I've tiled a few high school pools. Tile is a great choice for
longevity and ease of maintenance, not to mention beauty. That's why
so many "commercial use" pools are tiled.
The material is expensive, and the labor is intensive, but in the long
run it's worth it, for them. Probably not worth it to you.
Actually Orenda PR-10,000 is a much better solution, literally. Does the
same thing, but much more concentrated and far less expensive. I had
really high levels of phosphorus last year. It would have taken about
$300 worth of Phosfree versus $60 worth of PR10,000. Which is why
Leslie's doesn't sell it! "http://www.orendatech.com/pr.html ". Very hard
1 quart of PR10,000 per 10,000 gallons removes 10,000 ppb of phosphates;
it would take about 16 quarts of Phosfree to do the same.
And of course a high phosphorus level is only one of several common
causes of algae. Too high a level of cyanuric acid from using stabilized
chlorine tablets causes chlorine lock and then even very high levels of
chlorine won't stop algae.
Liquid 12.5% chlorine, liquid muriatic acid, and a highly concentrated
phosphorus remover are the most cost-effective ways to not have algae.
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