Pool Line Freeze Protection

Our pool has a design flaw (or maybe not, I've never paid much attention to how other pools are done)..
Where the main drain line exits the ground and goes into the pump area, there is a 4' or 6' length of PVC pipe that is exposed, and can't be drained without draining the entire pool. The question is: How to freeze protect this piece of pipe? Thermostat regulated heat tape and some wrap on insulation? Build a box around it with a lightbulb inside? Maybe one of those 1,000 watt ceramic heaters with a thermostat?
I'm in Atlanta, and our winters usually have a few days (or nights) of sub-20 weather, with a rare plunge below 10, and the very rare plunge below 0.
Suggestions appreciated.
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If what you say is correct, the pump has to be located lower than the bottom of the pool. In any event, if you can't drain it or blow the water out of the line, or use pool antifreeze, use a low wattage heat tape on the pipe and insulate around it. That would be the least costly solution

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Right you are... The pump is 5' lower than the full level on the pool, and 3 1/2 feet lower than the pool's winter level (below the skimmer)...
Like you, my gut tells me that the heat tape is the best option.
Thanks,
KB
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 14:41:00 -0500, "Kyle Boatright"

Just curious. Why do you have a winter level that is below the skimmer? I have an inground pool (10 yrs now) and never drain the water in the winter below the skimmer. Same level in the winter as in the summer. 20's, 10's and single digit temps are normal in the winter here. I use a "Gizmo" in the skimmer. Its plastic. When the water freezes it "crushes" the "Gizmo" instead of expanding out the walls of the skimmer. When the temps warm, the "Gizmo" goes back to its normal shape. No sense in dumping a 1000 gallons of water or more when you dont need to. Bubba
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In my installation, I need to drain the water level below the skimmers to blow out the pipes that pull water out of the skimmer. If I don't do that, it leaves me with another exposed 5' of pipe that needs freeze protection.
KB
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 16:10:15 -0500, "Kyle Boatright"

You should still be able to install the "Gizmo" and blow out the skimmer line. The "Gizmo" has an opening at the top to do that. You outta check into it if you havent seen one. But, then again, maybe you have a particular installation that it wont work? :-) The "Gizmo" (Suction line blow out extension) can be seen here: http://www.leisuretimeok.com/winter/winterchem.htm Bubba
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If the pump is running it won't freeze-up until maybe sub-10. I had almost the entire surface frozen, except near the skimmer, at 10-12F and the water still flowed freely. The geothermal heating of the pool water running underground probably helps out as well.
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Move further South......
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Kyle, I see you got some really useful replies!!! The very last thing you need is cracked pvc. The heat tape has a built in thermostat so its only on when it is below freezing, plus it low wattage, and will cost a lot less than running a pump all winter. also Gizmo's are great little devices for preventing ice expansion inside the skimmer,but if the water isn't lowered below the skimmers' plastic faceplate inside the pool,you risk the possibility of ice expansion ripping it off

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wrote:

Interesting. Like I say, Ive had a inground for 10 yrs. Never lowered the water level. Ice hard enough in the winter you can walk on top of the pool. I have a vinyl liner, deep well diving area and a plastic skimmer faceplate. NEVER once replaced anything that cracked. I guess that blows your theory to hell and back. Although heat tape can also be a solution, Id just as soon not use it if its not necessary. Nope, I dont run a pump all winter either. The pump comes inside in the winter. Its obvious you dont have a pool nor know what you are talking about. Nice suggestion. Wanna buy a bridge? Bubba
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I apologize for demeaning some of the replies, however there is usually a right way and usually a wrong way to do most things. Because someone does something wrong for many years,with no adverse consequences,doesn't make it right. It may just make them lucky. Some folks would prefer not to play Russian roulette, and just do the thing right from the beginning

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wrote:

Id accept your appology but you immediately turn into a smartass again. How on earth is it that you figure leaving water at the regular line is WRONG? Hell, at that rate, any suction fitting face plate, return fitting faceplate, drain fitting faceplate, grate and underwater light need to be removed. Hell, for that matter, you need to drain the entire pool because the freezing water will blow out the sides of the pool! You're wrong sweetheart. Face it. And I'll still bet that you dont own an inground pool. Too bad for you. Actually, if one thinks (like I did) and has the proper elevation (like I do) one can cap all the pool lines, go to the pool pump and pull the plugs. Out drains all the pool lines with no blowing, flushing or adding of anti-freeze. Oh hell, I guess thats the wrong way too and Im just luck. Sorry but you're a din-wit Bubba
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