Do You Have To Drain Water Below The Skimmer?

Winter is usually a time to close up shop for pool owners. And something you don’t want to happen is finding your skimmers damaged due to freezing temperatures.

In the course of this article, you will find out how far you should drain your skimmers to prevent such damage.

How far below skimmer to drain pool for winter

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals has a list of things that can affect how your pool drains. These factors are to determine how much or at what level you will drain your pool.

Above-ground pool: Pool experts recommend draining your pool to one inch below the skimmer opening. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain at much colder temperatures, it’s best to drain it a few inches below that. Some even go to the extent of draining their pools by up to 6 inches.

This is where the return jet is placed most times in pools. If your above-ground pool has a vinyl liner, draining it up to 1 inch is enough. You must never drain a pool with a vinyl liner completely. This can damage the vinyl liner.

Inground Pool: If you own an inground pool, you must already be aware that you can’t drain it completely. This is due to the fact that inground pools are more susceptible to hydrostatic pressure from groundwater. Such pressure can cause breaks or cracks in the walls or ground of your pool.

When it comes to draining an in-ground pool, the same rules apply as they do for an above-ground pool. You should not drain it below 6 inches from the skimmer opening. If you do not wish to use a winter cover, you can drain it lower than this level.

On your filter, simply turn it on to drain settings. Your pool will drain slowly to its desired level.

Winter cover: If you intend to use a winter cover, the above rules might be tweaked a bit. Winter covers usually have a mesh network. This mesh network allows water to pass through. The advantage is that it doesn’t allow dirt and debris to pass through, though it is porous in nature.

For this reason, it is permissible to drain your pool down to 12 to 18 inches below the skimmer opening. In the winter, precipitation can seep through. As a result of this, the water levels in your pool will actually rise. This is why the pool has to be drained to a lower level than normal.

How do I winterize my skimmer?

I will be listing the various ways to winterize your skimmers for different kinds of pools.

Above ground pool

  1. Drain all the water to below the skimmer level.
  2. Now vacuum the skimmer to remove any remaining water.
  3. Then place a gizmo in the bottom port.
  4. Now, for protection, add 1 to 8 liters of pool antifreeze into the skimmer body.

In addition to this, you can also add empty bottles that will fit into the skimmer body. These bottles will act as extra protection when the temperatures go very cold. They will give the guys something to crush on instead of the skimmer walls.

Inground pool with one port

Winterizing an inground pool with one port is quite simple. You must make sure that you have a powerful enough blower at hand. Follow the steps below.

  1. Blow out your entire suction line from the pump to the skimmer. This will ensure that there is no water left in the pool.
  2. You can then vacuum the skimmer opening to remove every last drop of water.
  3. Now put in 1L to 2L of pool antifreeze.
  4. If the port is not threaded, you can use an expandable winterizing plug.
  5. You can also stuff a few empty bottles into the skimmer body.
  6. This will also act as extra protection, so the ice will find something else to crush on.
  7. Lastly, add 1 to 2 liters of pool antifreeze into the skimmer body.

An inground pool with two entrances

The first thing to check is whether one of the ports is plugged in from the bottom; if so, simply follow the same procedures as for a skimmer with one open port. If both ports are open, then the second one is likely an equalizer pipe. The equalizer pipe connects to the main drain. And this is where it gets tricky.

Even though water has been drained to below the skimmer mouth, water still remains in the equalizer pipe. The best way to drain the equalizer pipe is by letting a foaming tread down the equalizer pipe and then attaching a Gizzmo or expandable plug to the port.

Although the equalizer pipe still contains water, you have effectively extended the bottom of the skimmer. Added to that fact, the foam thread you placed into the equalizer pipe gives the ice something to crush on. For the second port, you can just follow the example of how to winterize a skimmer with one port.

How do you drain water from a pool below the skimmer?

  1. Open the main drain valve and ensure the suction line is closed (this is to prevent air from being sucked into the pump). 
  2. After attaching a hose to the waste outlet of the pump, turn on the pump to the waste position.
  3. Turn on the pump and let it drain. 

How do I keep my pool skimmer from freezing?

Blow out all the water from your skimmer. Vacuum the skimmer body to remove every last drop of water. Now add some pool antifreeze. Install a gizmo or expandable winterizing plug. If you so wish, you can add some empty bottles with seals to the skimmer body. Lastly, add some more pool antifreeze.

How high should the pool water be in winter?

This will depend on whether you intend to use a pool cover with a mesh cover. If you are not going to be using a mesh cover, you can drain the pool 26 inches below the skimmer inlet.

On the other hand, if you were using a mesh cover, you could drain the pool down 12 to 18 inches below the skimmer inlet. This is because, over the winter, precipitation seeps through the cover and adds to the volume of the pool water.

Why are there 2 holes in the bottom of a pool skimmer?

There are two holes at the bottom of a pool skimmer. These two holes are at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. The one at 6:00 is the one that is poolside. This one usually leads to the equalizer line. The other one leads to the suction line.

The suction line leads directly to the pump. It is through this line that the pump can apply suction and draw water from the pool.

The equalizer line, on the other hand, helps to protect the pump. It keeps the pump from drawing air when the water level goes below the skimmer opening. It must be duly noted that if the poem begins to draw air, it can damage the pump by causing it to overheat.

How do you winterize the main drain connected to the skimmer?

For this, just look up how to drain a skimmer with two ports.

Can you vacuum a pool with water below the skimmer?

People vacuum their pools for various reasons. One is to remove debris that your pump can’t get to. So, while vacuuming, just ensure there is another hose replacing the water. This will ensure that it doesn’t get below the skimmer.

Should I run my pool pump in freezing weather?

During the winter period, circulating, it is still advisable to keep your pump running. This you should do for six to eight hours each day. This act will help prevent your pool water from freezing over.

The pool pump keeps the water circulating. When water is circulating it is harder for it to freeze over. The only consideration you would have is the pool pump‘s running costs.

How cold does it have to be for a pool to freeze?

At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water begins to freeze. And this applies whether the water is chlorinated or not.

How do you partially drain a pool?

You can use a submersible pump to drain a pool if you do not want to use your pool pump. If you intend to use the pool pump, ensure that the valve to the suction line is closed. This is to prevent air being sucked into the pump. Then you can set the pump to “Waste” and drain to your satisfaction.

Can I drain pool water on my lawn?

There are considerations for this. Pool water contains a number of chemicals, chlorine being chief among them. Chlorine specifically is not really kind to vegetation. So, in small quantities, pool water does not harm your lawn. Just ensure that the chlorine levels are properly diluted.

The other consideration is that the amount of pool water is not so much that it floods your lawn. This is because this can kill the grass.

Can I drain pool water into the street?

This is not really advisable. The chemicals in pool water can run into storm drains. And most storm drains run into creeks and bays. This can cause harm to the wildlife living in those bodies of water.

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