How Far Below Skimmer To Drain Pool For Winter

How Far Below Skimmer To Drain Pool For Winter

The winter period emerges with questions and confusion for pool owners, especially novice pool owners who haven’t experienced winter while having a pool before. This article tends to do justice to that, it covers everything you need to know and do for your pool during the winter period.

The winter season comes with a lot of cold that makes it impossible for you to enjoy your pool. Imagine having water poured on you while sitting in the freezer. Not nice, right? This is what it feels like when you use the pool during the winter.

So, protecting and safeguarding your pool during this period is a priority.

It is advised that you drain your water during this period. It should be below the skimmer to protect your filter system and return jet from freezing and expanding due to the winter temperatures. After draining the water, place an airtight water plug in the return jet, then attach a skimmer plate inside the pool on the skimmer opening.

Also, if your pool is an above-ground pool, you should drain the pool one inch below the skimmer opening. If you live in an area with more precipitation, drain it up to six inches below the skimmer.

The same thing goes for in-ground pools; drain the water not more than six inches below the skimmer opening.

How to drain your pool: use the pool filter, switch to the drain set to empty the pool water, and attach a hose to the end of the filter opening. Ensure this hose leads to drainage to avoid flooding.

Do you have to drain water below the skimmer?

During the winter, a lot of things become frozen, including your skimmer. It can be frozen and expanded if the water level is not below the skimmer.

The major reason why it is very important to drain your pool during the winter is that your filter system, can be cracked and damaged from freezing.

Here are some tips you need to winterize your skimmer for maximum safety.

  1. Drain the skimmer: it is necessary to lower the water level below the skimmer to prevent damage.
  2. Plug the skimmer pipe: after you empty the skimmer pipe, plug it to prevent water from getting back into the pipe from the pool or precipitation.

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

It is certain that at one point or another, you’ll have to drain your pool, so you must be familiar with the processes involved and how it’s done.

Every pool owner that isn’t a novice in the pool ownership business has in one way or another drained their pool. This is to tell you how necessary it is to know how to drain your pool.

These are the steps to take to drain your pool below the skimmer level.

  • Drain by using a pool pump: open the drain valve and close the valve from the skimmer.
  • Attach a drain hose to the vent or waste hole on the pump and then set the multi-port valve on the port to the “waste” setting. If you have a DE filter, kindly move the valve near the pump to the waste setting.
  • Turn on the pool pump. Turn on the pool and allow the water to drain some inches below the skimmer.
  • After draining, ensure you attach a skimmer plate to the skimmer opening to stop water from entering. 

What happens if the water is above the skimmer?

Keeping your water level higher than it’s meant to be or above your skimmer level on a normal day is harmful to your pool. It is three times more harmful to have pool water above the skimmer in the winter season.

Having a pool filled with water, especially above the skimmer in the winter period, tends to make your pool ice-filled, as your water is likely to be frozen.

When you have frozen water in your pool, it puts pressure outward on the pool wall, which could severely damage the pool.

Also, water above the skimmer during a winter period is likely to destroy the filter system. The frozen water can expand the skimmer and crack it from the inside.

How high should the pool water be above the skimmer?

This is one of the big mistakes most pool novices make. It can cause serious issues with the state of your pool and even damage your skin.

For two reasons, your pool water should never be above your skimmer.

  1. Water above the skimmer does not allow the skimmer to function properly. It makes it impossible for it to collect debris and other dirty particles on top of the pool water.
  2. During the winter season, water above the skimmer damages the skimmer itself. The water in the skimmer freezes and expands, which eventually leads to cracking in the skimmer.

How do I keep my skimmer free from freezing?

This is another frequently asked question by most gym owners. The winter period comes with a lot of goodies for some people, but not for all gym owners, as it can be detrimental to the pool.

During winter, swimming in the pool becomes impossible, and the owner is likely to abandon the pool, not realizing that this is when it needs attention the most.

To keep your skimmer from freezing, the water level should be six inches below the skimmer.

This prevents the water from getting too close to the skimmer or getting inside to the point of  getting frozen inside the skimmer.

Also, cover the skimmer with a skimmer cover to keep it completely sealed away from the precipitation.

Why are there two holes in the bottom of a skimmer?

The skimmer is a necessary element for every pool. Its duty is to pick up dirt, bugs, and leaves from the surface of the water.

Two skimmer holes serve two different purposes, and we shall be looking at each of these purposes.

  1. First hole: The first hole serves as a port through which dirt, bugs, and leaves are picked from the surface of the pool water.
  2. Second hole: The second hole is called an equalizer; it goes down two feet through the concrete wall of the pool. Its function is to prevent the pump from taking in air in case the water level goes down below the skimmer opening. If the pool water level is low, the pump pulls water from the equalizer line to balance the water levels.

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

Whether you’ve been a pool owner for a long or short period, this information is for you.

The very first step towards winterizing your main drain connected to the skimmer is lowering the water level below the skimmer by at least six inches.

If your main drain has a line from the drain back to the equipment, then the next step will be to isolate the line that runs from the pump back to the main drain. This will require that the valve for the main drain be open and the skimmer line be closed.

Remove the pump lid and insert the blower hose into the strainer housing and into the suction port. Turn the blower on and wait for the bubbles to come out of the main drain. 

Let it continue for 30 seconds, and while the blower is still running, close the valve. This will create an air pocket and the main drain will remain free of water.

Can you vacuum the pool with water below the skimmer?

No, do not vacuum your pool without the water line being at the appropriate level. In other words, do not vacuum when the water level is below the skimmer.

How to vacuum your pool: if you use or have a sand filter and want to vacuum, ensure you set your filter to the “waste” option.

The waste option makes it possible to vacuum algae and send it out through the backwash line. It also helps to not get algae in your filter sand.

However, you will need to vacuum quickly because it takes a lot of water in the process.

Should I run my pool pump in freezing weather? 

It was all rosy and fun during the summer when your pool was warm and cozy. Now that winter is here, it takes away all the fun and leaves you wondering whether to drain your pool or not.

In this article, you shall be getting all the needed information about what to do if you’re to run your pool pump in winter or not.

It is necessary to run your pump while the weather is freezing because water can only be frozen when it’s stagnant. Moving water cannot be frozen because of the heat generated during the movement. As long as the water is not sitting, it can not be frozen.

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

As a pool owner, it is normal to have that creeping anxiety when winter begins, but not to worry. This is why we’re here to help you.

Above-ground pool pipes are likely to freeze within six hours if exposed to water temperatures of 32° F (0° c).

While in-ground pool pipes will take 5-7 days of continuous temperature below 32° F (0° c) to be frozen.

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