Spent a hectic day sliding around town trying to help customers from Rockwall to Plano and Richardson. I thought it would make sense to talk about some things you can do on your own if you find yourself facing a frozen/freezing pool.
First thing to do is if the equipment is running, leave it alone. As long as the pump is moving water, your best bet to avoid damage is to just let it run. If the pressure is higher than normal, it probably means that ice is starting to form against the filter surface, causing back pressure. Water flows through the pipes fairly fast and when it hits the filter slows down considerably and this is where ice tends to form first.
If the pressure is low, it indicates the opposite, that the suction side of the pump is starting to accumulate ice, or that the impeller is becoming clogged with ice. Again though, your best bet is to leave it running. You can also try to heat the area around the equipment, including the filter and any exposed plumbing. I’ve seen propane heaters with blankets, space heaters, heated tape, etc. Just be careful and watch out for fire danger. The last thing you want is to create a worse problem.
If the pump is frozen solid with ice, or the power has gone out, you will want to winterize the equipment. Obviously, you want to do this before everything freezes if you can. Winterizing the equipment just entails removing all the standing water so that water can’t freeze inside of it and break plumbing or equipment as it expands. On every pump there is a freezeplug, and on every pump basket there is a freeze plug. On the bottom of the filter you will also find a freeze plug, as well a on each end of the heater. Be particularly aware of the two plugs on the heater, because the one in the rear is likely under a screwed in access panel. I had one new customer that called today that lost power around 8AM this morning and when I got there at around 2PM all of the face plumbing and the heater were frozen solid. The filter still had standing water in it that drained out. We will just have to wait till Monday to reprime the equipment see what the damage is.
It’s important to keep the surface of the pool and spa fairly ice free. Pool tile is protected from freeze damage, but if the ice gets thick enough it’s possible for it to apply enough pressure to the walls of the pool to cause a slight shifting which can dislodge tiles and lead to other more extensive damage. The skimmer should be kept clear of ice as well for the same reason.
Once the water has started to thaw, you can put everything back together and visually trace any leaks and determine what to do next. Don’t lose hope, because I’ve seen pools where the equipment was frozen solid and when the weather warmed, the customer just fired it back up again with no ill effects.
If you’ld like us to come take a look at your freeze damage, please give us a call at 214-989-3888.