Pool Freeze Damage. The same pool water that you swim in, refreshing and relaxing throughout the swimming season, can be the same water that completely destroys your pool during the winter. Ice, and the damage it can bring, is all too familiar up here in the northeast. Pool owners from Florida to Maine are starting to get a taste of the destructive power that winter ice and snow can bring. Even if you only have freezing temperatures a few days per year, protecting your investment from freeze damage should always be high on your list.
Water leaks are not only a nuisance in the swimming season, but they actually are much more mischievous and detrimental in the winter months. Without the water level in the pool to support the ice above it, a leaking pool can experience damage from the ice sheet. Large sections of ice, roughly the size of your pool can develop above and below your winter cover. Under the cover, ice will form because of freezing pool water and is mostly unavoidable. Ice will also form on top of the cover from snow and ice accumulation. The severity and thickness of this ice can be alleviated by regular snow-melt water removal. If the pool water beneath this ice was to drain out, the support for the ice is gone. In both situations, the ice will settle where gravity takes it and the only thing standing in its way is your pool walls and pool liner.
Aboveground pools can easily be mangled beyond repair from ice sheet damage. Furthermore, frozen rain water/snow-melt on the top of your winter cover will most likely bring the cover down with it. This can also cause extensive damage to the aboveground pool’s frame. While the pool is covered, if you notice the cover sinking into the pool and/or there is visual stress where the cover meets the top rail, we suggest releasing the cover into the pool. This practice will relieve the stress and tension on the cover that can cause a collapse. If you are able to detect even a slight leak during the swimming season, take every step possible to fix any leak before closing the pool.
The same ice that develops underneath your pool cover can also cause damage in a different way. If this ice is left to form uninterrupted, it can easily expand to the point that it starts pushing out your pool walls. This process can also wreak havoc on the pool’s frame, and scrape against your pool liner. Air Pillows, aka, Ice Equalizers, will be your best defense against ice damage. The presence of a large air pillow will prevent the ice from freezing solid across the top of the aboveground pool, and by absorbing the ice expansion. Make sure that your above ground pool is using an air pillow underneath the pool cover, and you'll be fine.
Water that makes its way into your skimmer over the winter can easily cause the skimmer to crack and break. Water levels are typically lowered in the winter, to just beneath the skimmer. If you are opposed to decreasing the level, then Skimmer Closures and skimmer guards should be used. A skimmer closure is a lid that seals your skimmer much like a Tupperware container. This will prevent any pool water from traveling into the skimmer, therefore a prevention of freezing. Even if you are lowering your pool water level down each winter - a skimmer closure can be a great defense against ice damage.
Alternative to the Aquador type skimmer closure, you can use a Gizzmo type Skimmer Guard. A skimmer guard works much like an air pillow since its main purpose is to absorb any ice expansion, but instead of protecting the pool walls it will protect your skimmer from the outward expansion of ice. Without a skimmer guard in place, your skimmer body can easily become cracked and require replacement from freeze damage.
When considering the possibility of freeze damage to your aboveground pool, it will always be wise to over-prepare. If I were asked to spend roughly $20-30 for these items or have my pool destroyed, I think the choice is obvious. The items I have referred to in this blog post to prevent pool freeze damage can easily be found here: Pool Freeze Damage Protection. As always, SPP can be contacted at 1-800-983-7665 to discuss potential winter risks and help you avoid freeze damage to your pool.
SPP Pool Expert