Winterizing your pool in cold weather

The weather hasn’t exactly been ideal for swimming lately. A stubborn cold wave that has lasted since early December (give or take a few warm days before Christmas) has given Southeast Texas its share of subfreezing low temperatures. While the cold weather has been long-lasting and stubborn this year, it’s not completely unique. Last year at this time temperatures got down to the teens in The Woodlands and Conroe, weather that brought about parkas and broken PVBs at that time. That’s why winterizing is important.

That hard freeze caused PVBs, which are also known as pressure vacuum breakers, to crack and break. This caused many customers to call our office for maintenance repairs. While we’re more than happy to attend to these repairs, there are steps you can take to prevent repairs from being needed in the first place.

Before discussing how to prevent your PVBs from cracking, let’s go over what a PVB is. A pressure vacuum breaker is a backflow device used in pools and home irrigation systems to keep contaminants from entering the public water supply. It keeps your pool water separate from water from your house and vice versa. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to damage or breakage in freezing weather. When the temperature gets to 37 degrees or lower (with the wind chill or without) your PVBs can crack. It’s a huge pain when they do, so here is how you can winterize them.

Keys to winterizing your pool

There are a number of steps homeowners can take to protect their PVBs from cracking due to freezing temperatures:

  • Drain all water from the corresponding pipes: While advice for underground plumbing in your house is to have water trickling from faucets to keep water moving in your pipes and not freezing, that logic doesn’t apply here. The pipes running from your pool aren’t thick enough for that to work, therefore the water is susceptible to freezing. Since frozen water expands, PVBs can burst. So drain the water completely so there’s no water that can freeze, expand, and cause chaos.
  • Wrap your PVB in insulation: During a freezing event, a few degrees can make the difference between a cracked PVB and a healthy one. That’s why it’s important to wrap the PVB in a towel or blanket after the pipes are drained. The wrapping will keep the PVB warm, which will help keep it safe in the cold weather. That tip can also be found in this article.
  • Make sure pool equipment continues to run: While you want to clear your PVBs of water, that doesn’t mean turning off your pool entirely. It’s important to keep your pool running to keep the computerized systems active in regulating the temperature of the pool and maintaining the water chemistry functions. Keeping the pool on will also keep the freeze protection on your computer system active and up to date. It also keeps pumps going manually and allows your pool to get quickly back to where it needs to be when temperatures rise. Also make sure your temperature sensors are in working order.

More on winterizing

We offer extra valving services so you can drain pipes completely in the event of a freeze. Also, read this article and this article for more tips on winterizing, and give us a call if you need help with cracked PVBs. Hopefully the worst of winter is over, but it’s always good to be prepared.

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Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!