Winter Storms: What’s going on in the Southern US?
Winter Storm Viola brings: Freezing Pools, Icy Roads, Dangerous Conditions and Chaos, in Texas and Warmer Surrounding Areas
What To Do With Your Pool When It’s Freezing Outside?
Winter Storm Viola made it’s way across the North Western US, down into the south and back upwards toward the North East. This storm has been exciting for many, with an unexpected turn of events leading to many accidents such as the I-44’s fiery pileup, unexpected damage to water pipes, and frozen swimming pools that are normally not winterized in these warmer climates. The damage from this storm is going to change the way homeowners look at taking precautions in the future for preventing swimming pool damage when its freezing outside.
Texans are running a frenzy posting in Facebook groups on what to do with their swimming pool in freezing weather. Many are sharing their horror story photos of full swimming pools icing over and causing potentially expensive unseen damage in the colder parts. While others in Mississippi are taking photos of how pretty their non-frozen pools look with snow around them.
With the unexpected freezing of wind turbines in Texas, it has caused major panic with swimming pool and spa owners, as they struggle to keep their swimming pools running 24/7. These turbines provide most of the power and to conserve energy, the state is rotating power outages between geographical areas. This is causing swimming pools to shut off and freeze over.
What’s happening with Winter Storm Viola?
- 150+ Million People under weather advisory.
- At least 2.5 million customers without power in Texas.
- Frozen wind turbine power disrupts the energy demand.
- Rolling power outages to save power, plus unplanned power outages.
- State of Emergency declared by Joe Biden.
Additionally, check out this discussion on what to do with your pool when it’s freezing outside by Aquanut Academy
What happens if my pool freezes?
Granted, if your pool has been professionally winterized, you should be fine. But that’s not the case for thousands of homeowners in fear their swimming pools are going to break.
When water freezes, it expands. When the top layer of the pool freezes, all of the ice will get into any nooks or crevices and expand. PVC pipes, and skimmers cannot handle the tension and can possibly crack. Pools with tiles are prone to chipping and it’s best practice when winterizing a pool and performing winter maintenance to keep the swimming pool water level low.
Should your pool develop a sheet of ice that’s thin, you have nothing to worry about. You could possibly remove your skimmer weir doors to prevent them from freezing and not allowing water in the skimmer, causing air to enter the pipes. Pools in the south even with mild climates can freeze on the surface overnight. Keeping your pool running 24 hours will be fine as it can run under a thin sheet of ice no more than 1/2 inch. However in more severe conditions, running your water 24/7 in an emergency is the best option, but if it’s not available, then there is not much you can do. Running water will freeze if it gets below zero after a few days.
Should I run my Heater?
If you are in freezing temps below 32 degrees, and your water has not been maintained at a warmer temperature, then NO, you should not run your heater. This can cause damage to your heater with condensation between the two temperatures, creating a corrosive environment.
Will my Mesh Safety Cover fall in?
If you have a safety mesh cover and your pool is frozen, you have nothing to worry about. Your mesh safety cover may appear that it might break under heavy conditions, but they are designed to withstand snow and ice. Do not lower your pool under these load bearing conditions, and do not attempt to remove the snow. It’s a good idea to lower your swimming pool regularly – below the tile if it is winterized using an automatic pump.
Hopefully, this educates and spreads awareness about the pre-preparedness of swimming pool winterization for any future events like this historic storm.
Here are some of the Facebook posts we’ve seen:
Another Texan here. Pool has been on freeze protect and ice is starting to form in the pool. We have been running pump on high. Just tried to turn on heater but it won’t turn on. We know the heater works because we use the spa almost every weekend. Can the heater be turned on in freeze protect mode?