Forum Title: Antifreeze placed in skimmer line is leaking into the skimmer pot
Hi, I closed my pool in early October. After blowing out all my lines, I apply winterizing plugs to the returns and also have a double plug that goes in the skimmer. The bottom plug seals the drain, the top plug seals where the skimmer line comes in and t's off to the skimmer pot directly above it (and of course the drain below it). I always suck all the water out of the skimmer pot when I'm all done just to make sure that the drain line is effectively sealed. I try to keep the skimmer pot empty during the off season as much as possible but, of course, if the water level comes back up above the tiles and freezes, there isn't much I can do until spring thaw. Last year the pool didn't freeze once (probably one of the only good things about global warming relative to winterizing a pool here in the northeast). As an extra precaution (perhaps unnecessary) I always add a gallon of antifreeze to both the skimmer line and the return line. When I add the antifreeze to the skimmer line, I always check just to see if any has come through into the skimmer pot. This year nothing did so I figured I had a really good seal on the top plug. However, just yesterday I noticed a decent amount of diluted antifreeze in the pot, and so sucked it out. More keeps coming in. I'm thinking that this is either the result of partial upper plug failure and that either water has gotten into the line (from when the pool level is back up far enough so that the skimmer pot is filled due to heavy rain) and is mixing with the antifreeze in there, or else (more unlikely I suppose) that there is water coming back up from the drain, then into the skimmer line, mixing with the antifreeze, then showing up in the pot. I would think that if the lower plug was compromised, there is no way I'd be able to keep the pot empty at all due to all the pressure that is on the drain. I believe that line is either air locked or it isn't. So if indeed I'm seeing diluted antifreeze it probably means water has entered the line? Not sure what to do. Just add more antifreeze into the skimmer line (from the pump strainer) and see if more undiluted stuff appears in the pot? I really don't want to take out the entire plug since then I'll have to reblow the lines. The pool is already covered, backwash handle removed from the filter, etc. I'd have to do a good deal of work to put everything back in place to be able to repressurize the system with air. With the antifreeze in the skimmer line, I'm probably ok as is (?), especially if I add more, but I'm not thrilled with the thought of water re-entering the skimmer line from the pool. I'm probably over-thinking all this, as many years ago I never even worried about water being in the skimmer pot once I completed the winterizing process. The past few years I've sort of gotten hung up on trying to keep the skimmer pot completely free of any water. It's certainly a good idea, but probably not totally practical. Any ideas? Overly concerned perhaps? Thanks...
Category: pool Post By: DONALD HERNANDEZ (Antioch, CA), 03/05/2019

Anthony: Can you please describe step by step what you did and how you closed your pool? Overall, I do not believe you should be overly concerned about the antifreeze if the lines were cleared out properly. Please describe what blower you used, where you started from, any adapters, etc. Also, describe your pool again from last years closing, and if possible upload pictures of the equipment pad or if used in previous years, attach the link to the old thread. Thanks!

- CLARENCE RUSSELL (New Bedford, MA), 04/16/2019

Let me try to be a bit more clear. I begin the closing process by first hooking my air compressor (Porter-Cable 6-gallon pancake style) to the top of the filter tank with (I think) a typical 1/4 inch threaded adapter that screws into the top of the tank. Using enough air to blow out the lines, I first plug the one return, then the other. Once plugged, the air is, of course, directed to the skimmer line. Once the air bubbles are coming up out of the skimmer pot (LOTS of air pressure and bubbles) I then insert the lower of my double plug contraption down into the skimmer pot so that the air is directed to the drain. Once that appears to be sufficiently blown with lots of bubbles coming out of the drain, I then push the plug in the rest of the way. At this point, the lower plug is down into the drain pipe - which should be effectively air locked - and the upper plug is blocking the skimmer line as described in my previous email. I then turn off the air, but then turn it back on and off a few more times just briefly to see if any bubbles are coming out of any lines. When I'm satisfied that all is as it should be, I disconnect the air. That's about it. Following the removal of the compressor, I dismantle the filter selector handle (that controls the flow either between normal operating mode or backwash), take it out, cover the opening with a special device I created that covers the triangular-shaped opening, seal it all up with plastic bags. Then I add 1 gallon of antifreeze into both skimmer and return lines. You mentioned in your PM about how the antifreeze can come up against gravity into the skimmer pot. I don't think it has to. The skimmer line, from the pump strainer, goes down below ground level but then is most likely a fairly level run right into where it connects with the vertical pipe going up to the pot and down to the drain. So, I'm thinking that whatever antifreeze / water mixture I'm seeing in the pot is simply coming right in from the skimmer pipe. The lower plug is preventing any liquid from going down, and so the level of the liquid that is coming into the skimmer pot is simply filling up above the lower plug until it is visible in the pot. Hope that all clears up any questions you might have had. Interestingly, I did add some new antifreeze to see if would appear momentarily in the skimmer pot, but it didn't. I'll check again tomorrow. Instead, what continues to come up looks more like just plain water. IF, as I said, this is due to a compromise in the drain line airlock seal, it surely is very gradual. I guess I'll know if the skimmer pot completely fills up to normal operating level. That would be completely unprecedented and if it happens I think I almost have to do everything over again, as much as I'd rather not. My sneaking suspicion, however, is that I'm simply seeing water that somehow got into the skimmer line from the pool side - most likely from times when we had heavy rain that resulted in the pool level coming up over the tiles and back into the skimmer. It's a bit disappointing since I seemed to have such a good seal on the upper of the two plugs. If it IS leaking through that plug, I don't understand why I didn't see some of the new antifreeze come in almost right away.

- DANA RIOS (Fort Collins, CO), 04/12/2019

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