Have you checked your freeze guard lately?
This weekend’s weather is going to be mighty cold and it serves as a reminder that we need to check our freeze guards to be sure they are working correctly. Sure, we may have dipped below freezing a few times so far this winter, but now we are faced with some seriously damaging temperatures. Sunday night, the low is expected to be 23F. Monday’s high will be 28F, then the low on Monday night is forecast at 8F. Tuesday, the high is at 25F and the low, 16F. Finally on Wednesday, the high will reach above freezing again. I can guarantee that there will be freeze damage in the Atlanta area from temperatures like this and that brings us to the question, “Have you checked your freeze guard?”
For those of you that have not winterized and covered your pool, there is a need to ensure your freeze guard is working each and every winter. A freeze guard can be as simple as a thermostat installed inside of a mechanical timer or as complicated as a computerized automation system with an air temperature sensor. If you know where the sensor is for your freeze guard, the easiest way to verify its operation is to place the sensor into a glass of ice water. The ice water will cool the sensor down to simulate freezing conditions and the freeze guard should activate, turning on the pool pump and any other equipment protected by it. If you need help locating the freeze guard temperature sensor, give us a call. The basic timer freeze guard (pictured at left) will have a copper wire with a small bulb on the end. This copper bulb is what needs to be dipped into the ice water. For an automated system, there will be a sensor (pictured at right) either dangling underneath the control box or mounted nearby on a post or wall. This sensor should be immersed in the ice water to test the freeze guard. Do not confuse the water temperature sensor that is mounted in a pvc pipe with the air temperature sensor. The air temperature sensor will never be installed on a pvc pipe.
If the freeze guard does not turn on when the sensor is dipped into the ice water, you might try adjusting the freeze guard temperature up to see if the sensor has just fallen out of calibration. The mechanical timer type freeze guard will have a knob that increases above 40 degrees and the automated system will have a system configuration setting that allows you to increase the temperature when the freeze guard activates. Normally you want this temperature to be set at around 38F. If you are unable to confirm that the freeze guard operates your pump, you can still protect your equipment. Just be sure that you manually turn on the pump and disable any timer that may turn it back off.
One common misconception about keeping your equipment safe is that you need to run your pool heater. Under no circumstances should you try to heat your pool water when it is near freezing. This will actually cause a tremendous amount of condensation inside of the heater and it will accelerate the rusting and corrosion of the bottom of your heater cabinet. The proper way to combat freezing temperatures is to simply move water through your pipes and equipment. As long as the water is moving, it will not freeze.
So by now, hopefully you know that your freeze guard is working. There is one last thing to be sure of. Your valves need to be placed in positions to allow water flow through all of the pipes. I don’t have the time or writing space to explain how to do this on every single system or valve, but basically, if water is not moving through the pipe then it may freeze.
If you are unsure about your freeze guard, contact us so we can check it out for you.