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Pool Parts for Freeze Damage Repairs

Freeze damage can wreak havoc on various components of a pool, turning what was once a refreshing oasis into a costly repair project. As winter’s icy grip takes hold, water in the pool and its associated plumbing can freeze, expanding and causing substantial damage to critical pool parts. From cracked pipes and damaged pumps to fractured tiles and warped liners, the consequences of freeze damage can be extensive and expensive. If you need to figure out which pool parts require replacement due to freeze damage, let us guide you.   

Damaged Pool Pipes

damaged pool pipes

Underground pipes rarely freeze if they are deep enough. However, every consecutive day of freezing cold increases the depth of permafrost in the soil, and can reach even the deepest pipes. When pipes are more than half full of water, they crack, usually in a tell-tale spider web fashion.

Replace cracked pool pipes. There is no way to patch or repair cracked pipes or valves. Cut it out with a hacksaw and replace it with schedule 40 PVC, and deep socket PVC fittings, primed and glued with heavy-duty PVC glue.

Frozen Pool Heaters

pool heater

Pool heaters are usually the first piece of pool equipment to crack from even just a little bit of water freezing in the front or rear header or manifold. If you prime up the pump this spring, and notice water pouring out of your heater, first check that the drain plugs are tightly in place and the pressure switch is connected. If water still pours out under the heater, remove the side access plates, if you cannot see a visible crack.

The most common freeze damage to pool heaters is a cracked rear header. The front header can also crack if left full of water. It usually does not affect the heat exchanger. The repair involves removing the heater top, and side plates to gain access to the header bolts. Remove and replace, with new header gaskets.

Heaters can also crack in a location known as the siphon loop. This is a copper tube that brings water to the pressure switch.

Frozen Pool Filters

cracked pool filter

Pool filter tanks can withstand the pressure of frozen water, and the external valve will crack first, allowing the tank to drain. In the case of top-mounted sand filters, the valve can pop off the top, cracking the tank flange.

D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) and cartridge pool filters can suffer damage to the internal grids and elements if a full filter tank freezes solid, cracking and crushing the media.

Filter tanks, flanges or clamp bands that show any sign of leaking or damage should be replaced immediately, for safety reasons. If the tank has cracked, you will need a new one. There is almost no repair that can withstand the pressure inside a filter tank.

Frozen Pool Pumps

pool filter pump

Pool pumps typically have two drain plugs, one for the basket pot, and one for the volute. A cracked pool pump may not be immediately evident, due to small cracks in thick plastic, or in other cases, you can spot a cracked pump housing right away.

In most cases, a frozen pool pump doesn't need complete replacement, but repair to one or two pump parts. The usual repair for a frozen pump is to replace either the hair and lint pot, or the volute. The impeller and other pump parts are not usually harmed.

If you find your pool pump buzzing and straining, trying to start, the water inside may be frozen.
Turn off the power to the pump. Open the pump lid to confirm ice. If you have an electric blanket, plug it in and drape the blanket over the equipment, pump, filter and all. If you don't have an electric blanket, get a thick regular blanket and make a tent over the equipment, and plug in a handheld electric hair dryer or small space heater. Place properly and monitor to prevent fire or melted plastic.

Freeze Damaged Pool Parts

After discovering a frozen pool part, closely inspect all other visible equipment, pipes, and valves for damage.

If you find freeze damage this spring, remember that you are not alone; other pool owners are making the same repairs.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.