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The Polar Plunge has arrived in Charlotte! How to protect your pool.

With temperatures dropping to nearly 10 degrees, you might be feeling a little anxiety about freezing pipes. Just like we keep our indoor faucets at a slow drip to ensure our pipes don't freeze, the key to avoiding costly swimming pool damage is to keep the water moving. Water that stands still can freeze and expand by 9%. It doesn't sound like a lot but it's enough to crack your above- and below-ground pipes, the pipes inside your heater and filter, and even crack your pump motor. Freeze damage repairs can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. No one needs that expense before or after the holidays!

There are three ways to protect your pool from freezing:

1. Winterize your pool

This means shutting down your pool (and spa) for the winter. The pool equipment is drained completely, water is blown out of all of the plumbing, and a pool skimmer expansion plug is installed.

Pros: inexpensive ($150 for an in-ground, residential pool), worry-free.

Cons: your pool/spa combo is winterized as a whole, therefore you cannot use your spa until your pool has been re-opened in the spring. That means no awesome Instagram pics of your kids in their swim suits and Santa hats in December.

2. Keep your pump running constantly

North Carolina weather can be unpredictable, and meteorologists can be wrong. If your pool is not winterized you need to keep a close eye on the outside temperature all winter long. If the temperatures drop into the 30's, you need to open all of your valves and keep the pump running until it warms up. This will keep water moving through your equipment and plumbing.

Pros: No additional equipment to install or maintain, you can keep your pool and spa open and in-use all winter long.

Cons: Inconvenient: you'll need a pool-sitter if you go out of town, and you need to keep a close eye on the low temperature forecast; you'll definitely notice a jump in your power bill from running your pool equipment 24/7.

3. Install a freeze protection system

Freeze protectors are a small appliance that can be installed onto existing pool equipment. Once you set the temperature on the freeze protector it will automatically start your pool pump and get the water moving.The freeze protector will keep the pool pump running, overriding any timer settings, until the temperature exceeds the onset temp.

Pros: Convenient, no pool-sitting or weather-monitoring; relatively inexpensive ($300 installed).

Cons: Because it keeps your pump running durning freezing temps, your power bill will reflect the additional run time.

Most swimming pool builders automatically install timers with freeze protectors at construction. However if you have a pool without one, we can easily install a freeze protection system for you. We can also replace a non-working freeze protector.

Don't let your relaxing pool retreat become a source of anxiety. Get out and use that spa! Get some cool pics of your New Year's Eve hot tub party for Facebook. Make you friends and neighbors without freeze protection jealous. Let a freeze protector take the worry out of winter pool care.

AquaDoc Pools of Charlotte can help you with everything from weekly pool maintenance to equipment installation and so much more. Call us at (704) 363-8032 for more information or to get a free estimate.

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