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I have an small inground pool in the backyard. I live in central Florida, so it doesn't get too cold around here very often. However, tonight there is supposed to be a hard freeze (24°F for 4-7 hours) and I'm a little worried about the pool.

If I do nothing in particular, might that be bad for the pool? If so, what can I do to protect it?

Edit: The pool still has all its water in it and isn't covered. We don't tend to empty pools around here, and I don't own a cover.

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Are you sure it is going to be -24°F? Or did you mean it is dropping below freesing to 24°F? EDIT: It actually looks like maybe you are using the hyphens to make a parenthetical statement. It would be less confusing it you just use parentheses instead. – auujay Dec 14 '10 at 18:51
neg 24F would be national news, and an all time record. Run the pumps for a couple of hours and relax – shirlock homes Dec 17 '10 at 0:18

I honestly doubt that it will freeze over in that time, as the water will take some time to get anywhere near freezing temps.

If you are worried anyway, a good idea is to leave the filter pump running. Water that is still will more easily freeze over.

Of course, if you were truly worried, you could make it into a salt water pool, dropping the freezing temperature by a few degrees more.

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I'd agree, and it's especially important to keep the pump on because it's the water in the pump and pipes that will freeze first, which will crack the pipes and/or pump/filter parts. – gregmac Dec 14 '10 at 2:19
gregmac makes an excellent point. The surface of a pool freezing will not harm anything, but a frozen pipe or pump will be a problem. – user558 Dec 14 '10 at 11:53

At +24 deg F, just run the pumps, and you'll be fine.

The temperature of the pool is often significantly above the temperature of a winter night's air. It takes a long time (or a massive amount of energy) to change the temperature of a pool significantly, and even if it gets cold during the night, the pool will also heat up a little during the day. As long as you keep that above-freezing water going through the pump, it will be fine.

On top of the fact that the pool's water is above-freezing, running the pump moves the water, and moving water is much, much harder to freeze than stagnant water.

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We don't empty pools in a Florida. They are used almost year round, especially if you have solar heat. But, you should definitely run the pump overnight to prevent the water in the pipes from freezing and causing damage.

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We live in Washington state and our temps fall below freezing quite a bit. We put a log in the swimming pool. That prevents the ice from expanding and affecting the pool walls.

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Please explain what is meant by "a log". Water expands as it freezes regardless, and an object in the pool may provide a point at which the ice can crumple to prevent extreme pressure on the pool walls. – isherwood Jan 6 at 15:52

That's cold... Of course it depends on the material the pool is made of, but emptying it should be fine, but I suppose it is empty already.

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Nope, not empty. I wasn't aware that was normal! – Mag Roader Dec 14 '10 at 1:09
Actually it depends on the question. If it is hard freeze -24°F which is -33°C (my scale) you should definitely empty it. But if it is 24°F = -4°C it is barely freezing and one night will not do anything to your pool. – Lukas Dec 14 '10 at 7:47
@MagRoader Yikes, it's not normal. You do NOT empty in-ground pools in Central Florida unless you are a professional who knows what they are doing. Without the proper relief valves in place, the hydrostatic pressure underneath the pool can actually lift the pool out of the ground, and you'll find it floating across your backyard during the next rainstorm. Don't do that. – Robert Cartaino Jan 7 '14 at 23:45

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