We're in Texas and have 5 degree temps this week with rolling blackouts. Our swimming pool is full year round to keep it from being burped out of the ground. We have a freeze guard installed but with the blackouts, the power is off for hours and ice is forming. I've read that if you float wood in the pool, it will act like an expansion joint & the ice will burp it out if it freezes. I don't have any logs but I do have 2x4's. Will putting these in the pool work?

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    Pool water has huge thermal mass. Water resists temperature changes better than any other substance on earth. Your best bet is to cover your pool, and monitor its temperature. Say it's 60F, it would be extraordinarily difficult for it to fall to 32F in a couple of days. Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 23:37
  • To answer your question, yes. Any floating object will help, unless it just sits on the surface like a balloon. - You can also manually break up the ice as it forms. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 1:40
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica especially if you can rig even the slightest insulation. A double layer of tarps for example, or, if snow is falling, a single layer, but keeping that off the surface would be interesting with the weight on top (straps to stakes in the ground if possible)
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 14:15
  • Would salt water damage be worse than freeze damage?
    – dandavis
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 19:00
  • An inner tube ,partially inflated , tied to something heavy so the top end is a few inches above the water surface. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Jump in and break the ice periodically. Minnesotan up!

Seriously, walk the perimeter on a regular basis and bust the ice up with a shovel or other heavy tool. Unless the ice gets thicker than say a half inch across the entire surface it won't cause damage.

Covering it will certainly help. You have a lot of heat in the ground, so if you insulate the top it'll stay much warmer. Pull your cover over it and throw all your extra laundry on it. Dark colors absorb solar heat.


Floating a board in the water will help. wood absorbs more heat than water but the piece floating prevents a thicker sheet from forming and expanding. I am not sure how well a 2x4 will do but it will pick up heat and slow or prevent the surface from freezing solid or as thick, I haven’t had broken tiles since starting to do this many years ago.

  • To be clear, throw about every floating thing you have in there. If you keep the ice sheet interrupted in many places it can't build up outward force--it'll buckle.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 20:41
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    I agree that it interrupts the sheet and that reduces the forces but I think it helps to be heavier like a 4x4 so it is floating the movement also makes some neat ice features as any wind moves it/ them around. Mine are painted black that also makes a big difference how close the ice gets. 2 years ago we had minus teens and just a bump broke them free the ice was over an inch thick. Hard to keep grandsons from putting rocks on the ice and watch them melt through. They got them out in the spring though.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 21:38

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