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Matt Gohlke: Be prepared for freezing weather

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Matt Gohlke

The average date for the first freeze in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is Nov. 22, therefore we are past due for cold weather. With that being said, we all know that extremely cold weather will be here soon. It is important that your pool equipment is prepared to handle the freeze.

The following are some recommendations on how to prevent freeze damage to your pool equipment.

1. Backwash the filter as necessary — It is very important to have good water flow and a clean filter, especially going into a freeze situation.

2. Keep the water level at the normal level — typically the middle of the tile.

3. Be sure that your pump or pumps are running when the temperature is freezing. This will help prevent freeze damage to the equipment and plumbing which is an expensive repair. Many pools are equipped with a freeze sensor, which should turn the main pump on and circulate water through the equipment, including the automatic cleaner booster pump. 

It is a good idea to make sure that your main pump is on during the first freeze just to be sure that your freeze sensor is operating properly. Other pumps in the system (pumps for waterfalls, spa jets, etc.) may or may not be freeze-sensored. If they are not, then they must either be drained or manually turned on during freezing temperatures.

Another option to prevent freeze damage is to drain the pool equipment. This is a method used when covering pools with a solid cover but is sometimes also used in emergency situations (equipment problems, no electricity, extreme cold, etc.) to prevent freeze damage. Two things to be aware of if using this method: be sure that all of the equipment is drained properly and be sure that the power is turned off to the pool equipment to prevent any freeze sensors from turning on the equipment, which could result in damage.

If temperatures reach the single digits or will be under 32 degrees for an extended period of time, oftentimes extra precautions must be taken. If that is the case, contact your pool company and they will advise you on how to avoid freeze damage.

For you "weather nerds," the following is more DFW winter weather information from the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic & Atmosphere Administration:

Average first freeze — Nov. 22

Average last freeze — March 13

Earliest first freeze — Oct. 22, 1898

Latest first freeze — Jan. 4, 1972

Earliest last freeze — Feb. 5, 2000

Latest last freeze — April 13, 1957 and 1997

Average freezes in a season — 33

Average number of freezes by month:

October — less than 1

November — 2.3

December — 9.7

January — 12.1

February — 6.8

March — 2.0

April — less than 1

Most freezes in a season — 62 (1977-78)

Most freezes by month:

October — 3 (1925)

November — 12 (1959)

December — 21 (1963, 1989)

January — 27 (1940, 1978)

February — 21 (1905, 1978)

March — 10 (1965)

April — 2 (1920, 1957)

Fewest number of freezes — 11 (2016-17)

If you are wondering what the record low temperature is for the DFW area, you might be surprised that it only has been below zero four times: -8 degrees (Feb. 12, 1899), -2 degrees (Jan. 3, 1949), -1 degree (Jan. 18, 1930 & Dec. 23, 1989).

Stay warm this winter and if you have a swimming pool, be prepared.

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or