This may be the only topic where Kev and I disagree. I like to wait for the aforementioned wildlife reasons...for the most part, you only get one chance to lay your liner down and fill it (particularly if you spend a few hundred bucks on a water tank - that's not a fun check to write twice). So my advice is usually to wait until you KNOW that you will start making ice the night you fill. When I fill (both my own rinks and my customers) I always try to fill during or at the start of a cold front. Yes, we may miss a few days at the start, but the plan is more of a long-term one, and I'm looking for a liner drop and fill with no issues. Of course, I have never heard of someone filling in mid-November and then having wildlife ruin the liner, so maybe I'm overly cautious...and clearly both approaches work. I just always tend to lean towards the safer option, which to me is filling and having a protective layer of ice by the following morning, versus having water sit for prolonged periods. Of course, all depends on your climate and local animal population, too.
I'm Joe from Backyard-Hockey.com and EliteRinks.com.
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