How to Prepare Your Pool for Winter: 5 Tips Every Pool Owner Must Know
Remember the nasty sludgy mess you found last spring after your pool accumulated leaves and debris through winter? Oh, the hours you spent shoveling all that grime, the stains it left behind, and not to mention the costs associated with opening the pool again!
The mere thought of this would make anyone cringe, and if this wasn’t you, it’s going to be if you don’t close your pool properly for this winter. If you don’t learn how to winterize a pool, there is a very high chance that your pool will fall apart. Come spring, you may have to deal with burst pipes and damages to your filter, heater, pump, and deck.
You might even have to deal with an algae infestation if the chlorine system stops working, leading to an unsightly pool and expensive cleanup. Algae lead to bacteria, and bacteria lead to illnesses, so why risk it? Let’s save you all this trouble and show you how to winterize your pool efficiently.
When Is the Best Time to Close the Pool?
The right time to close your pool will depend on your geographical location and the climate in that area. For instance, people living in Arizona may not have to close their pools at all.
In general, the temperature threshold ends at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and if temperatures in your area fall below that, you need to start closing the pool. This may be in late October or early November at the start of winter.
How to Winterize a Pool Before the Cold Hits
Whether you have an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool, it still needs to be winterized. Take your time and winterize your pool properly to avoid problems and damages later on.
1. Start by Cleaning the Pool
The pool winterization process starts with you rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Cleaning your pool is a crucial part of the process, so grab the pool brush and your telescoping pole and start scrubbing. Scrub everything from the walls to the floor, and get to the nooks and crannies if you can.
This process will kick up any debris and algae spores that had settled down there. If you do notice your water turning green or see some murky stains, use an algae brush to ensure you get all of it before it takes root. Once you are done, vacuum all that dirt and leave your swimming pool spotless before moving on to the next step.
2. Test the Levels and Add Winter Chemicals
With a clean pool, you need a pool test kit to make sure the pH, alkalinity, and other mineral levels in the water are balanced. The chlorine levels need to be less than five parts per million, while the alkalinity needs to fall between 100 and 150 parts. The pH levels should fall between 7.2 and 7.8, which will protect your swimming pool from scale buildup and corrosion during the winter months.
Once everything is balanced, it’s time to add winter chemicals that will protect your pool from algae. For starters, you’ll need an Algaecide to protect your pool from turning into an algae pond. If you have a high-quality and impermeable pool cover, you can add one dose, but if the cover is porous, you should add two.
You may also want to add Pool Enzymes. Even though they are not mandatory, they target any pool intruders, including algae and spores. A Winter Pill comes in handy when medicating your swimming pool because once it dissolves in the water, it sanitizes and clarifies it during the winter months.
Additionally, you’ll need a Metal Sequestrant if you happen to use well water to fill your pool. There is a high chance such water has traces of metal and without a metal sequestrant, the metal sticks to the edges of the pool and rusts. With the chemical, however, they’ll be suspended in the water, and the swimming pool will suffer no damages.
A pool antifreeze is essential for in-ground pools because it prevents pipes from freezing and bursting. Draining the pipes is always a viable option, but to be on the safe side, get an antifreeze with a similar temperature rating as to your climate.
3. Shock the Pool and Lower the Water Levels
Before your swimming pool takes a rest for winter, ensure you shock it one last time. Add chlorine tablets that will exterminate all and any bacteria left in the water. This step will be more effective if you do it at night and leave the pump running till morning to allow the chlorine to circulate throughout. If you have a saltwater pool, you may use a saltwater cell to distribute the chemicals in the pool.
After that, you need to lower the water levels of your pool to prevent overflowing when the water starts to freeze. If you live in warmer climates where water may not freeze at all, then you may skip this step. The water level you choose will depend on the type of pool cover you’ll use.
If you are using a permeable non-vinyl liner or mesh, you can bring the water down to two feet below your tile line or skimmer. If you are using a vinyl liner, you may bring it down one inch, and for solid-non-vinyl liners, two feet is more suitable.
4. Clean the Filter and Blow out the Lines
By now, the filter is probably filled with all manners of debris. Remove and clean it so when it’s finally spring, you’ll have a clean filter ready to go. When it comes to blowing out the lines, you may want to call in pool professionals because draining gets quite tricky.
If you make one small mistake, your lines will burst as the temperature drops. Should you decide to do it yourself, attach an air blower to your pool’s main drain to blow air through your pipes.
You may use a rubber plug if you want to keep the water from entering your system. Again, use antifreeze to be on the safe side.
5. Remove Your Pool Accessories and Cover the Pool
If you happen to have a saltwater pool, you cannot skip this step. The salt will cause accessories to rust, so the ladder, rails, and toys must come out. Ensure they are completely dry before storing them safely.
The final step of the process is covering the pool, which should include the pool pump. There are many different types of swimming pool covers, and depending on which one you get, you may need to keep cleaning off debris and snow throughout the winter. If you have an above ground pool, you can insert a pool pillow at the center of the pool before you cover it. This will keep snow from burying the cover.
Save Yourself the Trouble: Close Your Pool
Follow these steps for how to winterize a pool before the temperatures drop. The process is relatively easy, and protecting your investment is well worth it. If you don’t have the time to do this, or you feel it’s too much of a hassle, give us a call and we’ll be sure to come winterize your pool for you.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry and getting your pool ready for winter is something you must not overlook. Protecting your pool is essential regardless of the season, so check out more insightful tips about maintaining your pool on our website.