Some pool seasons are longer than others, so when you close up your home’s favorite amenity will be dictated by the onset of that first frost. Even in milder climates, temperatures can still drop overnight. We think it’s best to do everything possible to protect your investment by shutting it down once you move into your version of winter.
Of course, if your weather is on the more aggressive side, you’ve got to fight back against winter’s ravages in all its forms, from the frost and snow to the darkest cold.
Winterizing your pool minimizes the risk of damage to sensitive mechanisms and water contamination. If spending time, unnecessary money, and aggravation are things you like to avoid, then preventative steps are right for you. Don’t set yourself up for a ton of work or some unpleasant surprises come springtime.
As far as timing, the pros at Swim University say, “Depending on where you live, your closing times will vary. But as a rule, if temperatures typically drop, and stay, below 65°F (18°C) during the off season, wait until the temperature falls below that point to close. If you live in an area where the temperatures occasionally rise above 65°F (18°C) for a few days during the winter, you can take advantage of the warm spell to test and balance the water chemistry. These tweaks will help you keep your water clean and clear until spring returns.”
How to Winterize Your Pool
Like the regular maintenance steps you take during the season to keep your pool sparkling and ready, the tips for closing your pool are also pretty straightforward. As long as you’re prepared for the effort and shut it down when the time is right, you will once again reap all the wonderful benefits when you get to unveil your pool next season!
A Week Before Closing Your Pool
It’s a great idea to add a phosphate remover. This will help keep algae out and retard any potential algae blooms from trying to take hold. Again, those water temps should be consistently below 65° to also keep the algae growth at bay. Closing your pool too early could come back to bite you!
Brush and Vacuum
Doing these activities will give you the clean break you need to remove any excess debris. Here too, cleaning your pool prior to shutting it down helps with the prevention of the dreaded algae. Your spring opening will also go a lot more smoothly when you take the time to do this step the right way. That means thoroughly brushing both the sides and the floor. When that’s done, vacuum the pool. All that’s left in this step is to skim the surface, then clean out the skimmer and the pump baskets.
Control Your Water Level
If you live in an area that welcomes freezing temps, make sure your water level is around 4-6 inches below the skimmer if your pool is vinyl or 4-6 inches below the tile line if your pool is plaster.
If you live in an area free of freezing temps, then fill the water to the very top so that it is almost ready to overflow.
Address Your Pool Chemistry
All these steps are key, but this one is especially vital. Swim University recommends, “Make sure the pH is perfect. Your pool’s pH level is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. The lower the level, the more acidic the water is. The higher it is, the more basic the water is. If your water is acidic, add a base to lower the acidity. If your water’s too basic, add a pH increaser to bring it into proper balance. Remember, you’re shooting for a pH in the range of 7.4 to 7.6. And as with alkalinity, a higher level is better when you’re winterizing.”
Shock and Chlorinate
You’re accustomed to this step as you’ve executed it during the swim season. This act will wipe out any lingering bacteria. Ideally, it would be best to shock a few days prior to closing your pool. But if that doesn’t work out, at least do it the night before you close up shop. (Take care not to over-shock the water as it will make it cloudy, and you definitely don’t want to be swimming in it until it clears.)
Let your pool pump run for a full cycle then backwash and chemically clean the filter.
Drain Pool Lines and Add Antifreeze (for freezing temperatures only)
Like you do when you leave your home to go away for a winter break, you are careful to leave the heat on, so your pipes don’t take a beating and burst in your absence. Same concept here. You should have a drain plug to route water out.
Drain the pump, filter, heater, and any other pool equipment. DE grids and filter cartridges should be removed from the filter and fully cleaned. You can use a hand-held vacuum to blow out any residual air. You may then stow those drain plugs in the pump basket for the duration. Check with your pool supplier for the recommended amount of pool anti-freeze if appropriate for your pool’s climate.
Cover It Up
Protect your pool from winter storm debris and everything else with a secure pool cover that forms a tight seal. Again, your climate (as well as the location setting if for example your yard is heavily wooded) will dictate the appropriate cover.
Keep a watchful eye on the water chemistry by using a test kit. If it’s easier for you, many pool stores permit customers to bring samples in for testing and to advise the best remedy for whatever is ailing your pool.
In the words of home improvement guru, Bob Vila, “While you can hire professionals to close your pool for you, you’ll save money by doing it yourself. By following these ten steps, you’ll ensure that your pool is protected and well maintained for the off-season. Hopefully, you now feel equipped with the necessary information to close your pool this fall so that it’s ready to go next spring.”
It’s always a little sad when we get to this point in the season, but we all have the holidays to keep us busy, and we have something amazing to look forward to. Another pool season!
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves keeping pools working at their maximum capacity. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.