Unless you live in a region where it’s sunny and warm all year round, there will come a day when it’s time to close up the pool for the season. To ensure that your pool is secure in the off-season, you must know how to winterize your pool properly. Just as your home needs to be winterized, it’s important to know the proper steps to winterize your full property correctly.
When To Winterize A Pool
It’s important to have a plan in place for how to close a pool as early as the beginning of pool season. You want to get the most use of your pool during the hot weather, of course, but you also want to leave ample time for the winterizing process so that you can reopen the pool next season with little hassle.
If you plan to close up your pool after the summer on your own, then you can allow the weather, and your own schedule, to dictate when to complete the work. Typically, the end of pool season comes when the outside temperature consistently falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are hiring a pool professional to do the work, be sure to book the appointment sooner rather than later.
The beginning and end of each pool season are typically very busy times of year for technicians in the pool industry, and you don’t want the health of your pool to suffer if you are unable to hire an available pool professional to close your pool until the fall is underway.
- A pool vacuum
- A skimmer
- Additives/chemicals needed to stabilize the water’s chemistry, depending on the type of pool you have
Remove All Pool Accessories From the Water
After you have taken your final swim for the season, it’s time to deflate that swan float, remove the ladder (if you are winterizing an above-ground pool), and take away any other objects that are on or near the surface of your pool. Hose everything off to get rid of dirt, algae, or other residues, then let it all dry in the sun. Store them in a garage, shed, or pool house until they are needed again next season. Now is also the time to capitalize on any end-of-season sales so that you can stock up on fun pool toys and accessories for next season.
Give the Pool a Deep Clean
This step is easier if you’d kept on top of skimming the surface and vacuuming the bottom of your pool throughout the season. However, now is your chance to give it a deep clean. Skim the surface well and give the pool’s bottom a thorough vacuuming so that every last blade of grass and leaf is removed for the winter. If you see dirt stains on the sides of the pool or the bottom, use a chlorine-based cleaner and a scrub brush to gently remove it from the pool liner or the tiles. If you have concrete in your pool that needs to be cleaned, use a pumice stone to remove any remaining dirt.
Balance the Chemistry of the Water
Ideally, you want the alkalinity to be between 80 and 150ppm with a pH level between 7.2 and 7.6. Calcium hardness should be in the range of 175 to 225ppm. If you use chlorine to sanitize your pool, that level should be between 1ppm and 3ppm. Call a professional as soon as possible if you have any difficulty adjusting the chemistry of your pool. Pool water that does not have the proper chemistry balance is not ready for swimming, and it could turn into a bigger problem next season if left unchecked.
Reduce the Water Level
The amount of water that remains in the pool during the off-season depends on the type of cover you’re using. If you use a solid cover, the water should be six inches below it. If you use a mesh cover, the water should be about a foot below. Allow at least a day or two for draining your pool to the appropriate water level.
Drain the Equipment
If water freezes in any of the equipment used to clean and sanitize your pool, it will cause a headache—possibly an expensive one—at the start of next season. Use a blower to dry out the pool lines and then insert expansion plugs to avoid breakage when the temperature drops during the winter. Empty the water pump and heater and remove the filter for cleaning. Examine all of these components to see if there is any maintenance or replacement that is required and make plans to get it done during the office season. If possible, bring the filter and pump indoors where it’s warmer for the off-season. Add antifreeze to the water if you live in a region where the water could freeze.
Give It a Dose of Shock and Algaecide
Your pool water is a breeding ground for bacteria and algae if it goes untreated at any time, but particularly in the winter. You’ll need a few days for this step, so get your last swim in before you start. Be sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines for the chemicals you use, including whether or not you should use additives at the same time. If the algae in your pool have grown to where the algaecide isn’t getting rid of it, call in a pool cleaning company to get it taken care of immediately. Otherwise, the problem will only be compounded when you go to open the pool next season.
Install the Pool Cover
The final step to closing up your pool is to install a snug-fitting cover that will protect your investment from autumn leaves, winter snowfall, and other off-season elements. If you need to purchase a new cover, make sure you measure your pool carefully so that you choose the right size. While the installation of your pool cover will depend on whether you have an above-ground or in-ground pool, you must ensure that it is secured well with cover clips. In a milder climate, you might be able to make cover adjustments as needed during the offseason, but if you live where snow is the other covering on your pool, it will be difficult to fix during the winter.
When to Call a Pro
Your pool is a major investment for your home, and it is one that will require ongoing maintenance so you can enjoy it for years to come. While winterizing a swimming pool can be accomplished on your own, it pays to hire a professional to do it for peace of mind.
Like many technicians, an experienced pool professional will have done the work of closing a pool many times over. They will be able to recognize any issues that need to be taken care of prior to reopening the pool next season. To avoid the disappointment of delaying that first swim next season, you may want to hire a pool pro to winterize your pool properly during the last days of the swim season.
Proper pool maintenance all season long can make it easier to winterize a swimming pool yourself. However, if you do not close it up properly, you could be in for a hefty repair bill next pool season. Be sure to call a pro for advice if you need any assistance in winterizing your pool for the off-season.
Originally posted by Forbes Advisor.