Winterizing Pool Care: A DIY Guide
Taking good care of your pool doesn’t end when the pool is closed. Maintaining a pool is a year round job! At Leslie’s, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of customers open their pools. And one thing we’ve learned over the years is that just a few quick and simple winter maintenance can make opening your spring pool a breeze. To help you, we’ve compiled these tips into this handy guide to winterizing pool maintenance.
Follow these simple tips to take care of your pool water while your pool is closed. Some highlights are:
Remove excess water from the pool cover with a submersible pump.
Monitor water balance and fix signs of stains, buildup, or color changes.
Circulate pool water to keep your sanitizer working efficiently and fresh, clear water.
Use specialty chemicals as needed to preserve pool water in the off-season.
Visually inspect pool equipment, plumbing, and winter accessories such as pool covers, water bags, and air bags.
1. Replenish your supply of pool chemicals.
Once the pool has been winterized, part of your pool maintenance checklist no longer affects the pool at all. While some pool chemicals do not have an exact expiration date, it is recommended that you discard any unused pool chemicals from the previous season. Why? These chemicals lose their effectiveness and will not do their job as well as expected. And of course, an excess of chemicals in the water can be bad for your pool.
2. Remove standing water from your pool cover.
Excess water on a solid winter cover or safety cover can weigh it down and cause damage or even complete cover failure. And if there are leaves on the cover, standing water creates a dark and cloudy “tea” that can cause a big mess if it falls into the pool. It is best to remove this excess water with a Submersible pool cover pump.
If there is snow or ice, just leave it there until it melts. We do not recommend removing them as this may damage your pool cover.
3. Visually inspect pool equipment and winter accessories.
check your water bag and air cushion Top up or replace regularly and as needed. Take a close look at your winter cover and look for signs of damage. If you notice a rip, tear, or wear, use a patch to secure the cover. Or, if the damage is extensive, replace the cover. Even a small hole in the cover can result in a murky mess in the spring if not dealt with quickly.
While you’re at it, visually inspect your equipment and plumbing for signs of damage, frost expansion, or other conditions that could interfere with opening your pool in the spring.
DIY TIP: If you notice damage to your pool equipment or plumbing, don’t panic! There’s still time to fix it before opening day. However, if you only notice it in warmer temperatures, we have some tips in another blog post to help you temporarily Maintaining a pool with damaged equipment.
4. Circulate the pool water.
If possible, circulate your pool water with a Submersible pump for swimming pools. Moving the water as much as possible results in a more hygienic pool and ensures a smooth pool opening day.
5. Pull back the corner of your pool cover and see how the water behaves.
As part of your regular maintenance routine on your winterized pool, you should visually check the pool water level at least once a month to make sure there isn’t a leak hiding somewhere. Undetected pool leaks and low water levels can cause many problems in winter, including damage to the pool cover or even the pool itself. If there is a leak, add water to maintain an appropriate level until you can locate and repair the leak.
As you look under the cover, take a look at the visual condition of the water. If you notice color changes or signs of stains and deposits, take a water sample to test.
Check your pool chemistry at least once a month to ensure you have a balanced, healthy pool. Or let us do the work for you! Bring your water close to you Leslie’s shop and get your water tested for free. Leslie’s AccuBlue® water testing system provides the most accurate results for 10 different aspects of water chemistry in under a minute.
BONUS TIP: If your pool gear is separate, you won’t be able to circulate the water enough to add most balancing chemicals. When testing your water in the winter, the most important thing is to ensure sanitizer levels are sufficient to control germs and algae.
6. Keep your pool water fresh with winter care products.
If you need to add pool maintenance chemicals to your winterized pool, it is important to agitate the water to disperse the chemicals. As mentioned above, you can do this with a submersible pump and garden hose positioned at opposite ends of the pool. Using a pool brush to stir the water is also helpful to keep the water circulating. If chemicals remain concentrated in one area of the pool, it can cause discoloration and damage to the pool surface.
Add chlorine to the pool as needed to maintain the free chlorine level in the 2.0 to 4.0 ppm range. If you are using a floating chlorine dispenser, make sure there are still tablets in the dispenser. To oxidize contaminants in the water and make your chlorine more efficient, add a dose of a non-chlorine pool shock such as Leslie’s Fresh ‘N Clear.
Using an enzyme-based chemical such as Natural Chemical Pool Perfect helps break down any kind of non-living organic contaminants. This greatly reduces the risk of a waterline ring of oily scum appearing, meaning no scrubbing or spring finishing of your pool tiles.
In the winter, your pool is fairly dormant, meaning the water isn’t circulating. Uncirculated water means microorganisms can grow more easily as disinfectants like chlorine slowly break down and disappear. If you know there will be warmer temperatures in the off-season, it’s recommended that you add algaecide to protect your pool water. This will help your water get through to the start of spring without an algal bloom.
Bonus tip for winterizing pool maintenance
It’s important to winterize your pool, but did you know that it’s also important to winterize your garden? We are specifically talking about outdoor furniture, large outdoor storage spaces, plants and other outdoor equipment that you may own. These items should be securely tied down or moved to avoid movement in strong gusts of wind that could damage your pool cover if they land on the pool. Properly storing or covering your furniture and accessories will also help protect them during the off-season.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Click here to save and print your own copy of our winter pool maintenance checklist! It will come in handy during the off-season and will speed up your pool opening routine this spring.