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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 the pool for the season. To ensure your pool is safe during the off-season, you need to know how to properly winterize your pool. Just like your home needs to be winterized, it’s important to know the right steps to properly winterize all of your property.
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When to winterize a pool
It is important to have a plan in place for closing a pool early in the pool season. Of course you want to get the most out of your pool when the weather is hot, but you also want to allow enough time for winter storage so you can easily reopen the pool next season.
If you plan to close your pool yourself after the summer, you can let the weather and your own schedule dictate when the work is complete. Typically, the end of pool season comes when the outside temperature consistently falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you hire a pool professional to do the work, book the appointment sooner rather than later.
The beginning and end of each pool season are typically very busy times of the year for technicians in the pool industry, and you don’t want your pool’s health to suffer if you are unable to hire an available pool professional to look after your pool close by then the fall is underway.
- Additives/chemicals that are required to stabilize the water chemistry depending on the pool type
1. Remove all pool accessories from the water
After you’ve taken your last dip for the season, it’s time to deflate the swan float, remove the ladder (if you’re wintering an above-ground pool), and remove any other items on or near it on the surface of your pool. Hose down to remove dirt, algae or other residue, then let dry in the sun. Store them in a garage, shed, or pool house until needed again next season. Now’s also the time to cash in on all the seasonal sales so you can stock up on fun pool toys and accessories for next season.
2. Thoroughly clean the pool
This step is easier if you have been skimming the surface and vacuuming the bottom of your pool all season. However, now is your chance to give it a thorough clean. Skim off the surface well and vacuum the bottom of the pool thoroughly so that the last blade of grass and leaves are removed for the winter.
If you see dirt stains on the sides of the pool or on the bottom, use a chlorine-based cleaner and a scrubbing brush to gently remove it from the pool liner or tiles. If you have concrete in your pool that needs cleaning, use a pumice stone to remove any remaining dirt.
3. Balance the chemistry of the water
Ideally, the alkalinity should be between 80 and 150 ppm with a pH between 7.2 and 7.6. The calcium hardness should be in the range of 175 to 225 ppm. If you are using chlorine to sanitize your pool, this level should be between 1ppm and 3ppm.
Contact a professional as soon as possible if you are having trouble adjusting your pool chemistry. Pool water that is not in the right chemical balance is not ready for swimming and could become a bigger problem next season if left unchecked.
4. Reduce the water level
The amount of water left in the pool during the off-season depends on the type of cover used. If you use a solid cover, the water should be six inches below. If you use a mesh cover, the water should be about a foot below. Allow at least a day or two to drain your pool to the appropriate water level.
5. Drain the device
If water freezes in any of the equipment used to clean and sanitize your pool, it will cause a headache early next season – potentially an expensive one. Use a blower to dry the pool lines, then insert expansion plugs to avoid rupture when the temperature drops in winter. Drain the water pump and heater and remove the filter for cleaning. Examine all of these components to determine if they require maintenance or replacement, and plan to do so during office season. If possible, bring the filter and pump inside where it is warmer during the off-season. Add antifreeze to the water if you live in a region where the water could freeze.
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6. Give him a dose of shock and algaecide
Your pool water is a breeding ground for bacteria and algae at all times, but especially in winter if left untreated. This step will take you a few days, so do one last swim before you begin. 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 has grown too far for the algaecide to get rid of, contact a pool cleaning company immediately to take care of it.
Otherwise, the problem will only increase when you open the swimming pool next season.
7. Attach the pool cover
The final step in closing your pool is to install a tight-fitting cover that will protect your investment from fall foliage, winter snowfall, and other off-season elements. If you need to purchase a new cover, carefully measure your pool to ensure you choose the correct size.
While installing your pool cover will depend on whether you have an above ground or an inground pool, you need to make sure it is securely fastened with cover clips. In a milder climate, you can adjust the cover as needed during the off-season, but if you live where snow is your pool’s other cover, it will be difficult to repair in the winter.
When to call a professional
Your pool is a major investment in your home and requires ongoing maintenance so that you can enjoy it for years to come. While winterizing a swimming pool can be done yourself, it pays to hire a professional for peace of mind.
Like many technicians, an experienced pool professional has done the job of closing a pool many times. You can see any issues that need to be fixed before the pool reopens next season. To avoid the disappointment of postponing your first swim next season, consider hiring a pool professional to properly winterize your pool in the final days of swim season.
Proper pool maintenance throughout the season can make winterizing a swimming pool yourself easier. However, if you don’t close it properly, you could face a hefty repair bill next pool season. Be sure to call a professional for advice if you need help winterizing your pool for the off-season.
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