Having a pool has some incredible perks. From raging pool parties to just spending lazy summer afternoons relaxing by the water, there is just so much you can do with your pool. However, all this fun could turn into a sour experience quickly if you don’t maintain your pool properly.
Closing your pool for the winter is one of those annual household chores that is crucial. Doing it appropriately may take time, but will make your life so much easier when you reopen your pool for the summer next year.
Why Close Your Pool For Winter?
Once the temperature goes down to 65° F (18° C), the swimming pool must be covered. First-time pool owners might wonder why this is such an integral part of winterizing your home. There are many reasons why you must prepare your pool for winter.
For starters, keeping your pool covered during winter when the pool is not in use ensures there is no debris buildup in the pool. An outdoor pool is exposed to the outer environment. All the dust, dirt, dry leaves, etc. can gather in it when it is not regularly used and maintained.
Another key reason to keep the pool covered is to avoid accidents. If you empty your pool of water, it becomes a great hazard and a serious accident can occur if someone falls into it. So, keeping your pool covered means you can avoid such incidents.
Why Should Your Pool Stay Filled When Closed?
People might assume that you should empty the pool during winter. However, keeping water in the pool during the cold months is the better option. First, people can get injured if they fall into an empty pool, so it is better to keep it filled.
Other than the safety factor, the water can protect the inner part of the pool. The vinyl or concrete foundation can get damaged without water.
This results because a dry pool might become cracked and damaged. Later when the water seeps into these cracks, it can cause severe damage to the foundation.
Your pool water can also get tainted by dirt and debris from these cracks. Keeping the pool filled with water ensures that the pool stays safe from weather changes.
Closing Your Outdoor Swimming Pool
Closing your swimming pool is a process. There are several steps you need to follow and if done right, you will be able to clean and open the pool with ease next summer. Following are the steps required:
Cleaning the Pool
Keeping your pool clean is difficult unless you have an advanced robotic cleaner like Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus. We recommend that you read pool cleaner reviews first, and then select the one that is ideal for you, because you must clean your swimming pool thoroughly before closing it. Cleaning with a good pool cleaner is therefore important.
The first step is to remove all the pool accessories. If there are any slides, inflatable floats, ladders, etc. Remove any extra object in and around the pool. Use a garden hose to clean the area. Wash any dirt and build-ups from around the swimming pool.
The next step is skimming the surface of the pool. First, clean the surface thoroughly, then follow it by cleaning the bottom. You need to vacuum the bottom and clean the debris from the pool floor. If the swimming pool is cleaned regularly, there wouldn’t be many derbies in the pool water.
If the swimming pool wall or floor has stains, smudges, or growth, use chlorine-based cleaning products. Use a brush to scrub off any dirt, algae, etc. stuck to the walls.
Buy All The Materials You Need
There are a few chemicals and tools you need to winterize your pool. These will ensure that your pool is prepped for the entire time it is closed. It’s important to get the best pool closing supplies so that the protection is effective and your pool will stay safe while it’s not in use.
You will need the following:
Chemicals & Accessories
- Non-chlorine shock treatment.
- Stain and Scale treatment.
- Winter Swimming Pool Algaecide.
- Pool antifreeze treatment.
- Winter pool covering.
- Winter pool pillow.
Balance The Water
Your water’s pH level should be around 7.2 to 7.6. The pool water is partially hard, so the calcium content should stay within 222ppm. If you use chlorine, keep it within 1-3ppm.
Testing kits are available to measure the chemical balance of the water. If you are not sure about it, call a professional to determine the balance.
Reduce The Water Level
Any pool owner knows that water is not supposed to be filled to the brim. The safest level is halfway to the pool skimmer. If the water level is above that, the pool skimmer will not work. But, for winter preparation, the pool water level will depend on the covering.
If you are using a mesh cover, the pool water level needs to be twelve to eighteen inches below the cover. With a solid cover, keep the water level 6 inches below the cover.
Deal The Equipment
Some special equipment like a heater or a skimmer can be used to supplement and enhance the pool experience. This equipment should be weatherproof so that the water remaining in the system does not get frozen.
Drying the water pipes is necessary to ensure there is no residual water left in the pipes. Drain the pipes then use a blower to dry any remaining water. To avoid any chance of pipes breaking in freezing temperatures insert expansion plugs in the pool pipes.
Drain the water pumps and heaters. Make sure to remove the filters and clean them of any pool remnants. If there are parts that need to be changed or replaced, do them now to avoid issues when spring arrives.
Shock Treatment And Algaecide
Shocking Your Pool
Have you ever opened your pool in spring and found that it has turned into a green swamp? Without proper water treatment, the stagnant water in your pool can become the breeding ground of microbes and algae.
A shock treatment is a process where water treating chemicals are added to adjust the “free chlorine” level of the swimming pool. The point is to adjust the pH level of the waters to kill any impurities.
However, the point is not to over-chemicalize the pool. A pool that smells strongly of chlorine will not keep your pool safe during winter. Too much chemical is harmful and if the water is over treated, it can damage the pool tiles and concrete.
The pool’s treating chemicals must reach a certain pH level. Use a testing kit to secure a pH level of 7.6-7.8. If you are not feeling confident about this, consult an expert.
Getting Rid Of Algae
If you already have a colony of algae growing in the pool, get rid of it and make sure they don’t grow in the future. Using an algaecide that works well is crucial.
The shock treatment comes first, to clean your waters and clear up most of the microbes. Give twelve hours to one day for your shock treatment to work.
Follow this with algaecide to ensure that all the algae are dead. The main point of algaecide is to prevent the growth of algae in the water, which is important to prevent further growth during the months when the pool stays closed.
After the algaecide, you can add chemicals to restore the pH balance of the pool. As mentioned before, the point is to keep the water balanced. Making the chemical level too high or low can both be bad.
Winter Pool Pillow
Winter pool pillow ensures that there is no damage done to the pool walls due to the ice buildups. The pool pillow ensures that the pressure from the accumulated ice is exerted on the pillow instead of the sides. It also ensures proper water weight distribution, which helps to prevent damage to the cover.
Cover It Up
Once you cleaned and sanitized the pool, fixed the chemical balance, shut off and winter prepped all the additional systems and pipes, all that is left is to cover it up. Some outdoor pools have an automatic cover, which can make the work easy. You only need to push a button and the pool closes itself.
Other covers need to be applied to the pool manually. There are three types of pool covers: mesh, solid and solar. Mesh covers are designed to prevent the water from passing through and not collecting on the cover, a problem that can not be avoided with a solid cover.
Solar covers are perfect for cold months when the pool remains cold. These covers use the sunlight to keep the water warm. The sunlight energy is collected and used to maintain a warmer water temperature during the nighttime when it is particularly cold.
Closing up your swimming pool is a crucial step to ensure that your pool stays safe and secure during the winter. It is a vital part of pool maintenance and can ensure that you go through less hassle when you have to open the pool next year.
Make sure that you maintain the chemical balance of water and keep the pool clean. You also have to ensure that all the accessories and add-ons are also winter-proofed. Winterizing your pool will ensure your pool is prepared for opening next spring.