For those of us in the northeast, the summer season seems to fly by. As the days start getting shorter and the temperatures start dropping, pool owners are forced to start thinking about the inevitable—pool closing.
Filters, pipes, heaters and pumps—they’re all made of durable materials, but when they’re exposed to colder temperatures and ice, they run the risk of cracking. Unless you take the proper precautions for winterizing a pool, you can do serious damage to this important investment—and ruin next year’s swimming enjoyment at the same time!
Start Planning Your Pool Closing Today
While all pools are slightly different in their setup, you can use these simple tips if you’re just learning how to winterize a pool.
1. Balance your pool water.
When it comes to pool closing, chemicals and pool closing supplies need to be dealt with first. You’ll want to adjust your pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels several days to a week before to your pool closing so that you have the time to adjust them if necessary. About one week prior to pool closing, you should shock your pool with granular chlorine to allow the chlorine level to drop before placing the pool cover. Remember, high levels of chlorine can weaken a pool cover, so don’t allow the highly chlorinated pool water to come in contact with it.
2. Thoroughly clean the pool.
The cleaner your pool is when you cover it, the better it will look next year. In your arsenal of pool closing supplies, you should have pool closing chemicals, which will work on organic matter left in the pool so there’s less chance of algae growth in the winter.
3. Decrease the level of pool water.
Using a mesh safety cover? Take the level to 8-12″ below the tile. For solid pool covers, lower the level to 3-5″ below the tile. The lower the water, the less damage to your cover.
4. Introduce your winter pool chemicals.
Look into buying a pool closing chemicals kit, which typically contains algaecide, borate floaters, stain and scale, and non-chlorine shock. While the package instructions usually suggest adding the chemicals before lowering the water, you may find that adding them after boosts so the chemicals’ concentration. Spread the chemicals over your pool surface, using your pool brush to help disseminate them.
5. Clean the pool filter.
Cleaning the filter while winterizing a pool makes for a high-functioning pool next spring. If you use a DE filter, remove the assembly from the tank and hose it down to remove all DE powder, which can clog the fabric causing creating filtration issues next year. For cartridge filters, the same rule applies, remove the cartridge and hose very thoroughly. After blowing the lines, place the filter cartridge or grid assembly back in the tank for protection during the winter. Secure your filter lid and clamp band before and after blowing lines.
6. Remove your drain plugs.
Examine your pipes, pump(s), filter, heater and chlorinators, and remove any drain plugs. Open all directional valves to allow water to meet the water in the pool.
7. Blow out the lines.
The most important step for how to winterize a pool, you must ensure there is no water left in the equipment or plumbing. Blow out the lines with a powerful shop vac or a small air compressor. If you don’t feel confident with this step, make completely drain all equipment and add non-toxic pool antifreeze to the plumbing lines to prevent freeze damage.
8. Plug your lines.
Once you’ve blown out the lines while winterizing a pool, use expansion plugs or freeze plugs to plug returns, skimmers and cleaner lines.
9. Turn off the circuit breaker.
To shut off power to the pump, turn off the circuit breaker. This is also the time to turn off any timer dogs on the time clock, in the event that the breaker gets turned on accidentally during the winter.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone when winterizing a pool. If you have any questions about pool closing chemicals, pool closing supplies or the process in general, contact your local pool professionals. They’re experts at it!