In the northeast, the warm temperatures seem to disappear as quickly as they came, and if you’re like most pool owners, that’s when you start thinking about winterizing your pool. Do you have all the winterizing pool chemicals ready? Should you start looking at new winter pool covers? When you’re rushed to close the pool, you may forget about some important steps—but not anymore!
Steps for Winterizing Your Pool
Pool companies stay in business because they’re busy fixing heaters, filters and pipes when it’s time to reopen the pool. Why? Because so many people neglect to close their pool correctly! When these durable components are exposed to plunging temperatures, ice and wind, they crack, get damaged or simply stop working. Take the proper precautions by following these steps—and you’ll be swimming in no time when it’s opening time.
Step 1. Balance the water.
Weeks before you close the pool, start by adjusting the levels of pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Doing this first will allow sufficient time to adjust them as needed. Also, because high chlorine levels can weaken winter pool covers, shock the pool with granular chlorine one week before closing to decrease them.
Step 2. Clean your pool.
The more work you put into cleaning your pool before covering it, the less work you’ll have to do when you reopen it. Be sure you have winterizing pool chemicals on hand, which will attack any algae growth during the winter.
Step 3: Decease the water level.
Lowering the water levels helps prevent damage to winter pool covers. If you’re using a mesh cover, bring it to 8-12″ below the tile. For solid covers with a mesh insert, bring the water lower to about 3-5″ below the tile.
Step 4: Add winterizing pool chemicals.
Adding winter chemicals, including non-chlorine shock, algaecide, stain and scale, and borate floaters after lowering the water level helps kick up the chemicals’ concentration. Pool companies can help you find the right selections.
Step 5. Clean the filter.
Incorporating a good filter cleaning when winterizing a pool ensures peak functioning when you reopen it.
Step 6. Remove the drain plugs.
Assess the filter, pumps, heater, pipes and chlorinators to remove any drain plugs, and be sure to open directional valves.
Step 7. Clear out the lines.
Blowing out the lines ensures your plumbing and other equipment has no residual water. Use an air compressor or shop vac. If you don’t feel comfortable with this step, call one of your local pool companies to help. Or you could always drain the equipment and add nontoxic pool antifreeze to plumbing lines, which helps prevent freeze damage.
Step 8. Plug the lines.
Have some freeze plugs or expansion plugs ready after you clear the lines to plug the returns, cleaner lines and skimmers.
Step 9. Shut it down.
Shut down all power to the pump by turning off the circuit breaker, and turn off any time-clock timer dogs.
Winterizing your pool doesn’t have to be a dreadful or stressful experience. If you’d rather have some professional help, pool companies are more than happy to step in to make the process go swimmingly!