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How to Close Your Pool in 7 Easy Steps
As cooler weather draws closer, you may be thinking about going through the process of closing your pool if you live in climates where it gets too cold to use the pool. No one wants to come back to a pool after a long winter to find that it's dirty, riddled with algae, stained, or in need of a lot of maintenance- so we’ve put together a tidy little “how to” guide on how to close your pool for the winter.
Even though you don’t use your pool during colder months, you’ll still want to take some steps to keep keep the pool safe for the winter and prevent a huge pain in the neck later on due to damage or having to clean it out mucky debris, adjust the chemical imbalances, or remove stains. If done correctly, your pool will stay balanced and beautiful for spring.
When it comes to “Winterizing” the pool- adjusting it for winter- the most important thing for you to do is protect the pool and equipment from potential freeze damage. Since this can vary by region, there are two different basic approaches here. For climates that experience deep or extended freezes, you typically need to partially drain the pool so that there is no water in the equipment and plumbing (well get more into that later). Then, since the water can no longer circulate, you have to take some extra steps initially to try and keep it from “turning on you” over the winter. For warm southern climates with brief or mild freezes, many times all that is required is to keep the water circulating during low temperatures - running water is harder to freeze. Those that don’t need to drain the pool over the winter will still be able to circulate the water, which means the pump, filter, and salt chlorinator can still work to keep the water clear. It goes without saying though, that you still always need to gauge the weather and local conditions to take the right steps to prevent freeze damage.
Once you’ve consulted local guidelines for your area’s best approach for protecting from freeze damage, let’s take a look at the basic things you’ll need to make the pool winterization transition smooth and easy:
Got all your tools ready to go? Great! We’ve put together a seven-step action plan to make the job even easier:
Step 1. Balance the water
If you’re already taking basic care of your pool, this step should be a piece of cake and is probably something you’re already doing. Even over winter, you want to keep your overall water balance in range, especially your pH. Unbalanced pH can be destructive and may corrode the pool and pool equipment, as well as potentially contributing to staining. . (If you found yourself struggling with your pH over the course of the year, give this a look!) To get more advanced, make sure your balance includes a proper saturation index (LSI). This more directly helps prevent the accumulation of impossible-to-remove mineral scaling or, the opposite, damage caused by erosion & etching.
Step 2. Cleaning
Clean the pool walls by scrubbing them thoroughly. Once that’s done, let the water settle. Then, vacuum or run the pool cleaner to make sure the bottom, walls and coves are spotless, which with typical cleaners takes around two hours. No one wants to come back to a pool that is dirty and in need of cleaning after a long winter. Worse yet, any debris or dirt that is left in the pool can cause staining.
Step 3. Ensuring Water Sanitation
Essentially, you want to make sure the water has enough chlorine in it to keep it from harboring microorganisms over the winter. This approach will depend on your region. If you are able to keep circulating your water over the winter, this can simply mean keeping your salt chlorinator in operation at a low level. If your area requires that you partially drain your pool, you may want to turn up your salt chlorinator ahead of closing so you can super- chlorinate the water so it has protection for as long as possible over the winter. You can also take the extra step of manually adding shock, algaecide, or other sanitizers in order to speed up the process during closing.
Be sure to follow local guidelines. If you use additional winterizing chemicals to help maintain a clean & sanitary pool during the winter months where it’s unused, they are typically easy to add and easy to find at many home improvement stores or pool shops! Be sure to add any winterizing chemicals per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remember, preventing microorganisms from making a home in the water will keep the pool clean and safe all winter long, so you don’t have to worry about your pool getting green and cloudy if done correctly.
Step 4. Remove Major Accessories
This step is pretty simple, just remove and store ladders, cleaners, solar covers, eyeball return fittings, skimmer baskets, and other accessories. You don’t want something coming undone and getting lodged somewhere, and seeing in spring that something has damaged your pool or gotten lost.
Step 5. Winterize Pool Lines (if applicable)
This one is for areas where partially draining the pool is required, typically for northern climates that experience hard or extended freezes. Using an air compressor or shop vac, blow air through the skimmer to the equipment and back to the pool. You will need to wait until you are sure that air is coming out of the suction, skimmer and return-to jet lines and then plug the returns using the appropriate winterizing plugs. Because ice expansion is always a possibility, it's highly recommended to protect your skimmer using a skimmer freeze protection plug kit so that your skimmer doesn't crack or break. Always be sure to follow all local guidelines.
Step 6. Pool Equipment Draining / Removal
This one is also for areas that need to protect against hard or extended freezes. Draining all water from your salt chlorinator, filter, heater/heat pump, and pool pump(s) is a must. This applies to any pool component that may hold water within an internal enclosed space. Remove the drain plugs from the equipment and let the water run out to prevent freeze damage and cracking.
Another good idea is to cover the heater as well with a special winter cover. Make sure to put your equipment and pool accessories in a place that is easily accessible and free from any freezing temperatures.
Again, always be sure to follow all local guidelines.
Step 7. Winter Pool Covers
Last but certainly not least, cover the pool if you have partially drained it and are no longer circulating and filtering the water. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is, but here are some tips to make sure you cover it correctly and well.
One of the main reasons for covering a pool is to keep it from collecting any debris and to prevent any staining that would inevitably happen if debris got in- that’s why you went through the whole trouble of deep cleaning it and making sure it was spotless before covering it!
To keep it this way, secure the cover with some aqua blocks or some water tubes (especially when it's super windy, you don’t want it coming undone!)
Pro tip: Aqua blocks have a maximum fill line so don’t over-fill them! For the water tubes, just make sure to only fill them about two-thirds full.
And you’re done! Your pool is ready, winterized and bundled up for winter The best part? It will take a lot less time and effort to open the swimming pool in the spring! Whenever you’re ready for summer, here are some tips to keep your pool in great shape for summer as well, so your family can jump right in!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and we’d be more than happy to help you! Just give us a call at 866-766-5243 or contact us here!