You’ve made the most of the sunshine and warmer months, swimming and relaxing in your pool while the weather allows. But the warm weather has faded and winter is here. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start preparing your pool for cold weather. Shutting down your pool will help to protect it from colder temperatures so you can continue to enjoy the water when spring comes around.
Closing Your Pool for Winter
Following these steps to close your pool for winter will keep your pool in shape while it’s not in use.
1. Clean the pool.
Scoop out leaves and any other debris floating in your pool with a skimmer net. Once the water is free of debris, brush the sides of the pool. Simply remove the net from the pole and replace it with the brush. Now it’s time to vacuum the pool.
Turn on your automatic pool cleaner, if you have one, and let it do its job. Or run your manual pool vacuum over the floor of the pool just like you would when cleaning the carpet in your home. Pushing the vacuum in slow, steady motions will prevent it from stirring up anything resting on the bottom of the pool.
Don’t forget to clean out the filter and remove any debris from the basket. And be sure to remove all toys and equipment from your pool if you haven’t done so already.
2. Balance the pool’s water chemistry.
The three main components to test are the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Adding acid to the pool water will bring down the pH if it’s too high. For the alkalinity, an acceptable range is 80 ppm to 120 ppm. To raise the total alkalinity, a base should be added. In order to lower it, acid needs to be added. And finally, test for calcium hardness. An ideal range is 200 ppm-400 ppm. Adding calcium chloride to the pool’s water will raise the calcium hardness, if necessary.
3. Drain water from hoses and equipment
Make sure all hoses and equipment are free of water. If any water remains, it can freeze and crack the equipment. Blow out or drain all water. Check the manufacturer’s directions for your exact model for specifics on how to accomplish this task.
4. Cover pool
Now that the pool is clean and any water has been removed from the equipment, it’s time to secure your pool cover over the pool. An automatic pool cover can be engaged with the flip of a switch. A pin-down cover must be anchored to the deck manually. Keeping the pool covered during winter will prevent debris from entering the pool and, with a safety cover, will provide safety from drowning.
WARNING: Do NOT cover your pool pump or any other outdoor pool equipment, including the heater. This equipment is rated for outdoor use and is built to withstand the elements. It does not need to be covered. Covering it will retain moisture, which will cause the equipment to rust from the inside out.
Maintaining Your Pool During Winter
Your pool requires little to no maintenance when you shut it down for winter. You can close the cover and leave it alone. However, you will need to remove any water that accumulates on the pool cover. A pool cover pump will take care of this job. An automatic cover pump switches on when it detects water and shuts off once the water has been removed, making it easy to operate. You will need to turn a manual pump on and off to remove excess water.
If it’s a mild winter and not freezing, you can peel back the cover periodically to add the appropriate chlorine. Doing this will allow you to open your pool to cleaner water come spring. And one final word of caution: Avoid coming into contact with your pool’s plumbing during cold weather. The plumbing is made of PVC, which can become brittle when it’s cold. Bumping frozen plumbing could cause it to crack.
If you take these steps to care for your pool during the winter season, you’ll be on track to a cleaner pool this spring.