The summers are ending, and it is time to close your pool for the winter. Learning how to winterize a pool properly will help you have a clean pool when you open it next spring.
Owning a pool comes with a lot of responsibilities. You have to make sure it is properly cleaned and maintained. Moreover, it is crucial to winterize your ground pool using the proper pool equipment. But, how do you winterize a pool?
This article will take you through the pool water maintenance steps that will ensure your swimming pool stays in perfect condition during the winter.
Why You Need to Winterize a Pool Correctly
Do you live somewhere with mild winters? Then, you might not need a winterizing chemical kit for closing. On the other hand, if you live somewhere that has extreme winters, well, that is a whole other story.
Here are the reasons why you need to winterize your pool correctly.
Reduction of Above Ground Pool Equipment Damage
The main reason to winterize ground pools is to prevent damage to all the equipment. This will also ensure that there isn’t any freezing water in your pool, and the process will keep your pool accessories clean.
The pool surface will freeze and damage the pool lines because of the expansion in ice. It may damage the pump and filter system as well. To top it all, for months, the pool remains untouched.
Due to this, the standing water will attract algae growth if not properly maintained before closing. Thus, winterizing is a great option to keep the pool free from infestation and damage.
Using winterizing chemicals and a good quality algaecide will keep the pool safe from the ravages of winter.
The Use of a Pool Cover After Winterizing Will Reduce Maintenance Cost
Do you want to open your pool in good working order? If so, winterizing it is important, and at the same time, so is using a solid cover.
During the winter, your ground pool remains unused. If you fail to close it, you will have some serious skimmer cleaning work to do in the coming spring. Therefore, winterizing helps ground pools deal with the freezing temperatures and balances the total alkalinity.
Winterizing and pool closing go hand in hand. Both will give you excellent rewards for the upcoming season. While also minimizing the risk of algae contamination and freezing of the pool water.
This process will save you a lot of money, which you might have to spend to drain your pool of damaged pool water if left unattended. At the same time, it will save you a lot of time and effort in the medium to long run.
When to Winterize Your Pool
Pool owners will suggest winterizing the pool when the initial season is over. However, it solely depends on where you live.
Finding the perfect time to winterize before the advent of the winter months can be a challenge. If you start the process too early, you may risk unbalancing the total alkalinity of the swimming pool. It may even induce algae growth.
The best way to winterize above-ground pools and in-ground pools is by doing it over a long weekend.
As a rule of thumb, you need to start the winterizing process when the temperature drops below 65°F. It generally happens during the off-season. Remember, algae growth is prevalent when the water is hot.
So, if you close the pool and apply a winter cover when the temperatures are high, it will lead to an infestation. Cold temperatures below 65°F will keep pool water clean and free from the growth of algae. Waiting until the temperature drops will give you a lot of time before using a winter closing kit.
It will help you with the cleaning, testing, and balancing of the pool water.
To winterize your pool, you need to follow consistent steps to get the best result. The steps to winterize your above-ground pool involve a lot of testing and balancing the water chemistry.
How to Winterize a Pool in 7 Easy Steps
Now that you know the reasoning and ideal time for winterizing a pool let’s get on to understanding how to winterize an above-ground pool!
After opening, if you want a clean pool, these are the steps involved:
Step 1: Remove All the Pool Accessories
Before you start the process, you need to remove some pool equipment. Here are the things you will need to remove from your swimming pool:
- Skimmer baskets
- Solar blankets
- Rubber plug
- Deck equipment
After draining them out, you need to clean them using a hose. It will ensure the removal of any form of dirt and algae present on them. Once done, make sure to store them in a clean and dry place for winter storage.
Step 2: Get All the Pool Equipment for Winterizing
Before you start winterizing your pool, you need basic pool equipment to get started.
- Calcium hardness increaser
- Water testing kit
- Pool skimmer cover
- Winterizing chemicals
- Expansion and return line plugs
- Pool cover
- Pool air pillow
- Pool antifreeze
- Cover winch and cable
- Winter cover clips
- Filter cleaner
All of these are necessary for the winterizing process. Therefore, make sure to have access to all of these before getting started.
Step 3: Deep Clean Your Ground Pool
Cleaning the pool before winterizing is a crucial step in pool maintenance. It would be best if you kept it free from leaves, dirt, silt, and other debris.
This step will ensure proper balance in the water chemistry. Moreover, it will help prevent algae and other moldings on the pool wall during the winter. It would be best to use a pool vacuum or a shop vac to remove all the unwanted visitors from the pool floor.
Some owners suggest the use of skim nets for the process of cleaning a ground pool’s surface. Use the skimmer to clean it thoroughly, and make sure to empty the skimmer baskets.
Backwashing the filter media and cleaning it with chemicals will ensure regulated water chemistry throughout the winters. Use a filter cleaner to keep the filter tank cleaned.
If your pool has a sand filter, you need to set the winterize option on the multiplier valve. It will keep sand filters clean and ready for closing!
Furthermore, a cartridge filter will require draining and rinsing with water. DE filters need to be dismantled and drained, which will ensure proper cleaning.
Make sure to clean out your drain plug and store it in a safe place for the spring.
Draining the Equipment
Draining all the equipment from your ground pool will ensure that the water does not rise. This will help prevent damage during the winter.
It would be best if you kept all the drain plugs from the pool pump clean from debris. It is recommended that you clean the pool lines by blowing pressured air at them using a shop vac. Furthermore, make sure to keep the pump basket clean.
Clear the Pool Lines
Ice expansion can damage the pool lines and make them vulnerable. Therefore, removing and clearing them will make it easier to use during the following spring.
You need to disconnect the lines and let the water completely drain out. Then, you have to set them aside for drying. You can either blow air on them or let them dry naturally. However, make sure not to store them in contact with sunlight.
Step 4: Lower the Water Level
How far down do you drain your pool for winter?
Using a skimmer cover will require you to lower the water level and drain the excess water. This step is especially important for people living in areas that get severe winters.
Reducing the water level will ensure that the water does not freeze over the long winter. Thus, you will need to lower the ground pool water level before closing it.
Do you have a mesh cover? In that case, the level should be a foot below the pool skimmer lines. Or do you have solid covers? If so, you need to make sure the water is exactly half a foot below the level.
Also, make sure to use your main drain line for this process in order to not drain the water from your pool completely.
You cannot rush this process of ground pool water removal as it can take up to two days.
Step 5: Test the Water Chemistry and Adjust It
Closing your pool for the off-season means you will not use it for months! Therefore, keeping the water pH level regulated is required.
You do this test almost a week before you decide to close the pool. After you are done cleaning your ground pool, it is time to check the total alkalinity. Here you need to use the water testing kit for best results.
The water chemistry should be between 90 and 150 ppm. When the water is idle, the alkalinity should be 125 ppm. Furthermore, ensure that the calcium hardness level has a number between 175 to 225 ppm.
On the other hand, the pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6. The chlorine level needs to be less than 3 ppm but greater than 1 ppm. Therefore, take notes of these requirements before you start testing the water.
What if you do not have these levels in your pool water? Use chemical hardness increaser to balance the water.
Make sure to balance the alkalinity before working on the pH level. An important tip would be to keep the levels higher because they will decrease over time.
Step 6: Shock and Balance Your Pool
In this step, you will need to employ the use of chemicals. Using winterizing chemicals will ensure there is less damage to your pool liner and other important components.
Use a chemical shock that will contain bacteria and a winter algaecide that will kill the algae. Moreover, make sure to follow the guidelines provided on the dosage requirement. Use a pH stabilizer to keep the pool surface scale protected.
Using a chlorine shock will ensure the elimination of bacteria and other waste before moving on to the pool closing step.
What if there was heavy rain during that week? You can use two steps after a downpour – lowering the rainwater level and using a high-end shock!
Do you live in a warmer area? Then, it is necessary to use a mid-winter shock! The entire process will take a few days before you can start the pool closing steps.
Tips for Shocking Your Ground Pool Using Chemicals
- Follow the directions and instructions of use as advised by the manufacturer.
- Make sure to distribute the chemicals in the pool evenly.
- Don’t pour it into a single and static area.
- If you are using a chlorine shock, do not pour it in with an algaecide. However, if you are using a non-chlorine shock, it is okay to use both of them at the same time.
Tips for Using Winter Algaecide
- Add a healthy dose of algaecide that will help protect the pool from infestation.
- Follow the directions mentioned in the product for off-season pool closing.
- Choose one that will not stain the pool walls. Moreover, the staining of pool walls may cause you to spend extra on cleaning the surface.
After adding all the chemicals, makes sure to keep the pool pump running. But, what will happen if you keep the pool pump turned on? It will ensure a full circulation of the chemicals. Furthermore, if you keep it on for a day, it will ensure a thorough and even distribution of the chemicals as well.
Step 7: Cover the Pool
This is the final step! You will see there are two types of covers. But, which pool cover should you choose? The decision should be made according to your pool!
This type of pool cover will give your pool the best protection from natural debris. Moreover, it needs to be anchored down for optimal efficiency. These covers provide safety for animals and people as well. Therefore, you will not have your kids, or your precious pet accidentally fall into the pool!
This type of pool cover will not provide as much protection as the safety covers. However, you do not need to go the extra mile of securing it in place. This pool cover offers the basic functions of protecting the water from debris and damage.
No matter what type of pool cover you use, make sure they do not have any holes in them. Furthermore, the pool cover should be tight-fitting on the pool without leaving any gaps.
If you live somewhere prone to extreme winters, using a pool pillow is a wise decision. It will act as an air compressor that compensates for the pressure of the ice sheet on the cover.
The air compressor mechanism in pool pillows helps protect the pool walls from damage. Moreover, it will also protect the sides of the cover from expanding ice. The air pillows ensure that the water is free from debris, eventually leading to an easy spring opening.
Make sure to buy an air pillow of good quality!
In-Ground Pool Closing Steps
The steps involved in both the pool types are similar. Therefore, follow these steps to winterize your in-ground pool!
- Get all the supplies as mentioned above. You will need the same equipment for an in-ground pool.
- Backwash the pool and clean the filters. Use all the instructions in step 3. However, do not acid wash the DE filters of an in-ground pool.
- Now, disconnect the filter pump, drain the in-ground pool plugs, and store them in a dry place.
- Ensure to drain all the jet-fitting pipes in the water so that they cannot freeze and crack.
- Hook a shop vac to the return lines or screw in an air compressor to the drain plugs. It will ensure the return lines in the jet pipes do not have any water residue.
- Use the compressor to blow out skimmer pipes in your in-ground pool.
- Remove all the pool accessories as shown in step 1.
- Reduce the water level as shown in step 4.
- Mix the chemicals just like step 6.
- Follow the pool covering instructions as shown in step 7.
Winterize Pool Care Tips
Now you know everything on how to winterize above-ground and in-ground pool closing techniques. However, being a pool owner, the maintenance does not stop there.
Here are some tips that you can follow to keep it maintained throughout the long winter.
Tip 1: Use a Cover Pump
This equipment is an essential accessory for both in-ground and above-ground pools. These pumps sit on top of the pool cover and help clear out any water off the surface. But, why is this important? If there is water on the cover, it will start to freeze as the temperature drops.
Then, there will be stress and weight on the cover, which might damage the air pillow. Furthermore, it can even cause damage to the cover!
Tip 2: Keep the Cover Clean
It is crucial to keep a check on the cover to clear out any debris from the surface. It would be best if you do this maintenance regularly to reduce damage to your pool cover.
Failing to do so will stress out the cover and could expose the pool to risks.
Tip 3: Secure the Cover
Make sure to check up on the attachments. It will ensure there are no loose ends and the cover is tightly secured in the position.
Tip 4: Keep Your Equipment Regulated
Covering the pool does not make it completely free of contaminants. Dust particles can still enter the water and then seep into the filter gauge and drain plugs. Therefore, it is important to check up on the equipment at least thrice during the off-season.
Tip 5: Do Not Let the Water Freeze
Even if you have used antifreeze, it is important to check up on the water every week. It will ensure that you do not have any damaged equipment due to freezing. Moreover, using a freeze guard will help you keep it regulated.
Closing Pools for Winter
After reading through the article, you will understand how tricky yet important it is to keep your above-ground and in-ground pools maintained. Therefore, you must understand the winterizing process.
It will help you keep your pool clean and reduce damage to the equipment during winters. Furthermore, it will allow for a smooth pool opening experience when the time comes. If you properly winterize and close your pool, there will be no need to spend money on any type of maintenance activity!