The end of summer signals putting a halt to lazy afternoons spent enjoying yourself in the swimming pool. When the temperatures begin to drop, it is time to start preparing your pool for the coming winter. This will ensure that it is in excellent condition once you are ready to use it again in the summer.
Winterizing the pool is not an easy task; it requires a lot of dedication and commitment. However, it is a gratifying job. If you winterize your pool properly, you won’t have as much cleanup to do in the spring, and most of your pool parts will be in good working condition. Now that you know the importance of this task let’s delve right into how to winterize a pool.
How to Winterize Your Pool in 7 Steps:
1. Clean Your Pool
You don’t pack up your summer clothes and put them in storage when they are dirty; likewise, you shouldn’t leave your pool dirty all winter.
The first step in winterizing your pool is to clean it thoroughly. Start by skimming the pool surface to remove leaves, dirt, and other debris.
Then, use a brush to loosen dirt particles that have accumulated on the liner. Finish by vacuuming the pool thoroughly to ensure that no particles are left behind.
If your pool is exceptionally dirty or has excessive silt, you can vacuum it to waste. This generally involves removing the dirt without passing water through the filter. The aim here is to avoid clogging the filter with silt or algae.
Run the pump continuously a few days before you cover up the pool.
This ensures that only clean water is left in the pool before the winter. It would be best if you also skimmed the pump one last time before installing the cover to ensure maximum purity.
2. Test the Water for Winter
The second step in preparing your pool for winter is testing your water. You want to ensure that the chemicals in your water are balanced before you cover it up for the cold season.
In particular, you should ensure that your water has the correct pH, alkaline, chlorine, and calcium hardness levels.
A pool should generally have a pH of 7.4-7.8, alkaline levels of 100 to 150 parts per million, calcium hardness levels of 200-250 parts per million, and chlorine levels of 1-4 parts per million.
You can use test strips or a water testing kit to check the chemical levels in your pool. You can also send samples of your pool water to a nearby pool store for more accurate testing.
3. Add Winterizing Chemicals
After testing for chemicals in your water, you may find out that you have less than the required amounts present. You should add more chemicals to meet the standards and to protect your pool from damage during the winter months.
It would be best if you also added algaecide to prevent the growth of algae over the winter. Chlorine is another sanitizer that can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in your water. You may also use enzymes as substitute sanitizers.
You ought to pour the chemicals all around the pool to enhance distribution. Winterizing chemicals are good at preventing bacterial infestation of your pool during the months that you won’t be using it. They also prevent damage to your liner during this period.
4. Protect Your Skimmer
A skimmer is an integral part of your pool. It plays a critical role in catching debris and dirt that lands on your pool, thus enhancing pool hygiene significantly.
During winter, it is best to put your skimmer accessories away until you are ready to use your pool again. Start by emptying and cleaning the basket, and then storing it indoors.
Put a skimmer cover over the skimmer to protect it from damage that can result from exposure to the elements.
A skimmer cover can be particularly useful in preventing destruction caused by ice expansion.
5. Winterize the Filter and the Pump
You should also prepare other pool components for storage during winter. Two such essential parts are the pump and the filter.
To winterize the pump, start by removing all the drain plugs, hoses, and chlorinators. Store each of these parts in the pump basket along with the pump itself.
Filter storage will depend on the unique type of filter that you have.
If you have a cartridge filter, drain it completely and dry it out thoroughly before storing it away. Ensure that the valves are open before putting them away.
If yours is a Diatomaceous Earth filter, start by draining it, then rinsing off the fingers. Store it with the valves open.
Finally, if you have a sandy filter, set it to winterize and leave the valves open when you store it away.
6. Lower Your Pool Water
Whether or not you will need to lower your pool water depends on how you protect your skimmer.
If you are using a mesh cover on your pool, you should reduce the water levels to about 18” below the skimmer level.
If, on the other hand, you will be using a floating cover, do not lower your water below 6” of your skimmer.
You may not have to lower your water levels if you use a skimmer metal plate. This is a better option as it protects your skimmer and pool cover from damage caused by expanding ice.
7. Install a Pool Pillow
The final step in winterizing is installing a pool pillow, which is also known as an ice compensator.
The purpose of the pad is to balance out the pressure exerted by the ice that accumulates on your pool cover. This ensures minimal damage to your cover and pool in general.
You can also opt to use an air pillow to keep the debris and water to one side of the pool.
This lightens your workload when you are ready to clean the pool in the spring. If you use an air pillow, only inflate it to 60% of its capacity so that it does not burst open in case of heavy snowfall.
Winterizing the pool may not be the easiest chore, but it is a necessity if you want to preserve your pool correctly during the cold season.
If you are wondering how to winterize a pool, start by following the steps in this guide. Make sure that the pool is clean before you winterize it, and then add chemicals to keep your water clean during winter.
Take good care of pool accessories as well. Some of the essential accessories that you should protect during winter include the skimmer, pump, and filter. Consider using a pool pillow to balance the pressure above and beneath the pool cover as well.
Follow these tips to keep your pool in the best shape over the winter.