Now that summer is over, part of pool ownership includes preparing for those months when you will not be using the swimming pool. In some areas, pools can stay open year-round because the weather is either mild enough or the owner has invested in a swimming pool heater. But for the rest of the areas where nighttime temps plummet to 40 degrees or below, a pool should be closed or winterized.
All pool structure and equipment should be fully inspected prior to closing the pool. If anything needs to be repaired, it should be done in advance of winterization. You should first vacuum your pool to rid it of excess debris. Then take proper care to balance the water’s pH, calcium hardness and total alkalinity. Make sure to shock the pool and add any necessary algaecides. You will need a proper pool kit for this step. If you are unsure how to balance the water, take a sample to your local pool retailer.
After your water is properly balanced, remove all accessories including automatic cleaners, ladders, skimmer baskets, etc. You will then want to lower your water level 3-5” below the skimmer. Then you will need to drain all water from your pump, filter, heater and chlorinator – leaving no water in any of the plumbing lines. Excess water can deteriorate and affect the pool products efficiency during the winter months. Also, the last thing you want is for that excess water to freeze and crack your pipes! If you have a chemical feeder, you should also empty it.
Cover your pool with a solid (not mesh) pool winter cover. Clip the pool cover to tie downs on the pool deck to keep debris out and prevent algae growth.
Don’t forget – just because your pool is closed, doesn’t meant that you still can’t enjoy your backyard. Winter is a great time to consider other backyard features such as an outdoor kitchen, fireplace or firepit and even a hot tub! Any of these features can provide year-round entertainment and a gathering place for family and friends.