Although winterizing a pool is a chore most people would prefer to avoid — it is a necessary ritual that is critical for protecting the pool during the colder months. There are several steps to take to ensure your pool makes it through the winter and is ready for fun again at the next sign of spring.
Balance the pool's chemicals. Although the pool is closing, the chemical balance is still important. Start balancing the chemical levels about a week prior to closing the pool. Alkaline levels should be no lower than 80 and no higher than 120 parts per million. Two hundred is a good ppm level for calcium hardness.
Lower the water level and drain those pipes. The specifics are different for various types of pools but a good rule of thumb for lowering a pool's water level is somewhere between three to five inches beneath the lowest level of plumbing. When it comes to draining water from pipes and equipment, make sure you clear all water from every filter, heater, pump and chlorinator. If this is not done, water that is left behind will freeze and can damage the pool's components.
Clean, clean, clean. The pool should be free of all debris and as clean as possible before closing and covering. Leaves and other debris that remain in the pool can promote algae growth, stain the liner or cause other problems that create more work when reopening the pool next winter. With a vacuum, brush and skim, you should be good to go.
Remove pool accessories. Ladders, handrails, diving boards and slides should be removed during the winterization process. The pool cover will not fit with these accessories in place. Removing them also protects them from the potential damage extreme winter weather can cause.
Put a lid on it. Pool covers should fit as tight as possible, leaving no holes or potential gaps where leaves or any other kind of debris can find its way into the pool. Consider using air pillows under the cover to help support it when water levels are lowered. For above-ground pools, air pillows can help protect the pool walls by absorbing the pressure created as the pool's water freezes.
Winterizing a pool can be complicated, and it is usually best left to a professional. If the winterization process is done incorrectly, it can lead to extensive damage to the pool and its components.
If you decide to do it yourself, however, make sure to have these six things on hand before you get started
- Filter Cleaner: Keeps your filters clean, free of debris and unclogged.
- Pool Testing Kit: Quick and easy way to maintain proper levels and prevent damage to equipment and pool surfaces.
- Winterizing Kit: All-in-one set that offers chemicals and instructions on how to lock it down for the cold months and come out sparkling in the spring.
- Shock Treatment: Gets rid of all that swimmer bio-matter in a flash.
- Algaecide: Gives you the proper pH and kills the algae.