Closing Time: 5 steps to winterize the pool
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have decided to do it yourself, make sure to have these five things on hand:
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