Your new home looked terrific with a pool, but as fall rolls in you start to think about how much work it’s going to be to close it for the winter. It’s time to figure out the easiest way to protect your pool.
As you might imagine, a pool that freezes is a pool that’s got a pretty big problem. There’s a lot you can do to prevent this and ensure that your pool is a fun summer oasis for many years to come.
Before You Start Closing, Consider Your Climate
Weather conditions in the place you live are going to decide how much work you’re going to need to put into this pool. Your goal, ultimately, is to keep that pool and its systems from experiencing any sort of freezing. A frozen pipe, a frozen filter, anything like that could be a costly replacement in the spring when you open your pool again.
If you live in a warmer climate where the winters don’t go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then you may not want to close your pool all the way. But, if it freezes frequently and there’s lots of snow, well, you’re going to have to break out bigger firepower. This is meant as a general guide to pool closing, that being said, your mileage may vary.
Pool Closing Made Easy
Closing a pool is not difficult if you prepare with the right tools and plan. It can be a complicated situation, though, because of all the parts that you’ll need to check as you go. If you take your time and asses the risks carefully, you will be fine.
These are the necessary steps to closing a pool in a middling sort of climate:
Step 1: Deep clean your pool. Vacuum the entire pool, brush the walls, skim the surface, remove all debris. This way you’re starting fresh again in the spring.
Step 2: Test the water. Check that your pool is balanced correctly before you put it to bed. This means a pH between 7.2 and 7.8 and alkalinity between 80 and 120 parts per million. If you’re running toward the high sides of these ranges, that’s ok. Check the hardness, too, since calcium deposits can form in your equipment over time.
Step 3: Shock the pool. Shocking the pool right before closing will help it stay as clean as possible over the winter. A 15-minute fast dissolving shock treatment is fine since you won’t be using the pool again. If you have chronic algae problems, a winter algaecide will be a good addition. Use the same dose as is listed on the bottle for opening the pool.
Step 4: Time to plug it up. Remove the eyeball fitting on your return line and plug it with an appropriate plug. Take out the skimmer basket and put it into storage. You can leave the skimmer in the pool if you use a winter skimmer cover to protect it from accumulating water. With a skimmer cover, you can also leave more water in the pool, rather than having to drain the pool below the skimmer level.
Step 5: Protecting the moving parts. The pump, chlorinator and all the hoses (including the skimmer hose) need to be drained and brought inside to prolong their lives and protect them from the cold. Filters should be kept indoors.
Step 6: Put the cover on. Start by inflating your air pillow, then tossing it toward the middle of your pool. If you have a hard pool cover or are otherwise concerned about the water level, this is a good time to lower it a bit. Cover the pool and, when needed, install a winter cover pump to keep water from accumulating on the pool’s cover.