I know, I know. The end of the swimming season is a depressing time of year. All the great times we had with the pool this year are over, and a long winter looms ahead of us before we will be swimming again. In this frame of mind it’s easy to want to blow through your pool closing and try not to think about it again until spring, but paying just a little more attention to your pool now can make your spring opening so much easier. Here are a few things you can do now to help yourself later and get back into your pool sooner!
Tasks To Do Now To Make Your Pool Opening Easier
1) Clean your filter
Surprisingly, this is not something homeowners always think about at closing time, but thoroughly cleaning your filter before winter is important. When you store your filter for the off-season rinsed clean of dirt and chemical residue, you not only save yourself time cleaning it in the spring but you also extend the life span of the components by reducing their exposure to chlorine, salt, and other damaging chemicals.
2) Use Anti-freeze
In climates that experience a freeze-thaw cycle, protecting your pool against ice damage is vital. Repairs of burst pipes or ice-damaged equipment can be costly and inconvenient. It’s important to blow the water out of any underground plumbing and add swimming pool grade anti-freeze to protect them. Above-ground pools should be drained below the skimmer opening and the skimmer should be left open to prevent water from collecting and possibly freezing inside the skimmer housing. Also be sure to adequately drain your filter and any other equipment that is stored outdoors or is at risk of freezing.
3) Cover Maintenance
Whether you choose to use a mesh or solid pool cover, it is very likely that it will accumulate some debris during the off-season. Solid covers will also collect water from rain and snow melt. As much as possible you will want to keep your cover clear. Sweep or scoop debris with your brush or skimmer net and use a submersible cover pump to remove standing water. (Be aware – almost all solid covers are slightly porous and will allow pool water to seep through. Watch your pump carefully and remove it from the cover when there is only a very small pool left to avoid pumping out pool water as well.) Less debris on your cover come spring will make it easier to remove without spilling the debris into the pool water.
4) Water Treatment
In some climates, the cold temperatures work to prevent algae growth in the off-season. In areas that are more temperate or even during some of the more mild winters, your pool water would benefit from an extra chemical treatment. Consult your pool professional for advice on a chemical treatment that can be added safely without being circulated. Additionally, pool water can be chemically treated in the spring a week or two before you plan to open your pool to jump-start the process.
5) System Repairs
Your seasonal pool closing is a great time to think about replacing broken parts or doing any system repairs you may need. This time of year a lengthy repair won’t be an inconvenience and come spring time you will appreciate having everything ready to go when that first warm day hits. You don’t want to spend that day scrambling to replace missing or broken components.
Proper storage is a vital part of maintaining your pool equipment. Components should be stored clean and dry, and protected from the elements. Consider your components that might be susceptible to rodent or insect damage, such as filter elements, solar blankets, or other fabric-like materials. Store these items in sealed plastic or metal containers to prevent pest access. Your filter element can be stored inside the filter tank, but be sure all openings in the tank are plugged. Also be sure everything is stored in an organized way, so you aren’t missing pieces when you’re ready to start up.
Taking a few extra steps in the Fall and through the Winter can help make your spring pool opening go much smoother and get you swimming sooner!