One of the most important tasks you have as a pool owner is winterizing your pool in the fall. Doing so properly will prevent damage during the winter and make it easier to open your pool when spring arrives. There are two primary elements to caring for your pool after the snow starts flying. The first is the actual winterization process (see the steps at the end of this post). The second is maintenance related to your pool cover.
Caring for Your Winter Cover
Follow these steps to maximize the effectiveness and the lifespan of your winter pool cover:
- Mark the cover. Create a visual indicator to mark where the edges of the pool cover are. For example, you can use stakes in the adjacent lawn connected by twine or rope. With a blanket of snow on the ground it’s easy to forget precisely where the pool edge is, and you don’t want someone or something stumbling onto the cover.
- Maintain appropriate tension on the cover. If you have a solid safety cover, all of the cover springs should be under roughly the same tension. They should be halfway expanded, give or take. Adjust the straps as needed during the winter months to keep the cover fairly taut. Be sure to inspect the cover periodically to ensure no gaps have developed that might allow an animal or small child to get under it.
- Maintain the proper water level in the pool. Your pool water level should not be too low, as the water must support the cover in situations where you receive a heavy snowfall. At the same time, ideally you don’t want the water to touch the underside of the cover under general conditions as that contact will create a wet spot where debris will accumulate.
- Keep the cover clean. You should gently remove leaves and twigs from the cover as needed with a leaf blower, a leaf net, or a soft-bristle pool brush. Be sure to also remove debris from around and under straps and springs.
- Patch any holes that develop promptly. Inspect the cover regularly, and if you notice a hole developing, use a safety cover patch to cover the spot. This will keep a small issue from becoming a big one. A number of companies make strong, durable patches.
- Don’t worry about snow accumulation. With normal amounts of snow, there is no need to remove it from the cover. A winter cover and straps that are in good condition can withstand three feet of snow or more.
Pool Closing Processes by Climate
Where Winters are Cold
- Adjust pool pH to 7.2-7.8. This will prevent staining, scaling, and algae growth.
- Shock the pool following product directions.
- Run the filter for 24-48 hours depending on how dirty the water is.
- Skim out floating debris and vacuum the pool thoroughly.
- Add an algaecide to prevent algae from forming before the water has frozen.
- Follow your pool manufacturer's directions for lowering your water level. Only a few type of pools need to be completely drained during the winter. Many pools tolerate cold temperatures better when partially filled with water as a buffer.
- Turn off the filter pump and drain the pump, filter heater, and other equipment. Store equipment to prevent freezing. Follow manufacturer's directions for lubrication and proper covering.
- Turn off all power to the support equipment and remove fuses or turn the circuit breakers to off.
- If you have a slide or diving board, take it off and store it.
- Cover the pool securely with a high quality cover and fill the water bags halfway. Be sure that the edge of the cover is sealed so that wind does not get under it. A good pool cover resists water, weather, pool chemicals and keeps out leaves and other debris.
Where Winters are Mild
If you live in a mild climate, you will have a longer pool season. However, there may be periods where you use your pool very infrequently. While you might not need to truly winterize your pool, you can cut back on the maintenance by following the four easy steps below.
- Cut your filter running time in half. Keep pool pH between 7.2-7.8 and test regularly to keep free available chlorine between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper care and maintenance of your pool equipment even during this time of reduced use.
- Unless you cover your pool, clean the skimmer weekly, maintain the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions, and vacuum as needed.
- Covering your pool will keep out debris and reduce the need for chlorine. Before covering it, shock treat the water according to the chemical manufacturer's directions.
Pool Closing Questions? We've Got Answers.
As you get ready to close your pool for the winter, we’re happy to be a resource. Contact a Latham dealer near you if you have questions!