Pools are the star of the show in the summer. They are also a significant investment and require specific care, especially during winter months.
As the year begins to turn cold, you should take the proper steps to close your pool. Depending on your climate, you may be able to keep your pool open year-round. But for most people, winterizing their pool is necessary.
Read on to discover why you need to close your pool and the steps you need to take to keep it in tip-top shape for next summer.
Why Do You Need to Close a Pool?
The main reason to close your pool is to protect it from the winter elements. Freezing temperatures can cause extensive damage to all parts of your pool, from the liner to the pump. By closing your pool, you can avoid having to pay for extensive repairs.
If you live in an area with very mild winters, you may be able to get away with not closing your pool. However, closing your pool is still a good idea even if you don’t get snow or freezing temperatures. For example, debris-like leaves and twigs can clog up your filter, so closing your pool will help prevent such issues.
How Do You Winterize a Pool?
Winterizing is the process of preparing your pool for winter. To do it properly, follow the steps listed below.
Balancing the pH
The first step in winterizing your pool is balancing the pH. The pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. The ideal pH for pool water is between 7.2 and 7.6.
If the pH is too low, the water is too acidic. Low pH can cause corrosion and scale build-up on pool surfaces and equipment. If the pH is too high, the water can become cloudy, and the chlorine won’t work as effectively.
It is essential to balance the pH before the winter because you won’t be able to add chemicals once you cover the pool. Additionally, low or high pH can cause severe damage over the months the pool is closed.
To test the pH, you will need a pool test kit. These are available at most pool supply stores or online. Simply follow the instructions that come with your kit to test the pH properly.
If the pH is too low, you can raise it by adding sodium carbonate, also called soda ash. You can lower the pH by adding muriatic acid or dry acid if the pH is too high.
You will need to test the pH after adding chemicals to ensure you have achieved the ideal level.
Adding a Winterizing Chemical Treatment
After you have balanced the pH, you need to add a winterizing chemical treatment. It will help keep your pool water clean and clear all winter.
A winterizing chemical treatment typically contains algaecide and clarifier. Algaecide prevents algae from growing in your pool over the winter.
A clarifier helps to clear the water by binding together small particles so they can be filtered out. This step is vital because it will make it easier to open your pool in the spring.
You can purchase a winterizing chemical treatment at most pool supply stores or online. Follow the instructions on the package for adding the chemicals to your pool.
You may need to add additional chlorine after adding the winterizing chemicals. Test the chlorine levels and adjust as necessary. The ideal chlorine level is 1 and 3 ppm (per million).
Cleaning the Pool Area, Equipment, and Accessories
After you have added the winterizing chemical treatment, you need to clean the pool.
Start by removing all the pool toys, floats, and other accessories. These items can attract animals or become damaged over the winter.
Next, you need to clean the inside of the pool. Use a brush to scrub the walls and floor of the pool.
Once the pool inside is clean, you can move on to cleaning the equipment. Start by backwashing the filter.
If you have a cartridge-type filter, you must remove the cartridges and clean them. You can do this by soaking them in a filter-cleaning solution or mixing water and muriatic acid.
After you have cleaned the filter, you should clean the rest of the pool equipment, including the pump, skimmer, and any other accessories.
To clean the pump, you will need to disassemble it and remove any debris that may be present.
Once you have cleaned all the equipment, you can move on to cleaning the pool area. It would be best if you began sweeping and cleaning the deck and stairs.
Be sure to remove any leaves, dirt, or debris that may have accumulated. You may also want to pressure wash the area to remove any tough stains.
After you have cleaned the pool area, you should store all the equipment in a safe place.
Decreasing the Water Level
Once you have cleaned the pool and the surrounding area, you will need to decrease the water level. Reducing the water level is necessary to prevent any damage to the pool during the winter.
The ideal water level is 18 and 24 inches below the skimmer opening. You can use a submersible pump or a siphon to lower the water level.
Emptying the Pool Pump, Filter, and Heaters
After you have decreased the water level, you need to empty the pool pump, filter, and heaters.
To empty the pool pump, disconnect it from the power source and remove any remaining water. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on correctly disconnecting and reassembling the pump.
The pool filter will also need to be emptied. To do this, you must remove the filter media (such as sand or DE) and discard it.
Covering the Pool
Once you have emptied the pool pump, filter, and heaters, you will need to cover the pool. Covering the pool provides an additional layer of protection, prevents debris or animals from entering the pool, and keeps the water clean.
You can purchase a pool cover at most pool supply stores or online. Be sure to measure your pool before buying a cover to ensure it will fit properly.
After you have purchased a pool cover, you will need to install it. Installation is typically a two-person job, as the cover can be heavy and difficult to handle. Covering the pool is the final step.
Closing your pool is a necessary part of winterizing it. By following these steps, you can ensure that your pool is protected correctly and will be ready to use next season.