How to Prepare Your Pool for Winter

How to Prepare Your Pool for Winter

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Summer is over and pool winterizing remains.

Colder temperatures signal seasonal change and if you own an outdoor in-ground swimming pool, you will soon need to winterize it. If you’re fortunate to live in an area of the country where hard freezes are a rarity, you may be able to keep your pool “active” ‘year round. Elsewhere, you’ll need to begin an important transition before winter’s icy grip takes hold.

1. Check the water — Before shutting down for the winter, your pool needs to have the right chemical levels, essential for preventing corrosion. These levels are: pH 7.2 to 7.6; alkalinity 80 to 120 parts per million; chlorine 1 part per million and calcium 180 to 220 parts per million. Check your pool’s manual to verify recommended numbers for your pool.

2. Remove accessories — Everything that goes in your pool during swimming season comes out. Well, mostly everything. That list includes skimmers, cleaners, wall baskets, ladders and related paraphernalia.

3. Clean it again — Give your pool one last cleaning, clean both the floor and the side walls. This last effort will ensure that you have less of a mess to deal with the following spring.

4. Lower the water level — Drop the pool’s water level by 3 to 6 inches below the tile for solid, floating covers or 12 to 18 inches below the skimmer for mesh covers. If you use a winterized cover, such as one from Aquador, you won’t have to lower the water level at all.

5. Add winterizer chemicals — Winter closing kits are used by pool owners to keep pools sanitized when neither pump nor filter are available for sanitization. For example, Poolcenter.com sells kits based on pool size, containing an assortment of chemicals including winterizer, winter stain-away, chlorine-free shock, oxider and an absorber. Keep algae at bay, eliminate stains and absorb residual grease from suntan lotions.

6. Disconnect plumbing — In-ground pools benefit from an air compressor to extract water out of the lines to remove any residual water. Cover the pump with a protective tarp.

7. In closing — Install and inflate the air pillow and then install the winter pool cover. Place the cover over the center of the pool and attach it to the recessed deck brackets with the cover straps to hold it into place.

What if you live in a warmer climate? Should you winterize your pool? If it is heated and you use if year ‘round, then of course not. If it is not heated, but winter temperatures rarely drop below 32 degrees, then simply cut back on filtration and place a cover over the pool. When warmer weather returns, you’ll have less maintenance to do to bring your pool back for the season and won’t have to replenish the water except for what was lost through natural evaporation.

ResourceYork Daily Record: Closing Time: 5 Steps to Winterize the Pool; David Moore; September 19, 2011

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Categories: Outdoor Structures

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".