Sadly, it’s come to the time of the year when you have to start shutting your pool down for the winter. Gone are the days of spending time with the family by the pool, or soaking up some rays with a magazine on the weekends. It’s time to get the pool shut up and protected for the winter.
If you’ve owned your pool for several seasons, you’re probably already a pro at winterizing your pool. But if you’re new to pool ownership, or you’re currently contemplating the responsibilities that would come with owning a pool, here are some tips for you on what goes into preparing your home pool for the winter months.
Protecting Your Pool in the Winter
There are three main things that you will need to protect your pool from while it isn’t being used in the colder months:
- The Elements
So, there are three main components that you will need to utilize to fully protect your pool in the winter:
- Pool Cover
1.Bacteria, Algae & Mold
One of the main things that you will need to take care to protect your pool from in the winter months is the growth of bacteria, algae, and mold. You will want to start by doing a thorough cleaning of your pool. Remove any debris from the pool. Brush and vacuum the walls and floors of your pool. Clean your filtering system. Make sure all components of your pool are completely clean before proceeding.
Next you will want to test your water to see where all of the levels are so you know what exactly you’re working with. You will need to test your water’s pH, alkalinity, and calcium. Make sure to document these numbers so that you can compare them when you open your pool again in the spring.
After you’ve tested your pool’s levels, you will want to shock your pool water. You will want to make sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions on this to make sure you are doing this the best way for your specific pool. There are also several chemicals you can purchase to help winterize your pool that will help inhibit the growth of bacteria and algae while the pool isn’t being used and regularly cleaned. Again, consult your manufacturer for the best products for your specific pool. These chemicals can be purchased at your local Lowe’s/Home Depot, at a pool supply store, or online.
After your pool is clean and has the proper chemicals to help keep the water healthy during the winter, you will also need to make sure to protect the pool and its components from freezing during the cold months. Start by removing all removable components of your pool and storing them in your shed or garage. Remove all ladders, skimmer baskets, chemical feeders, filters, etc.
You will also need to remove some water from your pool, bringing the level down below the pool skimmer. Once you’ve lowered the water level, you will also need to drain or blow out your pool’s maintenance systems (pump, filter, and heating). Any water left in these systems can freeze and cause big problems for you. So make sure that all of these systems are completely free of water. There are winterizing plugs you can use to make sure to get the best results with this process. It is also a good idea to install a skimmer plug or aquador to keep your skimmer plate free of water.
Once you’ve taken all of the necessary steps to remove or protect all pool components from freezing, you can now cover your pool. It’s a good idea to start with a pool air pillow in the middle of the pool to support the weight of your winter pool cover. This will be especially helpful when your pool cover begins to be weighed down by leaves, rain, and snow. Your pool should have come with a heavy, tight fitting winter cover made to perfectly fit your pool. Install that cover, making sure it is completely secured all the way around your pool. If you want to be especially safe, you can use water bags to make sure your cover is even more secured.
Lastly, you will also want to make sure there are barriers in place around your pool. This will not only protect your pool from any wildlife that might be natural to your area, but even more importantly it will protect children and animals from falling into your pool when it isn’t being as closely watched during the down months. If you have a home pool, you should already have fencing completely surrounding the pool. 20% of drownings happen in the winter. So if you don’t already have this safety feature in place, now is a great time to have protective fencing installed around your pool.
Take the necessary steps to make sure your pool is protected in the winter and cooler months of the year. Doing this will not only help to give you the peace of mind that your investment is being properly protected during a time that it isn’t getting routine maintenance, but it will also help you to have an easier pool opening in the spring.