As the warm summer weather comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your pool for the winter. Taking the time to winterize your pool now can help you avoid having to deal with problems when it’s time to open it back up next spring.
Luckily, preparing your pool for winter is easier than you may think. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be done in no time.
1. Remove Your Pool Accessories
Start the process by removing all accessories from your pool. This includes the ladders, steps, cleaners, skimmer baskets, and solar blankets. Hose them off to remove any algae and dirt, let them dry, then store them someplace safe for the winter.
2. Deep Clean the Pool
Next, it’s time to deep clean your pool. Use your pool brush and telescoping pole to scrub down the walls and floors, getting into the nooks and crannies as much as possible. This process may kick up algae and debris. If you notice that the water is turning green or murky stains have shown up, get rid of it by using an algae brush. Finally, vacuum up all the leftover dirt so your pool is sparkling clean.
3. Adjust Your Water Chemistry
After you’ve finished cleaning, use a pool test kit to make sure the pool is balanced. Ideally, you’ll want your water to fall into the following ranges:
- Alkalinity – between 80 and 150 parts per million (ppm)
- pH level – between 7.2 and 7.6
- Calcium hardness level – between 175 and 225 ppm
- Chlorine level – between 1 and 3 ppm
If the balance is off, adjust as necessary. Keep in mind that it’s better to err on the higher side since the measurements will naturally decrease over time.
4. Add Winter Chemicals and Lower the Water Level
Shocking your pool one last time before you close it up for winter will help get rid of any bacteria that might be left in the water. You’ll also want to add an algaecide to keep algae from building up over the winter.
Depending on where you live, you may need to lower your water levels before you close your pool for the winter. If you have a mesh cover, you’ll want the water level to be about a foot below your skimmer. For solid covers, bring the water level down to about half a foot below the skimmer.
Lowering the water level is generally necessary if you aren’t using a skimmer cover and there’s a chance that the water will freeze during the winter. In many parts of North Carolina, this step may not be necessary at all.
5. Drain Equipment and Clean the Pool Filter
If temperatures reach freezing in your area, you’ll want to drain all of the equipment to prevent damage from water freezing and expanding. This includes every filter, pump, and your pool heater. You can also use a blower to clear the water from your pool lines or hire a professional pool company to take care of this important step for you.
After all the scrubbing you’ve done, your pool filter will probably be full of gunk. Be sure to clean it thoroughly, then put it back together so it will be ready to go when it’s time to open the pool again. If possible, you may want to consider storing your filter and pump indoors for the winter.
6. Cover the Pool
Once all the steps above have been completed, it’s time to cover your pool. Make sure that the cover is tight-fitting and doesn’t have any holes or tears. Otherwise, it won’t offer full protection over the summer months. If you’re not bringing your pump indoors, be sure to cover it as well.
Protect Your Pool Over the Winter
While preparing your pool for winter weather may not be the most exciting thing you do all year, it’s necessary to prevent damage and other potential problems. Taking these steps now will also make it far easier to re-open your pool when the weather warms up again.