Wednesday, October 2, 2013
How to Prepare Your Pool for the Winter Months
As the temperatures drop and the leaves start to fall, it's time to prepare your pool for the winter months. Unless you live in a climate where winter is only something you see in the movies and on television, regular pool care should include getting your pool ready for those dormant months between the last swim of the summer and the first swim of the next summer. You want to start preparing your pool for winter as soon as it becomes too cold to swim. If you wait for the leaves to start to fall, you'll be dealing with clogged filters and other issues. If you get your pool ready now, you'll save yourself unnecessary hassle and money when it's time to take a dip again.
Clean Your Pool
As unpleasant as it may be, your pool is going to need a good cleaning before you get busy with
your usual fall and winter activities. If you're going to drain your pool for the winter, some local
pool stores have equipment you can rent to get the job done or they'll do it for you for a fee. If
you're going to leave the water in, which is often practical for larger or in-ground pools, you'll
need to skim the surface to get rid of any debris lingering in it. Use a special pool vac and vacuum the filter skimmer on the side of the pool. A pool vac can also be used to remove sediment from the bottom and to get dirt that can't easily be filtered. However, a pool vac won't remove fine sediment. A pool water clearing agent or clarifier can help with fine sediment removal. You should also clean the skimmer baskets and filters. A special antifreeze agent can be added to the skimmer and return lines.
Adjust Your Chemical Levels
The chemicals you use in your pool as you prepare it for winter are different from the chemicals you use throughout the summer. The pH has to be adjusted to keep your pool algae-free. You can usually get your pH checked at your local pool store or purchase a pool test kit. Your pool's pH level should range from 7.2 to 7.6. If it's too far off either way, you'll need to treat it and get the balance right, especially if you don't want to find some icky growth next year. You'll also need a sanitizing chemical and a long lasting algaecide.
Remove Stuff In and Around Your Pool
When you used you pool over the summer, you probably had some pool accessories you used to enhance your pool experience. Any floating items and ladders should be removed and stored for winter. While this stuff is waterproof, things can still get damaged from sitting in very cold water for several months. As for the area around your pool, clean outdoor tables, chairs, awnings, floatation devices that weren't already resting in the pool and anything else in or around your pool. Store the smaller items and cover larger stuff you can't realistically store.
Cover It Up
Once your pool is clean. The next-to-the-last step is to cover your pool. This prevents water loss and keeps more debris from getting into your pool. You want to use a good quality pool cover that's strong enough to stand up to autumn rains and most winter snowfalls. Make sure the cover is secured to avoid unexpected surprises when the wind kicks up. Make sure your cover fits over the entire pool area. There shouldn't be any water exposed.
Finally, take the time to check your pool at least once a week to make sure the pool cover is secure. Do a visual inspection now and then to check for any obvious problems. Take a peak inside and check the water level and empty the skimmer. Test the pH and chlorine levels at least once a month. If your pool is heated, turn off the heater since there's no reason to keep the water warm when nobody's swimming. While it may seem arduous, taking the time to prepare your pool for winter now makes it easier to enjoy it again when chilly autumn evenings and cold winter days are a distant memory.
Bob Quigly is a landscaping and family fun enthusiast who contributes to many blogs for Summer Escapes pool filters at Backyard Ocean.
*Thank you to Bob Quigly for supplying this post today! Please see my policy tab for more information.