Shutting Your Pool Before the Winter Should Be a Must
We all know how great that feeling is when summer is beginning, and we are ready to take advantage of our pools. Unfortunately, we also know how deflating it feels to know that winter is quickly approaching, and the time to shut your pool down for fall is here. The process of shutting your pool down is no fun either. You may just want to throw a winter cover over it and call it a day. However, this would be a huge mistake.
When summer approaches, you want to use your pool right away. However, if you only threw a pool cover over it to close it for the winter, you won’t be happy with what you see. Your pool will probably have turned into a swampy mess. Now you’re forced to clean up your pool and spend more time getting it ready to use. If you had just taken the time to shut it down properly, you wouldn’t have to wait.
While shutting your pool down for the fall and winter months may seem like a hassle, it will save you a lot of time and money in the future. Here at Mid City Custom Pools, we want to teach you how to best shut down your pool this fall.
1.) Clean Your Pool
Just like you normally would over the summer, you should take a pool brush attached to a telescoping pole to scrub the walls and floor of your pool. Try your best to get every corner to scrub away at any dirt or algae spores.
After any debris and sediment have been knocked loose, manually use your vacuum to collect everything broken up. Cleaning your pool is an easy and necessary part of shutting your pool down. It makes sure that you’ve removed most large pieces, ensuring none will be left over the winter.
2.) Balance the Pool Chemistry
Once you cleared away any dirt and sediment from your pool walls and floor, it’s time to test your pool chemistry. After a pool is shut down for the fall and winter, it often sits untouched for months. Some might think there is no reason to worry, but they would be wrong.
Unbalanced water chemistry prompts germ and bacteria growth and puts your pool walls in danger of damage. Chances are you won’t bother with your pool until it is almost summer, so you should do what you can to protect it.
Before you balance it, test the water first. You can do this with either a test kit or by bringing a sample to your local pool store. Your chemical levels should read as:
- pH: Between 7.4 and 7.6
- Alkalinity: Between 100 and 150 ppm (parts per million)
- Calcium hardness: Between 100 and 275 ppm
By ensuring that these levels are balanced, you protect your pool from corrosion and scale build-up.
3.) Shock Your Pool
As you continue to close your pool, you must also shock your pool one last time for the season. If you have been a long-time pool owner, then you will have shocked your pool before. Shocking your pool removes any contaminants from your water and also increases the level of chlorine left. Give your pool an extra powerful chlorine shock before the season ends.
The chlorine in your shock will be able to kill off any unwanted bacteria or developing algae blooms. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions. The water’s calcium hardness or pH will not be increased after it’s shocked. After some time, the chlorine level will return to its 1 to 3 ppm-level.
NOTE: You can also use a helpful algaecide to help prevent algae spore growth throughout the cold months.
4.) Lower Your Water Level
For those that live in a warm, dry area that hardly gets below 65 degrees F, this next step won’t be important. However, if you do live somewhere with harsh, cold winters that frequently stay under 65 degrees F and even freezing, this is a critical part of shutting your pool down.
Whenever water freezes, it expands. While this may not come off as an obvious threat to your pool, it is. Because the water expands when it freezes, it can cause real damage to the plumbing in your pool.
Using a filter pump or submersible pump, lower the water level to about six inches below the lowest plumbing line. It also needs to stay below the skimmer. Depending on the type of cover you use, you may want to lower the level even further.
5.) Clear Out All Pool Equipment
Before winter begins, you’re going to want to clean out your filter, pump, chlorinator, and any other equipment in your pool. Your pool has various pieces of equipment that need to be thoroughly cleaned and stored to ensure they remain functional the next season they are needed. Some of these include:
- Cartridge filter: These filters need to be thoroughly cleaned with a pool filter cleaner, rinsed, and need to be completely dried before they are stored.
- Sand filter: These filters need to be thoroughly backwashed, remembering to switch the valve to filter before you begin. If need be, drain all the water from the pump, filter, or pool heater (if you have one). Store them in a safe, dry area.
- Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filter: You can either use a specific D.E. filter cleaner or backwash it the way you did the sand filter.
6.) Blow Out the Lines
Your lines must also be blown out. If you live in a warmer area, you can use a pool antifreeze instead of clearing them out. For those that live in areas that frequently get below freezing, blowing all water from lines, pumps, and filters is a must. By doing this, you won’t need to use antifreeze either.
The plumbing in your pool can’t handle intense pressure, which explains why leaving water that expands when frozen is a bad idea. If you aren’t confident in your ability to safely and correctly clear your line, contact a pool expert to help.
You must remove all return fittings, skimmers, and drain plugs from your filter system and pool beforehand. Using an air compressor or ShopVac, you can remove any water left in your lines.
7.) Install a Pool Cover
Finally, you are ready to officially shut down your pool. The last step is installing a pool cover. You want to find a cover that fits tightly over your pool. You don’t want it to have holes or gaps that allow leaves or any other debris from entering your pool.
Solid covers and safety covers are the two types of pool covers that most people choose from. Solid covers help keep your pool chemistry secure while keeping out any unwanted debris. Pool safety covers are more expensive, but they not only protect your pool from the elements like solid covers, but they also help keep people and animals from falling into the water. Whichever you have chosen, once it is installed, your pool is officially closed for the fall.
While you enjoyed all the memories you had with your pool over the summer, there comes a time when you have to close it for the colder seasons. While it may seem like a tedious process, shutting your pool down is crucial to ensure that it works properly come the next summer. If you have any questions regarding shutting your pool down or need assistance, contact Mid City Custom Pools.