Preparing Your Pool for Winter

Preparing your pool for WinterIf you’ve recently moved into a home with a pool, you know that maintenance is required. Winterizing your pool is a critical part of annual maintenance. Without proper care, cold temperatures and lack of regular use can lead to damage. Check out these quick tips below on preparing your pool for winter.

Proper Cleaning

Start by cleaning the entire pool. Remove ladders, flotation devices, toys, etc., and store them out of winter weather for next year’s use. Use your pool vacuum to clean the bottom, pool net to skim out leaves, sticks, insects, and debris, and pool brush to brush down the walls. If your pool has tile, clean the tile line with pool tile cleaner to avoid any algae growth. Empty the skimmer basket, and remember to do this on a regular basis since the basket allows water to flow smoothly. Finish your cleaning by backwashing your pool filter to clean out any dirt and debris. Store your pool-cleaning equipment in a dry, secure place.

Adjusting the Pool Chemicals

Preparing your pool for winter also involves adjusting chemical levels. Start off by shocking your pool with chlorine. After the water readjusts, it is safe to maintain lower levels of chlorine, because algae grow slowly during winter months. You can even add algaecide specifically designed for winter. Keep chemical levels within the proper range, because, the colder the water, the more condensed water molecules become, causing scaling and corrosion to quickly build up when your pool isn’t being used. Use a winterizing kit to help keep the chemical levels in check.

Check for Leaks

Unfortunately, swimming pools, pumps, and plumbing are susceptible to leaks, and leaks during winter months can cause a lot of unwanted problems. For example, if you are closing your pool entirely, a leak can do a lot of damage to your pool cover. If you close with a solid pool cover, lack of support from the water beneath it can cause the cover to fall into the pool, creating damage after a storm. Excess water in the ground from a leaky pool can freeze and cause concrete slabs to lift, ripping caulking and damaging joints between the pool deck. So be sure to check your pool and equipment for any leaks.

If you’re closing your pool completely, follow these necessary steps:

Adjust Your Water Level

Adjust your pool’s water level. If you know temperatures will reach freezing, you need to have your pool’s water 4-6” below the skimmer or vinyl/tile line. That is if you are using a solid or floating cover. With some additional types of covers for aboveground and in-ground pools, water levels do not need to be lowered.

Drain All Systems and Lubricate Fittings

Pool pumps, filters, heaters, and chlorinators all have drain plugs to allow water to drain out. To avoid freezing and cracking, all water must be drained or blown out. It’s also important to apply lubrication to the pump and other systems in your pool. This helps reduce the possibility of metal components and other adjustable parts on your systems from freezing tight together during winter months.

Winterize Plumbing – To and From

It’s very important to winterize the plumbing that is used for your pool to prevent pipes from filling up with water, freezing and then breaking. There are several different ways to do this. You can blow out lines using a vacuum to blow air from the skimmer, through the equipment and back into the pool, and then plug the lines with expansion plugs. Or, add swimming pool antifreeze by carefully following the package directions, or adding foam insulation to the outside of the pipes, protecting the water inside from freezing. Choose which method will work best for you and remember: All winterizing materials can be found at a hardware store near you.

Cover Your Pool

Whether you choose a solid, mesh or any other type of pool cover available, what’s most important is that your cover fits tightly over your pool. Try to avoid holes or gaps in your cover choice. A tight fit is ideal, as it helps prevent leaves and other winter debris from getting into your pool.

For more information:

Have you had to prepare your pool for winter? Do you have any helpful winterizing tips to share?