Part of keeping your swimming pool safe year-round is understanding the right way to close your pool for the winter. Beyond the ability of proper pool winterization to protect your swimming pool from damage during the cold months, it also helps you ensure it’s easier to reopen your swimming pool safely in the spring as temperatures rise. There’s a lot more to being ready for freezing temperatures than just knowing what chemicals you put in the pool for winter, but don’t worry. As your trusted pool safety and information experts, we’re ready to help take the guesswork out of the change of seasons so you can close your pool for the winter with confidence.
The Dangers Of Dropping Temperatures
When temperatures dip toward freezing, your pool is in danger. Ice expands as it freezes, threatening pipes, hoses, and vinyl pool liners. In addition, many plastic and polymer-based materials can become brittle in extreme cold. Beyond these straightforward damage risks, many pool owners find that keeping up with regular maintenance–an often wet and water-logged job during the best of times–can be unpleasant and even dangerous when freezing temperatures and wind are involved. This leads to lapses that make bacterial proliferation, algae bloom, and scaling all the more likely before consistent warm weather returns.
When you close your pool for the winter, you’re protecting it for the duration of the cold-weather months by lowering the risk of ice-related damage, biological contaminations that can take extensive work to eliminate once they’ve gained a foothold and scaling or discoloration that comes from still water sitting for long periods of time. Once temperatures are consistently dropping below 65℉, it’s time to start planning to winterize your pool. You want to make sure your pool is ready before the first freezes hit, but after they begin staying down low enough that the chemicals you put in the pool for winter are sufficient to control algae both immediately and until the weather warms up enough for normal maintenance to resume.
Preparing To Close Your Pool For The Winter
Before you begin to winterize your pool, take the time to make sure you’re ready to complete the process. That includes making sure you have the chemicals and cleaning supplies you need as well as the time required to do the job right.
- Remove nonessential pool fixtures – Slides, diving boards, and ladders that you won’t need during the winterization process and that may interfere with protecting the pool should be removed first. Take the time to clean and store them away properly so they’re ready to go when it’s time to reinstall them in the spring.
- Clean your pool thoroughly – Before you begin to winterize your pool, it needs to be as clean as possible. Skim the surface to remove floating debris, vacuum the floor of the pool, then gently scrub the walls and floor with a brush. This makes balancing your water chemistry easier and helps remove as many contaminants as possible.
- Make sure your water’s chemistry is set – Even though you’re not planning to use your pool, you want to adjust the water level as if you were. This gives you a good baseline for further treatment and preparation. Since chemical concentrations weaken over time, it’s ok to let them drift slightly higher than your usual range, but you don’t want them outside of recommended levels.
Getting Started On Closing Your Pool
Now that the prep work is done, it’s time to start the closing process in earnest. Right now, aside from the missing fixtures, your pool is still as ready to accept summer swimmers as it was when the season started, so it’s time to get it ready for colder weather.
- Lower your pool’s water level and shut off automated equipment – Your water level should be around a foot below your pool’s skimmer. This level helps protect your pool’s systems from ice damage. As the water is too low to circulate effectively, it’s time to shut off any powered equipment that’s set to automatically maintain your pool. Pumps, heaters, and other devices should either be set to off or have their power interrupted to ensure you’re avoiding equipment damage.
- Begin draining equipment and water lines – All water lines and equipment should be free of water. Remove drain plugs to allow your pump housings to empty completely. A blower should be used on lines to ensure all water is expelled, then freeze plugs should be installed to help keep water out of these sensitive hoses and pipes, which are subject to freezing damage.
- Add Your Winter Chemicals – Since your pool will close for the winter without use for months, it’s important you know how to add pool chemicals to keep it winter-safe. Give your pool a heavy shock to keep bacteria and biological proliferation at bay. Then add algaecide and any anti-scaling or staining agents. For areas where particularly low temperatures are expected, swimming pool antifreeze can be used to help give extra protection to your pool.
Finish The Job
You’re almost done. The water and equipment are prepared, so all that’s left is to securely close the pool for the winter. When you winterize your pool, it’s not just about protecting the pool itself but also about keeping your pool area safe for your loved ones year-round.
- Cover your swimming pool – Your swimming pool’s winter cover is insulated to help protect it from the elements and strong enough to help prevent accidental drownings. Secured around your pool’s deck, the rip-resistant material can hold up to the weight of loose debris, snow accumulation, or a full-grown adult. This cover effectively secured your pool from unsupervised access throughout the winter.
- Check your work – Before you turn your attention away from your swimming pool, take the time to verify all equipment is off and your cover is secure and taut. Check your pool safety fence for any signs of damage, make sure the gate swings freely, and ensure the latch engages on its own, securing the gate.
Helping You Protect Your Pool
Your local All-Safe Pool installers are the local pool safety experts you can rely on to help you create a pool that helps protect your friends, family, and pets. They’ll take measurements, talk to you about your pool’s needs, and explain your safety barrier options. Finally, they’ll give you a written estimate that shows you just how cost-effective safety can be. Schedule your free quote with your All-Safe Pool installer today.