The start of October truly signals the start of fall. This is the time of year for you to scatter pumpkins over every pathway in and around your house, cram your cupboards/refrigerator with all things pumpkin (I mean pumpkin flavored cheese – HAVE TO TRY IT), and for you to hang all of those red, orange, and yellow decorations around your house making it look like it turned over its own leaf. This time of year also means that you have to prepare for what is to come – WINTER. That may mean continuously raking the leaves off the yard before snow falls, protecting your garden and flowers from the freeze, and yes, winterizing that pool of yours. A few years ago we featured some great tips for pool winter preparation. I know that a lot of this stuff we like to put off until the last minute, but don’t wait until it’s too late when it comes to your pool winter preparation! Here we are providing you with more updated tips to help you get the ball rolling. Follow these simple steps and you will make spring pool setup much easier on you! Also, you will be able to hop back into your pool in no time at all.
1. Find all your winterization supplies like a cover, air pillows, plugs for you skimmer, a winter plate (if needed), and winterization chemicals. Do check on your supplies before you are in dire need of them, because you will want to make sure that all of your supplies are in good condition.
2. Balance your water 4-7 days prior to completely winterizing your pool. To do so, test your pool’s pH, and total alkalinity. Your pool’s pH should lie between 7.2-7.6, and the total alkalinity should be between 100-150 ppm. Also, shock your pool with Chlorine Shock to bring the chlorine level up to 10-12 ppm then allow the chlorine to come back down to its normal level of 1.5-3.5 ppm. Do this all before adding your pool winterizing chemicals.
3. Remove all your deck equipment like ladders, rails, slides, etc. Store them in a safe place like a shed or garage.
5. Backwash your filter.
6. Empty your skimmer.
7. Lower your water level to below its normal water level. You can use your filter pump or a submersible pump to do so. You’ll need the level to be about 4-6” below the lowest plumbing line or at least have the water level below the skimmer.
8. Plug up any pipes and your skimmer.
9. Disconnect your pump, filter, heater and chlorinator. Make sure all of this equipment is totally drained of any water. Remove any drain plugs. If you do not, you run the risk of any water remaining in them freezing and cracking your equipment. (Tip: Store any small plugs or parts in the pump basket so you can find them easily in the spring, and then store it in your shed or garage.)
– When disconnecting your pump and filter, you must also make sure that all water is removed from your plumbing system. To make sure the water is removed from all, use an air compressor to blow the water out. If there is remaining water, use nontoxic antifreeze to eliminate the rest.
– This is also a great time to clean your cartridge filters, you can then store them away for the winter.
– It is also a good idea, if you are able to, to store you pump for the winter in a shed or garage. This can increase the life of your pump.
10. (Optional Step) Remove the skimmer box and install a winter plate with gaskets. If you choose to do this step, make sure the plate does not leak.
11. If you have a chemical feeder, drain and empty it (wear safety goggles and gloves while doing so). If you leave chemicals in the feeder, you might damage your equipment.
12. Add your Winterizing Chemicals. To do so, mix your winterization chemicals in a bucket to insure that they are completely dissolved before you add them to your pool. Undissolved granules will sink to the bottom of your pool and can stain your liner.
– Pool Winterizing Chemical Kits usually work for a maximum of 4 months. If your pool is going to be closed for longer, do add additional shock and algaecide to the winterizing process. This will help prevent algae from growing and any chlorine problems you may have in the spring.
13. Blow-up and install your air pillows. Air pillows serve two purposes. One, they hold the pool cover up so that water and debris fall off instead of collecting on your cover. Secondly, they take the slack for any water expansion that may occur if your water freezes. Without them, your pool walls may split and crack due to this expansion.
– Most pools only need 2-3 air pillows in the center of the pool. This does all depend on the size of the pool.
14. Finally, place your cover on your pool and secure it down. Make sure that when you are placing the pool cover on that your air pillow has not moved from the center of the pool. Your winter pool cover will protect your pool from harsh weather conditions, keep leaves and debris out (which minimizes setup in the spring) and will be a great safety feature to prevent anyone from falling in.