How to Winterize Your Pool in 10 Steps (or Less)
Pool winterizing can help to keep a pool safe over the winter, so that when spring comes you can open it back up again and quickly prepare it for your first swim of the season. You can winterize your pool to prevent algae growth as soon as the water temperature is consistently below 65 degrees. Read these pool closing tips to learn how to close a pool safely.
1. Balance the Water Chemistry
A few days before you close the pool, adjust your pool chemical levels so that the water alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness are within these ranges:
- Alkalinity: 80 - 120ppm
- pH: 7.2 - 7.6
- Calcium: 180 - 200ppm
2. Shock the Pool
Once your chemicals are in the right range, shock your pool with a chlorinated or non-chlorinated shock product. Allow the chlorine level to return to the 1.0 - 3.0 ppm range, which might take a couple of days, and then add an algaecide to keep your pool clean over winter. If you add the algaecide at the same time as the chlorine shock, the chlorine will destroy it, allowing algae to take over your pool during the winter.
3. Remove Fixtures and Fittings
You need to remove all accessories from the pool before you close it up for the winter. That includes skimmer baskets, wall fittings, removable ladders, cleaners and any other removable parts. Put them somewhere safe so you'll know exactly where to find them next spring.
4. Drain Out Some Water
Use a pump to lower the water level in your pool so it is a couple of feet below the skimmer. Don't drain the pool completely, as you need some water in there to support the cover and reduce wear on your pool lining.
5. Drain the Pump, Filter and Heater
Although you need to leave some water in the pool, it's best to completely drain all your pool equipment, including the pump, filter, heater and any chlorinating equipment you use with your pool. Draining these parts prevents them from being damaged by water freezing inside them.
6. Lubricate the Pump
This is a great opportunity to lubricate the o-rings on the pump and filter. Applying a lubricant can reduce friction and wear on these vital pool parts.
7. Clean the Pool
Skim and vacuum your pool to remove leaves and other debris. Your pool needs to be as clean as possible before you close it down for the winter.
8. Winterize the Plumbing
Use a vacuum to blow water out of the lines running between the skimmer, equipment, and pool. When they are empty, plug the end of each line using an expansion plug. This prevents water from getting into the lines and freezing, which can cause damage.
9. Cover the Pool
Cover your pool with a mesh safety cover to prevent leaves or any other items from falling into the pool. Check your pool cover for rips, holes, and gaps around the edge of the cover -- you need a tight fit to keep your pool safe.
10. Use an Air Pillow
If you live in a cold climate, you need to use an air pillow under your pool cover to protect against the pressure created by snow and ice building up on top of the cover. Experts advise inflating the air pillow to only 50 or 60 percent, in order to reduce the risk of it popping under the weight of the snow.
That's it! Each of the above ideas may not be the absolute best choice for your pool, but they should give you a pretty good idea of what you need to do to winterize your pool. Of course, if you aren't comfortable with closing your own pool, you can always call your local pool service technician to get the job done right.