It seems like only yesterday the time had come to get the pool ready for a season of swimming. Kids are back to school, and once the temperatures stay at 65 degrees (18 degrees C) or cooler for days in a row, it’s time to close up and winterize the pool until next year. It can be a big job to prepare your pool for a long time of non-use, but if you take the time to put everything away properly, you’ll save yourself time and even avoid potential damage over the freezing winter months.
First, Get the Chemistry Right
You’ll need to consult your pool manual to determine how to treat your water and for how long, but it takes about a week and when the chemistry is right, it’s time to cover the pool and shut it down for the season.
Make certain to follow any direction about adding winter algaecide, chlorine or pool shock, giving enough time for these to set. You don’t want to ruin your pool cover. Then, remove all of the pool accessories: diving board, ladders, skimmer baskets, wall fittings. Put these in a safe location until they're ready for use again next spring or summer.
Scrub and Cover!
Now comes the part where you scour your pool. You want to brush the sides and bottom, Skim the pool, and vacuum. You also run your filter for at least 24 hours. You want the water to be as clean and clear as possible before you cover the swimming pool all winter long.
At this point, you need to drain 6” to a full foot of water from the volume of the pool so as to make sure the water line is well enough below your skimmers. Be sure to check your pool manufacturer’s specifications. Then, you will blow the water out of all the lines and hoses to the pool. This will ensure that in freezing conditions, there won’t be moisture that can freeze and break the lines. The process is completed by lubricating all of the o-rings on equipment to and from the pool.
Finally, add your algaecide and winterizing floater to the pool, and now you’re ready to cover it over for the season.
Choosing a Cover - Automatic, Mesh, Weatherproof and Other Considerations
There are multiple options on the market for pool covers that will protect your pool until it’s ready for next year’s swimming season. Chlorine and UV-resistant, these heavy duty covers can be customized to fit your pool’s specific size and shape.
Which type of cover you’ll select is based on a few factors.
Mesh Safety Covers
If a child and/or pet safety is an issue, a mesh safety cover is a good choice. These can help guard against accidental drowning.
If your pool is set among the trees and plants, a leaf cover might be your best option.
Automatic pool covers are safe and keep out debris, but they do require professional installation.
Your needs and budget will determine what is best for your pool. The main thing is that it stays clean and ready for the next time you suit up for a swim.