The unfortunate time of year has come. The weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and it’s time to start packing the pool up for the season. While it’s never fun to close the pool, it’s incredibly important that you prepare it for the winter and maintain it to ensure that come spring, it will be ready to go.
If you want to avoid damage and speed up your pool opening time, keep reading to learn how to prepare and care for your pool this winter.
Why You Need to Maintain Your Pool This Winter
Spending money to maintain your pool during the off-season months may not seem like the right strategy, but it is! Choosing not to spend money to maintain your pool during the winter months can lead to big headaches and expenses when it comes time to reopen in the spring.
The three major parts of your pool that you need to worry about are the pump, filter, and heater. They can go through heavy wear and tear over the winter, so keeping them clean and working property is essential. If these are not properly maintained and need to be replaced, they will each easily reach into the thousands of dollars range in cost. Fortunately, with proper precautions and maintenance, you can avoid debris or damage accumulating over the winter.
Pool Maintenance Tips for Winter
The first step to pool maintenance is preparing the pool for the transition to winter by checking and cleaning everything. After a long season of use, you are going to have some level of wear and tear on the components of your pumping and filtering system. Beginning with a skim of the surface and any visible debris, empty out pump baskets, filters, and anything else that isn’t water from the system. Check on the chlorination cell (if applicable) and backwash the filter while you check that all essential parts are still working. Remove and clean any stairs, handrails, or other equipment that was in the pool and put it away once it dries to avoid accumulation.
After your initial inspection, a shock treatment of chlorine can be a good way to eliminate any existing algae or organic materials that were missed during cleanup. After a few days of the chlorine levels being elevated, running the pump and filtering the pool will return it to normal levels.
At this point, you can balance the water to get a baseline reading of your water. As the water will go mostly undisturbed in winter, getting the levels balanced before closing it up can help make maintenance easier. Use chemical additives and removers for hardness, pH, and other levels until they are in the recommended range.
Once the pool is clear of unnecessary accessories and debris, and achieves proper balance in the water, you can place the winter cover onto the pool. This will protect it from debris falling into it that can cause problems in your filter and cause algae or other nuisances to develop. It also keeps creatures (and people) out.
After the pool is locked up for the winter, be sure to continue running the pump for about 4-6 hours per day to ensure the system stays operational and water doesn’t stagnate to avoid freezing. Also, keep an eye on the water balance levels so that when it comes time to open again, you’ll be ready.