How complicated can winterizing a pool really be? Put on the pool cover and stay out until spring, right? Not exactly.
If you have enjoyed entertaining poolside for some time, you know that pool winterization is absolutely critical for protecting your investment and preventing expensive repairs.
If you’re thinking about getting a swimming pool, or recently had one installed on your property, it’s important to understand the maintenance required. You might not realize that maintenance is a yearlong necessity. Even though it is not in use during winter months, harsh weather conditions can cause equipment to break.
And, for those wanting to keep their spa ready year-round so they can enjoy a soak on a cold winter evening, there are steps to take so it will be a safe environment for you and guests.
5 Pool Closing Mistakes to Avoid
Let’s touch on the mistakes to avoid first, so you can be sure your swimming pool will be ready to plunge into when spring arrives.
#1 Draining the Water Level
Draining might seem like the best way to prevent the winter pool water from freezing temperatures, but this can cause vinyl liner damage and other issues that will cost you money. Instead, you want to add winter chemicals with a chemical kit, like pool antifreeze and keep water in, while maintaining an appropriate water level. Often, we will only drain 3 to 6 inches of water during the winterization process. This is because water actually protects by lessening the pressure when the water freezes and thaws. If it’s empty, the shell becomes a victim to the ground freezing and expanding. An incorrect water level can lead to tiles loosening and falling off which will void any tile warranty.
#2 Ignoring Snow and Leaf Pileup
Snow, ice and leaves can build up on the pool winter cover, adding weight to it and creating a swamp. Be sure to cover the pump in the pool from excess water and blow off debris.
#3 Leaving a Diving Board and Ladders in Place
Be sure to detach and store diving boards, ladders and slides when requested. These extras can get damaged in harsh weather. Diving boards can get stained by leaf debris, and freeze-thaw cycles can degrade the surface. As an alternative, you can protect a diving board with a special, fitted pool cover.
#4 Short-Cutting the Water Prep Process
Yes, you do need to shock the pool water before you winterize. And, you should have a water pH test performed where they adjust from 7.2 to 7.8 to prevent staining, scaling and algae growth. In addition, an algaecide pool cleaner will provide extra protection against the “green stuff.” A final must-do is to run the pool filter for about 48 hours before closing down and draining equipment.
#5 Neglecting to Completely Drain Pool Equipment and Plumbing
Use a blower on swimming pool equipment and plumbing return lines to remove excess moisture. This is essential because rain water collecting through the main drain, and skimmer and plumbing lines can cause freeze damage and calcium hardness. If you use a safety cover on pool equipment without properly winterizing it, you could end up with malfunctioning parts and a need to repair or replace mechanical’s in spring.
Winterize and Maintain Your Spa for Seasonal Use
Now that we’ve covered what not to do if you plan to keep your spa in top shape during winter, let’s address the important steps you should take if you plan to keep your spa open during the cold season so you can continue entertaining outdoors. Mainly, be sure to schedule service visits about every three weeks from November to March. During those service visits, a maintenance professional should perform these tasks:
- Clean up with a leaf net and vacuum debris with a shop vac.
- Conduct a water chemistry test to be sure water levels are balanced and make necessary adjustments. Water must be sanitized if you plan to use the spa year-round.
- Check the spa water chlorine levels and add chlorinator if necessary.
- Replace the cartridge filters, if needed.
- Inspect equipment to be sure mechanical’s are operating efficiently.
Schedule a Winterization Pool Closing Service for Your In-Ground Pool
Fall is a busy time of year, as we move to entertain indoors and prepare for the holidays. You can rely on our experienced pool maintenance service team to winterize your pool and service your spa year-round so pool owners can focus on the fun parts — entertaining, relaxing and swimming.