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Guide to Closing Your Pool for the Winter

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It’s Time To Close Your Pool for the Winter

Just like that summer is over in a blink of an eye, all the summer parties are over and the sun is starting to hide behind the clouds. With all the cold weather on the horizon, your pool needs to be taken care pronto so you can spend many more summers enjoying a pool. This is a guide to help you with closing your pool for the winter.

10 Simple Steps for Closing Your Inground Swimming Pool For The Winter

1. Balance the pH
Adjust your pH levels in the pool. We recommend doing this a few days to a week prior to closing your pool, to make sure that further adjustment isn’t required. Shocking the pool with granular chlorine is best done before closing the pool, but this also should be done 1 week prior to closing. This allows the chlorine level to drop before you put your pool cover on. High chlorine levels can and will weaken your winter pool cover. Be careful not to allow highly chlorinated pool water to contact your winter pool cover.

2. Clean your pool thoroughly.
If you want your pool looking clean when you TAKE OFF the cover, it’s best to clean it before you PUT ON the cover. Debris and algae left in the pool prior to closing will dilute the strength of your pool chemicals, as these chemicals work on organic matter left in the pool, there is less available for preventing algae growth during the winter.

3. Lower the pool water.
For mesh safety covers, this level should be 8-12″ below the tile. For solid pool covers, 3-5″ below the tile. If you have an in ground vinyl liner, you can also use a product called an Aquador, which is much like tupperware for your skimmer. It snaps on the front of the skimmer so you don’t need to lower the water level at all.

4. Add your winter pool chemicals.
Many pool owners use a pool closing kit that contains: algaecide, borate floaters, stain & scale and some non-chlorine shock. Following the instructions on the package, they usually recommend adding the chemicals before lowering the pool water, however we recommend adding them after lowering the water level, so that the concentration is stronger. Distribute the chemicals evely over the pool surface, and use your pool brush to help. If you have a mesh safety cover, we recommend using a pool enzyme product to help control algae growth during the winter. It’s also helpful to check the water chemistry during mid spring, about a month before opening, and add another quart of algaecide or refill the floating chemical dispenser.

5. Clean the pool filter thoroughly. For DE filters, remove the assembly from the filter tank and hose very clean to remove all DE powder. DE powder left to dry on the grids during the winter can cause clogging of the fabric, creating filtration problems next spring. If you have a cartridge filter, the same rule applies, remove the cartridge and hose very thoroughly. After you’ve blown out the lines, place your grid assembly or filter cartridge back in the tank for safekeeping during the winter. Make sure that you secure the filter lid and clamp band tightly before and after blowing out the lines. Loose or improperly secured filter clamp bands can cause the filter lid to blow off during start-up, with disastrous results.

6. Remove drain plugs from pump(s), filter, heater, chlorinators. Inspect all the pipes and every piece of equipment, looking for and removing any drain plugs. Open all directional valves to allow water level to fall to the level of the water in the pool.

7. Blow out the lines with compressed air. This is the most important step in the process. Blowing out the equipment and plumbing will ensure that there no water is left that can freeze and cause damage. If you don’t blow out the lines, make sure your equipment is completely drained, and that you add non-toxic pool antifreeze to your plumbing lines.

8. Plug the lines. Use freeze plugs, or expansion plugs to plug all skimmers, returns, cleaner lines.

9. Add skimmer bottles. Plug the skimmers with rubber freeze plugs, then use a 1 qt or 1 gallon bottle, empty except for a few inches of either antifreeze or small pebbles. This will weigh the bottle down and allow it to float partially submerged. When the water rises in the skimmer and freezes, the expansion of the ice will collapse the bottle and not the outside walls of your skimmer.

10. Shut off power to the pump, by turning off the circuit breaker. It’s also a good idea to remove any timer dogs on the timeclock, just in case someone turns the breaker back on during the winter.

Closing the swimming pool at the end of summer may be sad, but Premier Pools and Spas wants to make  sure you do it successfully so you can spend many, many more summers jumping in and hosting parties. With a job done successfully, you get rewarded for the next summer you get to dive in or make a splash to beat the summer heat.

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