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Learn how to care for salt water swimming pools in Ottawa winter weather.

Steps to Follow Before It Gets Too Cold

Did you know that as of August 2021, over 19,000 pool permits were applied for as reported by Stats Canada? With temperature spikes and boredom from the pandemic came the need for more pools.

Part of pool ownership means you must winterize an in ground pool, and with good reason. If you neglect to winterize your pool, you’ll risk winter freezes wreaking havoc on your expensive pool equipment. Additionally, surface freezes can cause tears in vinyl pool liners as the ice expands.

Also, most people stop maintaining their pools in the winter, making pool winterizing an absolute must. If you’re looking to learn all about winterizing in ground pools, then be sure to keep reading for information you won’t want to miss.

Clear Accessories

Before you get started, be sure to have the following items:

  • Protection for your drain and skimmers, such as skimmer plates, cover, and plugs for water-tight seals
  • Winter plugs so inground pool plumbing is protected from freezing
  • Winterizing chemicals
  • Winter blowers, such as a vacuum and blower for cleaning out plumbing lines

Once you have all your items, you can begin clearing out accessories. Remove things such as the skimmer baskets and cleaners. Next, remove any steps or ladders your pool may have, along with solar blankets.

If there’s algae or dirt on any of the accessories, hose them off and let them dry before storing them for winter.

Skim, Vacuum, Brush

You need to clean your pool as best as possible, removing any debris, including dirt, silt, and leaves. When your pool water is clean, it’s easier to use water chemicals used to balance the water chemistry.

It also helps to prevent algae and mould growth. Skim nets are best for your pool’s surface and vacuums are ideal for the bottom of your pool. You’ll need to brush the floor and sides of your pool as well.

Keep your pool covered to protect it from getting dirty again between steps. Also, remember that in ground pools needs stronger skimmer.

Bring on the Chemicals

The next step is to winterize your pool. Common pool winterizing chemicals include:

  • Pool Shock
  • Chlorine
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Ash
  • Winter Algaecide
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Pool Antifreeze
  • Stain and Scale Prevention

Roughly one week before you plan on closing your pool, you’ll want to test its water chemistry.

Here’s what you need to look for:

  • Alkalinity between 80 ppm and 150 ppm
  • pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 ppm
  • Calcium hardness between 200 ppm and 400 ppm
  • Chlorine levels between 1 ppm and 3 ppm

If the water levels fall outside these ranges, then you’ll need to make adjustments as necessary. It’s important to balance the water’s alkalinity before adjusting the pH levels. You should aim for the higher side of each measurement range since the levels will decrease as time goes by.

Reduce Water

Depending on the area in which you live, you may need to reduce the water level. For example, if you live in an area where the pool water will freeze in winter or if you’re foregoing a skimmer cover, then you’ll want to reduce water levels.

As a rule of thumb, for pools with a mesh skimmer, keep your water levels roughly one foot below the skimmer. You want the water roughly 1/2 a foot below the skimmer for pools with solid covers.

You can expect this process to take a day or two, but it all depends on how you remove the water from the pool.

Pack It Up

The next step is draining all equipment. This prevents water from expanding and damaging the equipment when faced with freezing temperatures.

Remove the water from the pool lines before sealing them with expansion plugs. You can use a blower for this step. However, be careful your pipes don’t burst. One solution is to add pool antifreeze. Next, you need to drain all the filters, the pump, and the heater. You’ll usually find a drain plug on each piece of equipment.

You’ll then need to remove and clean all filers. You should store your filter and pump somewhere indoors come winter. It’s best to store items in a garage or shed. When items are left outside, they’re exposed to hard UV rays from the sun, along with wintery elements that can cause irreparable damage.

Find a ventilated area indoors to store your equipment until you reopen your pool.

Finishing Touches

You can’t cover your pool until you add a few finishing touches. Start by adding shock to kill any bacteria in your pool.

You also need to add algaecide to kill algae. This step may need to be done several days before closing your pool, but it all depends on the type of shock and algaecide you purchase. Always read the manufacturer’s directions on the box.

Don’t pour the chemicals into one area of the pool. Always distribute them evenly around the pool.

You can use chlorine shock or non-chlorine shock. If you use chlorine shock, however, be sure you don’t put it in your pool at the same time you add your algaecide.

Add the Pool Cover

Once you’ve completed all the above pool maintenance steps, it’s time for you to put the cover on your pool. You can choose from safety covers and winter covers.

Winter covers don’t provide as much protection as safety covers, but are easier to install since you don’t have to secure them. However, safety covers are anchored down and offer the best protection from people or animals accidentally falling into your pool. This reason alone makes them the best choice.

They’re also great for keeping debris out of your pool. Once your pool cover is on and safely secured in place, you’ve successfully winterized your pool!

The Takeaway

Remember that it’s crucial to winterize an in ground pool. You’ll preserve the integrity of expensive pool equipment. Preventative measures like algaecide prevent algae and mould from growing in your pool while not in use.

Poolarama has all your pool care needs. We offer everything from pool lines to water analysis and carry a complete line of pool products.

Reach out to us for a quick quote today!