7 Steps to Winterize Your Pool and When You Should Start This Process
Pool closing is a vital process that prolongs the longevity of your swimming pool. If this process is skipped or not done properly, it could lead to more headaches, larger repair bills, and the possibility of not being able to use it come spring. This guide will help you take the steps you need to close your swimming pool so you can enjoy it for years to come!
When Should I Close My Swimming Pool?
Pool closing businesses know there are always a few die-hard customers who keep their pools open in case of a warm spell in late September or even early October. However, most people close their pools sometime in September between Labour Day and Thanksgiving weekends. September is the ideal time to close your pool since most of the leaves fall in October and into early November following consistent night frost and sub-zero temperatures.
The Inspection Phase
Before you close your pool you’ll first want to examine it for any damage. Cracks, leaks, tears, wrinkles are among the most common. It’s important to call your pool repair company to address any issues with your pool before closing it. Fixing these issues before you close it for the season will mean you can open it earlier and use it right away. It also ensures the damage doesn’t worsen over the course of the colder season.
Water Levels 101
There is some speculation as to how much water you should be leaving in your pool. The rule of thumb is to leave enough water in your pool so that it reaches just below the tile border or the bottom of the skimmer (or if you have both, whichever is lower).
Pool Closing Prep and Process
Step 1: Cleaning Your Pool
Take some time to vacuum the pool and it will definitely pay off in the spring. Leaves and debris left on the bottom will still be there in the spring and will make it more difficult to get the water crystal-clear. Your pool water will be much clearer in the spring and easier to bring up to a swimmable level if you minimize debris in the water before closing.
Step 2: Water Testing & Balance
As you would throughout the pool season, test the chemicals in your water and balance accordingly to prevent scale buildup and corrosion over the winter. You’ll want to make sure your chlorine level is below 5 ppm so the other pool chemicals you add won’t be destroyed.
Step 3: Adding Chemicals to Winterize
Winterizing chemicals work to maintain your pool during the off season so you’re left with a cleaner pool come spring.
A chemical kit designed specifically for winterizing can be purchased from swimming pool repairs shops in Ottawa to preserve the water quality for the next season and prevent stains on the pool’s surfaces.
These chemicals include:
- Pool Enzymes – These keep your pool clean by eliminating organic contaminants that get into your pool water.
- Algaecide – This is an important chemical used to prevent spore growth. It’s especially useful if your pool cover has a mesh panel since it’s possible for dirt and other debris to get into your pool.
- WinterPill – Also known as a pool sanitizer, this can be left in your pool throughout the cooler months and won’t damage the linter. It slowly dissolves and clarifies the water so it can remain cleaner for longer.
- Metal Sequestrant – This is used for those living in areas with harder water (ie. from wells) and suspends metals in the pool water so they don’t leave stains by oxidizing from settling on the surface.
Step 4: Blowing Out the Lines
To avoid water freezing in the pipes and causing a ton of costly damage, blow out your lines. This eliminates leftover water that when frozen, can crack the pipes. If you’re unsure whether all the water is out of the lines, add antifreeze specifically designed for pools and cooler climates.
Step 5: Clearing Out Accessories
Remove all the equipment, like skimmer baskets, ladders, heaters, pool toys and accessories, and your vacuum for winter storage.
Step 6: Shocking the Water
Shocking your pool water destroys microorganisms, preventing them from taking over your pool. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer since these chemicals are extremely concentrated.
Important: Do not add shock directly to the water (or during the day) as it is a high concentration of chlorine and can cause damage by bleaching your pool liners if it’s not properly diluted. Sunlight will also evaporate chlorine so it won’t be effective in cleaning your pool.
To properly circulate chemicals and to avoid a pool liner repair, shock your pool at night before you close.
Step 7: Installing a Pool Cover
In recent years, there has been a big increase in the number of people choosing to install swimming pool safety covers over the older, tarp-style soft covers. They provide a hard surface that can safely hold the weight of a person or animal which make them a great option for protecting children, pets, and wildlife from becoming trapped beneath a pool cover. Animals will try to walk across a soft tarp, not realizing that it’s an unstable surface, and drown in the partially-drained pool. It can be a bad surprise to remove your tarp in the spring and find a decomposing animal in the water, and even with lots of chemicals, it can be hard to convince yourself the water is clean after that.
They have the added benefit of blocking 100% of UV rays, preventing algae growth in the water when the weather starts to warm up. Make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your swimming pool safety cover all winter long.
Get the Experts to Take Care of it For you
Let’s face it, pool closing is a tedious task even for seasoned clients that have owned their pool for years. That being said, this process, as tedious as it is, must be done the right way to ensure there is no damage or issues come spring. It’s best to call the experts to do this for you so you can rest easy knowing you’ve got a refreshing pool waiting for you when the warm weather arrives.
Taking good care of your pool in the fall and following a few simple tips can ensure that you’re the first one in your neighbourhood enjoying a swim in May.
Retreat to the warmth of the fireplace and start thinking about next season!