24/11/2015How to Get Your Pool Ready for Winter
No matter where you live, winterizing your pool is an important process in pool ownership. Several steps need to be taken in order to ensure that your pool is ready to face cooler temperatures.
Although pool cleaning, should be done regularly throughout the year, it is particularly important as you begin to winterize your pool. If you do not remove organic debris (twigs, leaves, etc), it will decompose in your pool all winter, leaving a much larger mess to clean in the spring. Use your net and your vacuum to make sure your pool is clean first.
Most pool supply stores will carry a winter chemical package that can be easily applied to your pool. This package will add high quantities of both chlorine and algae killer, ensuring that your pool remains clean while sitting through the winter months. Additionally, consult your pool care professional about the correct pH balance to reduce the chance of scaling or corrosion.
It is important to follow the directions on the winter chemical package closely; some recommend turning on the filter while adding them to the pool. Also, floating, extended release chemical tablets should not be used for winterizing your pool.
As water freezes, it can cause extensive damage to your pool, filters, and plumbing. Even those in the Southern part of the country need to cautious about preventing freeze damage.
To safeguard your pool, drain it so that the water line rests beneath the skimmer, but do not drain the pool completely. As moisture in the soil beneath the pool freezes, it can also expand, pushing your pool upward. You need the weight of the remaining water to prevent this upward expansion.
You should also disconnect all of the pipes used in your filter and pump. Then use an air compressor or a shop vac to dry each pipe, especially the return lines. Seal them with some type of cover afterward. This prevents your pipes from being damaged by frozen water.
Make sure to install a flotation device in the middle of your pool. These can be purchased at your pool supply store. The flotation device reduces the amount of pressure caused by any freezing by directing ice inward; otherwise the ice will press outward toward your pool walls. It will also help balance any surface ice or accumulated rainwater.
Protecting Your Pump and Heating System
Begin by taking apart your pump and filtration system. Place all pieces upside down to ensure all remaining water drains. The drain plug can hide water, so make sure to remove this also. After draining, run the pump for a brief second to remove the last bit of water.
For those with a heater, similarly drain it, then use compressed air to thoroughly dry it. Remove any plugs.
Also, take out all the fittings for the return jets, then remove the baskets from the skimmers.
Filter cleaning supplies can be purchased at your local pool supplies store. Often spray cleaner can be applied to the filter grids after removing the filter hoses.
Allow the filter to drain by opening the bottom, and close the valves or leave them on the winter setting if you have one. Take off the pressure gauge, and then dry the valves with compressed air.
The Pool Cover
Your winter pool cover is thicker and more durable than the cover used during the summer. It will prevent anyone from falling into your pool, and resists damage from the weight of ice and snow.
Lastly, make sure that any pool accessories, pipes, and the parts from your pump and filtration system are stored in a safe, easily accessible location. This will make it easier to reinstall everything during the spring.