Summer is officially over, so the hot days of relaxing in your cool pool are gone. Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to poolside parties and get to work patching-up leaks and tweaking pH levels for the winter. Luckily, there’s an upside as you mourn the loss of your favorite summer activity. If you winterize it correctly—no skipping steps—your pool will be good-to-go when the warm weather returns and you can dive right back into the season. So suck it up and do it right. Want to know how? Read on…
No Leaks Allowed
For starters, keep an eye on the water level a week before you close the pool and locate any leaks, which will freeze over the winter, causing structural and liner damage. Patch it all up as necessary.
Balance The Water
About 4-7 days before closing your pool, balance the water to protect the vinyl liner or concrete surface and keep the water just right for the next season. Bring the pH level to somewhere between 7.6 – 7.8, the alkalinity between 80 – 100, and the calcium hardness between 150 – 250. Next, use chlorine shock to raise the chlorine level to 10 – 12ppm. Once it reaches a normal level of 1.5 – 3.5ppm, you can add winterizing chemicals such as algaecide to the mix. If chemistry isn’t your thing, or you’re just feeling overwhelmed with the whole water prep process, take a sample to a local pool retailer and let the pros figure it out.
Its All Gotta Go
Remove the pool cover, skimmer baskets, heaters, slide (if you’re lucky enough to have one), wall fittings, pool cleaners, vacuums, ladders, handrails, floating toys, rafts, and foam noodles. Then clean, clean, clean it like you mean it and allow it all to dry completely before storing for the winter. Consider using Cover Cleaner, which works great on the pool cover.
Suck, Scoop, And Skim
Use a leaf skimmer to remove leaves, bugs, and debris from the water’s surface. Then suck the muck off the bottom with a hand-held or automatic pool cleaner. If you’ve got one of those cool cleaning robots doing the dirty work below, don’t forget to rescue it when it’s done.
Backwash Your Filter
Return the backwash valve handle to its normal position, which allows water to flow through your system. Then lock it in place. Turn the system on and open up the air relief valve at the top of your filter. Leave this open until the water is consistently being released and then close the valve.
Lower The Water Level
Use your filter pump or a submersible pump to lower your pool water level to about 4” – 6” below the water return line. Be sure the water is at least below the skimmer.
Drain The Pool Water
Remove the drain plugs from your filter, heater, pump, and chlorinator. Grab a shop vac and blow the lines out or simply drain them. But be sure no water is left inside the plumbing lines because it could freeze and crack the equipment over the winter. And don’t put the plugs back on. Instead, place them in the skimmer basket so you know where they are next spring.
Cover It Up
Once you’re satisfied that all of the above steps were completed correctly, it’s time to place the cover over the pool. But first, consider getting air pillows that float beneath the cover, preventing the pool from freezing and also holding it up like a tent so filthy water won’t collect on top all winter. Now say goodbye to your pool, knowing you’ve done all you can do to keep it safe and protected until you meet again. Get a grip and cover it up for the season. It will be okay. Finally, attach any straps to ensure there are no spaces between the pool deck and the cover. Done.