How to Winterize Your Outdoor Pool
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Having an outdoor pool means you and your family and friends can cool off on hot spring and summer days. But you must also take care of your pool in the off-season to ensure it’s well maintained. Winterizing your pool helps protect any water pipes when it gets cold outside and keeps the pool liner in good shape. This is especially important if you live in an area that sees frequent below-freezing temperatures, as frozen pipes could burst, and even cause damage to other pool components.
Closing an outdoor pool also helps you keep it clean and makes it easier to get it ready for the following summer. The article below details how to properly prepare your pool for winter.
Winterizing a Swimming Pool
Whether you have an inground or above-ground pool, the steps for winterization are basically the same, including balancing the pool's chemistry, cleaning the pool, and lowering the water level. The section below documents the steps you need to take to winterize your outdoor pool.
Step 1: Balance the pool's chemistry. Start the pool winterization process by testing and balancing the pH level of the water in the pool.
The readings for the pH balance, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine should register at the following levels, according to GusPools.com:
- pH balance: Should register between 7.2 and 7.6
- Alkalinity: Should have a total alkalinity of 80 to 120 Parts Per Million (PPM)
- Calcium hardness: Between 175 to 250 PPM
- Chlorine: Between 1 and 3 PPM
Step 2: Clean the pool. Next, clean dirt and debris out of the pool.
Removing rocks, dirt, leaves, and other objects from your pool helps you to get it ready for the next year, especially if you cover your pool after closing it. And don't just remove debris from the water. Scrub the pool walls as well.
Step 3: Add algaecide. It is a good idea to add algaecide to your pool water before draining the pool. This will prevent algae build up over the winter months when the pool is not being used.
Follow guidelines for how much to add according to your pool's size and the type of algaecide.
Step 4: Store pool equipment and toys. Remove all pool toys and equipment for storage, making sure to dry them before storing them.
Make sure to store the items in a safe, dry space, such as a shed, basement, or garage. Items for storage include:
- Pool toys
- Pool-cleaning accessories
Step 5: Lower the water level. Lower the water level of your pool.
Make sure to lower the water level below the mouth of the skimmer to protect the throat of the skimmer from freezing conditions.
Alternatively, if you have a vinyl liner installed on your pool, place an Aquador over the mouth of the skimmer. An Aquador keeps water out of the skimmer, allowing you to leave the water level up over the mouth of the skimmer if needed.
You want to keep some water in the pool to keep the pool liner in place.
Step 6: Blow water out of plumbing lines. Using a shop vacuum set on discharge, blow the water out of the plumbing lines of your pool.
As you blow out each line, place a plug in the lines at the pool end. Make sure that the plug has a rubber gasket for best results.
Step 7: Seal the skimmer line. Next, use a device, such as a Gizzmo to seal the skimmer line.
The hollow tube of the Gizzmo is designed to collapse if water gets into the skimmer and freezes. For easier removal in the spring, place Teflon tape on the threads of the Gizzmo.
Step 8: Cover the pool. The next-to-last step is to cover the pool.
Use a pool cover that can keep algae and other matter out of your pool. This is also often called a winter cover and can be found anywhere that sells pool supplies.
If you have an above-ground pool, use a winterizing cover wrap around your pool to keep the cover secured. For pools with a deck, you can place water bags 3/4 full around the edge of the cover to keep it in place.
Step 9: Drain filter equipment. Last of all, drain water from all of the filter equipment.
Draining your pool's filter equipment is a multistep process that includes:
- Draining the filter by pulling the plug at the bottom to allow it to drain. In addition, open the air valve at the top of the filter.
- Placing the multiport valve into the winterize position and removing the pressure gauge.
- Draining the pump. While draining the pump, turn it on to remove any water from the impeller, but only for a second or two.
- Removing all chemicals from the feeder and draining any water from the feeder, automatic cleaner pump, heater, and other filter equipment.
- Placing any removed plugs in an easy-to-remember place for reinsertion when preparing your pool in the spring.
By properly preparing your pool for the winter, you protect it from the season's harsh conditions, as well as make it easier to get the pool ready for use in the spring. Removing all water from lines, pipes, and equipment represents the biggest concern when winterizing your outdoor pool.