As the temperature drops and the leaves start to turn, it’s time to get your home ready for colder weather. This includes shutting down your inground pool. It may be tempting to just throw a cover on and leave it be until spring. But if you prepare your pool for the fall properly, using the steps outlined below, you can be confident that it will be safe, clean, and ready to go when swim season comes back around.
Step 1: Remove Equipment and Debris
If you want to avoid opening up to dirty water come spring, it’s important to clean out the pool before putting it “to bed.” First, remove and store all toys and equipment, such as slides, ladders, and handrails. Then use your skimmer net to gather any organic material. Since the water won’t be treated chemically or filtered during winter, it’s important to remove leaves as they can stain the bottom of your pool.
Step 2: Balance the Chemicals
To ensure your pool’s chemistry is balanced for winter, you need to test for pH (acidity), total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. These three components need to be in the right range, or you could end up with algae growth, corrosion, or scaling. The pH level is especially important since that can affect the performance of the other chemicals. An ideal pH is 7.2 to 7.8 parts per million (PPM).
Step 3: Shock the Pool
Chlorine levels are also important as the chlorine breaks down bacteria, prevents algae, and keeps your pool fresh and contaminant-free. To shock your pool, simply add an extra-big dose of chlorine. Aim to increase the PPM to between 10 and 12. Then, give it a couple of days to return to its normal level of 1.5 to 3.5 PPM before closing up for the winter.
Step 4: Lower the Water
The main reason to lower the water level is to keep the skimmer and pool tiles from cracking when the temperature plummets. However, you don’t want to drain the pool completely as that can cause it to become unstable due to pressure. If you have a multiport valve on your pool pump or on the drain, you’ll find it fairly easy to lower the levels. Another option is to use a submersible pump or hose to siphon water out.
Step 5: Blow and Drain
To avoid your equipment freezing or cracking, it’s time to blow out the lines and drain the water from the pump, filters, heater, and chlorinator. If you’re not able to blow the lines, add swimming pool anti-freeze. Then, employ drain plugs to prevent water from entering the pipes during winter. The most common type of plug is known as an “expansion plug.” Then, remove and thoroughly clean your filters before storing them. If you live in an area of the country that does freeze, store them inside if you can.
Step 6: Cover the Pool
You can use either a mesh or a solid cover. Whichever one you choose needs to fit tightly to prevent algae growth and debris accumulating. If you opt for a solid cover, you’ll also need a cover pump, siphon, or air pillow. The air pillow, which sits under the cover, has two main functions: it relieves pressure and prevents water and leaves from collecting in the center of the cover.
Preparing your pool for fall properly takes work. But you’ll be glad you put the effort in when you uncover it next year and find everything in good condition and ready to use. Now you can relax. It’s time to sit back, enjoy winter fun, and look forward to swimming again next year. If you’re a Wawanesa policyholder, be sure to check you have the right coverages and discounts on your homeowners policy. Feel free to give us a call and one of our agents can help you.