Prepare Your Swimming Pool for The Winter

Now that fall is here, and the winter season is approaching fast, your pool will become less useful, but that doesn't mean you forget about it. It should go through proper maintenance procedures as a preparation measure for the cold season. Whether you want to winterize your inground or above-ground pool, the methods used are similar. Taking the right steps to prepare your pool for the winter ensures the water is swimmable when it becomes warm again.

Winterize Your Pool:

  • Step 1: Get the Necessary Items
  • Step 2: Clean the Pool
  • Step 3: Balance the Water
  • Step 4: Prepare the Filters
  • Step 5: Cartridge Filters
  • Step 6: Get Freeze Alerts
  • Step 7: Cover the pool
  • Step 8: Winterize Pool Skimmers
(CC BY 2.0) by Pierre_Arnaud

To winterizing, your pool can be done without too much effort if you know the ideal strategies to follow. First, you need to close the place so that the job is done in hours and ensure you save money when the swimming season comes. Having the pool adequately prepared for winter protects it from damage and increases your liner and equipment lifespan.

If you do not follow the proper precautions, it will take a long time to get everything back to normal, and you will spend more money to fix your pool. So, how should you prepare the pool for the winter season?

Step 1: Get the Necessary Items

Your supplies vary depending on the climate and the accessories you already have at home. These supplies include, but not limited to:

  • Tools to Remove Your Pool Accessories: Since pool ladders should be removed, get a tool kit with the essential items such as screwdrivers to remove the swimming pool accessories easily.
  • A Sanitizer: An ideal sanitizer helps you kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms in your pool. Pick chlorine as it is the perfect method of sanitizing the swimming pool without worrying about its effectiveness.
  • Telescoping Pole: Your telescoping pole helps you reach your swimming pool's deep end if you want to clean it thoroughly, so pick a standard or a professional one based on what you need.
  • Chemicals to Maintain Your Water Balance: Get the right chemicals to balance your pool water at ease.
  • A Brush: The brush helps you clean the walls and remove any debris accumulated over the past months.
  • Vacuum: Get the right vacuum head as it helps you leave your pool clean and ready for closure until next season.
  • A Pool Cover for Winter: When you have a winter cover for the pool, it protects it from debris and snow during winter. If done right, you will only have to add water during spring and the necessary chemicals before people can swim in it.
  • Pool Shock: It is needed to breakdown items found in the pool, such as leaves, sweat, and urine. It means you will not have to deal with more waste hence keeping the pool safe for swimming.

Step 2: Clean the Pool

A pool brush attached to a telescoping pole will help you scrub your floor and the walls to help remove the sediment in those areas. After that, use your vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt that might still be on the surface, and if there are any signs of algae in your pool, find a brush meant for algae removal so that it is easy to vacuum. Thoroughly cleaning your pool will save you from a couple of surprises next spring and make it easy to balance water in the pool since no mold or algae will thrive in such an environment.

Step 3: Balance the Water

Keep the water in your pool from turning green by balancing the water pH, and there is no better chemical to use than chlorine. Ensure the chemistry in the pool is where it should be if you want to avoid intensive maintenance practices once your pool is ready for use. You need to test your pool for the following to know if it is balanced:

– pH Levels:

Look at the water acidity since it affects pretty much everything in your pool. If the pH level is not balanced, it could lead to everything, including algae growth and corrosion, and affect your pool's cleanliness and comfort levels. Technically, your pH level should be around 7.8, and if it above or below this mark, use a chemical that allows you to increase or reduce pH levels to achieve the right acidity balance in your pool water.

– The Calcium Hardness:

Aim to have a calcium content of about 150-350 parts per million to avoid scaling and corrosion issues. If the calcium levels are high, use a sequestering agent to reduce it, whereas calcium hardness increasers like calcium chloride increase the calcium levels in your pool water.

– Alkaline Levels:

The alkalinity level directly affects the pool's pH, so keep it at 100 PPM (parts per million) to maintain the balance needed for the pool.

Step 4: Prepare the Filters

Ensure you clean and store your filters correctly, to avoid damages by the winter's freezing temperatures. Constant cleaning of the pool before the winter keeps it functioning at the optimal level and ensures the pool stays in good condition. However, there are different ways of cleaning the pool filters, depending on your type:

– Sand Filters Winterizing Tactics:

  • Backwash: Perform a backwash while running the filters in reverse, then dispose of the wastewater.
  • Rinse: After the backwash, rinse the system and put your valve in winterize setting to drain water from the valve. Many sand filter systems have a winterize setting that you can easily use when you are ready to shut down your pool.
  • Drain: Completely drain the water by unscrewing the drain cap at the bottom of your filter.
  • Disconnect hoses: Disconnect all the hoses from your sand pool filter systems and store them in a safe and secure place until you can use them once more.

Step 5: Cartridge Filters

Ensure there are no oils or debris trapped in the system by using special cartridge cleaner before storage. If you want to winterize the cartridge filter systems:

  • Turn off: Turn off and disconnect the filters then drain water from the system
  • Remove filter: Remove the filter hoses attached to your pool
  • Wash filters: Get the cartridge filters and wash them per the manual's instructions
  • Dry and store: Leave them to dry before storing to ensure there is no room for the mold growth and that there will be no unpleasant smell caused by moisture or water, which occurs when your filters do not dry properly

Step 6: Get Freeze Alerts

Since the last thing you might want to deal with when the winter season is over is cracked pipes, preparing your pool for water will save you from lots of damages. Get a digital time as it lets you know when the temperatures start getting low so that you can carry out last-minute touches to winterize your pool. Having weather alerts apps on the phone will give you access to local forecasts and know when to fix the pool before snowing.

Step 7: Cover the pool

Pool covers are essential in keeping your pool protected throughout the winter. In the colder regions, covering your pool in late fall protects it from the harsh climatic conditions, whereas in warmer areas, you can wait until the winter season begins. The pool cover's effectiveness is best achieved through:

  • Attach securely: Attach your pool cover securely to the pool, including tightening the cables, inflating the air pillow, and fixing the cover clips, making it the best practices for an above-ground pool. An inground pool needs you to secure the water blocks and keep all the safety components in the right place for the cover to stay attached.
  • Remove water and debris: Ensure there is no water or debris on the cover, and if there is some, have it continuously removed to avoid pressure buildup, which can tear the cover.
  • Roof rake: Invest in a roof rake to remove snow from the cover and avoid the excess weight damage, mainly for above-ground pools.

Step 8: Winterize Pool Skimmers

Skimmer repairs and replacements are quite expensive, which is why you must winterize this part correctly to avoid damage over the winter period. With the in-ground pool skimmers, it is easy to prepare them for winter since these pools have two ports, and it is easy to blow the water through the suction lines to the skimmer, which gets the water out of the system. Although the skimmer does not dry completely, adding antifreeze to the system protects it against water that reaches back into the skimmer's system. The skimmer's lid should be put in a plastic bag before being placed back on your skimmer, as it helps reduce the amount of water that gets into the system. 


– Is A Pool Pillow Necessary?

An air-filled pool pillow is placed between the water and your winter cover and is a must-have accessory, especially for an above-ground pool. With this accessory, you easily create a space such that when it snows, and the ice accumulates, it will expand towards the pillow. Without the cushion, the ice expands outwards, putting pressure on your pool walls leading to damage.

Final Remarks

Pool maintenance and preparation before the winter begins will keep the water sparkling and save you from expensive repairs come spring. Closing your pool for a couple of weeks before the winter season starts will protect the pool from possible damage depending on how heavy the winter gets in your region. However, you no longer have to worry about winterizing your pool since once you achieve all the things discussed above, the pool will stay safe during winter. There are lots of sunny days to come, but, for now, you can rest during winter, knowing that your pool is protected.