Prepare Your Backyard for Fall & Winter: Pool Winterization

Posted by: Anna | 10/17/2017 at 03:30 PM

Prepare Your Backyard for Fall & Winter: Pool Winterization

The scent of pumpkin spice is heavy in the air, dusk is changing the horizon into picture-worthy art by 7:30 p.m., and daily temperatures in some parts of the country are already slipping down into the 70s. Fall is officially here, ending backyard barbecue and swim season for many homeowners. To help you prepare for the shift in seasons, this month and next we’ll give you a guide for your backyard’s transition. For those of you living in areas without year-round summer, read on to learn how to winterize your pool for the fall and winter months.

How do I winterize my swimming pool?

Winterizing your pool keeps it in optimal shape and ready to make waves next summer. Here are some tips to keep it clean and the equipment functioning.

1. Balance the water
The pool winterization process can take up to a week, so you’ll want to get started long before the first frost is headed your way. Balance the pH of the pool’s water; if you’re using chlorine, you’ll want that week lead time for the levels to drop so it doesn’t destroy your cover or cause other issues. Be sure to also balance calcium levels. 

2. Clean the pool
You’ll want to do a deep clean, using brushes and your vacuum to ensure all algae and other organic materials are out of the water. This increases the effectiveness of the winterizing pool chemicals when they’re needed most. Don’t forget to cleanse any ladders and your diving board too.

3. Adjust water level

  • The drainage level of your pool is based on the material type and the cover you’re using
  • Pools without a cover or with mesh covers; drain 18” to 24” below the skimmer opening
  • Pools with a vinyl lining; drain 1” below the skimmer opening
  • Plaster pools, solid covers; drain 1” to 6” below the skimmer opening
  • Pools with a natural or painted finish; drain 6” below the skimmer opening

As always, if you’re not certain about any part of the pool winterization process, check in with a professional.

4. Let’s get chemical
Winterizing pool chemicals often come in a handy kit to help the DIY enthusiast take care of pool closing with ease. Be sure to follow the specific instructions for the brand you choose. The chemicals will further give the remaining water the treatment it needs to control the growth of bacteria and algae during the winter months.

5. Keep filtration fit
Depending on whether you have a cartridge filter, D.E. filter or sand filter you’ll follow different pool winterization processes. You’ll need to check manufacturer recommendations to ensure you’re thoroughly cleaning your system. Be sure to backwash as needed based on type, to clear the lines blowing them out completely, and to check all fittings, plugs and lids for proper replacement. This will keep you from having major issues when it’s time to start the system up again.

6. Clear the lines
Removing water from the lines will help you avoid damage to pipes due to freezing. This is one of the most important steps in the pool winterization process. If you’re in an area that freezes, add swimming pool specific antifreeze. Be certain it is not the type used in road vehicles.

7. Place the cover
If you’re using a cover, now is the time to install it. Exercise great caution and get the help of a friend, as it is a large job. Safely secure the cover and be sure to check it throughout the winter to make sure it remains snug and nothing and no one enters the pool.

8. Cancel pump power
If possible, flip the breaker to cut the energy going to the pump. Save energy to keep the inside of the house warm and wonderful all winter long.

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