Learn how to close your pool for the winter with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
After a fun pool season, closing your pool properly will make opening your pool next season much easier. How you close your pool will have a major impact on the ease of spring opening. Following the proper steps and procedures will help you minimize the time and money you spend on opening your pool once spring comes along. Your pool will be better protected during the off-season and you’ll also help extend the life and appearance of pool surfaces and equipment. How you close your pool differs depending on where you live. Chose the procedure that’s right for where you live:
If you live in northern climates, where freezing temperatures are frequent and pools are closed and covered follow these steps.
To protect your pool over the winter months, and to make spring start-up smoother; follow this winterization procedure. With each step, remember to carefully read and follow all directions on the product packaging.
- Test the water for pH, calcium hardness and total alkalinity levels. Adjust as needed for proper balance. This is crucial because out-of-balance pool water can be very corrosive or scale-producing at low temperatures.
- pH should be between 7.2 – 7.6
- Calcium hardness should be 200 – 275 for plaster/gunite pools and 175 – 225 for all other pool types.
- Alkalinity should be 80 – 125 for plaster/gunite pools and 125 – 150 for all other pool types.
- Be sure the pool is free of algae and has chlorine residual before closing.
- Clean the pool by brushing, vacuuming, and cleaning out the skimmer basket(s).
- Apply a scale, stain & metal control to inhibit metal stains and scale formation over the cold weather months.
- Add granular chlorine according to label instructions. Circulate for four to six hours, to disperse throughout the pool.
- Add an algaecide according to label instructions. Circulate for two to four hours to disperse product throughout the pool.
- Clean the filter elements thoroughly with filter cleaner according to the instructions listed below. Do not leave water in the filter.
- Sand Filters should be backwashed 2-3 times longer than usual. Then clean the sand with filter cleaner as follows. Close the valves into and out of the filter and add the product full strength to the filter top through the inspection port, anode port, sand fill or pressure gauge hole, whichever is applicable. After 1 hour, open valves and backwash the filter thoroughly. Remove the drain plug, drain the filter and turn the multi-port valve to the closed position.
- D.E. Filters should be backwashed and drained. Remove the element and clean thoroughly with a filter cleaner to remove build-up of grease, oil and scale. Inspect the septa for tears or stretching and repair or replace. Clean the inside of the filter tank and reinstall the element or store separately. Replace the drain plug to keep out small animals.
- Cartridge Filters should be removed and flushed with a strong spray of water and then soaked in a filter cleaner, according to label instructions.
- Winterize equipment per manufacturer’s directions. Partially drain the pool to the appropriate winter level as listed below:
- Vinyl-lined pools: 1 inch below the skimmer mouth
- Plaster pools with solid covers: 1 – 6 inches below the skimmer mouth or tile, whichever is lower
- Painted or natural finished pools with solid covers: 6 inches below the skimmer mouth
- Pools with mesh covers or no covers: 18 – 24 inches below the skimmer mouth
- Shut off the filter pump; drain the pump, filter, heater, hoses and all other applicable equipment and store. Where necessary, use an anti-freeze specifically formulated for pools. CAUTION: DO NOT use automotive anti-freeze. It is poisonous. Only use pool antifreeze.
- Cover pool and secure.
Closing/Winterizing In Milder Climates
In milder southern climates where freezing temperatures are infrequent, winterization is a simpler process. If you will be using your pool occasionally during the winter, or if you leave your pool uncovered during the off-season months, continue your usual maintenance with these adjustments:
- Adjust the testing frequency of sanitizer levels and water treatments to maintain a free available chlorine level of 1 – 4 ppm. Do this according to the average water temperature:
- At 55 – 70 degrees, test once a week.
- At 40 – 65 degrees, test once a month.
- Maintain normal in-season pH of 7.2 – 7.6, and alkalinity levels of 80 – 125 ppm for plaster/gunite pools and 125 – 150 for all other pool types. Maintain calcium hardness at high end of range for your pool type: 200 – 275 for plaster/gunite pools and 175 – 225 for all other pool types.
- Remove debris, and brush and vacuum the pool when needed, whether or not the pool is being used. During extended periods of non-use, consider a pool cover to keep out debris.
- Run the filter for at least 2 hours a day.
- When freezing temperatures are expected, inspect all equipment for proper operation, especially electrical controls on heaters and pumps. If your pool is equipped with a heater, it may need to run several hours a day to keep pool water temperatures above freezing. If the pool has no heater, ice formation can be kept to a minimum by circulating the water continuously through the entire system. If your circulation system is on an automatic timer, it will need to be set for continuous circulation or overridden altogether.
- A midwinter shock may be necessary for pools in warmer climates.
Properly closing your pool for winter will make it easier to open in the spring. At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, we understand. That’s why we carry all the swimming pool chemicals and cleaning supplies you need to make the job easier.