While weekly swimming pool maintenance is certainly important, annual winterizing can be pivotal as well in protecting the investment of your swimming pool. In Part 1, we discussed the proper timing of the winterization process as well as the initial steps related to making sure your pool is clean in order to inhibit algae growth over the off-season.
How To Winterize Your Swimming Pool: Water Care Steps
For those who live where temperatures drop below freezing, one more step is necessary: lower the water level to between 4 and 6 inches below the skimmer or the tile line (depending on whether your pool has a vinyl liner or is made of plaster). If you don’t live in an area where temperatures dip that low, you’ll want to fill your pool so that the water level is even with the top of the pool, nearly overflowing its walls.
The next consideration is the pH level, which measures how acidic the water is; the ideal pH is between 7.4 and 7.6, and the higher the acidity, the lower the pH. You want to make sure that your pool water’s pH is perfect; if it’s too basic, add pH increaser, and if it’s too acidic, add a base.
Once the water level is at the right point and the pH is balanced, it will be time to shock your pool water. Of course, the shocking process will not be new to you, if you’ve been properly maintaining your pool throughout the season. Ideally, this step should take place 2 to 3 days before you close your pool, but it could be done the night before closing day. You want to be sure not to over-shock the water, which would result in cloudiness. There’s one more step related to water care, and that’s to let your pool’s pump run for a full cycle and then backwash in order to chemically clean the filter.
How To Winterize Your Swimming Pool: Final Steps Before Closing
If your temperatures will be likely to dip below the freezing point of water, you’ll want to make sure to drain your pool lines and add antifreeze to them. You’ll want to use the drain plug to drain your pool’s pump as well as its filter, heater, and any other pieces of equipment. Along with draining, you’ll want to remove the DE grids and filter cartridges and clean them thoroughly using a hand-held vacuum. After that, stow the drain plugs in the pump basket over the off-season. (You can ask your local pool supplier about the recommended amount of anti-freeze in your climate.)
Lastly, it will be time to cover up your pool, using a secure pool cover that seals tightly; the type of cover you choose will depend partly on your yard’s surroundings and partly on the local climate. (Again, your local pool supply store will be a good place to ask.)
Once your pool is closed for the winter, you will want to regularly monitor it by using a test kit to check the water chemistry. Before you know it, it will be time to think Spring and plan for re-opening your pool!
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