It’s time for pool owners to think about winterizing. Unless you live in one of the United States warmer climates, if you haven’t already, you’ll likely be taking your last dip in the pool shortly.
There’s no one-size-fits-all procedure for winterizing your pool. The pool design and accessories, as well as the climate and location, will affect the steps you need to take to keep your pool clean and in good condition until spring arrives next year. If you’re unsure what your pool needs, a knowledgeable plumber can help you prepare for the winter season and can give you advice on what you need to know moving forward.
However, there are a few best practices for most outdoor pools. If you’re going the Do-It-Yourself route and want to be sure you’ve thought of everything, you can pay attention to these steps:
- Don’t drain the pool unless your specific pool design requires it. Draining and refilling a pool every season uses a large amount of water which could simply be re-treated next season. And, empty in-ground pools could suffer structural damage from the pressure of the soil against the outer walls, and rising groundwater can make a pool float out of the ground.
- Reduce the water level. Many pools will have a freeze line indicator that shows the proper water level for winterization. This is usually about six inches below the inlets.
- Use an algaecide from the start of the off-season and check directions to see if you need to reuse in the middle of winter. Preventing algae growth in the winter helps prevent staining and reduces the amount of time and chemical supplies you’ll need to get your pool ready in the spring.
- Adjust the pH level one final time. In most climates, an appropriate pH falls between 7.0 and 7.8; however, you should consult with a local pool or plumbing professional to determine the ideal level for your pool.
- Run your pool filter and vacuum thoroughly before shutting down for the winter. Once done, remove, clean and store all external equipment such as pumps and vacuums.
- Completely drain all external lines. If you live in an extremely cold climate, it may be necessary to pour antifreeze into some of the lines to prevent cracking.
- Keep your pool covered all season, preferably with a high-quality, all-weather cover designed specifically for your pool. Keep the pool cover clear of leaves, tree branches, snow and other debris as needed throughout the season.
- The last step is to shut off the circuit breaker, and then your pool equipment is ready for next spring.