Winter can be unpredictable. It can cause severe damage to a pool if you're not prepared for it.
These tips can help prevent pool damage caused by harsh weather conditions. They can also help minimize the risk of power outage caused by freezing conditions.
If you live in an area where freezing conditions occur on a regular basis, you should close your pool for the winter. This advice applies to everyone except those who live in areas where regular freezing conditions occur.
Prepare Your Pool for Freezing Weather
If you know extreme weather is headed your way, prepare your pool by following these steps:
- Maintain proper water levels (to the middle of the skimmer).
- Balance your water to the following levels:
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200-400 ppm
- Sanitizer (chlorine): 2.0-4.0 ppm
- If you use an automatic pool cleaner, remove it, drain the water from it, and store it properly.
- Shut off each piece of equipment individually and turn off the breakers to your equipment.
- Drain your equipment (pump, filter, heater, etc.).
Once there is no power to your equipment — either from you shutting it off or from a loss of power because of the weather — follow these steps:
- Make sure all equipment has been shut off and that the breakers to your equipment have also been turned off.
- Open the air relief valve on your pool’s filter.
- Remove the drain plugs from the front and rear headers of your pool heater. If you have a heat pump, remove those drain plugs too.
- Remove the lid and drain plugs from your pump.
- Remove the drain plugs from the filter or any other unit, such as a leaf trap, that holds water, including in-floor system water valves.
- Remove the top on Jandy valves, check valves, or other valves. If necessary, open the valves so water can move down the pipe.
- Put plastic gallon jugs in your pool to expand ice and protect it from the freezing weather. Make sure that the jugs have enough water to cover the surface of the water but not fully submerged.
- Put an empty plastic drink bottle in the skimmer to protect it. It should have enough water to provide enough weight to keep the bottle full.
- If there is an auto leveler, wrap a towel around the vac break (backflow preventer) to prevent damage.
- If the freezing water has a place to go, then it will not damage the pool's plumbing. Also, make sure that the pool's surface is free from ice.
Having the proper equipment in place can help keep your pool water running smoothly during the winter months. One of the most important components of preparing for a pool is ensuring that it has the proper filter and pump.
Although it’s an option, it should not be considered without risks. In most cases, your equipment is in danger if it loses power for a long time.
If you choose the option of continuously running your pool pump and filter, here are the necessary steps:
- Prior to freezing weather and low temperatures, clean or backwash your pool filter. This ensures proper water flow during the cold.
- Run your pool pump and filter continuously. Moving water freezes more slowly.
- If you have a variable speed pump, run it at higher speeds throughout the freeze period to ensure proper water flow.
- If the pump motor makes a loud noise, it's possible that the motor has worn out. Having it inspected by a professional may help prevent further damage.
- Insulate plumbing lines with towels and blankets. Also, pool noodles can serve as insulation around pipes.
- Never use electric heaters, gas heaters, or heat lamps near a pool pump or filter as they can damage or cause a fire.
- If you have a pool heater that's prone to freezing during cold spells, you can run it as long as you start it before the freezing conditions set in. However, prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 50 degrees can cause serious damage.
Recovery if You Didn't Prepare
When temperatures get too cold, frozen equipment can damage your pool. Having little time to prepare can make it hard to avoid damage.
Having the proper insulation and cover in place can help prevent fire damage to your system. You can use various items to keep the pipes warm, but be mindful of how these can interact with each other.
If your pool pump, filter, or heater has been damaged by freezing water, there are a few things you can do to keep your water clear.
If you have any other questions about pool and spa products please do let us know - we are here to help!