This guide will help you to close your pool for winter. By winterizing your swimming pool properly, you spend less time and money when you open your swimming pool in the spring, eliminate additional electrical costs, chemicals and cleaning. You also avoid possible freeze damage to the equipment and plumbing.
1. Water testing- The first step in winterizing your swimming pool is to test your pool chemicals. Several days prior to closing the pool, test the water for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine. Adjust the levels if necessary. It is important to get the water balanced to protect the pool from corrosion or scale buildup that can occur during the winter.
2. Clean your Pool- The next step in winterizing is to clean your swimming pool. Cleaning your swimming pool is an important step in swimming pool winterizing. Remove any large debris using a leaf rake. Brush and vacuum the sides and bottom of the swimming pool. Use a clarifier or flocculant to get the water crystal clear. Lower water level while vacuuming (set filter to waste if applicable). Clean the tile line with a tile & vinyl cleaner to remove the scum line. This will be easier to do now before it sets during the winter months.
3. Winterizing kit- To help protect the water during the winter months, use a swimming pool winterizing kit. Additional algaecide and shock can be purchased separately for larger size pools.
4. Clean the filter, pump, and skimmer- Remove any debris and clean the skimmer basket. Remove any other floating debris left in the skimmer before replacing the basket. Remove any unused chlorine from the chlorinator. Cartridges and D.E. grids should be cleaned thoroughly and rinsed clean with a garden hose. If you own a sand filter, set your filter valve to backwash. Your sand filter should be backwashed to get all remaining dirt and grime out of the filter. Your filter should take about 2-5 minutes to clean. You will be able to see the water get clean using the filter's sight glass. Once the filter has been cleaned, you can clean out the pool pump. With your pump shut off, remove the pump lid and pull out any leaves and large debris from the pump basket.
5. Lower water level/Blow out lines- Lower the water of the swimming pool below the skimmer. Using an air compressor or blower side of a shop vac, blow water out of swimming pool plumbing by blowing air down the skimmer and through the plumbing. You can connect the air compressor to your pump by unscrewing the drain plug on the pump. Once you see air bubbles come out of the returns, you can use either an expandable or threaded plug to close the return openings. The swimming pool heater and other equipment will also need to have the water removed from them in the same fashion.
6. Anti-freeze (for hard pvc plumbing)- Add Anti-Freeze to plumbing and install threaded winter plugs to return fittings to keep water out of lines. You can also add a Skimmer Guard to your pool skimmer. Anti-Freeze is a non-toxic formula. DO NOT USE AUTOMOBILE ANTIFREEZE. For an above ground swimming pool, you would simply remove the flexible hoses connected to the pump, filter and pool.
7. Remove drain plugs- Remove all drain plugs from the pump, filter tank and any other pool equipment. Follow the manufacturers instructions for your specific equipment. Place all drain plugs in pump basket for storage. If you are in heavy winter conditions you may want to consider detaching the filter and pump and storing them indoors for the winter.
8. Winter cover- The next step is to add the winter cover. For an above ground pool, use an air pillow underneath the cover. Air pillows will "tent" the cover and direct water toward the edge of pool for easier removal. They will also allow forming ice to crack inward preventing damage to the shell or structure of the pool. Place the winter cover over pool surface, black side down. Secure it in place using a cable and winch. For in-ground pools or pools with surrounding decks, you can use water tubes to secure the cover in place. You can use either a double or single winter tubes. Double tubes are a little more reliable so if one side of the tube get punctured the other side will still hold the cover in place until you get a chance to replace it. Using a garden hose fill the tubes with water and close the lid. Corner water tubes are also available for the corners of your swimming pool. If you have a safety cover or plan on using a safety cover, the cover is held in place with anchors.
9. Additional equipment- Cover any equipment (diving board, ladders etc..) that can't be removed and stored indoors. Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for winterizing.
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