It's Hibernation Time: Steps to Winterize Your Pool

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 9:21am

Put the kids' floaties in the shed, remove the ladders from the side walls and store your springboard, it's hibernation time for your pool. Even if you've decided to heat your pool for the Fall and winter, take these steps before the first signs of the inevitable freeze. It takes more preparation than simply covering the pool. While it could be a harsh winter, your pool can be completely protected — it is very important.

Here's do-it-yourself tips to putting your pool to bed for the winter:

Remove Accessories

Sleet, snow, wind, hail, rain, freeze — these are all signs of winter, and your pool accessories should not be sitting out there exposed. It would be a shame to leave your expensive accessories outside to be tortured by the winter elements. When closing down, extract these accessories and send them off to a dry place, like a protected shed or garage.

Do everything from loosening the anchor wedge of the ladder to separating the springboard from its stand and storing the bolts in a safe place — putting it back on properly will be hard without the bolts. If the accessories remain, your pool cover may not fit properly and winterization would be all for naught.

Balance It

Don't close your pool too soon. If the water is too hot, algae will quietly grow all winter. When removing your pool cover in the spring, you will have a serious problem. Never fear, wait until your pool gets below 55 degrees to avoid trapping heat and growing greenery, explains Pool Life magazine online.

Keeping the water chemistry where it should be is also important. Get a quality kit from the pool store and follow the directions. Consider a Winter Ball to release enzymes into the pool water and look forward to a clear, not green, spring pool opening.

Clean It

The whole purpose of winterizing is to find it in good shape for the summer. Cleaning it improperly increases the risk of creating a swamp. Not what you thought you were getting into, right? Get out the vacuums and get cleaning the pool floor, skim the surface and brush up the walls. Don't forget to clean your pool filter as well.

Lower Water Levels

This is where a professional might come in handy. It depends on the type of piping and how truly cold it gets in your region. Freeze damage in the guts of the pool could be very real. Improper winterizing will bring the fun to an extended end and you'll have one unhappy family come springtime. NESPA (Northeast Spa & Pool Association) advises draining or blowing out the plumbing — filtering, pumping, heating and chlorinating equipment — to prevent freeze damage and this may require special equipment.

Sometimes a good Shop-Vac will properly blowout the lines, Pool Life mag shares. After cleaning the piping, keep the water out with plugs. Do not completely drain the pool, just reduce it to below the mouth of the skimmer (3 to 4 inches).

Cover It

Whether a solid or mesh variety, a pool cover is the ultimate in winterization — it prevents debris, weather and kids from falling in. Be sure it fits tightly and has no holes. Keep a pool-cover pump handy to keep the cover free of standing water.

While you can put your pool into hibernation, sometimes it's wise to seek a professional, depending on the type of pool and how truly cold it gets.

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