“You need to protect it from the elements,” says Jimmie Meece, vice president of franchise operations with America’s Swimming Pool Co. in Macon, GA.
Freezing temperatures are the biggest concern, as pipes freezing and bursting underground is very expensive to identify and repair. But even in areas where winter means more rain and wind, proper winterization of your pool is important.
When should you winterize?
It all depends on where you live. Homes in sunny Southern California or Arizona probably won’t have to close at all. But if you live where it gets frigid, your pool will need to be winterized before temperatures dip to 32 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent water from freezing. Try to aim to have it shut down in October, or by Thanksgiving at the absolute latest, says Meece.
Clean before you close
Start by removing any debris from the pool. Since the water won’t be filtered or treated chemically during the winter, it’s critical to ensure the water isn’t dirty when you open up the pool in the spring.
Next, ensure all of your pool chemicals are in the recommended range for your individual pool. Take a water sample to your local pool store if you don’t already know the recommended ranges. Meece says you want to focus on these three ranges: chlorine, pH, and alkalinity.
Lower the water level
Treat the water
After you’ve cleaned the pool, consider adding chemicals to help prevent an algae bloom. Since algae eat phosphate, experts suggest adding a phosphate remover treatment and a stain prevention product too.
Winterize the equipment
How much does it cost to winterize a pool?
Add a cover
One reliable option is a winter pool cover, which is made from a plastic fabric and is held in place by anchors surrounding the pool. These covers do a great job at keeping out dirt, leaves, and other debris. You can also use a tarp cover that’s held down by water bags surrounding the pool, but it could be a drowning hazard.
No matter what cover you choose, it’s a good idea to take a leaf blower and use it to get rid of excess debris on the cover.
Peek during the winter
Peek under the cover once a month to make sure nothing is amiss. Meece also advises pouring about a gallon of chlorine or household bleach in the pool once a month to help prevent bacteria and algae from growing.
When to reopen the pool (and why it matters)
Don’t wait for warm temperatures to pull the cover off your pool.
The exact time you should reopen the pool depends on where you live, but do it before temperatures reach 70 degrees. Why? Water temperatures around 70 are optimal for the growth of algae. Trust us, that’s one cleanup job you want to avoid.
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