When the warm summer months come to a close, it’s time to close down the pool and get it ready for winter. While many think they can just toss a cover over swimming pools when they are not being used, many don’t realize how important it is to properly prepare your pool and protect it during the winter months. If you have a pool in the Canadian climate, here’s what you can expect as winter closes in.
It’s important to understand why protecting your pool against the winter elements is essential to ensuring its longevity.
Pools need winter protection because they aren’t used when the temperature drops. Also, with temperature drops come water level changes, as water at freezing actually expands. This can wreak havoc on your pool’s pump and piping system if water is allowed to sit in it during wild swings in temperature.
Without being regularly used, the chemical composition may change, and with freezing and thawing, and irregular chemical treatments, algae blooms can crop up. As seasons change, leaves fall off trees, leading to debris falling in the water as well.
While winter temperatures aren’t conducive to pools that haven’t been properly prepped, there are a few steps you can take in the fall to make sure your pool is in tip-top shape when you are ready to open it the following season.
When it comes to winter prep, the most important things you can do are treat the water, remove existing water from all pipes and filters, and protect the pool surface from debris. Here are six steps you need to take to make sure your pool is winter-ready.
Check the Chemistry
When winterizing your pool, make sure your water is balanced. Check the water’s pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. This will protect the pool from staining. Add a winterizing chemical kit to your water as well. It will help keep it blue and clear (and free of algae!). Avoid using a floater that contains a strong oxidizer. It could stick against a pool wall and stain it.
Protect Your Pool’s Skimmer
As previously mentioned, when water freezes, it expands. This can cause damage to the pool, plumbing and filtration system, so it’s important to lower the water below the mouth of the skimmer(s). This keeps the water out of the skimmer, which can be damaged if water is allowed to freeze there.
Make Sure the Plumbing has Been Cleared
Using a shop vac, be sure to blow out the water from your plumbing lines. Use the discharge of the vacuum to blow water out of each line. Once the water is purged, put a plug in the lines at the pool end. Make sure you use a plug with an “O” ring or a rubber gasket. This makes a seal so water cannot back up.
Drain the Filter and Other Equipment
Your filter should have a plug in it that will allow it to drain. If you have one, open the air relief valve on top. Then, put the multiport valve in the “winterize” (closed) position and remove the pressure gauge. Once this is done, you can drain the pump. After draining the pump, you will want to turn it on for just a quick second or two to get the water out of the veins of the impeller.
If you have a cartridge filter, make sure you drain the water, remove the plug, undo and remove the lid, wash filters and store in a dry place for the winter. You can then loosely reinstall the lid back onto the filter housing. A safe way to store plugs from your pools heater, filter and pump is to put them into the empty pump basket and put the lid back on. Come Spring you will know exactly where your plugs are!
Once your filter is drained, you will be able to drain your chemical feeder and automatic cleaner pump, heater, and any other filtration equipment that has water in it. Do not put any plugs back on the equipment. Should water get in, plugs would prevent proper drainage. Instead, pack them away and replace them in the spring when you are opening up your pool.
Cover the Pool
The last task in pool winterization is covering the entire pool. This keeps debris out and water clean. Pool covers come in mesh and solid-surface varieties. Mesh covers are typically lighter and easier to install than their solid-surface counterparts. Both are acceptable choices, however, so it’s all up to your personal preference.
Open Early in the Season
The chemicals in your pool will degrade over time, and as the weather warms up, you are at risk of suffering algae blooms. Even if you can’t quite jump in the water, it’s a good idea to open the pool early and start re-balancing the pool’s chemical composition. Wait until you are clear of any freezing temperatures, however, before attempting to open for the season.
If it’s your first time preparing your pool for winter, contact us. Not only can our seasoned professionals provide valuable advice, we can help make sure you have all the right equipment you need to ensure your pool is protected throughout the winter months.
Contact the team at Narellan Pools to learn more about protecting your fiberglass swimming pool during the winter months.