Sunshine, warm breezes, pool-side fun…winter? Just when you get into the groove of enjoying day after day relaxing in the sparkling water of your swimming pool, the calendar tells you it’s time to say goodbye to summer and close up the pool for the season. No one looks forward to it, but if done correctly, closing your pool will make opening your pool next spring a lot easier – allowing you and your family to enjoy the pleasures of your pool that much sooner when the warm weather returns.
If you are unfamiliar with the swimming pool winterizing process, it’s best to leave it for a trained IPG member to do. Their experienced service technicians will drain and winterize the plumbing lines
and plumbing equipment, lower the pool’s water level, shock (superchlorinate) and balance pool water, brush away dirt from the pool floor, walls and waterline, remove debris with a pool vacuum, remove and store the deck furniture, solar cover & reel, and install the safety cover. In one afternoon, your pool will be ready for the winter and a trouble-free start-up in the spring.
This is also a good time to plan ahead for next season’s pool opening by booking an appointment with your local IPG member. This way – you will be first in line during the big spring rush when everyone else in town is trying to get their pool opened at the same time. On the other hand, if closing your pool is a task you want to take on yourself, your local IPG member can give you some valuable pointers on how to do the job right. Here are the basics:
Balancing Pool Water
Properly balancing your pool water can protect the pool’s vinyl liner or concrete surface and leave the water in top shape for next spring. To make sure your pool water is properly balanced for the winter, take a sample to your local IPG member to be professionally tested in their in-store lab for total alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness levels. These levels should be adjusted to 80 – 120 ppm for total alkalinity; 7.2 – 7.6 for pH; and 200-300 ppm for calcium hardness.
Handy Water Treatment Package
The next step is to pick up IPG’s handy pool winterizing kit, which contains the essential
products you will need to close your pool. These include ‘OxyPro’ chlorine shock for oxidizing out contaminants from pool water; ‘Stain Prevent’ for stopping mineral and scale deposits and water discolouration; and ‘Algikill 600’ for preventing algae growth in the pool.
No Leaks Please!
Make sure there are no leaks in your pool by keeping a close watch on pool water
levels a few weeks before you close the pool. Water leaking from your pool during the winter will freeze – causing structural and liner damage.
Remove That Cover!
Remove the solar cover or solar blanket, clean it with ‘Cover Cleaner’ and allow it to dry before storing for the winter. Remove all leaves, twigs, insects and debris from the pool using a hand-held leaf skimmer. Smaller contaminants can be removed with a hand-held or automatic pool cleaner. Pool ladders, portable steps, automatic pool cleaners, safety ropes and solar cover reels can then be removed and stored for the winter.
Lower The Water Level!
Lower the water level in in-ground pools by draining the pool 2.5 cm (1 in.) below the lowest fitting
(return or suction) in the wall with a submersible pump. For aboveground pools, ask your IPG Member for recommended water levels during the winter.
Remove water from the lines using a shop vac. Gas, oil-fired and electric heaters and heat pumps – as well as chlorinators and brominators – must also be drained of water. Allow water to drain out of the filter tank and pump by removing the drain plugs. Any residual water in the pump can be removed with a cup or sponge. Remove and store the pump strainer basket, filter gauges and sight glasses. If your chorinator or brominator cannot be drained, remove it and store for the winter. Nature2 vessels should also be drained and removed. Adding specially formulated, non-toxic anti-freeze to the plumbing lines is an added safety measure. Your IPG member offers this type of anti-freeze for closing your swimming pool. All returns and skimmer holes should be inserted with winterizing plugs. To prevent further damage to the skimmer, add a foam skimmer block.
Clean That Filter!
Clean sand filters and cartridge filters with ‘Filter Cleaner’ and store the cartridge filter element. For diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters, disassemble the filter and clean the elements or grids.
Cover It Up Safely!
After a visual check to see if everything has been done around the pool, place a
winter safety cover over the pool and adjust the attached cover straps to ensure that there are no spaces between the pool deck area and the cover.
For winter pool covers anchored by water tubes, place the cover over the pool, fill the tubes with water, and place them around the edge of the cover, end to end.
The Final Step!
The final step is to ensure that all swimming pool chemical containers are shut tight and stored for the winter in a place that is dark, cool and dry and far away from other stored cleaning
Congratulations! You have successfully closed your pool, so next spring’s pool opening should be easy and problem-free.