How to Winterize Your Pool

How to Winterize Your Pool
Leaving the dog days of summer behind us, many people are beginning to close their pools. While the weather is still warm, let’s talk about when and how to winterize your pool.

What Does It Mean to Winterize Your Pool?

Before we talk about how to winterize your pool, let’s discuss what the term actually means. We’ve written about closing swimming pools and hot tubs before, but we’ve never fully discussed some of the potential hazards of leaving a pool unprotected, but closed in colder climates.

Depending on where you live, freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your pipes and filtration systems. Additionally, dirt and debris can settle. This can damage your pool lining as well as your vents, drains and filter. By winterizing, you can prepare your pool for these issues.

This practice can help to transform a potentially disastrous reopening next year into an easy process. In the next sections, we’ll walk you through some of the most helpful tips about how to winterize your pool.

When to Winterize a Swimming Pool

First, let’s start with timing. In many states across the nation, the weather is still quite nice. It’s mid-September and many days will still be warm and sunny. That’s good news.

Ideally, a homeowner will aim to close and winterize the pool before the temperature dips below 32 degrees. For one, freezing temperatures can make it much harder to work outdoors. Another reason is that the goal of winterizing is to beat the cold weather to the punch.

That said, if you wait too long, all hope is not lost. If the temperatures drop below freezing, a person should run the filter for 24 hours. This can keep water running through the pipes, preventing freezing. Overall, depending on your locale, early to mid-October is a good time to consider winterizing and closing up the pool.

Clean the Water and Scrub the Pool

Besides planning, the first real step for how to winterize is to thoroughly clean the water. While closed, the pool water will not be treated. This can lead to algae and other gross, build up. As we’ve written in the past, algae can be quite slippery. Planning ahead can avoid this issue entirely.

For surface level cleaning, run your filter and use your skimmer net to clear excess leaves or debris. For the walls, consider buying a pool brush to aggressively scrub the sides of your pool. While the pool is still open, this is also a time to inspect the lining and drains for any cracks or imperfections. Again, it is much easier to get a handle on these problems in the warmer climate.

Set Your Chemical and Water Levels

Beyond scrubbing and skimming, make sure your chemical levels are properly adjusted. These should be the same levels you were using during the summer. For pools that need serious cleaning, consider using a chemical shock. Read the directions properly, but this can really help to treat the water before closing it up.

Next, drain your pool to a few inches below the filter opening. Excess water can freeze, expand and damage your liner, tiles, filter and more. It’s a much safer bet to simply lower the water level.

Winterize Pipes and Equipment

Moving past the water, let’s talk about pool equipment and pipes. Exposure to the elements can cause cracks and leaks. To avoid damage, we recommend powering down any and all pool equipment according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Next, be sure to completely drain excess water from the equipment. Then remove the pool pump, chlorinator and hoses. If possible, bring any exposed equipment indoors for storage during the cold months. Above all, make sure there isn’t any water left to possibly freeze in the pipes or gear.

Invest in a Proper Pool Cover

Finally, the pool cover is a critical element for winterizing and closing a pool. It keeps your water covered to avoid leaves or debris from falling in. It can also help to prevent animals or children from falling into the snow covered pool. You can read our full article about choosing a pool cover to learn more.