How to Winterize a Pool
The importance of properly closing a pool for the winter
The winters in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area can vary from mild to severe, thus making it necessary to close residential swimming pools. This prevents the freezing of plumbing lines and expensive pool equipment. We do have a few die hard swimmers that keep their pools open year round, but that is another topic on pool maintenance and care. However, many people wonder how to winterize a pool the right way.
At Town & Country Pools, Inc. we take the closing of our residential swimming pools very seriously not only to keep your pool safe from damage in the winter, but also to make the opening of your pool the next season as quick and easy as possible. Thus allowing you to swim in clean water shortly after the spring opening.
How to Winterize a Pool Correctly
Your winter cover will be the last thing put on during the process of closing a pool for the winter. Closing of a pool is very important to keep your family, pets, and wildlife safe. A mesh cover allows any melting snow or rain from collecting on your cover. Collected water presents a drowning hazard. Remember that pets, children, or anyone for that fact can drown in only a few inches of water. The proper winter cover will also prevent any person or animal from falling into the cold water during the winter months. Town & Country Pools, Inc. recommends Loop-Loc Winter Covers to all pool customers and owners. Loop-Loc set the standard for winter covers and we feel very strongly that every pool should have a cover in the winter that prevents any accidents from occurring. Loop-Loc covers exceed the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for safety swimming pool covers and have earned the UL seal of approval for safety swimming pool cover. Here is a quote from one Town and Country employee.
“I, for one, do not have a “Bubbles the Elephant” to walk across my Loop-Loc, but I have four dogs that have accidentally ended up on the cover a time or two. The only problem we have had is the dog’s hair standing up due to static electricity.”
Town and Country has serviced and closed pools built by other contractors. Some of these contractors claim that the pool owner can use their retractable pool cover as their winter cover. In addition, this is not recommended and can cause extensive damage to your cover and void your warranty on the automatic cover. We strongly encourage all pool owners to use a Loop-Loc cover on their pool during the winter. When choosing your winter cover, make sure you know what to look for. To learn more about Loop-Loc covers go to their website.
The proper process of closing a pool for the winter can save you money in the long run. Improper closing of a pool can result in the need to drain and clean the pool in the spring. This is a costly service that can be prevented by professional closure of a pool. To begin, you typically want to lower the water level approximately 18” below the deck elevation. You never would completely drain the pool for the winter. Importantly, only a professional should drain a pool. The reason is that a pool can “float” or pop out of the ground. While draining a pool, a professional has to pull ALL of the hydrostat plugs.
Proper chemical doses are essential to keep the stagnant pool water clear during the time it is closed. Chemical kits can be pre-dosed for the specific water volume of your pool.
At the time of closing a pool for the winter, the filter components are drained of water, necessary internal parts are cleaned, and drainage plugs are removed and stored. Also, the above and below ground plumbing lines will be cleared and the lines will be plugged poolside.
During the winter months it is also important to conduct “winter watches” as a part of your “How to Winterize a Pool” process, which include –
- Checking the water level in the pool. Do not let it get up to the tile line
- Check the clarity of the pool water and actually perform your typical chemical test
- Keeping it acidic (pH at 7.2) helps with scale prevention
- Make adjustments to your water chemistry when needed
- Keep pool covers free of leaves & debris
The professionals at Town & Country Pool Builders know how to winterize a pool. Remember, the more preparation taken during the winterization will result in a relatively smooth opening in the spring. These added procedures not only save time, but also save money.