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Seasons change and so must your home maintenance schedule to accommodate the changes. You need to be prepared in advance for what lies ahead – be it knowing how to winterize an above ground pool or your home plumbing.
In this article, we’ll understand how to winterize an above ground pool in some simple steps. Keep in mind that it’s imperative to close your swimming pool for winters, correctly.
Why is winterizing an above ground pool Important?
Closing your swimming pool properly during the inactive months is especially crucial for those living in regions that experience harsh winters. Knowing how to winterize an above-ground pool will help protect it from winter damage in the freezing temperatures ahead. The bottom line is, you need to take every step possible to safeguard your investment. And, a swimming pool is undoubtedly a costly home addition.
A shoddy pool closure can cause an incurable imbalance in the pool water and also ice damage to your pool’s frame – something that may lead to expensive repairs.
Closing the pool properly will save you effort and money during spring cleaning. Just imagine, you’ll have a clean and clear pool to look forward to during the spring season.
If you do want any unnecessary hassles and stress later, you’ll need to know when and how to close your pool.
Trust us, it’s a lot cheaper to buy a good swimming pool cover and winterizing chemicals than deal with the repercussions of an improperly closed above-ground swimming pool.
The best time to close your swimming pool for the winter
As a rule of thumb, when the temperatures start to fall below 65°F or 18°C, it’s a good time to close your house pool for the season. This period may be sometime between September and October depending on your specific region.
Up until then, make sure to take care of your pool, run your filter, and chlorinate the pool water regularly. These steps will make closing your pool down for the season easier – preventing the water from turning for the worse.
Before the mercury drops, take time out to clean, test, and balance your pool water chemistry before closing it.
How to winterize an above ground pool?
Winters can be tough on any type of swimming pool. You can lessen the blow and ensure that your above-ground pool lasts well for years to come with the correct equipment and preparation.
Here are the most important steps on how to winterize an above ground pool:
Buy your pool closing essential supplies
Make sure you have all of the necessary pool closing chemicals and accessories before winterizing your above-ground pool. These include:
- Winterizing chemicals, pool closing kit, pH increaser, summer balancing chemicals, alkalinity increaser, calcium hardness increaser, pool shock (granular or liquid), and algaecide
- Clarifying enzyme supplements
- Above ground pool skimmer cover
- Ice equalizer or pool air pillow
- Expansion plugs, drain plugs, winter skimmer plug, and return line plug
- Above ground pool winter cover and seal
- Cover winch, cable, and cover clips
- Swimming pool antifreeze
Give your pool a deep clean
Make sure to vacuum the pool, brush down the pool interior, and skim any material or debris from your above-ground pool’s surface before winterizing it. This way, the water, as well as the pool, will be clean before winterization. It will help prevent the growth of algae, mold, and other invaders that can otherwise continue to grow during the winters. Clear out the stains if any. The more you clean now, the less work you’ll have to put in to reopen your pool during spring.
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Balance your pool water
It’s extremely important to balance the water before pool closure. That way, you ensure that the swimming pool is prepared sufficiently to stand up to the winter months. You need to optimize the effectiveness of your winter pool chemicals.
You can either get the water tested after cleaning it or buy test strips and examine the water balance on your own. Accordingly, you can balance the water. Adjust the pH level to about 7.2 – 7.6, alkalinity to 80 – 120 ppm, and calcium hardness to 200 – 350 ppm. Remember to shock your pool with a granular or a liquid shock two days before closing the pool. If there’s excess chlorine in the water, do not cover the pool, or else the cover may get damaged. Adjust the chlorine level first. The ideal chlorine level should be between 1 ppm and 3 ppm.
Add the pool winterizing chemicals
Adding winterizing chemicals the day before you are going to close your pool is a must. It will not only keep your pool algae-free but also help your pool withstand the not-so-kind elements. Moreover, balanced pool water is less likely to cause any severe damage to your pool liner and other parts.
You can choose any of the pool closing kits with the requisite winterizing products according to your pool size.
If you’re adding the pool closing chemicals yourself instead of hiring pool professionals, make sure you’re following the dosage charts to the T. Remember to pour the chemicals directly into the pool. The winter tab dispensers should be secure – about 10-12” down into the water and away from the pool liner. The next step is to run the pool filter for approximately 4 to 8 hours after the application.
Run the pool pump
Allow the pump to run for 10 seconds before turning it off and allowing it to sit for at least one hour. This will keep the pump from corrosion and lubricate the interior seals. It also helps you ensure that there’s no drying out or cracking due to the harsh pool chemicals.
Seal the return and skimmer
Next, seal off the return and skimmer of your pool to protect them from ice damage. To avoid damage from frozen water, lower the water level to just below the mouth of your skimmer. You can reduce it to about 3″ below the mouth of the skimmer. Do not lower the water level too much or else it can add stress to your pool wall, liner, and fixtures.
Protect the return and skimmer
We recommend covering your skimmer for the winter season. A winter skimmer cover is a plate that completely covers the skimmer and keeps the weather out. And, you won’t have to drain your pool below the skimmer line. This step will save you time and effort.
Store away the pool lines
Just like your house plumbing, your pool lines can also experience ice expansion, and get damaged. That’s why it’s important to clear, remove, and store the pool lines till pool opening season. To do that, disconnect the lines and let the water run out. Once the lines are completely air-dried, store them away from direct sunlight.
Prepare the pool filter
Disconnect all filter hoses and drain out any residue water. Clean the filter thoroughly and store it in a dry, clean place inside an outdoor storage shed or garage. If you fail to protect your filter, the damages, if any, will not be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. If you have a cartridge or DE filter, it’s a good idea to keep the inside units in a filter cleaner for 24 hours before storage.
Clear out all the accessories from the pool
Remove all swimming pool accessories such as pool ladders, stairs, pool mats, alarm systems, or pool lights. Just keep the winter tabs and the ice equalizer pillows in the center of the swimming pool. You can blow up the pillow ¾ full with the help of a canister-type vacuum. Tie the ice equalizer using cover rope to prevent shifting during winter shut down. An ice equalizer is an important tool in absorbing the ice pressure.
Cover your swimming pool
When looking for a pool cover, make sure to buy the right size. Secure it using cover clips, cable, and locking winch. If you live in a high-wind zone, it’s best to use a winter cover seal around the pool cover to prevent wind damage. Make sure you do not hang anything else or it will put damaging stress on your pool wall.
If your pool has a walk-around deck, you can hang water bags to secure the cover. But never hang plastic bottles, bricks, or stones, or else the pool cover warranty will void.
A clean pool with balanced water is every homeowner’s dream. With proper pool maintenance tips, your pristine and clear pool will be safe, dry, and secure for a long time to come.
You’ll now realize that the secret to winterizing an above-ground pool is not a mystery after all. You too can close your pool properly and effectively. Once you have it all under control, you can rest easy. Your beautiful pool will be able to withstand the toughest of winters easily. And, when you open your pool for the next swimming season, it will shine in all its glory.