Your in-ground swimming pool gave you countless hours of pleasure, once it finally warmed up enough to use it. But now that the leaves are starting to turn and soon the frost will be on the pumpkin, you should hesitate no longer to close your pool down for the season. In cold-weather states such as this one, New Yorkers may well enjoy an Indian Summer in late October, but that is only after a killing frost has occurred. Cold weather can damage your in-ground pool, causing expense and a hassle, which can certainly be avoided by reading this primer below which deals with preparing your pool for Winter. Caveat: always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in any manual that you received at the time of your pool installation. If you are unsure, or have questions, a local contractor who specializes in pool construction in the Stamford would be happy to answer your questions regarding this task.
The following steps are crucial for winterizing your in-ground pool, and include clearing debris from the pool, blowing water out of all the equipment and pipes, adding chemicals for winterization and covering the pool to ensure it is protected from debris blowing or collecting in it during the course of the Winter and early Spring.
Anticipating the closure of your pool
Two weeks prior to closing the pool: Why not be proactive and ensure you have all these materials below on hand, at least several weeks prior to the anticipated closing of your pool so that “all systems are go” once you close down for the season?
The following items should be ready and at your disposal come pool closing time:
• Rubber plugs – Your pool probably came with extra rubber plugs for each of the return valves and skimmers. Be sure to check the integrity of the plugs to ensure the rubber is not cracked or damaged in any way or order new ones.
• Winter chemical kit – you can buy this at any pool supply store or order it online.
• Winter cover and leaf net – Measure the length and width of your pool to determine the proper size Winter cover and leaf net needed. After unpackaging the cover and leaf net, lay these items out and check they are the proper dimensions and there are no tears or holes, issues which might have occurred during packaging or shipping.
• One set of water tubes – You’ll be able to calculate how many water tubes you will need based on your pool’s length and width. Ensure you have enough water tubes to completely encircle your pool.
Some tools you probably have already but will need are:
• Loops wrench;
• Slot head (a/k/a flat-head) screwdriver; and
• Phillips head screwdriver.
Also be sure to have a five-gallon bucket on hand.
Prior to closing your pool: Run the filter for approximately 24 to 48 hours and lower the water level per your pool manufacturer’s directions.
On the official pool-closing day: The first time you winterize your pool, you might want to set aside an afternoon, and grab these notes and your pool manual. You should also grab a buddy to help you with the installation of the pool cover so it is done properly. Don’t clutch … the next time you do this pool-closing chore, it will be so much easier since you’ve done it before!
First, assemble all your tools and materials needed in one place so you are not scrambling around when it comes time to close the pool.
Follow these steps in the proper sequence.
• Turn off any power which supports the pool and remove fuses or circuit breakers where appropriate.
• Remove all floats or toys from the pool.
• Remove all extraneous items like ladders, diving boards or railings to ensure proper placement of the cover.
• Remove all debris from any equipment such as the skimmer or pump basket.
• Skim your entire pool before placing the cover on, otherwise any lingering debris will settle down to the floor of the pool, causing stains or sediment which will be difficult or tedious to remove when you open the pool come Spring.
Administering the chemicals. Now, you are ready to chemically winterize your pool to protect it during the months it will not be used.
• Fill a bucket 3/4s full with water.
• Add pool shock ingredients to the water, mix together thoroughly, then move around the pool, while evenly distributing the mixture into the pool. As a general rule, for every 10,000 gallons of water, you will need one pound of pool shock.
• Although the pool shock should help tame bacteria over the pool’s dormant period, it is advisable that once you adjust the pH level, you also use a scale remover or algaecide as well. This product is not mixed with water, but merely poured directly into the pool water.
Installing the cover and leaf net. With the chemicals portion of the pool winterization complete, now you will install the cover. It is recommended that you have at least two persons do this cover installation.
• Lay out the length of the cover and with your helper on the opposite side, grip the cover’s edge and walk it over the surface of the pool. Try to minimize getting any water atop the cover as water might weigh down the cover and cause it to sink to the bottom of the pool.
• Secure the cover with a set of water tubes to hold the cover in place, then fit the empty water tubes through the loops of the cover, then submerge them to fill the tubes with water, thus weighting down the cover to ensure it stays in place.
• Once the cover is firmly in place, it is time to install the leaf net. Ensure the leaf net completely covers the pool cover and there are no gaps. Tuck the two covers together under the water tubes so that a strong wind does not move either one and they both stay secure until you are ready to move the leaf net. The leaf net is really only a temporary measure if you have many of large trees (thus many leaves) in the neighborhood. The net will catch the leaves so they do not fall onto your pool cover and sit there and eventually rot the material or cause the cover to deteriorate. Once all the leaves have fallen, simply gather the leave net and its cache of leaves, empty it and store it until next Fall.
• If your pool had any non-removable obstructions (like ladders or rails), you might have to alter the leaf net configuration. In this instance, just use a bungee cord or rope to snug up the leaf net to the pool cover.
• Do a complete walk around the entire pool to ensure the water tubes are holding the covers and nets securely and your pool is properly protected.
If you’re satisfied everything is secured and your valuable investment is adequately protected from whatever Mother Nature will deliver this Winter, now RELAX … you’ve got this!