Closing your pool for the winter takes a surprising amount of effort. You need several days to get everything ready, along with some important tools and chemicals to clean and protect your pool.
But closing the pool for the winter is extremely important, otherwise the extreme temperature changes can permanently damage it… which as you can imagine, would not be easy to repair. Hence why closing is such a crucial step in order to preserve it for next year!
And since you need a few days to get it all done, let’s go through all the steps right now so that when the time comes, you already know exactly what to do!
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose." – Lyndon B. Johnson
Step 1: Start early
The first step on to close the pool for the winter is actually just good timing.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to close the pool for good when the water temperature is below 65 degrees (Fahrenheit) consistently. However, if your nights are already leading to below freezing temperatures, then you should close the pool right away.
You will need about a week to go through the whole process, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature. You’ll need to clean the pool, check water salinity, apply some chemicals, and cover the pool – all of which we’ll cover on the next steps. It’s not possible to get all of this done in one day.
Step 2: Clean the pool
First and foremost, you have to get the pool cleaned. Remove any more obvious debris and leaves that may have fallen on the water with a skimming rod, then it’s time to scrub.
Use a pool brush to thoroughly scrub the inner walls of the pool. This may be a bit tiring, so take your time and don’t strain yourself! When the scrubbing is done, you need to use a pool vacuum – the scrubbing helps in lifting the stuff you need to vacuum.
Keep an eye out for algae in your pool. If you notice algae growth, you’ll need to break it up and vacuum it as well, otherwise they will continue to expand while the pool is closed.
Step 3: Check the water
Now, you need to check the water balance before proceeding. This is crucial because we’re adding a few chemicals to the water on the next step, but if the water is not ready to receive them, they could be rendered ineffectual.
There are three values you need to check and balance: pH levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
- The pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6.
- The alkalinity should be between 100 to 150 ppm (parts per million).
- The calcium hardness should be below 250 ppm.
To get this done, you’ll need a winter test kit. You’re most likely to find one of these at a local pool store. It comes with the necessary tools to test the water and to adjust these levels as necessary.
If at any point you struggle with this, remember you can always hire a pool professional in your area to do the job for you!
Step 4: Chemicals
Once the water is ready to go, you need to shock the pool. This is the process of adding strong chlorine as a way to kill any bacteria and algae that remain, so that the pool can safely be closed for a few months.
Follow the manufacturer's instruction closely and be careful when handling chlorine, as it’s a very strong chemical. Use protective gloves and face protection when handling it. After this, check the chlorine levels daily to see if they are back to normal (around 1 to 3 ppm).
You will not be able to use the pool after adding this chemical!
You might also want to add an algaecide to prevent any algae from growing while the pool is closed. Once again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure it all goes well and wait for the chlorine levels to stabilize before adding algaecide.
Finally, if you regularly see below freezing temperatures in your area, you want to add an anti freezing agent to your pool. This is a chemical that, quite simply, lowers the freezing temperature of the pool water.
Step 5: Water level and cover
The water level should be lowered depending on the type of cover you’re using. For a solid cover, leaving the water level just below the first tile line (about 6 inches is enough). If you’re using a mesh cover however, the weight of water and debris on top require you to lower it a bit more, just under your main drain (or about 15 inches).
Lastly, safety covers are the best options, but you can do well with a simple winter cover (mesh or solid) as long as you inspect it regularly to make sure everything is in order. You might have to clean some debris from the middle every now and then, and as for the pool, continue to check the water level and chemical balance every now and then.
Need help closing your pool for the winter? Get free quotes from local pool service companies!