The swimming season goes much too fast in climates like Connecticut, and before you know it, it’s time to start preparing to close your pool. Proper closing and winterization are critical to protect your swimming pool against damage and promote an easier opening in the spring.
The Swimming Pool Store is here to help you understand the necessary steps to properly close your pool and offers professional services to close pools correctly.
What You Need To Close Pools
Winters in New England come quickly and can cause damage and costly repairs without the proper steps to close pools. It is important when closing above-ground pools and inground pools to winterize properly to prevent damage and relieve stress when opening in the spring.
It is essential to balance your pool chemistry first, so you will need test strips or to have your water tested professionally to balance:
- Calcium hardness
You will also need winterizing chemicals, including:
- Chlorine shock
- Winter clarifier
- Phosphate reducer
- Stain prevention
You can usually find winterizing chemicals in a pool closing kit. You will also need closing equipment like the rubber plugs to plug the jets, a gizmo or skimmer plate for your skimmer basket, an air compressor or shop vac with blow settings to blow out the lines before you plug the holes, and of course, your winter safety cover or water tubes for closing.
Steps to Close Pools Correctly
Follow these steps to close your swimming pool correctly to prevent serious and costly damage that can occur from freezing over the winter.
1. Balance your swimming pool water chemistry
You should make sure your pool water is balanced within 24 hours before closing with the proper levels of:
- pH (7.2 to 7.8)
- Alkalinity (80 to 120 ppm)
- Calcium hardness (180 to 220 ppm)
This protects your pool from scale buildup that can occur during the winter. You can then shock your pool with a strong sanitizing shock made for pool closings and allow your chlorine level to reach between 1.0 to 3.0 before adding winterizing algaecide. You should not add shock and algaecide at the same time.
2. Clean your pool thoroughly
After your water chemistry is balanced, clean your pool thoroughly by vacuuming the bottom and sides and skimming any floating debris. If you are closing late in your pool is especially dirty with a lot of algae, vacuum your pool to waste to bypass the filter and vacuum out of the backwash line. Your pool should be clean and clear before closing.
3. Drain water level
Once balanced and cleaned, you can start to drain the pool to lower the water level by backwashing. When closing inground pools, you should lower the water level until it is below the skimmer line. When using a mesh safety cover, you should lower the water level 12 to 18 inches below the skimmer. When using a floating, solid cover, lower the water 3 to 6 inches below the skimmer. If using an automatic pool cover, do not drain the water as the cover will not have enough support with the weight of heavy snow and could lead to damage.
Once your water is lowered to the right level, you can remove the skimmer basket and eyeball fittings over the jets.
4. Blow out the lines to winterize pool plumbing
Now you have to blow air through the lines to remove any water that could freeze over the winter and crack the pool’s plumbing lines. This is an extremely important step and is key to preventing damage from freezing and cracking over the winter. Once your lines are blown and dried, you can put in your winter plugs and fittings and add some antifreeze as added protection to prevent damage from freezing.
If you have a chlorinator, be sure to remove any remaining chlorine tablets and drain any remaining water. Always be careful when opening the chlorinator and keep your face away from the lid when opening.
5. Remove ladders, rails, and protect against rodents
Now you can remove any ladders and rails, rinse them off and let them dry and store them properly for the winter. When storing your solar cover over the winter, be sure to protect against damage from rodents! The last thing you want is to get your solar cover out in the spring and find it full of holes. Mice love to nest in warm compact spaces like a folded up solar cover or the bag you store it in. Mothballs can emit gasses that are harmful to humans and animals, you can safely use cedar balls or blocks and seal up any holes or cracks with steel wool as mice cannot chew through it.
6. Clean your pool filter, tank, and turn off a gas heater
You will also need to drain your filter by attaching a hose to the drain plug and let the water completely drain out over a few days. Then you can disconnect the hose and close the valve. If you have a cartridge filter, you should remove the cartridges and clean them.
If you have a heater, be sure to turn off the gas valve inside the heater and turn off the gas line.
7. Install your winter safety pool cover
Inspect your winter pool cover for any signs of damage like tears or rips. Using a winter safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346-91 standards is the best way to protect children or pets around your closed pool. Learn more about Pool Safety Covers and prevent drowning accidents during the off-season.
The Swimming Pool Store for Professional Pool Closing
The Swimming Pool Store offers professional pool closing services for closing inground pools or closing above-ground pools. It is always a good idea to use a reputable swimming pool professional to close pools properly to prevent expensive damage from freezing over the winter. Make sure that your next swimming season gets off to a good start, and schedule your pool closing now with the professionals at The Swimming Pool Store.
Closing your pool with borates provides added protection against algae over the winter months. Learn more about our pool closing services and the benefits of closing pools with borates.
The Swimming Pool Store offers more than 50 years of experience in providing professional, knowledgeable, and friendly swimming pool services. We perform all necessary steps to close pools correctly and safely to ensure a smooth opening in the spring. Contact us to learn more and to schedule your hassle-free, professional service to properly close pools.