Winterize Your Pool

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Anonymous, Robbi, Lynn and 1 other

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Having a hard time prepping your pool for the winter season? Tired of those hard-to-clean algae which surprise you every time you open up your pool in the spring? Most people with swimming pools (and even spas) suffer from these winter mishaps. Yes, there will be no more cannon ball dives for a while, no underwater tea parties, no more chicken fights nor water polo marathons. When winter comes, so does the end of your summer fun pool activities. It's time to close your pool for the winter. Whether you completely cover your pool or just to reduce maintenance, proper pool winterization can save the cost of extra maintenance in the spring by following the steps below.

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Why Winterize your Pool

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Winterizing your pool will keep your pool water looking its best all winter long by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, particularly algae, and it gives you sparkling clear water when you open it in the springtime. Another benefit is shielding your pool equipment from potential freeze damages and volume of water that is out of balance. This is common science, but freezing water naturally expands. This expansion is the reason for many damaged pools, pool plumbing and the filter systems. Winterizing your pool can keep this from happening to you too.

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Tools

  1. 1
    Vacuum.
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  2. 2
    Brushes of different sizes.
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  3. 3
    Pool covering.
    ( Depending on Pool size )
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  4. 4
    Granulated chlorine.
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  5. 5
    Algaecide.
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  6. 6
    Sequestering agent.
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  7. 7
    Winterizing kit (contains chlorine and algaecide - optional
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Precautions

Be careful not to winterize your pool too soon; wait until your thermometer drops below 65 degrees. When you're ready to close your pool, take a bottle sample to your local water treatment center to properly do a complete water analysis. If you don't have the time, however, you can just skip this step. But keep in mind that a water analysis will indeed provide you with ample ideas on the state of your pool water. In having your water sampled, you will be best prepared for how to winterize your pool when closing it OR the problems that you forgot or overlooked will come back when you open it up during spring.

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Steps to Winterize your Pool

Clean your Pool

  1. 1
    Rid your pool of dry leaves, twigs and small rocks at the bottom as these can complicate the winterizing process.
    If the pool contains much debris on the bottom, try using a skim bag for collection before you begin vacuuming.
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  2. 2
    Clean the waterline and skimmers with a brush.
    Follow up with brushing in hard water areas. You should try to clean the pool the same day when you'll close it to keep more dirt and debris from further collecting in it.
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Balance Water Chemistry

  1. 1
    Using a water test kit, adjust your pool water to the recommended levels of pH, calcium, total alkalinity and chlorination.
    You should remember this prior to closing. Ranges are Alkalinity 120-140, Calcium 200-400, pH (7.2-7.8), and Chlorine (3 to 4 ppm).
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  2. 2
    Now lower the water level in your pool to below the skimmers; you should also thoroughly brush your filters at the same time.
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Underground Plumbing Lines

Get ready to blow away the underground domestic plumbing lines by first draining the filtration system tank. Connect your compressor to your convenient point inside the system (usually for the pump) and blow out every one of the underground lines.

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  1. 1
    Typically, you'll have to close the skimmer, along with main drain valves while conditioning the actual return lines.
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  2. 2
    Returns can always be blown out and then plugged while still underwater for you to definitely get the plugs in tight while air pressure is still blowing out of it.
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  3. 3
    Antifreeze can be added for the actual return lines throughout the pump strainer.
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Draining

  1. 1
    Your filter will normally have a plug at the bottom that allows for draining.
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  2. 2
    Carefully open the air relief valve found at the top if yours has one.
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  3. 3
    Now put the multiport valve on the closed or winterize position, and then remove the pressure gauge.
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  4. 4
    You can now drain the pump; yours may have two plugs so please check.
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  5. 5
    After draining your pump, turn it on for a about five seconds to get the water out of the hose of the impeller.
    Refrain from running the pump more than a second or two because the seal burns very fast.
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  6. 6
    Let the chemicals (chlorine/bromine) run out of your feeder themselves so that no chemicals are left inside it.
    If you leave the chemicals in your feeder over the winter, it can cause damage to it and other equipment.
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  7. 7
    Now it's possible to drain your chemical feeder and the automatic cleaner pump, along with the heater and any equipment you have that has water in it.
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  8. 8
    Put the plugs you removed from the equipment in a safe place for easy re-installment in the spring.
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  9. 9
    Take the pressure gauge inside for winter because water may collect in its tube and freeze, causing breakage.
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  10. 10
    Refrain from putting the plugs back on the equipment.
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Chemical Treatments

  1. 1
    Kits.
    You will most likely use winterizing kits for your pool. These kits are available at most pool supply stores and hardware. Winterizing kits contain all the necessary chemicals your pool may need in recommended quantities, A chemical treatment will have different chemicals like chlorine, algaecide and alkaline to maintain and prepare a pool of a specific size for the winter season.
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  2. 2
    Chlorine.
    After balancing out your pool and cleaning the underground plumbing lines, you can now add chlorine to your pool. Chlorine has oxidizing properties which effectively clean the water, while at the same time removing any stains and blemishes in the tiles. Use granular chlorine sold in pool supply stores and hardware stores. The amount will vary depending on your pool's capacity. Estimate yours.
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  3. 3
    Algaecide.
    Algeacide does just that, kills that pesky algae. Use algaecide to help kill algae and prevent its growth during winter season. It will also clean other bacteria and keep the walls of your pool clean.
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  4. 4
    Metal Sequestering Agent.
    This comes in liquid form; they are specifically formulated to prevent stains to the floor and walls of your pool, which may have resulted from poor water chemistry. This chemical is optional, but will greatly benefit you if you live in a region where hard water is typical.
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The Winter Cover

The winter cover is essential in winterizing your pool and keeping people safely out of danger from falling into freezing water during the winter. Winter covers are generally stronger than summer covers, it can withstand rain, ice and combined weight of snow. If your winter cover has been used previously, check for breaks and tears and fix them. Replace the cover if they're beyond repair. Stretch the cover over the pool with the black side down. Cover any protruding or sharp points underneath with rags or cardboard. Now stretch the cover very tightly across your pool. This is usually a job for two to three persons. Now run a wire through the holes in the perimeter of your cover. You should now snug it using a wrench so the cover will stay down in the winter's rain and winds.

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Warning

You have to carefully follow the instructions provided in a winterizing kit or any chemical you may use for your pool to avoid any chemical fumes and leaching or other chemical marks on your swimming pool floor and walls. Directions will vary depending on the product. Some winterizing kits require a turned on filter while the chemical is added, while others do not. Some may require draining while others do not. Simply consult the manufacturer's instructions.

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Storage

After you're done, you can now remove any rope and floats from your pool and put them with the rest of the supplies. Store dive boards and ladders in your garage or shed, with your filter and pump. Store your ladder or dive bolts bumpers in your pump basket if you have one. Just leave it outside if you have a sand filter.

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Algae, Anyone?

What are algae

Of course you know what algae is, it's that green moldy and sticky growth found almost everywhere moist. No wonder it finds it's way into your pool. It is considered as one of the most common pool problems simply because it is clearly noticeable. You don't need to worry so much because algae is not dangerous itself. It may surprise you but algae is a common ingredient for topical medicines and health products. However, algae can be a problem because it produces an environment for other unhealthy bacteria to thrive in the pool water.

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Algae Infested Pool

You might notice that you can begin seeing green deposits in your pool every time you skip cleaning it, that is a collection of algae in its early stages. Late stages can cover every inch of your pool's tile and walls as we'll as turn the water greenish in color.

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  1. 1
    It will do you good to remember that if your pool's level of sanitation drops very low, then algae can begin to grow and multiply.
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  2. 2
    It can take as little as few hours during a warm sunny day for your sparkling clean pool to develop algae problems.
    The algae or spores found in the air were from the algae that has dried out, it could be at a nearby stream or your neighbor's pool, algae can become airborne and spread with the breeze's help.
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Algae Classification

Algae in swimming pools is often characterized depending and by its color:

  1. 1
    pink algae - not classified as an algae at all, but is a fungus called Paecilomyces lilacinus which can cause slimy white, grey or pink colonies.
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  2. 2
    green algae - by far the most common of all algae and is relatively easy to treat;
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  3. 3
    yellow/ mustard algae - very hard to clean to treat but are also somehow susceptible to treatment;
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  4. 4
    black algae - This is the worst type of algae, can be referred as the pools's doom.
    It can be very difficult to get remove by treatment, especially when it is in plastered pools.
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Tips, Tricks, and Warning

  • Adding a winterizing kit to your pool will help keep it clear and blue for the next season, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the kit.
  • Refrain from using floaters that contain a strong oxidizer (bromine or chlorine) as this can stick to a vinyl liner.
  • Be careful in using chlorine as sprinklers to your pool as this may stick to the floor and bleach it.
  • No matter where you live, you should take precaution with water expansion during the winter season. You can never be sure if the temperature will reach below freezing.
  • Pool lights should be detached from their niches. Weigh them down and lower to extremity of pool. Turn off breakers for lights or remove fuses.
  • When done, examine your work and make sure you have taken every provision to minimize the probable damage from cold and other winter elements. Duct tape can be used to wedge open lines. Styrofoam can be used for supplementary protection from ice enlargement.
  • Pools that have water falls, spas, solar heat and other water structures will require special consideration in winterizing and may best be controlled by a pool service company. If you have any inquiries be sure to contact your local pool professional.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Recent edits by: Lynn, Robbi, Anonymous

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