As the end of the swimming season draws near, it’s time to think about preparing your in-ground swimming pool for the winter. If you don’t close your pool properly at the end of the summer, it can become damaged by harsh winter weather and your spring opening can be complicated by dirty water, algae growth and damage to your pool pipes & hardware from ice expansion during the winter months. Fortunately, by following some simple steps and by making use of convenient swimming pool closing accessories for in-ground pools, you can provide your pool with effective protection throughout the winter.
The first step in preparing your in-ground pool for the winter season involves checking for water leakage. This is very important, in order to prevent damage from expanding ice to your pipes, hardware, liner and equipment. Once you have confirmed that your pool is not leaking, or once any leaks have been sealed or repaired, you can move on to dealing with the water quality and water level of your swimming pool.
With regards to water quality, it is strongly advised that you keep your in-ground pool clean and chemically treated right up until the day when you cover it for the winter. This will make it easier to close your pool and will also save you significant time and effort when you open your pool the following spring. If you are going to use a solid winter pool cover as well as a skimmer closure, you can simply leave the pool’s water level at the same level as it was during the summer. However, if you are going to use a mesh winter pool cover, you will have to lower the water level to about two inches below the bottom of the pool’s skimmer.
Next, you will need to take care of your pool filter, underground lines, heater and skimmer. If you have a sand or DE filter, you will need to backwash it thoroughly. If you have a cartridge filter, simply remove and clean the cartridge units. Once that has been done, you will need to use the exhaust setting on a strong vacuum or bypass blowers to remove any water from your pool’s underground lines. If you have a pool heater, it’s important to drain the unit and blow air into the heat exchanger in order to ensure that no water remains. It’s also a good idea to use a product in the heater compartment that will prevent mice from nesting inside it. If you are going to use a solid winter pool cover and do not wish to lower your pool’s water level, you will need to use a skimmer closure to seal your skimmer and protect it from damage caused by the expansion of freezing water. For the same reason, it’s also important to use pool winterizing plugs at this point to seal return lines and inlet fittings.
Underwater lighting should not be removed from in-ground swimming pools during the winterizing process. However, any removable hand rails and ladders should be taken out of the pool. Any summer gear and accessories such as pool fountains and cleaner attachments should also be removed from the swimming pool. This is also the time when you should remove your solar cover and prepare it for winter storage.
The next step to take is to chemically prepare the pool water for the winter season. The easiest way to complete this step is to use a winterizing chemical kit for in-ground swimming pools. These winterizing chemical kits contain all of the chemicals required to properly close your pool for the winter, in handy, pre-measured kits for specific pool sizes. By using a winterizing chemical kit, you can quickly and easily ensure the prevention of stains and algae growth during the winter so that you will find sparkling clean water when you uncover your pool in the springtime.
Once your pool has been chemically treated, it will be time to cover your pool with either a winter cover or a safety cover. A Safety Cover is simply a woven mesh or solid vinyl winter cover that can be used on all inground (and some aboveground pools). It is designed to be pulled taut across the pool, and is secured with straps to anchors that you install around the pool’s perimeter. Safety Covers not only prevent leaves & debris from getting into your pool water while your pool is closed, they are also designed to prevent accidental submersion, providing an extra level of protection for your family, neighbours, pets and area wildlife. In contrast, winter covers are what’s commonly referred to as “lay-on-the-water” covers. They are also available with either mesh or solid construction, and provide effective protection during the winter months, or any prolonged period of inactivity. Winter Covers are generally less expensive, and are the most popular variety of protective off-season cover in use today.
In order to ensure that your winter cover provides effective protection all season long, it’s extremely important to anchor the cover properly. This can be achieved through the use of several different swimming pool closing accessories for in-ground swimming pools such as water tubes and unbreakable Aqua Blocks. Pool water tubes can simply be filled with a standard garden hose and are ideal for anchoring winter covers of the lay-on-the-water variety. Aqua Blocks are also great for anchoring winter pool covers and are flexible tubs constructed from durable polyethylene.
Finally, it’s important to keep your winter pool cover free of rips, tears and significant water accumulation. By keeping a cover patch kit on hand, you will be able to quickly repair any damage that occurs before it evolves into a bigger and more costly problem. While it is normal for most pool covers to accumulate a certain amount of water during the winter months, significant accumulation caused by rain and melting snow should be removed with the help of cover pumps. Cover pumps will quickly and easily remove excess standing water from your winter pool cover, saving you plenty of time and effort.