Have the kids not used the pool in a week or two? Is it getting cool outside? it’s that time of year again – shutting down the pool for winter.
If you see the signs of fall, according to Houselogic.com – If the kids are back in school, the leaves have started to turn color, yes, those are good signals that it’s time to winterize the family pool. It’s probably best to catch the process early, because when the leaves start to fall into the pool, it’s just going to create more work. There are several basic steps to check off that will ensure that next spring you have a clean pool with equipment, in good working order. The steps may take a while and sound like a long process, but they will sure save time when the kids are yelling “Mom, I want to go swimming” next spring.
Balance the water chemistry. Take the pool test kit, and assure that the pH is between 7.2 and 7.6. Check the alkalinity and make sure it is at 80 to120 ppm (parts per million). The calcium hardness should be 180 to 220 ppm. If the chemicals are out of balance, adjust as needed, and test again to make sure they are within proper levels. Then shock the pool with a chlorine or non-chlorine substitute to kill any lingering germs. Remember, if properly shocked, it’s not recommended to let swimmers back in until the level drops back to 1 to 3 ppm. Of course, if the kids are in school and it’s too cool anyway, this might not be an issue. Finally, after chlorine levels are back to normal, add a winterizing algaecide.
Give it a good cleaning. Before you take out the pool brush, take all the accessories out of the pool – ladders, baskets, hoses, pumps, filters – anything that’s not water. Clean it all thoroughly and dry completely. Then store all these items in a protected area. Pull all drain plugs for filters and pumps, to make sure the water gets out. Using a shop vac to blow air out of the lines is a good idea as well. Now you can go get the pool brush – thoroughly brush the sides and bottom surfaces of the pool. Skim all leaves and debris, and then vacuum the whole pool area. It sounds like a chore that you might want to do quickly when closing an inground pool – the pool won’t even be used over the winter – but when you open up the pool in the spring and it’s in great shape – you’ll be glad of the fall cleaning you did.
Cover the pool. Before you put on the cover, lower the water level. That process depends on the type of water cover you have. For mesh covers, which are more common in warmer climates, the water should be 12 to 18 inches below the bottom of the cover. If using a solid, floating cover, it should float at 3 to 6 inches below the top edge of the pool.
Now it’s time to go see what the kids tell you about their day at school, confident that the pool will be in good shape over the winter.
Christine Hunt has been a freelance writer for many years. She really likes her current job writing articles for InTheSwim.com. In her spare time she goes hiking on the weekends, and occasionally breaks away for a camping trip, which means she gets to check out the latest equipment and clothing at her favorite camping store.