With the current summer heat, the thought that fall is around the corner is hard to imagine. Generally, pool owners begin pondering when and how to close their pool as early fall begins. With these helpful tips from the J&M Pool Company team you can close your pool properly, minimizing your efforts next swimming season:
1. Close at the Right Time—You should only close your pool when the water is consistently below 65 degrees. If you choose to close your pool sooner, the water will be too warm and will encourage the growth of algae during the winter season. Wait to close and save your energy having to clean up a big algae mess before your pool can be ready next season.
2. Get the Right Balance—When it is about a week before you want to close the pool for winter, make sure your pool pH (7.6-7.8), alkalinity (80-100), and calcium hardness (150-250) are balanced properly. At this point, shock your pool with a chlorine shock to increase your chlorine level to 10-12ppm. Before you add pool algaecides, winterizing chemicals, or a pool cover, let your chlorine level return to the normal level (1.5-3.5ppm). If you feel overwhelmed managing your chemicals, one of our pool professionals would be glad to help.
3. Clear Your Pool—Next, remove anything that should not remain in the pool, including skimmer baskets, heaters, wall fittings, vacuums, pool cleaners, ladders, slides, handrails, etc. Ensure that all debris has been removed from the top and the bottom of your pool. After, utilize a winterization swimming pool treatment or conditioner to encourage good pool chemistry. If you need help getting materials or performing this step, we can help!
4. Cleanse Your Filter—Perform a final brush and vacuum of your pool. Afterwards, backwash your filter according to a pool professional’s instruction.
5. Reduce Your Water Level—Using your filter pump or a submersible pump, lower your water level to about 4-6 inches below your lowest plumbing line. Without fail, the water level should at least be lower than your skimmer. If you have an above ground skimmer, you can remove it.
6. Start Draining—Your pump, filters, heaters, and chlorinating equipment must all be drained properly and completely. All these components have a drain plug which helps make this possible. You can drain the water out through the drain or utilize a shop vac to clear the line out. This stage of the pool closing process can also be a great time to clean out all the grids and cartridges of your filter. Remove all the plugs from these components to prevent damage and place them in the skimmer basket for safekeeping.
7. Drain Your Chemical Feeder—If you leave chemicals in your chemical feeder, you could damage your equipment during the winterization process. We recommend using gloves and safety glasses whenever you are managing these chemicals.
8. Cover Your Pool—Now, your pool is ready to be secured for the winter season. A quality pool cover will prevent debris and algae from compromising your pool. Also, your family and pets will be safer with the pool covered. Our preferred pool cover is the Loop-Loc pool cover. The Loop-Loc is highly effective and efficient. There are two types of covers: tarps and safety covers. Tarp covers are more affordable, but that is the only positive quality. Tarps are not as effective or durable. You can expect to replace your tarp every few years. Safety is a major issue with tarps because they cannot hold any weight, so if someone falls in, the tarp will not save them. Safety covers not only look better and last longer, but they are considerably safer. They are generally made of mesh or solid material. Someone can walk on top of a safety cover without any danger. Safety covers generally last between 8-15 years.
If you are pondering this question: “Can I choose to not close my pool and leave it open during the winter?” Yes, but explore these factors when making your decision:
- Freezeguard–Many of our clients keep their pools open year-round to prevent the hassle, costs and unknowns associated with closing a swimming pool. Most newer pools with automated systems/ pumps have a freeze guard built into the pool equipment that automatically turns the equipment on in the event temperatures get below freezing. This prevents the pool from experiencing any freeze damage. If you do not have a freezeguard, it can always be added to any swimming pool.
- Chemical Balance–You would continue to maintain the pool as you would in the summer with a much lower demand for energy (pump run time), chlorine, and additional chemicals. You still need to maintain your pool chemistry to prevent damage on pool surfaces and pool equipment. This includes your chlorine, ph, alkalinity, calcium, and cya levels. Most salt systems stop functioning when water temperatures get below 55 degrees so you will need to supplement with chlorine tablets/ granular chlorine when this happens.
- Debris–One of the larger challenges for staying open year-round is handling all the leaves during the fall. At J&M Pool Company, we use large battery powered vacuums with fall bags that dramatically speed up the process of removing debris from the pool. It also helps to empty skimmer baskets daily and blow the deck area as frequently as possible. Another tip is to purchase fall bags for your pool cleaners and purchase skimmer baskets with snorkels to prevent the skimmer baskets from running dry when they get too many leaves. The snorkel allows the basket to pool water from above the leaves.
Many clients enjoy the look and sounds of the swimming pool year-round and do not want to handle the hassle and unknowns of a closed pool with a tarp or safety cover.
If you prefer to leave the closing process to the professionals, call J&M Pool Company when you are ready to winterize your pool!
"Fantastic company. Ben did a great job of explaining their services and starting our treatment. Rich did an outstanding job with the follow up service. He stayed after hours and explained my system to me and how to properly maintain my pool. These guys are real pros and I highly recommend using them for your pool!"