How to Prepare Your Pool for Winter
While it can be warm enough for a few days to swim in the pool, if you have your own, it’s probably time to turn it off for the season (if you haven’t already). Yes, it can be troublesome and take a while, but there will be less work getting the pool ready for winter now than fixing everything (including any potential cold damage) early next summer.
Purify the water
You don’t want bacteria to hibernate in your pool, so the first step is to clean it as usual to get rid of dirt, debris and scale. In addition to using a skimmer to remove floating debris from the pool surface, vacuum and clean the sides and bottom of the pool, and then clean any parts that have mold and dirt.
Get the Chemical Levels Correct
Start by testing and balancing the chemicals in your pool water as you have done all summer. You need to get a pH of 7.2 to 7.6, an alkalinity of 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm), and a calcium hardness of 180 to 200 ppm, according to Scher and Franco.
Then add winterization chemicals, a superchlorinating powder called pool shock, and then add algicide. Rather than buying all of these chemicals separately, Cher and Franco recommend buying a pool cover kit that has everything you need in one place.
Remove some of the water from the pool.
If you live somewhere where temperatures drop below freezing in winter, you will have to lower the water level. For pools with mesh covers, this means the water level should be 12-18 inches below the skimmer. Those with solid lids want the water level 3 to 6 inches below the tile.
If you have an underground pool, you can lower the water level by turning on a filter or using a siphon pump. If you have an aboveground pool, you can skip this step: just remove the outlet hose from the skimmer basket, write Cher and Franco .
Then, clean and flush your pool filter and pump, including cleaning the pool pump tubing. Then be sure to remove all accessories such as ladders and diving ladders. Finally, install a winter pool cover.
For more information on preparing your pool for winter, check out the rest of Cher and Franco’s article.