Winter Pool Maintenance: 5 Off Season Pool Care Tips
Whether you have an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool, a pool owner’s responsibilities don’t end when swimming season ends. Proper maintenance of your pool during the winter will help you avoid future problems with algae, corrosion, and buildup, and ensure a clean and successful pool opening.
These simple off-season pool care tips will even help you save money once your pool reopens for the summer.
1. Take time to winterize your pool
Properly closing your pool is one of the most important parts of maintaining it, and it protects your investment from cold-weather damage and from debris that settles to the bottom. When you winterize your pool, you are also protecting your pool equipment from potential damage caused by freezing.
Here are some steps to help you close your pool for winter the right way.
- Clear you pool of debris before closing it up
To prevent bacterial growth during the winter, it's important to make sure your pool is as clean as possible before installing a pool cover. This thorough cleaning will also help prevent clogging of the filtration system.
If you haven't already, this may be the perfect time to look for a robotic pool cleaner. The convenience of simply dropping an automatic pool cleaner into your pool is hard to beat, plus some models can also scrub the floor, walls, and steps. Take Smorobot Tank X11 for reference.
This pool cleaning robot with 188W suction power and triple smart motors features scrubbing brush like wheels that can separate stuck-on dirt and debris from surfaces for easy pick-up. Its excellent climbing capabilities make this robotic pool cleaner perfect for scrubbing pool floors, walls and waterline.
- Test and balance the water
Once your pool is sparkling clean, it is time to test and balance the chemicals to protect the pool from corrosion and scale build-up. First, test the water’s pH level and alkalinity as well as calcium hardness using a pool test kit.
Next, use the corresponding water treatments to get the pH between 7.2 and 7.6, the alkalinity between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm), and the calcium hardness between 200 ppm and 400 ppm.
Once your water is balanced, you can add some additional chemicals to keep your pool water clean and clear all winter long. These chemicals vary depending on where you live and include algaecides, pool enzymes, and antifreeze.
- Shock and chlorinate your pool
It is recommended to introduce a pool shock which is a superchlorinating powder and closely follow the manufacturer's instructions when doing so. By shocking your pool, you are adding enough chlorine to sanitize the water and destroy the buildup of chloramines.
- Lower your pool’s water level
This step usually only applies to those pools is in danger of freezing so if you live in a warm and dry climate, this step may not be necessary.
Ideally, your water level should be below the tile border or 10 to 18 inches below the skimmer if you don’t have a tile line. To bring the water level down simply run your filter or use a siphon pump.
- Backwash your pool’s filter and pump
The process will vary depending on the type of filter you have. For sand filter backwash it thoroughly and be sure to flip the valve back to filter once you are done. For cartridge filter, remove it first and then wash it with pool filter cleaner or muriatic acid. Once rinsed let it fry before storing it.
- Clear your pool pump’s lines
If you live in a warm climate, you can skip this step.
If you live in a climate where the temperature can drop to freezing or below and you choose to blow out the lines, make sure they are as dry as possible to prevent winter damage and cracking. Since this is a delicate process, we highly recommend hiring a pool expert.
- Remove all pool accessories
Accessories such as ladders, rails, and diving boards should be removed and put away to prevent rust and ensure the pool cover fits properly. Clean all accessories and dry them well before storing them in a clean, dry place.
- Install your winter cover
When choosing the right pool cover, the most important part is making sure your pool is safely and completely covered, with no room for debris or small animals.
There are two main types of covers to choose from: mesh covers, which are usually more affordable but still allow debris to enter the pool, and solid vinyl covers, which require a pool cover pump to remove rainwater from the top.
2. Monitor your pool’s chemical balance weekly
During the off-season, it is important that you continue to balance your pool water chemistry weekly to ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness are within standard ranges. Additionally, and while the growth of algae slows down during colder months, should the temperature rise above 60°F before you open the pool for the summer, use a dose of algaecide at least once per week.
3. Monitor your pool’s water level
4. Keep an eye on your pool winter cover
Periodically check your cover cable to make sure it’s tight and the cover is properly fitted. Regularly remove any leaves, sticks and other debris that accumulate on your pool cover with a regular broom or a rubber squeegee. Be sure you use your pool cover pump to remove any water from the cover.
5. Open early
Open your pool before the temperature and water gets too warm to reduce the chances of algae and bacteria growth. Plan ahead and make sure you buy all the supplies you'll need to keep your pool running smoothly before swimming season.
Once you open your pool, start with a deep cleaning: vacuum and brush any organic debris from the pool surface, floor and walls. Automatic pool cleaners like this one will make cleaning your pool a breeze. Enjoy our end of season promotion and get $120 off our most popular robotic pool cleaner while supplies last.
How do you get your pool ready for the winter? Leave us your tips on the comments!