After the end of a hot summer, you’re probably not planning on using your pool often. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can forget your pool duties. With winter on the horizon, it’s essential to prepare your pool for the winter months ahead, especially if you live in a climate where rain, frost and snow are common. Protecting your pool from the harsh winter weather will keep it working effectively, ready for when you’re next planning to use it!
So, what can you do to keep your pool maintained during the cooler months?
Balanced water helps your pool to work more efficiently. Ideally, the PH of your water should be between 7.2 and 7.6. You can shock your pool using unstabilized chlorine, keeping your pump running for up to 12 hours to disperse it to all parts of the swimming pool.
While your pool may not have algae, adding a phosphate remover obliterates its food source, keeping any algae at bay during the winter. Again, you’ll want to keep your pump running for up to 12 hours to distribute the remover around your pool.
Next, turn off your skimmer valve, draining the water to around 4 to 6 inches from the bottom of the skimmer. This prevents any winter rainfall from causing your pool to overflow.
The next step to prepare your pool for winter is to remove leaves and debris from the water. That includes removing dirt from filters, skimmer and pump basket. Anything left in your pool can sink to the bottom and stain it, so it’s important to ensure it is clean.
Cleaning isn’t the most desirable task in the world, but scrubbing the bottom and sides of your pool will leave you less work to do in spring. Use a pool brush and pool cleaner to buff around the bottom. Thorough brushing will also dislodge any build-up so it’s always a good idea to get your pool sparkling, eliminating any last traces of bacteria and algae. If you have a fibreglass or nylon pool, your pool brush should have stiff poly or nylon bristles which won’t damage your walls. A combination of nylon and steel bristles works well on concrete pools to give you a thorough clean.
There are a few things to know about cleaning your filter correctly. Filter maintenance is often a forgotten step, but regular cleaning, especially when you’re prepping your pool for winter, keeps it working at an optimal level for healthy water.
How you clean your pool filter depends on the type you have.
These can simply be removed, hosed with water, and cleaned with a special cartridge cleaner to remove any scale, oils or trapped debris.
If you’re using a diatomaceous earth filter, backwash it as below and recharge it with additional DE powder.
You’ll know when a sand filter needs cleaning as water flow will reduce and the pressure on the filter will rise. Sand filters require backwashing while running it in reverse. Get rid of the wastewater, then run the filter in rinse mode before reverting back to the normal setting. Finally, chemically clean the filter with a specialized cleaning solution.
Take a look at the pump to check it’s in good working order. In winter, it’s best to run the filter, pump, and chlorinator for at least four hours each day. This will keep your pool clean and in good working order, ready for use in the hotter seasons.
Disconnect your water supply from the heat pump. Next, disconnect the heat pump itself, removing any excess water from the pump. You can use a heat pump winter cover to protect it from moisture. To prevent frost getting into the skimmers, use a skimmer guard. A guard protects against water expansion damage caused by freezing, helping you to save money as you won’t need to replace your skimmers in spring.
It’s now time to remove your summer pool cover. Hose it down with warm water and store it in a dry place. Placing a winter cover over your pool keeps any leaves and debris away. Tie it as tightly as possible, but remember that you’ll require a safety pool cover if you have any young children or pets. Additionally, you can use icebreakers to protect your winter cover from ice and snow – simply put them across the water diagonally to strengthen your cover.
Preparing your pool for winter may seem like a lot of work but regular maintenance prevents weather damage, in addition to the growth of algae and bacteria. By the time you’re ready to use your it again, you’ll be thankful you’ve got a sparkling pool to splash around in!