If you are the proud new owner of a pool this year, or you have owned a pool for years, it is important to know how to shut it down properly leading into the colder autumn and winter months. All too often, pool owners will ignore some key factors that will a) make life a whole lot easier when they want to use their swimming facilities again, and b) keeps the pool from being easily damaged and prepares it to survive the winter months. Using the steps below, you can keep your pool in check.
1. Make sure you have everything you need
Before you start this process, there are some key products, chemicals and items that you will need to successfully shut down your pool. This list is the following:
Water test strips (used to check the pH balance in your pool)
Water pump (these can be easily obtained from a pump hire company)
Total alkalinity increaser
pH increaser or decreaser
Calcium hardness increaser
Algaecide (helping to kill any algae trying to grow in the damp environment)
Scale, metal and stain control
Pool anti-freeze (This is only necessary for extremely cold weather conditions)
Safety equipment: Goggles and Gloves
2. Pool closure is climate dependent
If you live in a warmer climate, closing your pool for the winter season can require a different method. For example, you may not have to use pool anti-freeze, and may have to continuously treat the pool throughout the winter months. These steps are to ensure that anyone living in a colder climate can close down their pool effectively.
3. Running your filter
You need to run your filter continuously for 1 to 2 days before starting your pool closedown. This ensures that all the dirt is removed from the pool, and helps to circulate and clean the water. The cleaner the water is before you begin treating it with chemicals, the better.
4. Testing the water
The next step is to test your water. Ensure that you know what pH levels, water hardness and alkalinity levels your pool is resting at before you begin treating. A proper balance of these chemicals is vital to prevent the build-up of calcium deposits and make the water less corrosive.
5. Cleaning up the pool
Before cleaning your pool and closing it for the winter months, you need to make sure that all and any pool accessories are removed. This includes things like ladders, diving boards and other removable pool accessories that you may have. Use you pool skimmer, vacuum and brush to give the pool a good and thorough clean. Again, this is to ensure that the pool is as clean as possible before you begin to treat it with chemicals for the winter months.
6. Pumping out water
Using a pump of your own or hiring one from any hire companies in your area, you should pump out enough water from your pool so that the water level drops by around 6 inches. Make sure that you are pumping the water out into buckets or straight into a drain, as pool water pumping onto a lawn can cause it damage, due to the chlorine and chemicals present.
7. Freeze plugs and mechanics
Firstly, make sure that you turn off your filter pump and any other mechanics that you have running for your pool. Drain all the equipment to make sure that there is no water left in the machinery that could freeze in the colder weather. Secondly, if you do not have freeze plugs already, you need to go out and get some, these are used to stop the internal pipes freezing and cracking. Freeze plugs can be purchased from any pool or pool accessory store. When you have your plugs, insert them into the nozzles leading into and out of your pool.
8. Chemical treatment and covering
Pour the correct balance of chemicals into the pool, the exact measures can vary, depending on the size and volume of water that you have in your pool. The exact balance of chemicals for your pool should be found in your pool instruction manual.
Lastly, make sure that you have a sturdy, quality cover to go over the top of your pool. It is important that it is secured tightly, and that there are no gaps around the edges. The importance of this is three fold, firstly to ensure that no wildlife can get into your pool. If there are gaps where animals can squeeze in, the result is extremely unpleasant when you come to use your pool again. Secondly, a tight cover will keep the heat in, protecting the water somewhat from the outside weather. Thirdly, it stops excess dirt from pouring into your pool; you need to make sure that you keep your pool as free from outside debris as possible.