CLOSING YOUR POOL
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this summer's hot weather as much as our family did! We used our pool a lot this summer.
Whether you are in a cold or not so cold climate you will need to do a few things. In the week prior to closing your pool you need to:
Balance Water (Bring to pH 7.2-7.6, make any necessary adjustments in calcium hardness, etc)
Brush and Vacuum
Shock the pool
Re-adjust the sanitizer and then add long lasting algaecide
Turn heater off
Reduce filtering times gradually over a week
Drag cover out and inspect and clean if necessary
Remove any ladders, ropes, clean and store
Clean around pool area
Clean and store pool furniture
Whew! Now go have a barbecue or something, take a breather for a day or so!
Cold Weather Climates
Try and close your pool BEFORE the leaves start blowing around! Plan to close your pool when the night time temps start to dip reliably into the 40's and the daytime temps range in the 60's - low 70's. Much sooner than that and you risk an algae bloom. Much later and you could be fishing out a ton of leaves (and then deal with an algae bloom in the spring). Of course if you are a really hard core swimmer or are independently wealthy, leave your pool open for as long as you like!
Drain pool water to below return lines with a shopvac or blower and blow out the lines with a shop vac
Plug returns with stoppers, plug or thread cap's
Blow out skimmer (from pump area) add anti-freeze into the lines. Install gizzmo.
Fill skimmer with anti-freeze
Add special pool anti-freeze to skimmer lines, and return lines, if below ground and shut them down
Pour anti-freeze to skimmer lines, and return lines, if below ground and shut them down.
Add special RV/pool antifreeze to skimmer lines, and return lines, if below ground, and shut them down
Drain filter of water
Inspect filter unit for wear and tear, remove multi-port valve and have a peek at the filtering media, replace with new media every three years, or when you find you can't keep the pool clean
Disconnect pump/filter unit if possible and store where they will not freeze. If not possible, then securely cover unit
Drag out and inspect water bags, sand bags or milk jugs, and fill them.
For vinyl lined pools, reduce the chance of ice damage to your liner by floating several LARGE pieces of Styrofoam in the pool
Roll the cover out over the pool and weight it down securely. During the fall season and before the winter hits, it is a REALLY good idea to pump off excess water from the cover. The cover will collect leaves and water and generally be a mess in the spring regardless, but you will reduce the time spent opening the pool and extend the life of the cover by keeping the junk off of it.
One last note-remember to LOCK your pool gate for the winter!
Warm Weather Climates
If you will not be using your pool during the winter months, you can't really close it, you just reduce your maintenance schedule, since the temperature will still be high enough to promote bacteria and algae growth. Follow the same preliminary steps as above, and gradually reduce your filtering times.
It is STILL a good idea to buy a winter cover for it. Why? You will reduce your maintenance greatly since algae growth will be retarded in the dark, and you will keep a lot of junk out of the pool. PLUS, it makes the pool area ALOT safer. Plan to run your filter a few hours a week to keep the sanitizer level high enough to keep the bacteria and algae at bay. Check the sanitizer level once a week and adjust the filter run time and sanitizer levels accordingly.
Okay, that's a lot of work! By now you are probably snuggling into your sweater curled up with a good book, or if you're like our family, racing to some other maintenance your house needs, and trying to keep your kids out of trouble. After all, it's just about gutter cleaning time, and hey what better time to have a peek at your roof?