As the days begin to shorten and the nights get a tad colder, it’s time to start thinking about closing your pool for the season.
While it’s sad to say goodbye to summer and it may be tempting to keep your pool open as long as possible, it’s important to close it early enough to avoid any weather-related damage.
Of course, when you close your pool will heavily depend on where you live.
For example, if you live in the Southern United States, you’ll likely close your pool later in the year than if you live in the Midwest.
In any case, it’s important to know exactly what steps you need to take to prepare your pool for the winter season. Here’s everything you need to get started:
Closing Your Pool Step #1: Get the Timing Right
If you didn’t know already, timing is everything when it comes to closing your pool.
If you close your pool too early, it will be more prone to algae growth, and this will make your job a lot more difficult when you reopen it the following spring.
But if you close it too late, you’ll be more prone to damage caused by freezing weather.
When it comes to closing your pool, a great rule of thumb is to wait until the pool water is consistently lower than 65 degrees.
This will give you a little more time to enjoy your pool up until the late summer. And, if your pool is heated, you can wait even longer – maybe even until October.
Once you determine that your pool is ready to be closed for the season, you’ll need to begin the closing process one week before you officially close your pool.
So mark this day on your calendar!
Closing Your Pool Step #2: Adjust the pH Level
One of the first steps of closing your pool is to adjust the water’s pH levels, total alkalinity, and chlorine or saltwater levels.
This is done to protect the pool from corrosion or scale build-up during winter shut down and should take place a week before closing your pool.
In order to adjust the water, you’ll also need your filtration system to be up and running, so make sure you do this before anything else.
The chemicals that you’ll need to close your pool for the summer are:
A pH increaser and/or alkalinity increaser
Sanitizer (i.e. Chlorine or Bromine)
But before you apply any chemicals, you need to test the water’s pH and total alkalinity using a pool water testing kit. Depending on the results, you’ll either need to lower or increase the water’s pH (the pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6 and the total alkalinity should be between 80 ppm and 150 ppm).
Closing Your Pool Step #3: Clean and Vacuum Thoroughly
Next up is making sure your pool is squeaky clean! This includes the pool itself, as well as filters, skimmer baskets, and pumps.
To clean the pool, it’s most effective to brush and vacuum any dirt and debris. It may take a couple goes, but the cleaner it gets, the easier it will be to open the following season.
Next, clean the skimmer basket and the pump’s hair trap.
To clean your pool’s sand filter, you’ll want to use a high-quality filter cleaner – this can be purchased at your local hardware store. Just remember to refer to your pool manufacturer for instructions specific to your pool and system.
Finally, after closing your pool, you’ll also want to clean the cartridge filter.
Closing Your Pool Step #4: Remove and Store Accessories
Once you’ve cleaned and vacuumed your pool thoroughly, the next step is to remove and store your pool accessories.
For inground pools, this includes the pool ladder, water slides, and other accessories that you may have.
It’s important to get these accessories out of the pool before the weather gets cold and store them in a safe and dry space.
While most diving boards are removable, they can be left in the pool for the season, but you’ll need to clean and wrap them carefully with builder plastic.
Closing Your Pool Step #5: Shut Off Equipment and Power
If you live in a colder region with harsh winter conditions, it’s incredibly important to protect your pool equipment, such as your filter, pump, and heater.
This means cleaning it and, importantly, making sure that all water is removed – otherwise you risk damage from freezing!
This can be done pretty easily by blowing out the lines, which will remove the water, and then closing the values to prevent any water from re-entering.
Once you’ve removed all the water from your equipment and protected them to your best ability, you can then turn off all the power that runs to your pool.
Closing Your Pool Step #6: To Drain or Not to Drain
When it comes to whether or not you should lower your pool’s water level for the winter, there’s really no straightforward answer – it’s case-to-case and depends on your pool.
For example, if you have an above ground pool, you don’t need to worry about draining the pool. All you need to do is remove the hose from the skimmer and install a winter skimmer cover plate.
But inground pools are quite different. You’ll need to blow out the pipes, which, if you haven’t done before, can get pretty technical. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to hire a professional.
Keep in mind that your pool may be more prone to damage caused by freezing water than others. For example, pools with tiles of the sides can crack if exposed to freezing water. In this case, you’ll want to reduce the water level about 4 inches under the tile finish.
Remember that each pool is case different, and if you want a second opinion about whether you should lower your pool’s water level, it’s best to call in the pros!
Closing Your Pool #7: Add a Winter Cover
A high-quality pool cover not only keeps out all leaves and airborne debris, but also inhibits algae growth, blocks the sun, and protects chemicals from seeping out of the pool.
Before you put the cover on, don’t forget the air pillow. They lie under your winter pool cover and help relieve pressure as your pool freezes.
Next up is putting on the pool cover. This is fairly straightforward, but it may require a pair of extra hands. So before you start, make sure you have someone to help you (or maybe two people depending on the size of your pool).
When rolling out your pool cover, start by spreading it out from the shallow end and making your way to the deep end.
As you’re rolling it out, make sure that you’re locking the cover into the pool's perimeter. Once the cover is on, surround the pool with sand or water bags, and make sure that the edges are sealed so that wind and water don’t get under.
Closing Your Pool Step #8: Call in the Pros!
For those that don’t feel comfortable doing this themselves or want a second option, it’s best to hire a professional.
Every pool has its own requirements for winterizing and a unique shutdown process.
In order to minimize damage and ensure safety, it might be a good idea to contact a professional who is trained to winterize pools.
Thanks for reading! We hope you learned how to get your pool ready for the winter months ahead!