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When colder weather sets in, it's time to close your swimming pool for the season. Taking the time to clean it carefully now will make things much easier when the weather warms up again. Here's what you need to know.
What's in it for you?
- Longer life for your pool
- Easy opening next spring
- Improved safety
How to Close Down Your Pool for the Winter:
- Clean up debris. Skim your pool for the final time to remove any loose debris. You'll also need to scrub the walls and floor to remove any stubborn dirt. When you're done brushing dirt loose, vacuum thoroughly.
- Remove and store accessories. Gather pool toys, ladders and cleaning equipment from the pool area. Clean and dry thoroughly before storing for the winter to avoid mold and mildew.
- Balance the chemicals. Do a final pH and alkalinity test. The pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6, while alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm. Add chemicals as needed, and retest until your water is just right.
- Shock and add chlorine. Chlorine should be between 3 and 4 ppm over the winter. This will keep bacteria from invading your pool while you're not using it and make opening easier in the spring. Consider adding an algaecide if algae is a problem for your pool.
- Clean the filter. Follow the manufacturer's directions for your particular filter, making sure to clean it very well or replace filter cartridges as needed. Disconnect the pump, and filter and drain well before storing.
- Drain pool lines. Keep skimmer lines, jet lines and the main line free from water to avoid freezing -- and the burst pipes that can result. Remove directional fittings, and install freeze plugs.
- Drain pool water to the appropriate level. If you live in a location with freezing temperatures, water should be 4 to 6 inches below the skimmer for a vinyl pool or the tile line on a plaster pool. Consider adding pool antifreeze in areas of extreme cold. For warmer areas, fill the pool to the very top.
- Cover the pool. Blow up and install an air pillow in the center of the pool to support the cover, if desired. Install the pool cover, and secure it carefully (this often takes more than one person).