Fall is coming to the beautiful Northwest. If you’re not yet convinced about the amazing pool covers we featured recently in the blog, it’s just about that time again… Time to get the kids out of the pool and get it ready for winter.
The fall pool closing tips below come to you courtesy of Pool Life, the online magazine for pool & spa owners.
The only caveat to the “BEST” system we’d add is that we’ve seen how draining the pool down and blowing out lines can leave permanent lines in the plaster, so we usually tell clients to circulate the water if the temperature drops into the 20s for more than a few days.
And it’s also a very good idea to throw kickboards or something compressible into the pool or spa to prevent any ice that forms from pushing on the tile wall and doing serious damage.
When the temperature drops and the kids swap their swimsuits for school uniforms, it’s time to pull out your pool-closing checklist.
If you’re a new pool owner, it’s a good idea to have a professional close your pool the first time. Owners who have been through the process at least once can close their pool in four easy steps. Just remember the acronym B.E.S.T. (Balance, Empty, Store, Tidy).
Here are few more fall pool closing tips. Balancing the water is arguably the most important step in closing your pool. A good chemical balance prevents corrosion, staining and algae growth, says Rick January, technical services representative with Arch Chemicals, Inc., now part of Lonza.
Start by running the circulation system and balancing the pH and alkalinity levels. Then stop by your local dealer with a sample; your dealer can help you determine whether you need to add any additional chemicals before closing.
If shock is recommended, be sure you’ve removed all physical debris from the pool (sticks, leaves, etc.), and vacuum or brush the liner to remove any additional contaminants. Then shock the water to address any chlorine demands and kill any existing algae.
If your water test revealed a presence of metals, January says, “You will want to include a staining preventer to avoid staining over the winter.”
It is important to leave some chemically balanced water in the pool throughout the winter to keep algae and contaminants away, January says. So although you won’t completely “empty” the pool, you will need to drain the water below the skimmer, blow out the plumbing lines from the filter and drain equipment including:
- The pump
- The drain
- The heater
- Vacuum equipment
- Any toys that might have collected water and might freeze over the winter
When you get to the “S” in “B.E.S.T.”, you’ll have already completed the hard work of balancing and draining the water. To avoid new contaminants from entering the water, put the cover on right away. A good cover will keep out contaminants as well as light and heat that could trigger algae growth.
In addition to properly storing the water away beneath your cover, plan to safely store all chemicals.
“The best thing to do if you have liquid chemicals is to use those before the end of the season, particularly if you have sanitizers and shocks,” January says, noting that these could degrade over the winter months.
For chemicals you are planning to keep, January recommends pool owners follow these three rules:
- Do not store liquids above solids.
- Keep oxidizers away from other chemicals.
- Keep all chemicals out of the weather.
Once the cover is on and the chemicals are stored safely, it’s time to tidy the pool area and stow away any remaining equipment. This includes storing your filter, pump, heater, vacuum equipment, ladder and automatic cleaners. You may also opt to store your hoses, skimmer baskets and drain plugs—just make sure you put them in a place where you can find them next year.
While you prep your equipment for the cold, January says to inspect all equipment for any damage or degradation that could be repaired or replaced during the offseason.
“If you get things right in September, then spring is going to be a lot easier,” January says.
Hope these fall pool closing tips are helpful As always, if you have any questions or need some coaching on closing up your pool safely and completely, just email us or give us a call at 503–631‑4816.
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