If you are unfamiliar with the process of closing a pool for the summer, contracting a reputable pool professional is always a good idea. However, if you are a do it yourself kind of person, here are ten easy steps to help in closing your pool until next season!
- Clean the pool:
Vacuum and brush the pool’s walls. If the pool is especially dirty or has a lot of algae, bypass the filter and vacuum on waste out of the backwash line. This will prevent contamination of the filter sand. Place the filter’s multiport valve on the waste position. The pool should be as clean and clear before covering or you could open in the spring to a green pool.
- Balance water chemistry:
The week of the pool closing, make sure the pool waterfalls within the following below.
pH: 7.2 – 7.8
Alkalinity: 80 ppm – 120 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 180 – 220 ppm (vinyl and fiberglass) 250ppm-500 ppm (shotcrete)
- Add shock and algaecide:
Shock the pool, following the manufacturer’s directions. Allow the chlorine level to reach 1.0 – 3.0 ppm before adding algaecide for the winter.
- Store equipment:
Remove and clean skimmer baskets, wall fittings, pool cleaners/ robots, solar blankets and ladders from the pool and store away for the winter in a dry area. Don’t coil pool cleaner hoses tightly. Cartridge filters should be cleaned thoroughly before storing away for winter.
- Lower water level:
Using the filter pump or a submersible pump to lower the water level 12″ – 18″ below the skimmer for mesh covers, and 3″ – 6″ below the tile for solid safety covers and floating covers. Some covers do not require the water to be lowered. Check with the manufacturer’s manual.
- Drain pump, filter, chlorination, and heating equipment:
After the water has been drained and removed from all plumbing be certain to plug all wall inlets and skimmers. All water must be drained or blown out so the pipes do not freeze and crack. After draining, filter grids and cartridge filters should be removed and cleaned thoroughly before storing away for winter. If possible, store the filter and pump indoors. If not, use a shop vacuum or compressor to blow out any water that may still be in the equipment.
Fall closing is a good time to lubricate the pump lid o-rings. If there is a slide valve on the filter, lubricate its o-rings as well. If the pool has a gas heater with cast iron plugs, lubricate these threads or leave the plugs in after draining to prevent rusting.
- Winterize plumbing:
If the pool is in-ground, blow out the lines from the skimmer through the equipment and back to the pool. After doing so, plug the lines at the pool using expansion plugs. If the lines are not blown out, add swimming pool antifreeze into the lines following the manufacturer’s package directions. If the pool is above ground, just disconnect the hoses to and from the pump and filter and plug the wall outlets. Be certain to refill the pool with water after you have blown out the lines and plugged them. For a vinyl liner or fiberglass, you’ll want the water to be filled to the skim line and for Gunite (shotcrete), you’ll want the water to be filled back to the tile line. This is so that your cover will have the water to lay on instead of falling into the pool.
- Cover the pool:
A tight fit of the pool cover is essential. A mesh safety cover is the most desirable and safer. Solid covers will require a cover pump or siphon to remove rainwater and snowmelt. Above-ground pool covers use a cable winch device to secure the cover.
- Relax and plan for the next season.
The pool is now closed! Make a mental list of the enhancements and improvements that can be made to the pool, its surroundings as well as equipment.