Pool owners know that the winter months signal an end to to all the fun derived from swimming. It is that time of the year when you lock up shop and prepare to open it again come spring.
One of the questions ingorund pool owners have is this: “How far can I drain my pool water levels”.
This and many more questions will be answered in this article. Do well to dive in.
How to close inground pool for winter
Closing an inground pool for winter is a ceremony of sorts. You must ensure you get it right, so as to keep your pool in the best conditions come spring. Below are steps to follow when closing your pool up for the winter:
- Get your materials ready: The materials you will need for this venture are listed below:
- Winter cover: check it thoroughly for tears and holes. If there any, mend them
- WInter testing kit and chemicals.
- Water bags
- pH adjusters: to increase the pH of the pool if necessary.
- Chemicals to increase or reduce calcium hardness
- Cyanuric acid
- Metal sequestrants
- Prepare your pool: Remove fittings around the pool. This might include your diving board, flotation devices and toys. Ensure you dry them before storing.
- Shock your pool: It is essential you shock your pool. This can be done days before you intend to close it. You would want to kill off any bacteria and organic matter that can multiply over the winter.
- Turn off electrical components: If you possess a pool heater, ensure to dry it out and drain it completely. Open the drain plugs to ensure no water remains. Now turn off the gas valves leading to it and ensure the switch is in “OFF” position. Also shut off power to the pump. If the pump has a timer, remove the timer. Any other electrical fittings in and around your pool should be turned off.
- Test for chemicals: It is important to always run tests for chemicals. This is to ensure they are in the right balance. The pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness should be tested. If there is any deviation from normal levels, it should be corrected. In addition, chlorine levels should be checked. This is due to the fact that excess chlorine can offset the other winterizing chemicals you will be adding later.
- Clean the pool: Get a brush to scrub the pool and surrounding area thoroughly. Use a skimming net too ensure any form of debris is removed from the pool surface. You don’t want anything interfering with the function of the winterizing chemicals.
- Drain water from your pump and filters: This is a very important step. Over the winter, water can freeze. If there is any in the pump or filters, you could end up regretting. When the water turns to ice and then later expands, it can cause cracks or fractures in the pipes. If that happens in the pumps then you should be looking at incurring much serious damages. Hence you must ensure there is no water remaining in the pump and pipes. Use a vac to dry them out. Also, blow the pipes. But if you are not sure you can use antifreeze.
- Plug the skimmer hole. It is recommended to use Gizzmo. Gizzmo is a hollow tube that is plugged into a skimmer to prevent water freezing over in the skimmer. It collapses if water gets into the skimmer and freezes. This way, your skimmer can be protected. Alternatively, you can use a skimmer plate. A skimmer plate seals the skimmer and prevents water from getting into the skimmer. It creates a watertight barrier.
- Prepare your winterizing chemicals. You can get an all-in-one winter closing kit. It usually consists of non-chlorine shock, algaecides, metal sequestrants, scale preventative. They help to keep your pool clean and fresh by the time you open it again.
- Install a pool cover: The pool cover should be properly installed to prevent dirt and debris from falling into the pool. Tuck in the sides, to ensure that it’s a good fit. The water bags are placed on top the cover to act as anchor. They keep the pool cover in place. Note that the water bags shouldn’t be filled completely to prevent them from freezing over. If it freezes, the water can burst the bags.
What chemicals do I need to winterize my inground pool?
The chemicals you will need for winterizing the pool are listed below:
- Pool shock: Can be chlorine or non-chlorine based. It destroys chloramines and ensures clean water.
- Chlorine: Can be in form of tablets or granular form. It helps to kill harmful bacteria and algae.
- Baking soda: Used to raise pH and alkalinity of pool.
- Soda ash: Raises pH considerably, and also alters the alkalinity levels. In addition to this, it is cheaper to use than baking soda.
- Winter algaecides: They help to kill algae of various kinds. Especially the types that grow during winter season.
- Pool antifreeze: Protects pipes from freezing. Freezing can crack or break pipes.
- Muriatic acid: Used in the lowering of pool pH. It also reduces pool alkalinity.
- Stain and scale prevention chemicals: These chemicals help to prevent metal build up.
Should I shock my pool before closing?
If you don’t want an algae and bacteria infestation upon reopening your pool, then you must shock it. This is because your pool will be unattended during that whole period. It is recommended that you shock your pool 5 to 7 days before closure. If this is not possible, do it the night before closure.
How much shock Do I need to winterize my pool?
When closing your pool for the winter, the recommended amount of shock is 2 pounds of shock per 10,000 gallons of water.
How do you close a pool without draining it?
You will have to lower the water level of the pool before closing. Bring it down to a level below the return line.
Should I drain pool below skimmer for winter?
Yes you should.
Bring down the water level to some few inches below the skimmer. If water is left in the skimmer over the winter, it will freeze over and cause expansion in the skimmer. This can lead to damage.
Should I add algaecide when closing pool?
Algaecides are important when closing down a pool. Over the winter, winter algae can bloom. It can be a sorry and messy sight when that happens. For effective treatment, add 1 quart of algaecides to 20,000 gallons of water. This should be adequate for the whole winter period.
How much chlorine do you need to close a pool?
Experts recommend you add 1 gallon of liquid chlorine to 10,000 gallons of water.
What temp should you close your pool?
It is recommended that you close the pool for the winter when the temperature drops really well. When the temperature is below 60°F, you can decide to close. This is because temperatures this low are quite inhospitable to algae. This means your pool will stay cleaner and clearer for long.
On the days that temperatures are a bit warmer, do well to test and also balance the chemicals for more efficiency.
Do inground pools freeze in the winter?
In winter periods temperatures can go really low. If they go below zero, the swimming pool can freeze solid. This is most likely when the water is not circulating but standing still.
It is important in this circumstance to watch out for your pool covers. The sharp edges of ice can tear and damage it.
How many gallons of antifreeze do I need for my inground pool?
In general, the recommended amount of antifreeze is 1 gallon of antifreeze per 10 feet of 1.5 inch pipe. Now this is only if the pipe is filled with water. In this case you might have already drained the pipes, so you would use only a minimal amount.
Note that the pool antifreeze is not for the pool. It is for the pipes. If not you will require quite a large amount to prevent the pool from freezing. Also, you should never put antifreeze into equipment. It can damage them. For instance, antifreeze reacts with chlorine, so it should never be put in the chlorinator.
Should I heat my pool to keep it from freezing?
Keeping your pool warm is the most effective method of preventing your pool from freezing over. But you must consider the heating costs. This is because you might have to run the heater for 12 hours and more per day.
What happens if you don’t close your pool in the winter?
Leaving your pool open during the winter can lead to so many incidents:
- Algae infestation
- Debris and dirt accumulation
Can you turn your pool pump off in the winter?
Even though you won’t be making use of the pool during the winter months, it isn’t recommended that you turn it off. This is because the pool pump keeps the water circulating and can help prevent it from freezing.