When the first snap of colder fall weather begins, it’s time to think about making sure your pool is prepared for the winter months ahead. But when should you start to think about winterizing your pool? A good rule of thumb to follow is that pool season is over once when the average temperature outside is below 65°. In Chicago, this means you probably want to start planning to winterize between Labor Day and Halloween.
But is winterizing your pool something you should do yourself or something best left to the professionals? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each scenario.
What Do You Need To Know When Winterizing a Pool?
Winterizing a pool has several steps that must be followed carefully to make sure your investment is protected during the long winter months. You want to make sure that when pool season comes around again, you are ready to enjoy yours without facing costly repairs.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
- Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary materials and tools on hand. Proper preparation is key to a successful winterization. Supplies required may include:
- Winter pool cover
- Pool cover water bags or weights
- Skimmer plug
- Pool winterizing chemicals (algicide, chlorine or bromine tablets, and winterizing chemical kits)
- Pool brush and vacuum
- Pool winterizing plugs for returns and skimmer
- Air compressor or shop vacuum
- Garden hose
- Pool antifreeze (non-toxic, specifically designed for pools)
Step 2: Balance Water Chemistry
- Test your pool water and adjust the pH and alkalinity to the recommended levels. You should also shock the pool with chlorine or bromine to ensure it’s free of contaminants.
Step 3: Clean the Pool
- Use a pool brush and vacuum to thoroughly clean the pool. Remove any debris, leaves, and algae from the water and walls. A clean pool is less likely to develop issues during the winter.
Step 4: Drop the Water Level
- Use a submersible pump or a garden hose to lower the water level in the pool. The water level should be below the skimmer and return openings. This will keep frozen water from damaging these components.
Step 5: Winterize the Plumbing
- Start by disconnecting the pool pump and filter system. Drain and clean the pump and filter to prevent damage from freezing water.
- Use pool winterizing plugs to seal the return jets and the skimmer. If you have an in-ground pool, you may also need to blow out the plumbing lines using an air compressor or shop vacuum. This removes water from the pipes to prevent freezing and cracking.
Step 6: Add Winterizing Chemicals
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to add winterizing chemicals to the pool. These typically include algicide and chlorine or bromine tablets. These chemicals help keep the water clean and algae-free during the winter.
Step 7: Install the Winter Cover
- Place the winter pool cover over the pool, ensuring it’s centered and spread out evenly. Use water bags or weights to secure the cover’s edges. This prevents wind from lifting the cover and keeps debris out of the pool.
Step 8: Skimmer Protection
- If you have an above-ground pool, use a skimmer plug to seal the skimmer. This prevents water from entering and freezing, which could damage the skimmer.
Step 10: Add Pool Antifreeze
- You may want to add pool antifreeze to the plumbing lines. This adds an extra layer of protection against freezing.
Step 11: Store Pool Accessories
- Remove and store pool accessories such as ladders, floats, and toys in a dry and protected area for the winter.
Benefits of Professional Pool Winterizing
If all of the steps above seem a bit daunting, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many pool owners prefer to let professionals handle the complicated process of pool winterizing. The best way you can guarantee the safety and security of your pool over the winter is to have a professional take care of the heavy lifting for you. Not only will this provide peace of mind but it will also save you time and give you the opportunity to enjoy the lead-up to fall and winter. Your friends at All Seasons Pools & Spas are experienced technicians and are ready to make sure your pool is ready for anything that winter can bring. With an award-winning reputation, All Seasons can do the heavy lifting so you can spend time doing what you love without worrying about whether your pool or spa is ready to go again when springtime comes.
Chicago has winter temperatures that can put your pool to the test. Whether or not you decide to winterize your pool yourself, All Seasons Pools & Spas is ready to help. Give us a call at 708-349-2222 for expert advice, or to schedule a time for one of our technicians to make sure your outdoor investment is safe all winter long.