The end of summer is near, which also signals the end of pool season. Remember back in the spring when you opened your pool and discovered a green nightmare of algae? Never again! Follow these simple steps to prevent your above-ground pool from looking like a marsh next spring.
Let’s Get Chemical
The first step to winterizing your pool is to make sure all of your chemicals are balanced. Check the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness levels using a test kit. Since you won’t be adding any chlorine over the winter months, add a shock treatment to help prevent a green pool in the spring. Let the filter run for about eight hours before adding a winterizing algaecide. This product is more potent than a typical algaecide, and will work all winter to prevent new algae growth.
Before disconnecting anything, skim out any debris and vacuum the bottom and sides. Take out your ladder and any other pool toys, chlorinators and smallmouth bass you don’t want to spend the winter frozen in ice.
Water Be Gone
Next, drain the water out of your pool to about 4 inches below the skimmer. Use a hand pump or electric pump to drain the water. Detach the filter and pump from the skimmer, and make sure there is no water in the equipment by using a shop- vac to dry the inside and outside. Don’t leave the pump or filter out in the elements for the winter, as they can crack and cause major problems in the spring. If you have a main drain in the bottom of your pool, purchase pool-specific antifreeze and pour it into the drain until it fills the pipes. Plug everything in the pool, including the drains, skimmer door and inlets.
Since water expands when it freezes, it can put a lot of pressure on your pool’s walls. To prevent this, place a vinyl pool pillow designed for winter use in the middle of the pool. When the ice expands, it will put pressure on the pillow, and not the walls. Next purchase a winter cover for your pool. The cover should be much larger than the pool itself and hang over the edges of your pool by several feet. Use a wire cord to tighten the cover around the walls, and tighten to prevent water and leaves from getting in the pool. If there is excessive rain in the fall, make sure you drain the top of the cover so it doesn’t tear during the winter.
Brace yourselves, winter is coming. Five months of bitter cold, snow banks and slick roads lie ahead of us. But at least your pool will be good-to-go in the spring!