While we are enjoying early fall days and several weekends of swim-time left, now is also the time to think about how to prepare your swimming pool for winter so you can protect your luxury entertaining space during the Northeast’s cool season. Here is why you don’t want to skip winterizing, and five steps a professional pool service will take to preserve your investment.
Don’t Neglect Pool Winterization
Harsh weather can result in damage that is expensive to repair. Freeze-thaw activity can cause pipes to burst, and ice will damage water pumps. If you think your pool heater will keep systems running smoothly while the snow falls, think again. Heaters must be protected and turned off, and the front and rear header drain plugs should be removed, along with disconnecting the pressure switch. All water should be removed from the heater to avoid damage from ice forming.
Filters also take a hit during winter if they are not put to bed before freezing temperatures set in. Expanding ice can cause filter tanks to crack and trigger leaking. Also, you could suffer from swimming pool deck damage if pipes beneath it crack and disrupt the surface.
The bottom line: Can you afford not to winterize your swimming pool?
Winterization should take place before freezing temperatures in New England, and we generally recommend October for this service.
Winterizing includes these five steps.
- Clean From Top to Bottom
- Lower the Water Level
- Adjust Water Chemistry
- Drain Equipment & Blow Out Lines
- Secure the Cover
#1 Clean From Top to Bottom
After skimmer baskets, wall fittings, ladders and other “extras” are removed, it is thoroughly cleaned. Debris is skimmed from the water’s surface, and is vacuumed to remove any silts or algae growth. Thoroughly brushing from top to bottom will assure that the structure is as clean as possible before closing it for winter.
#2 Lower the Water Level
Do not empty out the water during winter. If you drain it completely, the structure could crack from the continuous freeze-thaw cycle that is inevitable in winter. The water level should be lowered by about 3 to 6 inches below the skimmer.
#3 Adjust Water Chemistry
Before closing down for the winter, a professional will check the pH balance of water of the water. After the water rests, algaecides are added. For winter, adjust the pH to 7.2 to 7.8. Alkalinity should be 80 to 120 ppm, and calcium hardness is best at 200 to 400 ppm.
#4 Drain Equipment & Blow Out Lines
Disconnect and drain the filter system, which includes removing all drain plugs from the pump, filter, chemical feeder and heater. Also, water must be removed from the skimmer lines and all filter connections. Otherwise, excess water could corrode and damage parts, and freezing could occur.
#5 Secure the Cover
Secure the cover, and avoid using bricks, stones or other items that might damage the cover.
Winter Watch—Maintaining in the Off-Season
After you winterize, the maintenance isn’t over. Regular service visits from November to March will assure that the swimming pool cover is secure, and cables and anchors are properly attached. A professional will Inspect that there are no mice making homes in your equipment and also check the water levels to prevent tile damage. When water levels are inadequate, tiles can loosen and fall off voiding any tile warranty. Equipment should be inspected even when it’s is not in use to be sure mechanicals are operating efficiently and not wasting energy. And, in general, having an expert eye out year-round will allow you to catch any minor issues before they become costly repairs.
No Surprises in Spring
By safely winterizing for winter and regularly monitoring them in the off-season, you can avoid surprises in spring and dive into the swimming and outdoor entertaining season. Learn more about our pool winterization services. Call us at 845-463-0592 in Hudson Valley, 914-271-7996 in Westchester and 203-212-4800 in Connecticut. Or, fill out our contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.