That time of year is approaching again, that sad, seasonal inevitability when we have to finally say goodbye and close the pool for the season. Closing the pool can be a daunting task as it is not just a case of whacking a cover over and ignoring it. There are many elements to consider, but fear not, just as we have been all summer, UK Pool Store is here to guide and support you! Here is our 10-step guide to closing the pool for the winter.
- Timing is everything
This time of year is when it becomes just about perfect for pool closing. Outside temperatures have dropped to between 12 – 16 degrees Celsius. Due to lower air temperatures, your cooler pool water has less demand for chlorine so it will last longer over the winter period. Winterising chemicals last about 4 months, so this will help prevent unnecessary outbreaks of algae as we approach springtime.
- Inspect your equipment
Some equipment can struggle when faced with freezing temperature and persistent cold weather so before that sets in, visually inspect each element of your pool, including the general structure itself. Make sure you repair or replace any broken or brittle looking equipment or structural defects as you don’t want these breaking over the winter.
- Test levels before closing
Closing your pool won’t happen over night, roughly 4 days to a week before you intend to completely close the pool, do some tests to make sure the pool is chemically balanced, adjusting things if necessary. Ideally, your pool at this stage should be:
pH: 7.2 – 7.6
Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm
Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm
- Add the winterising chemicals
Always follow the instructions given with your chemicals. However, this will normally require mixing the granular chemicals in a bucket first to make sure they are totally dissolved. You don’t want to risk un-dissolved granules staining your pool lining.
- Drain water down to recommended levels
To start with, drop water levels to about 12 to 18 inches below the return lines. This is to allow any water still in the plumbing lines to drain back into the pool. Next, plug your skimmer and Inlet/Return holes to prevent water getting in as this can freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack, then drain all water from the pump as it has now finished its work for the year.
Tip! Put all drain plugs & o rings in the pump basket to keep them safe over winter, that way in the spring you know where all your plugs & o rings are.
- Shut off any equipment
Equipment is designed to fulfil a purpose; if your pump is left on, it can be damaged without proper water flow so make sure this is shut down. Remember to disable any timers so that the pump does not accidentally restart. Remove the filter drain plug near the base to allow all the water to drain out to prevent frost damage, once empty replace drain plug, and place multiport handle into the winter position if marked on valve. If you have a heater, follow your owners manual for winterising, chlorinators, ozonators, UV generators & salt chlorinators also require winterising if fitted.
- Attach your pool cover
Next up comes the pool cover itself. Always follow the manufacturer recommended instructions and make sure edges are tightly sealed, making the pool completely resistant to winter debris and leaves etc.
Tip! Additional water bags can eliminate leaves blowing under exposed cover edges, keeping your pool free from leaf build up.
- Store your chemicals properly and safely
Remember that chemicals are dangerous elements and should be respected as such. Make sure any open containers are tightly sealed in their original containers and completely inaccessible to children or pets. Keep your pool products in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area away from any other chemical elements such as petrol, paint or any other flammable materials. If you need to dispose of any leftover chemicals, please contact your local council to learn of the recommended facilities to do so.
- Make sure your pool is safe for children
Even though your pool is now closed, with the cover on, a fence or other protective barrier is highly advised.
- The job is not done yet…
You will need to keep an eye on the pool over the coming months. Visual checks of your inactive equipment, fixtures and fittings will be a good habit to have. Also, excessive rains can cause pool covers to sag or stretch so make sure you clear this water off, either with a pump cover or other means. Check for dirt and debris and keep things clean – you’ll be happy you did come the spring. Lastly, in the late autumn, early winter and also around January time, do a quick check to make sure your winterising chemicals are still doing the job.
…. you know what? This blog goes to 11!
- Get a hot tub!
Who says enjoying the water is over come winter? Not us! Our range of amazing inflatable hot tubs are durable, portable, easy to set up and in-expensive, but best of all they provide a year round way to relax… bliss!