As the summer swimming season draws to a close, it’s time to turn your attention to winterizing your pool.Â Most pool managers have been through this drill a number of times before, but it never hurts to provide reminders.Â The following information is courtesy of the Meredith Swimming Pool Company of Greensboro, NC.
- Never stop maintaining your pool.Â Just do it less frequently during the off season.
- When possible, cover your pool. Â This keeps the water cleaner and cuts down on chlorine demand.
- Run your pool’s filters twice a week when no one is using the pool and water temperature is below 55 degrees.Â Run you filter for eight hours each time.
- Routinely shock your pool. Â When you filter less, the free available chlorine level needs to be increased. Â Shock the pool to a level of 5 ppm (parts per million) when you first shut it down and then once or twice a month as needed to maintain that level.
- Don’t forget to test the water.Â You must keep the free available chlorine level above 1 ppm.Â The pH must be kept between 7.2 and 7.8 in order for the chlorine to work effectively.
- Empty and clean your skimmers and strainer basket regularly.Â If you do not cover your pool, you will need to vacuum and brush the surfaces as needed.
One of theÂ contributors, Bruce Furman,Â adds the following steps to his winterization:
- Backwash after every vacuuming.
- Drain water from the accessory (gadgets and gizmos) pumps with a wetvac.
- Put a small amount of antifreeze into the inlet strainers to ensure pumps don’t freeze.
- Shut off breakers to the pumps.
- Turn off interior pool lights and shut off breakers.
Physical Maintenance for Pools
While the following maintenance instructions apply year round, they also apply during the off season when pools are often neglected.
Brushing â€“ Brushing is essential, even for pools with an automatic cleaner.Â Without brushing, air pockets form on the walls and bottom and promote algae growth.Â Brushing also clears debris and the early stages of algae growth from areas that receive poor circulation.Â If the pool is brushed once a week, it eliminates these air pockets and cleans off the surface to allow the sanitizer access to any organic growth that may be present on the walls.
Vacuuming â€“ If you do not have an automatic cleaner, vacuuming is necessary to eliminate dirt and debris that falls to the bottom.Â This matter makes the pool look unsightly and can also promote algae growth.
Filtering â€“ The filter should be running a minimum of 8 hours a day, and these 8 hours should be continuous.Â It is most helpful if these 8 hours are during daylight, when more of an environmental load will be put on the water. Â Inadequate filtration is one of the most common causes of cloudy water.Â The filter media should be chemically cleaned every 6-8 weeks.
Wash off all poolside furniture to remove residual chlorine from bathing trunks and oils from lotions and sunscreens.
Inspect all poolside furniture for necessary repairs and separate those needing repair from the others before moving to winter storage.Â Furniture needing repair should be set aside for repairs over the winter months.
A thorough pressure cleaning of pool decks is recommended after shutting the pool down for the season.Â Â This will help clear away all food debris and grease, as well as chemical residues, and ensure a longer deck life.
Contributors:Â Bruce Furman, General Manager, The Peninsula Yacht Club and George Frederick, Operations Director, East West Partners Swim and Tennis Clubs