Tips for Winterizing Your Pool
A small amount of time and effort now may save you time and money and greatly increase the life of your swimming pool. Following these steps will make opening and closing your pool an easier and more effective process. These general instructions on how to close an in ground pool and an above ground pool are not intended to replace the expertise and professional level of care that is provided by a professional pool service company. Additionally, some pools may require specific or different care that is not mentioned or addressed here. If you have any doubts or questions, contact your local pool professional and/or contact the manufacturer or your pool builders.
Make sure you start with the right equipment at hand. Supplies that you will need include your swimming pool cleaning supplies, pool cover, plugs for the skimmers and return jets and your swimming pool winter chemicals.
D.E. Filters: Backwash your filter to clean it out. Drain D.E filter tanks and leave backwash valve open. Remember: it is not recommended to “acid wash” D.E. filters at the time of the pool closing. It is best to do it in the spring so you can immediately run pool water through the system. Muriatic acid is very corrosive and may degrade filter parts.
Sand Filters: Backwash your filter to clean it out. Unplug the filter, drain plug and leave off. Put drain plugs with other removed items in the pump basket. Make sure the muti-part valve has no water in it. Blow it out with a shop vac or compressor, if necessary.
Disconnect your pump and filter. Make sure it is totally drained. Remove any drain plugs and store in basket.
Pool Heaters: Drain and make sure there is no sitting water in it. Blow it out with a shop vac or compressor. Remove all plugs and store in pump basket for safekeeping. It is not recommended that you remove your heater tray because you may have trouble putting it back in the Spring.
Loosen and unscrew any quick disconnect fittings or unions. If water is drained out of your pipes and fittings, they cannot freeze.
Remove all return jet fittings. If the fitting cracks or breaks, you can replace it in the Spring.
Take out all skimmer baskets and store. Blow out all return jet pipes using a shop vac or compressor. Hook up compressor or vac to the return lines at the filter or screw the compressor fitting into the drain lug at the pump. It will give you a good seal and allow you to blow out the entire system from one spot. Keep air blowing until air bubbles start to become visible from the return jets in the pool. Put a plug in the fitting under the water when you see the bubbles.
Blow out all skimmer (suction side) pipes in a similar way. Use either a “gizmo” plug or the standard black rubber type plug. It is recommended that you use Teflon tape on the gizmo plug before installing. Usually an empty gallon milk container placed in the pool water will help the skimmer and allow for expansion when the water enters.
Blow out the main drain line. Don’t dive down to plug the drainpipe. When you see bubbles coming out of the drain, plug the pipe on your end or close the gate valve. This will create an “air lock” in the line and no more water should enter the pipe from the poolside.
Water features: Water features on the pool should be drained and the blow out as well. Tape all exposed pipes to prevent anything from getting inside. Remove ropes, floats and store in shed or garage. Remove diving boar, ladders, handrails and slides. Put in a safe, dry storage area. Do the same for your pump and filter (except sand filters). Safely store dive bolts or ladder bumpers so you can find them in the Spring.
Winterizing Chemicals: Mix any granular winterizing chemicals in a bucket so they totally dissolve. Dump mixture in pool (walk it around the pool to distribute evenly). If you have a vinyl liner in your pool, never let un-dissolved granules sit on the liner. The granules will bleach and stain your liner permanently.
Test the pool water for PH and total alkalinity. Adjust to normal levels – PH 7.2-7.6, alkalinity 100-150 p.p.m. Chlorine levels should be at 3.0 p.p.m. for winter.
Draining the Pool: Draining water level down is subject to how you winterize your pool. If you have plugged and blown out underground pipes, you should not have to drain your pool below skimmers. Higher water level is better for your winter pool cover. NOTE: You only have to drain water down in your pool if you have a tile line. Surface water will freeze and expansion could cause tiles to crack. You do not have to remove your pool light provided you keep your water at a normal level.
Pool Cover: Place your pool cover on the pool. Make sure it’s clean and does not have any cracked spots on it.
If you are using water tubes, lay out tubes, place through loops on cover. Fill tubes with water to approximately 85% and tightly seal all tubes. Do not overfill tubes. If tubes are leaking – replace them. Don’t try to repair them. Allow enough slack in tube for water expansion when it freezes. Lay tubes end to end.