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Closing your Pool Down for Winter

Closing the pool for the year is quite a sad event; we are waving good
bye to the sun and the relaxed atmosphere that it brings and preparing for
the winter ahead wondering whether this year will bring cold winds and lots of snow or plenty of blue skies and crisp fresh air. As the weather gets colder and the leaves start to fall from the trees, it’s time to turn your thoughts to winterizing your pool; in effect this is the most important job you have to do in autumn as failure to care for your pool now, could mean

First, completely clean the walls and floor with a pool vac. Disconnect the pump and filter, wash them and leave the backwash valve open but make sure that they are drained of all water. If you have a sand filter, unplug the filter drain plug if your pool has a heater, drain it and ensure that it is completely dry. Remove any drain plugs as well as jet fittings and skimmer baskets. Loosen and unscrew any fittings to the pump and filter system to avoid cracks when the weather starts to freeze. You can use a compressor of pool vacuum to dry out all of the pool parts. Make sure that all of the items you remove from your pool have no water in them and store them in a safe place ready for the spring. Clean and dry out the skimmer pipes use duct tape to create a tight seal. Water can easily freeze in a skimmer and crack the plastic. There needs to be something in the skimmer to allow for water expansion when it freezes, something like a plastic pop bottle is sufficient. Blow out main drain line – you know this has been successful when you see bubbles coming out of the drain. The idea with the drain pipe is to protect it by making an air lock in the line so that no more water can enter the pipe. Cover all exposed pipes with duct tape to prevent anything from getting into them.
Adding chemicals
Your local pool supply shop will be able to provide you with the necessary winterizing chemicals; alternatively you can buy them online from a variety of suppliers worldwide. Pour in any liquid winterizing chemicals and mix any granular winterizing chemicals in a bucket so that they are totally issolved and add them to your pool water; undissolved granules will settle and stain the pool floor especially if your pool is made from a plastic liner. Test the pool for pH and Total Alkalinity and adjust to normal levels. The pH reading should be between 7.2 - 7.6 and alkalinity between 100-150 ppm.
Adjusting the water level.
There is much controversy over the level of water that should be left in the pool over winter. In effect if you have a liner pool, you don’t have to drain any water out of the pool so long as you have properly blown out and plugged all of the underground pipes. If you have ceramic tiles on your pool, you need to drain the water down to a point below the skimmer to avoid the surface water freezing and expanding causing the tiles to crack.

Covering the pool
Cover the pool with a winter pool cover ensuring that there are no tears in the material from the previous year. Investing in a winter cover will help save time spring cleaning leaves and debris from your pool. If a large amount of water collects on top of your pool cover remove it by using a siphon or cover pump, failure to do this could result in the cover tearing from the excess weight of the water.