How to Close Your Swimming Pool for Winter
Despite periodic 80-degree afternoons here in the Lowcountry, winter is on its way! And that means it’s time to close the pool for the season. Did you know that correctly closing your pool could enormously impact opening your pool next spring? There are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure an easy opening next spring.
• Don’t close too early! Just because the kids are back in school doesn’t mean it’s time to close. We have very mild autumn and winters here in the Lowcountry and it doesn’t get cool until the end of October. Be sure to keep your pool pump running at least eight hours daily throughout the fall and winter (and overnight if there is a freeze warning), unless you completely remove the pump and filter with your above ground pool.
• Balance is key! Just because you aren’t swimming doesn’t mean you don’t need to balance. It’s true that proper water balance helps with swimmer comfort, but it’s important to keep the water balanced for the life of your pool and equipment. Water can fall out of balance quickly and acidic water and ruin your pool wall, liner, equipment, and more. So, make sure you balance all year long. You will use less chemicals throughout the off-season, but you should still get your water tested once per month.
• Saltwater pool owners: your salt system will not work once the water temperature drops below a certain temperature. Usually they switch off at around 55 degrees or lower. This means you are not producing any chlorine. We highly recommend using a chlorine stick or tablet in your skimmer basket during this time.
• If you’re going to use a cover, pick the right one for you! There are three important types of pool covers: a basic pool cover which resembles a tarpaulin, a leaf net or mesh cover that allows water to pass through but keeps acorns, leaves, and more out, and safety covers—for in-ground pools only. With a basic cover, water may accumulate on top and you should use a cover pump as needed so that water does not get into your pool.
• Winter kits are great! During this time of year, you can purchase a “winter kit” which includes a special algaecide and chlorine shock that you add before covering. They are necessary if you cover your pool to ensure that you have no algae growth through our mild winter.
If you take these necessary precautions, opening your pool next spring will be a breeze!