Winter is coming. Are you prepared?
After a long and very hot summer for most of the United States, outdoor pool owners can finally breathe a sigh of relief… almost. Before closing those outdoor pools, they first need to be winterized and that means one final push to ensure your investment remains safe and easily prepared for the next summer season.
• Clean the pool, thoroughly. Pretty straight forward. However, you want to make sure that the pool is as clean as it can be. Remember, it will be a few months before you even remember you have an outdoor pool and cleaning it now means you won’t have to rush when your members are trying to scale the fences to cool off when summer comes back around. The deck should also be cleaned and protected from any damage that may occur due to freezing water. Organic material lying on plaster surfaces can cause unsightly stains if left for an extended period of time.
• Balance the water. It is vitally important during the dormant winter months that the water is balanced to LSI to ensure the water does not become corrosive or scale forming. This could be something you only test for on a monthly basis.
• Add chlorine. Even though this winter could be one of the coldest yet for many places in the United States(according to the Farmer’s Almanac anyway), it’s a great idea to have a residual chlorine level to not only kill off any bacteria that might have sneaked in at the last moment, but to mitigate any chance that an algae bloom will form. For those in the southern states, adding an algaecide before the cover is put on is also recommended.
• Check the owner’s manual for your cover. Most covers require that the water level is lowered. Exactly how much depends on the recommendations from the cover manufacturer.
• Drain*. If you will be draining the pool this winter, ensure that all water is blown out of the pipes and that all your equipment (heaters, filters, pumps) has been drained, serviced, and properly lubricated, flow meters, lights, and accessory equipment (ladders, diving boards, and handrails) removed. Do not forget to check all hydro-static valves for proper operation. The last thing you want is to see the pool or spa lift up out of the ground due to a changing water table. *(Draining is typically not necessary in areas that do not frequently experience freezing temperatures.)
• Clean inline chlorine generators. If you are using an inline chlorine generator, be sure those are cleaned as well. To find out exactly how your chlorine generator should be cleaned, please refer to your owner’s manual. For most, the process boils down to just a few steps:
1. Try to remove any calcium deposits with a water hose (spray nozzle attached) ***Do no use any type of stick, wire, or brush to clean the cell. This will damage the protective coating on the cell and will negate the warranty***
2. If calcium deposits persist, soak the cell in a 1 part muriatic acid to 5 parts water solution for no longer than 15 minutes.
3. Dump acid / water solution and rise with clean water.
4. If calcium deposits are still present, repeat steps 2 and 3.
• Check inventory and ensure proper storage. Make sure that you have enough balance chemicals for opening day and that they are stored in an area out of the weather and away for other volatile substances. Remember, liquid or granular chlorine should be stored in a separate location than acid. This list is just a sample of what may be required to prepare your pool for the winter season. An in-depth checklist can also be found in your CPO® handbook. Be sure to add to or adjust these lists to suit your specific situation.
Winterizing an outdoor pool not only keeps your investment from becoming a liability, it also offers peace of mind through the long winter months.