Closing Your Swimming Pool
This is the time of year our customers start thinking about finding their snow brushes and shovels, which signals to get your pool ready for winter. As with all things, the more you understand the process, you can ensure better results. Closing your pool is no different: the better you close it, the easier it is to reopen it next season.
First, make sure the pool is clean. Vacuum any debris off the bottom of the pool. It would be best if you had a good chlorine level with no visible algae, and your Alkalinity and pH should be balanced.
Before you disconnect your filter, some winterizing chemicals need to be added. The kit we sell is referred to as a non-chlorine close. We prefer this as it is less harmful to your pool. (The gas produced by chlorine can cause harm to your liner and cover.)
Our kit has three different chemicals, and they come in two sizes – depending on the size of your pool. When using this kit, you will need to add each chemical separately. Choose one of the chemicals and add them to your pool.
Let the pool run for one hour before adding the next one, and run for an hour. When you put in the last one, let the whole pool should run overnight.
If you have a sand filter, be sure to backwash it before you disconnect the hoses.
Now that your pool is clean and has the proper chemicals, you are ready to remove the extra water. The water you remove depends on whether you cover the skimmer and return openings.
My recommendation is to cover and cap both of those openings. Doing so allows you to keep more water in the pool, giving it more stability during a rough winter. I recommend draining your pool two inches below the skimmer opening with this type of cover. This should be enough to keep the expanding ice away from the top of the pool.
The Aqua door (above ground) is our preferred skimmer cover as it has proven to stay on during most winters. You will have to change the current inside trim plate once. It also has a bonus if you lose the cover. It can be purchased separately.
The best way to cap the return jet is to use a threaded plug. You will need to remove three parts before threading in the plug. First, UN-thread the outer ring. This should also remove the eyeball at the same time.
The key in illustration #3 is used to remove the main body if it did not already come out when you removed the eyeball. If the main body is still in place, the key fits into a slot that allows you to remove it. Now you are ready to put the plugin, it will thread right in, and the key can be used to tighten it in.
Note this plug can also be used during pool season as a plug inside the skimmer when you are working on the filter and want to prevent water flow.
Before your cover goes on, you have one more step. Their varying opinions regarding the use of air pillows: here is ours. By placing a pillow under the cover, you accomplish a few things.
Firstly, the pillow acts as a pressure valve. Rather than the ice pushing towards the outer wall, it will push against the pillow, taking some stress off the wall. Second, it helps keep any accumulated debris closer to the wall, so it can be easily scooped out as needed.
There are two ways to install the pillow, it can be tied to the sides of the pool or use a pillow pal that Velcros it to the bottom of the cover. When you fill the pillow, only fill it 2/3’s of the way, put some duct tape across the valve and have that side face up towards the cover.
Putting the cover on is pretty straightforward, be sure to remove your ladder before going to this step. The cover consists of three parts: the cover, the cable, and the cable winch. (If you have a larger pool, we recommend two people for this process.) Once you put the cover on, run the cable through the eyelets. If you have too much cable, it is OK to shorten it.
You should leave yourself at least four extra feet, two at each end. Once the cable is threaded, put the ends through the cable winch as pictured and turn the ratchet handle until the cable is tight.
Before you move on to the next step, walk around the pool and pull the cable at different spots to ensure that it is not hung up anywhere, then go back and tighten the winch again. Repeat this in about two weeks to be sure the cable is as tight as possible.
Put at least one inch of water on the cover to help hold it down. We DO NOT recommend using jugs hanging off the cover as they will likely pull the grommets out of the cover, voiding your cover warranty. Instead, a cover sealer is a better option.
Your last step is the filter. This is just as important as the pool itself, as a cold winter can damage the filter, leading to an expensive repair. There are two major filter types: sand and cartridge. Each one is winterized differently. It would not be a bad idea to take a picture of the hook-up to be you disassemble anything. You can store any essential plugs or small parts in the pump strainer basket to avoid losing them.
A cartridge filter system can be completely drained of water and brought inside a shed or garage. Both the pump and cartridge cylinder have a drain plug at the bottom. The paper cartridge should be cleaned by hosing it off and soaking it overnight in a solution made for cartridge filters. This will help extend the life of the cartridge. If you have an automatic chlorine system, it also has to be drained.
A sand filter is too heavy to move, so it remains outside. However, the pump is still inside, like the cartridge filter. The tank that holds the sand does need some additional steps. First, you want to remove the bottom drain cap and leave it off. Next, remove the top assembly by loosening the screws on the collar and removing any hoses connected to the assembly.
Once you have removed it, it can now be stored in a safe place for the winter. For this next step, you will need a gallon of non-toxic antifreeze. Pour ¾ of the gallon into the sand bed, with the other ¼ poured down the center pipe. Don’t worry if some of it comes out of the bottom drain.
Note: The process is straightforward if your pool is equipped with a center drain. First, start by pounding a stake into the ground near the pool, leaving approximately the same height as your pool exposed. Disconnect the hose coming out of the ground and tie it securely on the stake, so the top of it is above the water level of your pool.
You have now completed closing your pool. Be sure to check on it during the off-season and keep as much fallen debris as possible off the cover.