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Although pools are mostly used during summer, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to let it be covered with slimy mess the rest of the year. The pool needs upkeep all year round, including during fall and winter when the pool is unused most of the time. The purpose of doing pool maintenance is to keep it grime-free and ready for the summer or for any occasion when your guests want a dip in freezing cold water.
The pool can accumulate leaves and debris even during winter. Some organisms can thrive in waters even in cold weather. This contributes to water pollution, making the pool unsightly and a favourite breeding ground for bacteria and mosquitoes. Don’t risk your health by having an unclean pool during winter. These tips to protect your pool cleaner will also help to winter-proof your pool:
Close the Pool at the Right Time
When is the best time to close the pool? Well, it depends on where you are. If you’re located in an area where winter comes early, you need to close it early. If you live in a state with mostly sunny weather all year, you may not have to close your pool at all.
In general, the wintertime in the U.S. has a temperature threshold of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature in your state is already lower than this, then you can close the pool. Typically, the winter season starts in late October or early November.
Clean the Pool
Roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Scrub the tiles from top to bottom. Scrub everything that doesn’t look pleasing to your eyes. Pay more attention to the nooks and crannies.
Scrubbing is an effective way of removing the algae spores and debris. The pool brush takes out the murky stains. Once you’re done scrubbing, vacuum all the dirt to get all the trash out of the pool.
Using the typical brush and vacuum combo is great, but with a pool cleaner’s aid, cleaning becomes more manageable. Like a vacuum cleaner, a pool cleaner collects dirt from the pool and stores it inside the machine. Most units have rotating brushes that dislodge algae and stubborn dirt. They move from one place to another using either wheels or tracks.
There are many pool cleaners in the market today that are user-friendly and efficient. They will cover every inch of the pool to ensure the entire area is clean. Some types of pool cleaners include:
- Robotic: The easiest type of pool cleaner to install. Just plug it in, turn it on, and it’s good to go. It uses its filter to trap dirt and debris. Most expensive.
- Suction: the cleaner is attached to the hose, then guides the debris straight to the pool filter. Not the most effective, but recommended for budget-conscious users.
- Pressure side: With this type of pool cleaner, you need to attach it to the pool’s pump pressure. The machine moves at the bottom of the pool in an irregular path. The pressure side is a good balance between quality and price.
To learn how a pool cleaner works, you can watch video instructions online.
Test Water Ph Level
After cleaning, you need a test kit to ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and other water elements are balanced. Here are the standard measurements:
Chlorine level: Less than five parts per million (PPM)
Alkalinity: Between 100 to 150 PPM
pH Level: 7.2 to 7.8
Complying with these standards helps protect the swimming pool from scale buildup and corrosion during the winter season.
It’s also essential to add chemicals to prevent your pool from algae. Algaecide is very useful in protecting from turning the pool into an algae pond. If you have an impermeable pool cover, one dose of algaecide is enough. For the porous cover, use two quantities of the said chemical. The process for water testing is the same for both in-ground and above ground pools.
Shock the Pool
Before you leave the pool for the winter, make sure that you shock it first. Shocking means adding a chlorine tablet into the water to kill all the bacteria left in the water. This step will be more effective if you put the chlorine at night and leave the pump overnight to circulate the water effectively.
If you live in an area where the water freezes during winter, then you need to lower down the water levels to prevent it from overflowing as it freezes. The water level you can keep depends on the pool cover you have. For the permeable, non-vinyl cover, the water level must be two feet below your tile line or skimmer.
Take Out Pool Accessories
This step is crucial, especially if you have a saltwater pool. The salt can cause accessories, such as the ladder, rails, and toys, to rust. Dry them first before storing.
Cover the Pool
The last step of the process is to cover the pool, including the pool pump. If you don’t have one yet, here are some pool covers to choose from:
- Standard (tarp): Keeps sunlight and light debris out, lasts 1-3 seasons. Price range: $75-$225.
- Mesh type: Keeps out debris, but not water. Lasts 10-15 years. Price range: $1,000 – $3,0000.
- Solid type (vinyl): Keeps out debris and water. Lasts 6-10 years. Price range: $1,200-$3,600.
- Automatic cover: Offers superior protection. It lasts 3 years before you’ll need to replace some parts. Price range: $5,000–$15,000.