24 August 2017
Closing your outdoor pool for winter
Although we wish Britain had the climate to support an outdoor pool all year round, it gets rather too cold in the autumn and winter months. As the summer sunshine begins to wane, you'll need to think about closing your outdoor pool. It's essential in preserving the lifespan of the pool and its equipment. Most people in this country choose to “winterise” or close their pool in late September.
Reasons to close a pool
Closing the pool will protect it if (or when) temperatures drop below freezing. If pool water freezes it can cause all sorts of damage, including cracking tiles and bursting pipes. Other issues include algae growth, which will present a tiresome barrier to getting back into the pool as temperatures rise. By properly closing the pool, you'll have an easy time re-opening it when Spring rolls around.
The closing process
Your service engineer will undertake the winterisation process for you. The service engineer will also perform periodic checks on your pool throughout the winter, ensuring the water is healthy and free of debris. However, you can help by preparing the pool before the engineer arrives.
Balancing the Pool Water
Before shutting down your pool, the service engineer will ensure the chemistry of the pool water is balanced. As a guideline, pH levels should be within a range of 7.2 to 7.6, an alkalinity of 80 to 120ppm and a calcium hardness of 175 to 250ppm. This test will be done a week before the pool is closed to prevent corrosion and scale problems occurring over the winter. Winterisation chemicals are added to the pool to further prevent any scale accumulation.
Your service engineer will then drain some of the water from the pool. It should sit approximately five inches below the skimmer opening. This will prevent water from seeping into the opening and then freezing during the winter.
Removing Water From Plumbing Lines
The engineer will use a vacuum or air compressor to blow water out of the plumbing lines. This will prevent any damage from freezing water. As a precautionary measure, the service engineer will also plug the skimmer and jet openings to stop water from working its way back into the lines. Some pools may not require a system draining, specifically those fitted with a safety cover or frost stat/timer fitted.
Covering the Pool
A winter cover is a necessity for any outdoor pool. It is essential in preserving your pool for winter. A mesh cover is probably the best choice. It should fit snugly over the pool without any spaces or gaps, otherwise, debris might enter the water. Although it might be tempting to patch up an old cover, it's always best to err on the side of caution and buy a new one. If your cover fails to do the job, it means all the effort to winterise your pool is wasted.
Your service engineer will visit periodically over the autumn and winter to ensure the pool is still in good shape. That will mean re-testing the water chemistry, checking the pipes and ensuring that debris has not found its way into the pool. Although your cover should prevent most of these things, harsh weather conditions can be a test for any protective measures.
Aside from your service engineer, there's no need for anyone to access the pool in the winter. Parents may want to install a locking gate or even a security cover to prevent children or pets from accessing the closed pool.
At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool maintenance, servicing and refurbishment, so if you have a pool that’s in need of regular maintenance or a facelift, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice. If you have an older swimming pool that needs upgrading, we suggest planning your refurbishment for the autumn, so all the work is done and dusted before the next swimming season.