23 September 2014
Closing your pool for the winter
As summer comes to a close and the temperature starts to drop, you will want to close your outdoor pool for the winter. In a county with a seasonal climate such as Britain, most people choose to winterise their pool in the latter half of September.
Winterising the pool is essential to ensure that the structure of the pool and its equipment are preserved over the coldest months. This means that you’ll have an easy time re-opening it when spring comes around. Aside from the potential damage caused by frozen water, keeping the pool closed during the winter months is also important to keep the pool clean and free from algae.
Your service engineer will undertake the winterisation process for you and, importantly, provide periodic checks throughout the winter, ensuring that the water is healthy and free of debris.
Before your service engineer arrives, you can get started by removing everything that doesn't need to be in or around the pool, including diving boards, heaters, ladders, handrails, and store them safely until the weather improves.
Balance the pool water: Before shutting down the pool, the service engineer will test that the chemistry of your pool water is balanced. As a guideline, pH levels should be within the range of 7.2 to 7.6, alkalinity within the range of 80 to 120 ppm and calcium hardness within the range of 175-250 ppm. This procedure should be done approximately one week before the pool is closed to ensure that corrosion and scale do not occur over the winter. Winterisation chemicals should then be added to the pool to prevent the build-up of scale.
Reduce the water level: Next, the engineer will drop the water level until it's sitting approximately five inches below the skimmer opening, to avoid water seeping into the opening and freezing during the winter.
Remove the water from your plumbing lines: A vac or air compressor is used to blow the water out of the plumbing lines to ensure that no water is left in the lines to cause damage during the winter. As a precautionary measure, the engineer will also plug up the skimmer and jet openings to ensure water does not work its way back into the lines.
Cover the pool: Using a winter cover is essential for the preservation of your pool in the winter – a mesh cover is an excellent choice. The cover should fit snugly over the pool without any spaces where debris could enter the pool. If your current cover has a fair bit of wear and tear, don't be tempted to patch it up, a new cover is the safest option for maximum protection.
Final measures: It seems obvious but when a pool is not operational, it's important to prevent access to it by locking gates and so forth. If you are concerned about children or pets falling into the pool when it is closed, a security cover can be purchased as a preventative measure. It seems like a lot of work but it will all seem worth it once the spring birds are chirping and you're able to re-open your pool without any hassle or unforeseen damage.