Fall is here, and winter will be here soon. After winter, there’ll be spring, the end of the off-season, and you can swim again. What’re these off-season pool care tips that you can apply to protect your swimming pool and make reopening as smooth as possible?
Whether it’s fall, in the middle of the off-season, or you’re about to open your pool, these off-season pool care tips are pretty helpful. They’ll help you get through the closed period and ensure your swimming pool stays operational-ready all winter long.
Clean Your Pool Cover Frequently
It might seem obvious, but at the time, we forget to check our backyard when it’s all snowy. But that shouldn’t be the case with your swimming pool.
If you allow the leaves, twigs, and other debris to accumulate on your pool cover and mixes with stagnant water, it can end up in your pool, and removing the whole thing can be a real mess.
Get a pool cover rake and remove the leaves. You could also use a mesh cover on top of the winter cover at the beginning of the winter to collect all the falling leave that may land on the pool cover.
Once the shedding is over, you can remove the mesh cover together with all the leave, leaving your pool cover. That will make it super easy to clean the pool cover during and after winter.
If you’re using a solid, winter safety cover and water collected on it, get a submersible cover pump or a sump pump and drain the water before it comes too much.
Use an air pillow under the pool cover and at its center to protect it from heavy snow and ice damage.
The pillow can also help disperse the water and debris collected on the pool cover to all the sides, making it easy to clean during removal.
Adding some water to the cover can stabilize it from the wind but try your best to protect it from the debris.
For an above-ground pool, the best action is to keep checking the pool cover to ensure it stays tight. When the cables loosen, your pool cover might slip into your pool.
Keep checking the air pillow to ensure it has air in it. If it’s leaking, you better get another one and slip under and blow it since it’ll be tough to drop it when inflated.
If algae found its way to your pool even after a perfect close, it can complicate your reopening. This nasty stuff can turn your perfect clean pool into a green swimming pool that would consume your precious time during the reopening.
Since algae stay dormant during the cold season, you might notice them in your pool. It might even be algae spores that were found there.
When the pool water starts to warm up, the algae will begin to grow. The best solution here is to add a mid-winter algaecide to your swimming pool can help.
Besides killing the already present algae in the swimming pool, it can help protect it, at least until you open it.
Balance your water chemistry
Maintaining your swimming pool entails more than just adding pool chemicals during the start of the off-season.
If the water alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, or cyanuric was unbalanced, it could take your pool maintenance to a complicated level.
It’d be best to test the water chemistry during the off-season and balance it at least weekly. After maintaining the chemicals, add an algaecide to kill any algae that might have been left.
You could also add a pool starver to remove phosphates in your water and starve the algae. Starving them means killing them.
Keep an Eye on Your Pool Equipment
After closing the pool, you still need to keep an eye on the pool equipment. Don’t just dump them in the storage and forget.
They can collect dirt and other contaminants that you might forget to wipe down next time you use them in your pool.
One thing to check frequently is the filter gauge and filter itself. Since you might be reconnecting the filter system from time to time during the off-season, perform backwashing or clean the filters if you use the cartridge type.
While at it, check the pool pump, exposed plumbing, and the pool heater for malfunction and leaks. If any found, get it fixed right away; don’t wait until it’s time to reopen.
After all the cleaning and maintenance, ensure no water is left in this equipment since the winter freezing could cause damages to them.
Check Your Pool System for Freezing Signs
When water freezes, it expands. The expansion can crack any plastic in your pool. That’s why you must blow out all the water in the pool plumbing system before closing.
However, off-season cold could lead to water build-up in the pool filter system and the pool heater. It’d be best to keep an eye on them; if you find any water, get rid of it immediately. Make sure the filter system stays dry.
You can add some antifreeze chemicals to add a layer of protection.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Weather changes differently during the winter, and that can have an impact on the pool water. If it rains too much, the water could get in and dilute the pool chemicals.
The same could happen if you’re using a mesh cover. If there is a water level increase, test and balance the pool before the freezing temperatures kick in.
You can use a digital pool tester; it’s easy to use and accurate compared to test strips or liquid test kits.
Add Enzyme Chemicals
One thing that most pool owners forget to do during the off-season is adding enzyme chemicals. During the closed period, a lot can happen, especially if you’re using a mesh cover.
Organic contamination could take place, be it animal droppings, pollen, and the likes. The enzymes can help break them down before they can start staining your pool.
If you have ever found a green or brown ring around the water level when reopening your pool in the previous springs, that was the main culprit. Now you have the chance to prevent it by using adding the enzyme chemicals.
Add Some Chlorine
This tip answers the question, ‘do I need to add chlorine to my pool in the winter.’ It’s a common question in pool owner forums.
The answer is YES. Adding some chlorine to your swimming pool in the middle of the off-season gives strength to the already-existing chlorine.
It cautions against algae spores that might have escaped the algaecide. It’s also a protective measure to take if you’re not ready to reopen your pool and the weather is getting warmer.
It’s at this time that the algae start to grow. The chlorine will kill the spores before they can begin to grow.
Refill or Drain Some Water
Another pool maintenance during winter is to keep checking your pool water level. The correct water level protects the pool pump while also keeping it primed.
The ideal water level for your pool during winter depending on the climate of where you live. If your swimming pool is in a spot that experiences a warm winter, it’d be best to keep the water filled to the top.
But if you live in a place that experiences freezing temperature, it’d be best to keep the water level 4-6 inches below the pool skimmer during the off-season.
Remember, when adding the water, use a hose filter to avoid adding contaminants that you can’t correct during the off-season.
Open Your Pool Early
If the off-season near the end, the cold season is ending, and the weather is starting to warm up, it’d be best to get your swimming pool ready for opening.
That will help you avoid having to deal with algae growth. During the closed period, you hardly move the water, and the chlorine depletes quite first.
Adding a pool winterization kit can help balance things out and get you ready for the opening. Pool maintenance after winter could get relatively more straightforward for you.
Q: Should I add salt to my pool in winter?
A: Once you add the salt when closing your pool, there is no need to add it in the winter. Salt doesn’t dissipate; however, if it was to rain and the pool water increases, the salt will be diluted by the additional water. That would require you to add some salt. Use salt test strips to know how much salt to add.
Q: Do you need pool service in the winter?
A: During the off-season, you only need to do the essential pool maintenance, and these tasks are DIY capable. If you can do it yourself, why hire pool service? I don’t see the need. But if you don’t have time or you went for a vacation, then it’s a must you get a pool service to take care of your pool when you’re gone.
Taking some time to care for your pool during the off-season can make a positive impact when you open it in the spring or summer. These tips will guide you on a series of things that make the whole closing thing a breeze for you.