It may still be hot outside, but as Kayla mentioned, fall is definitely on its way. Growing up, Labor Day weekend was the last call for pool season. I love swimming, so after the pool closed, as far as I was concerned, summer was over.
I lived in apartments with a trusty staff to take care of the pool at the beginning and end of the season, but if you have your own pool, that task falls on you. “Winterizing” your pool can cut down on maintenance once the warm weather returns.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when you should pack up the pool. Depending on your region and the weather, you may or may not be able to keep your pool open for a few more weeks. A good rule of thumb is that when the pool water is consistently too cold for swimming (usually in the 60s or low 70s), it’s probably a good time to close the pool.
-Test your water: You need to check and make sure the pH, alkalinity and calcium levels are balanced. You should balance them according to these measures:
- pH: 7.2 – 7.6
- Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 180 – 220 ppm
-Shock the pool: You can use either a chlorine shock or a non-chlorine shock; it may be different for your pool, so make sure to check the owner’s manual for your pool and the instructions on chlorine shock packaging. You must allow the chlorine levels to return to normal (between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm) before moving on to the next step.
-Add a winterizing agent: A winter algaecide will prevent algae from growing in your pool while it’s not in use. In warmer climates, you may need to add another treatment mid-winter.
Note: Some stores offer winter kits that contain both the pool shock and winter algaecide. Make sure to check the box so you don’t double-buy! The box will also typically contain a guide with further instructions on closing down your pool for the season.
-Clean the pool: You want to remove any leaves and debris from the water, and also scrub the lining and skimmer. This will get rid of oils that would otherwise be a breeding ground for bacteria. Don’t forget to clean your filter, which will extend the life of the pool and promote better circulation next summer.
-Remove and winterize other pool items: Remove and store ladders, skimmer baskets, cleaners and other items from the pool and store them in a safe place. Drain pumps, filters, heaters and chlorinators to prevent freezing during the winter.
-Drain (or don’t drain) water from the pool: Some argue that it’s necessary to drain water below the skimmer to prevent freezing, but it depends on your pool cover. Some pools may not need to have the water lowered. Consult your pool manual to be sure.
-Cover the pool: Or all of your hard work will be useless! Get a friend or family member to help and make sure there are no gaps or holes, and make sure it is secure. In above ground pools, many use air pillows to absorb freezing water’s pressure, keeping your pool walls from expanding.
And voila! You’re done! When preparing to close your pool, be sure to check your pool’s manual for specific instructions and advice, and also check the packaging on any products you buy.
Weather still warm? Not ready to close your pool yet? Check out these cool ideas to throw one last pool party before the cool weather sets in:
Summer Party Essentials + Tips: Add Cozy, At-Home Touches
Brian Patrick Flynn: Have an Aesthetically Correct Rest of Your Summer
Party Food: Summer Bucket List
Happy Hour Happens: Popsicles
Daily Delight: Mason Jar Cocktails
Daily Delight: Glow-in-the-Dark Planters