As the season winds down, remember that closing an above-ground pool is essential to maintaining a healthy, sparkling pool all year-round. By following the proper steps, pool owners can help protect the pool walls and surface during the winter, saving themselves time and money when they open them back up in the spring.
Whether to start once the kids have gone back to school or to wait a little longer, the choice is up to you. Just be sure you leave time to treat the water and inspect the equipment before the temperatures dip below freezing.
There are three basic stages in closing an above-ground pool:
1. Treating the pool water
Swim season may be over, but you should still continue to treat the water before it freezes to protect the pool against corrosion and scale buildup. Test your pool water using an HTH® Test Kit or at an HTH® Test to Swim Location. The analysis reading will provide the appropriate level of winterizing products to add to the water.
To maintain a healthy balance, periodically check the sanitizer level and pH and correct any imbalance before it freezes. Depending on the results, you may need to adjust the chemical levels to maintain:
7.2 to 7.6 pH range
60 to 120 ppm alkalinity range
2. Closing down
As with in-ground pools, lower the water level below any inlets. If the inlet is merely the return line set over the wall, you would simply remove it. But closing doesn’t end there: Keep in mind that taking proper care of the equipment will help to extend the overall life of the pool.
It’s important to remove the skimmer in these types of pools because if they freeze, the skimmer would be irreparably damaged.
The process for doing so may vary, depending on your pool type:
- Remove the return hose from the skimmer.
- If your pool has a through-the-wall skimmer, drain it and detach the suction line in the bottom.
- In some pools, the skimmer is located inside the pool, in which case you can simply remove it.
- Next, drain the pump housing, hair and lint strainer basket and filter.
If you have a cartridge filter, remove the cartridge, chemically clean it, and inspect it for tears or broken bands that might need replacement. However, it’s not necessary to replace the filter drain plug if you have a sand filter.
It’s also important to ensure not only that the filter is completely dry, but that it’s stored in a dry location. Cartridge filters need to dry to allow the fibers to. This greatly extends the life of the cartridge and improves its effectiveness.
Afterwards, we recommend storing all drain plugs, baskets and other small items in one place so that they don’t get lost.
3. Covering your pool
Finally, you may wish to cover the pool in order to protect against debris entering the pool while it sits unused. Make sure the one you use is resistant to water, pool chemicals and the weather in your region. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which typically include three steps to keep the cover secure throughout the winter:
Tie down. Above-ground covers are available with grommet edges that allow for a secure tie-down, so be sure to seal the edges of the cover to prevent wind from getting under it. This will save you clean-up time when you re-open.
Secure. Next, secure the cover to prevent the wind from pulling it off the pool. Most pool owners place an inflated vinyl pillow under the cover that creates a loose tent and fill the sag around the pillow with water.
Inspect. Lastly, inspect any ladders, automatic cleaners or ancillary equipment in case anything needs repair, and store them in a dry area where they’ll be protected from freezing temperatures.
Following the necessary steps in closing an above-ground pool does take a bit of work. But doing so will extend your poolside enjoyment by keeping all of its components running as efficiently as possible, so all you have to do is enjoy your swim next spring.
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