Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 by James Hartkorn
Labor Day has come and gone. School is back in session. The leaves are beginning to change color. Let's face it. Summer is over. There might still be the occasional 80-degree day, but those days are few and far between. Unfortunately, the above ground pool in your backyard isn't going to winterize itself. Soon the leaves will begin to fall and there are no LeafGuard gutters to protect from them from ending up in your pool. So, the sooner you close your pool, the better. Here is a simple 6 step process, with tips included, on how to winterize your pool this fall.
First things first. Clean it up. Get out the skimmer and give it one last cleaning. The better you clean it this fall the better you will be in the spring. Once you clean it as best as you can, test your water one last time. Make sure your PH level is close to 7.5 and that your alkalinity is between 100 and 150 ppm. To make sure you get it right take a water sample to your nearest retailer and get an expert reading.
Now that you know what your PH and alkalinity levels are at, make the correct adjustments. Many pool store will have winter closing kits for you to buy, but there are really only two chemicals you need to add after your pool is balance. Chlorine and a winter algaecide. Shock your pool the night before you plan to close it (after you clean it.). Then, add your algaecide. Here is a quick tutorial about this process.
Many people assume that you need to lower the water level in your pool, before you put the cover on, but that's not necessarily the case. While lower the water certainly decreases the possibility of your skimmer plates cracking, it also puts added pressure on the sides of your pool. If you do lower the water level of your pool, make sure to purchase a cover pillow (pictured below), so that some of the weight of your cover (and the water on top) is dispersed equally.
Whether you decide to lower the water level or not, it's a good idea to protect your returns, skimmer plate and basket with plugs. Skimmer plugs can be purchased at your local pool retailer, or you can use 20 oz. bottles or anything else that fits. The idea here is to make sure water does not get into the basket and freezes, cracking your skimmer. Plugs should also be placed in each return to prevent freezing.
Image via intheswim.com
Now that you have plugged the returns and skimmers, it's safe to remove all winterize your filter system. First, remove all hoses from the pool and store. Second, make sure to drain all of the water from both the pump and your filter. Threaded plugs should be unscrewed so that the water can drain. Chances are your system will remain outside for the cold Nebraska winter, so make sure all water is drained properly. Ideally, move your filter equipment indoors.
Image via inyopools.com
If you plan to use an air pillow or two, make sure you inflate and tie them off from the sides of the pool. Air pillows not only help to disperse the weight of your cover, but they prevent ice from damaging the edges of your pool liner.
Depending on your pool set-up, secure your cover to the pool. If you have a deck around the pool, you will want to purchase some water bags to weigh down the cover on your deck. If you live in a windy area, use a combination of wench and pool clips. If you are surrounded by trees, add a lightweight mesh trap to catch all of the leaves.
That's it! You're all done. Now you can sit back and cozy up to the coming autumn weather. Put away the swimsuit and get our you Cornhusker jerseys!