by Megan Wild
Having your own swimming pool comes with a multitude of benefits and advantages for your home in its present state, as well as its future market prospects. Whether your pool is an indoor or outdoor installation, it’s a swell addition to your lifestyle — even with the added responsibilities attached to its presence and use.
While general swimming pool chores are relatively simple to accomplish on a regular basis, the winter months require a different set of tasks for pool upkeep and maintenance.
General Pool Maintenance
In general, you’ll find yourself undertaking work like skimming the surface of your pool to clean out any floating debris. You’ll also want to skim the bottom of your pool and to pick up and dispose of any debris that may have collected there. Be sure to clean any skimmer baskets as well.
Anyone with trees or other greenery prevalent in their backyard should practice regular yard maintenance to keep foliage residue out of their water.
Keeping Your Pool Open During Winter
This maintenance of debris will also be necessary for the winter months. Whether you’re closing your pool for the season or installing a pool heating system for winter use, you’ll want everything free of obstructions.
If you drain your pool without cleaning the system, you risk clogging the drain and the pipe system, which will require expensive repairs. If you leave debris in your pool for months on end, you can end up with mold or decay.
Heating Your Pool
Depending on the region where you live, winter months may mean more than just rainy days and foggy mornings. While some people can keep their pool warm cheaply and efficiently by using solar blankets, other owners may require a stronger heat source.
Installing a pool heater can make your pool usable throughout most drops in temperature, but running it too often might affect your energy bill budget.
Preparing to Close Your Pool
If you do choose to close your pool for the winter, then there are ways to ensure your setup does not get sabotaged by idleness. Properly ‘winterizing’ your swimming pool will keep your equipment from suffering ice damage, keep the water clean and save money on refilling your pool when you open it during the warmer months.
Adding preventive algaecide will prove to be valuable for long-term use, too. On the last day of your pool’s use, add the algaecide to your water and make sure you run the pump for 24 hours. Then shut your circulation system down for the winter. With this particular piece of prep-work, you’ll ensure nothing grows on your machinery over the next few months.
Keeping Your Pool Filled
If you’re a first-time pool owner and you intend to close it up for the winter, your first move may include draining the pool of water. Most rookie pool owners take this approach, and while it’s not necessarily wrong, it’s not exactly best, either.
For instance, if you live in a region where freezing temperatures are the norm, having a pool filled with water actually serves you better than an empty one. As water in the soil freezes, it expands. This expansion of soil occurs underneath the shell of your pool and can pull it out of the ground. The gallons of water inside the pool serve as a weight, keeping the pool in place.
Instead of emptying the pool completely, just drain the pool a few inches. This method works well even if your area doesn’t get subfreezing temperatures regularly.
Prepping for a Clean Opening
Just as you add algaecide to preserve your pool’s pumps, you should add chlorine as well. As soon as the season begins to change from winter to spring, open your pool cover and add a measured amount of chlorine to the water.
When the pool gets opened for use in the summer, run the pool vacuum to help remove any sediment debris from the bottom. Be sure the chemical ratios are where they should be, and your pool will be ready for those cannonballs and belly flops.
Covering Your Pool
The best maintenance you can perform for your pool over the winter will be covering it as tightly and securely as possible. Some of the methods include a mesh cover, leaf covers and even safety covers that prevent accidental sinking and drowning.
Winter weather, like high winds, heavy snows and rains can affect the state of your pool cover. Fastening the cover well and tightly makes a difference not only in protecting your pool, but also in protecting the cover itself. You should check your pool cover regularly, especially after any passing storm.
Benefits of Winter Maintenance
Learning proper swimming pool maintenance keeps your pool running efficiently throughout the year. It also preserves your pool as a valuable addition to your property. Quality maintenance will ensure many years’ worth of use and enjoyment out of your pool, and because of the high financial investment pool installation requires, you’ll save yourself a lot of money in repairs and replacement parts.