Closing & Winterizing Your Pool

by Pool Builders on 09-02-2010 in Articles

Inground Swimming Pool Closing/Winterization

It's back to school time and fall is upon us, so you know what that means! It's almost time to close your pool for the season and you'll need to know the following information to close your pool properly.

1. Approximately 3 - 5 days before closing your pool, you'll need to balance the pool water per the following ranges:

ph: 7.2 - 7.6

Alkalinity: 80 - 120 ppm

Calcium Hardness: 180 - 220 ppm

2. We then recommend that you shock the pool with a Chlorine or Non-Chlorine Shock, whichever you prefer. Follow the recommended package directions but please note that you will need at least 1lb of shock per 10, 000 gallons of water. Allow the chlorine level to return to 1.0 - 3.0 ppm before adding any winter algaecide and the winter cover. We recommended that you DON'T add winter algaecide at this time because the chlorine tends to breakdown the algaecide.

3. Now it is time to gather all winter closing pool supplies, including the cover, water tubes, and the plugs for return jets, skimmer, and appropriate chemicals. You will also need a compressor or high powered shop vac.

4. We recommend that the pool be cleaned prior to closing. Skim, vacuum and brush the pool.

5. Lower the water level using the following guidelines:

- Vinyl Liner Pool: Lower water 1- 2 inches below the skimmer opening.

- Using Mesh or Solid Safety Cover: 12 inches below skimmer opening.

- Gunite / Concrete Pool: 6 inches below skimmer opening.

- Using Automatic Cover: Water level should not be lower than the skimmer opening.

6. Backwash the filter to thoroughly clean it. Drain the water out of the filter. On sand or cartridge filters, unscrew the bottom plug out and take it out. On Diatomaceous Earth filters, open the backwash valve and leave it open for the winter. You do not want to leave any water in the multiport valve or any other valves. Blow the filter and valves with a compressor or shop vac.

7. Unscrew the drain plug(s) from the pump and disconnect the pump and filter. Unscrew any unions or quick disconnect fittings to avoid any potential freeze hazards.

8. Collect drain plugs and store them in the skimmer or pump basket for easy access in when it's time to reopen in the spring.

9. If your pool has a heater, remove the drain plugs and drain the heater completely of water. You may also store the drain plugs in the skimmer or pump basket for easy access in the spring. Using the compressor or shop vac, blow any remaining water out of the heater. You do not need to remove the heat tray or heat exchanger.

10. Remove all water return jet fittings in the pool. Remove all skimmer baskets. Remove handrails, ladders, safety line rope and floats, and don't forget the diving board!

11. From the filter area, blow out all of the return lines using the compressor or shop vac. Make sure all of the water is removed from the lines and plug all the blown-out lines with winter plugs. Blow out the skimmer line(s) and once all of the water is out, screw a "Gizzmo" or winter plug into the skimmer. If a winter plug is used, you will need to place an empty plastic bottle or Styrofoam into the skimmer to allow for water expansion and to prevent ice damage in the skimmer. If there is an auto vac system, water fall features, etc., all water needs to be blown out of these lines as well with the compressor or shop vac and properly plugged for the winter.

12. If there is a main drain, you will need to blow this line out as well. Again, use your compressor or shop vac. As the air bubbles are blowing through the line and into the pool, plug the line or close the valve near the filter.

13. Close off any open lines near the filter with duct tape. This will prevent debris from getting in the lines during the winter time.

14. Now you may add the winter algaecide.

15. Place your winter cover on the pool.

16. Lay out the water tubes and then place them through the cover loops if they are provided. Fill the tubes with a garden hose to 80% capacity. Do not over fill the tubes as they can expand and you do not want them to break!

**These are general guidelines on how to close an inground swimming pool. For more detailed instructions, consult a pool store or service technician in your area**

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