Should You Close or Maintain Your Pool for Winter?

by Pool Builders on 11-26-2012 in Articles

At the end of each swimming season, pool owners everywhere prepare themselves for the ultimate maintenance question - what should we do with the pool this winter? Everyone has heard their share of cold weather pool disasters, from broken pipes and structural damage, to algae forming under the cover. Neighbors and websites alike weigh in on the topic, offering a buffet of well-meaning advice and personal experience. But how do you decide what is best for your pool? Closing your pool or maintaining in it in the winter months both offer various advantages and disadvantages. These options must be considered carefully in relation to your particular pool and climate, as well as your energy cost and time preferences.

Closing Your Pool: Consider the Payoff

One of the best advantages of closing for the winter is that it will save you from spending time outdoors prepping the water during the coldest months of the year. Why battle chilly weather to skim and maintain water that you can't use? You'll also save energy, and therefore money, by not running pumps and filters.

It makes sense to take the time to properly winterize your pool, and that requires a solid strategy. You'll first need to super-chlorinate the water and treat it with an anti-algae supplement, but after the pool scrubbing and water-prepping, you're basically good to go until next season. And for many people, this might seem to be the easiest option upfront.

While you will save yourself some hassle maintaining the water off-season, much time and money may be required to repair damage resulting from improper care or preparation for winter months. All that time you saved in the winter translates into more preparation time before you can reopen your pool. Not maintaining the water off season often allows algae to flourish underneath the pool cover if the proper preventative measures have not been taken. Another factor to keep in mind is that before closing for winter, enough water needs to be drained so that it doesn't freeze in the pumps and filters. This will require topping off and raising the water level again in spring.

Maintaining Your Pool: Preventing Costly Repairs

Maintaining your pool in the winter months, though it can be a nuisance, makes for a much easier spring cleaning. Keeping the water in better condition during winter months will translate into less time spent treating it, cleaning out leaves and debris, and reversing common problems like algae growth. A little consistent effort can keep your water looking great and prevent a tedious reopening process.

Keeping your pool open also means you don't have to look at an ugly cover all winter; it's aesthetically pleasing and uplifting to view and be near water. Many people love to look out their windows and enjoy the water despite the cooler temperatures.

But what are the downsides and risks associated with this option? Where you save money from not purchasing a cover, you experience increased energy costs due to running your pump in freezing temperatures. You might consider the additional cost of installing timers with freeze protection, as well. These will kick your pump on or off in relation to a preset temperature, saving you from running the pump unnecessarily. In harsher climates, not closing your pool or lowering your water level can allow for water in pumps and filters to freeze, breaking anything it's trapped in. If you experience severe weather and lose power at any point, it can also lead to some very expensive repairs. These are all important factors that you must keep in mind when making your decision.

Do Your Research and Consult a Professional

There are several options available to you when considering how to handle winter months and related pool care. While some preparation and research can be done on your own, it's always sensible to get an expert opinion on your particular situation. Talking to a professional can save you hundreds of dollars and lot of trouble. They are trained to advise the best approach for your particular pool and preferences, and can help you complete the often complicated steps required to prepare for colder weather. Doing your research, consulting a pool maintenance company, and taking the appropriate steps at the end of the season will ensure you unveil a pristine pool when warmer weather returns.

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