Winter Care for Your Swimming Pool  

by Pool Builders on 11-17-2008 in Articles

Heating your pool is essential to encourage use and may help protect it from winter damage if you intend to use it throughout the season. Doing that needn't leave too big a dent in your wallet. It costs less to heat a pool for 12 months that it costs to moor a boat for a year. Many pool owners prefer to heat their pools by heat exchangers which are run off their domestic boilers through stainless steel heat exchangers. Other heating options include a range of electrical heat pumps, Gas heaters - if natural gas/propane is available, Oil boilers and a range of direct electrical heaters operating on the Economy Seven tariff are also popular. Obviously, these steps should be maintained if you intend to use the pool throughout the colder months, but most owners bow to the inevitable and seek to "winterise" their outdoor pools.
In order to protect swimming pool parts some simple measures including using pool covers and winter maintenance will keep your outdoor pool in top condition. The solar cover should be removed, washed and cleaned down and allowed to dry before being rolled up onto the roller cover and stored for the winter. You should ensure the PH value of the water is between 7.2 & 7.6 and adjust using dry acid or soda ash as required. Shock dose your water with chlorine to give a level of 6 - 10 ppm and add a winterising fluid or long life algicide, running the pump for 6-8 hours to ensure the chlorine is well mixed. If using chlorine granules, ensure none are left settled on the bottom as they can bleach a pool liner over the winter. To protect the pool from the effects of ice, half fill some empty chlorine containers and float them on the pool water so they are semi-submerged.
If you don't have a system fitted with a Frost Stat (so if the temperature drops below freezing, your pump will switch on automatically) then drain the pool water level to about 6 inches below the level of the skimmers (this will allow for rain water over the winter months) then disconnect your pump from the electrical supply, remove the drain plugs from the pump and the filter units and ensure all items are drained
Take care to drain heaters, solar panels and heatpumps especially and with gas boilers ensure the pilot is extinguished and the gas turned off. With heatpumps if they have a fan on the top it's a good idea to cover them to stop debris entering them over the winter. Fit a winter debris pool cover on to keep out leaves and other vegetation, always tensioning the cover so that it's kept out of the water if possible.

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