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by Sean Griffin, January 10, 2012
Winterized Swimming Pool Maintenance
The majority of swimming pool owners would prefer to ignore their dormant swimming pool in their backyard until spring rolls around and you begin to think about taken a dip again. The winterized swimming pool will benefit from some simple and minor maintenance. Winter upkeep can ensure the pool plumbing, the pool equipment, and even the pool cover stay in good condition and will remain undamaged for years to come.
Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to keeping an eye on your swimming pool during the winter months that are already upon us.
When it comes time to close down the swimming pool most professional pool companies will balance the water chemistry. PH, alkalinity, calcium, cyanuric acid, and sanitizer levels should be within the proper parameters. The style of cover being used will dictate the water level and also what, if any, additional chemicals will be added. A completely solid cover that doesn’t allow sunlight or water to enter the pool will need far less maintenance.
Algae growth is less likely during colder months with a low ambient air temperature as well as a reduction to direct sunlight exposure. Algaecide is recommended to prevent algae growth over an extended period of time. A chlorine floater may be used to slowly disperse the sanitizer throughout the body of water. You will want to avoid adding algaecide to your pool water if there is a high concentration of chlorine. A high chlorine level will destroy the active ingredients in both copper and polymer based algaecides. Stain and scale preventatives will help remedy unsightly stains and scaling buildup while the pool water sits stagnant over the winter.
Refill floating chlorine dispensers. I usually tie off a floating chlorine dispenser with kite string so I can reel it back in every now and then and refill. A completely solid pool cover may not require a floater as sunlight will not enter the pool and deplete the chlorine as well as chlorine will not escape the pool water chemical makeup.
Test water chemistry monthly with a Taylor test kit. When the temperature rises in the spring you may consider testing more frequently. The closer you get to summer time the more likely you’ll start to develop some problematic pool water.
Add algaecide as needed. The amount of phosphates and previous algae outbreak issues will dictate how frequently you will want to introduce additional algaecide.
Never super shock the pool water until you have the ability to leave some of the pool uncovered. Gassing-Off can occur underneath the pool cover and lead to the early deterioration of the pool cover. If algaecide is present in the water it will be rendered useless. Never mix any algaecide or Chlorine based products in or out of the pool water.
When a pool is properly winterized all water is removed from the plumbing lines and all of the pool equipment. Although maintenance is not required a quick visual is all the inspection needed during the winter. The presence of ice or any freeze damage is an indication of an improperly winterized swimming pool. If any cracked plumbing calls for a repair you may need to set up a space heater to thaw out your work area. This is very common when a year round portable spa develops a leak. Some winter tips for around the swimming pool equipment would include…….
Make sure there is no presence of ice around any pool equipment. You may even check for any hairline cracks.
Make sure rodents have not nested in any pool equipment. Mice are known to live inside the firewall that is within swimming pool heaters
Make sure power has remained off and the pumps are not set to come on at any point the plumbing lines do not have water. You could possibly burn out a shaft seal or melt pump components.
There are several ways to cover your swimming pool in the winter months. Solid tarp style cover weighted down around the pool by water bags, mesh safety covers, and even complete solid safety covers that are secured to anchors that are permanently drilled into the decking surrounding the swimming pool. As a pool owner your goal should be to remove any fall time debris that may have accumulated on the pool cover. For mesh safety covers that allow water to drain through them and into the pool water this will prevent having concentrated sediment that contains phosphates from “mucking” up your pool water. Leaves that sit on a pool cover will deteriorate and end up in your pool water. For a solid cover a large quantity of leaves can hinder the cover pump which is vital in removing standing water. Keeping the cover clean will ensure years of use and assist in springtime cleanup.
If you have snow accumulation or layers of ice on your pool cover….DO NOT TOUCH!!! Trying to adjust your pool cover with a large weight load or with ice sheaths with sharp edges can lead to damage. Ensure your cover pump is continuing to work over time and make sure any cover hardware or water bags are replaced when they are damaged. Let snow and ice melt before removing cover or attempting to lower the water. The actual water level beneath any pool cover is designed to support the extra weight provided by frigid mother-nature.
Never adjust water level or attempt to move any style of pool cover when ice, snow, water or excessive leaves are present.
Ensure the automatic cover pump remains in good working condition and is free from obstructing debris.
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