by Mark Garcia August 13, 2016
I know I'm early in sounding the alarm about pool closings and hate to be a summer bummer, but next month is September, and the kids go back to school.
The interesting thing about pool ownership is there's always a crop of newbies every year who just installed their first pool, or moved into a home with a pool. Today we discuss the products and supplies that are used when winterizing a pool, a group of products we call winter pool supplies. Included are seasonal pool items like pool cover supplies, winter chemicals, antifreeze, and pipe plugs, used to keep the pool clean, treat the water and protect the plumbing.
To keep it interesting for the more seasoned pool owners out there, I've included a few winter pool items you may not have seen before.
The Aqua Blok is the faster, better, stronger alternative to solid cover water bags. Hold your solid cover in place with the 3' long plastic tub and lid. Easy to fill and easy to drain (imagine no more slimy, smelly vinyl bags), and they stack neatly for summer storage. Almost indestructible, a set of Aqua-bloks can last for decades! Not a new item, but a product that needs some love. Try a 12 pack of Aqua blocks around your pool this year.
The "Blowout Skimmer Guard" is a copy of the Gizzmo for pool skimmers, which is actually 3 tools in one. The first thing it does is that it seals up the skimmer opening for winter, with a heavy duty o-ring and both 1.5" and 2" threads to fit any inground pool skimmer. This keeps water out of the skimmer pipe during winter. The second role is that it absorbs ice expansion from frozen water inside the skimmer. Third, the "Blowout" version has a hole at the top for connecting your Blower/Vac to blow out the pipes, from the skimmer.
Although the Rule cover pumps were never built well (and now discontinued), I can personally vouch for the reliability and durability of Little Giant cover pumps, I have seen them perform in some astounding conditions, with rough treatment, and in my mind, it's better to spend a little more and get a well built pump, than buy one that will let you down when you need it most. Use the Little Giant Utility pump for pumping rain water and snow melt from solid pool covers, or for lowering the pool water levels.
And speaking of safety covers, we have the full collection of safety cover accessories, implements and replacement parts. We have brass anchors, grass anchors, straps and springs, patch kits and cover removal/install tools. Most safety pool covers, which are anchored tightly into the pool deck don't need much in the way of accessories, but after many years, a few cover anchors may stick, or you may lose (again) the big hex key, or the installation rod to lever the spring over the anchor.
If you have a solid winter cover that floats on the pool surface, you will also need Aqua Blocks or Water Bags, and a cover pump for the rain water and snow melt. If your yard is surrounded by trees, with lots of leaves that fall on the pool cover, do yourself a huge favor, and buy a Leaf Catcher. Lay the 1/4" hole size mesh fabric on top of the pool cover, and come December, remove the leaves all at once. Leaf net pool covers are so easy to use, you'll wonder why you didn't buy one years ago.
Many people prefer to plug the lines without lowering the water so much, but they plug the line while the air is actively bubbling. OK Fine - however, if the water level is above the return line that you are plugging, how do you know if you got all the water out? The One-Way Winter Valve is the solution. Just screw it into the wall and blow your lines out with air like normal. The one way purge valve will allow water out, but won't let water back in after the air stops bubbling.
To keep water out of your pool skimmer during winter is important. If the skimmer fills up with water, it can freeze and crack, or if the pool surface ice sheet continues into the skimmer, a wall failure could result. It's best to block all water from entering the skimmer in the first place, all winter long. Aquador is a snap on lid that fits the Aquador skimmer faceplate. Just replace your faceplate with the Aquador faceplate and come winter, snap on the lid and drain out the water.
For above ground pools, there is the problem of air getting up underneath the pool cover, and partially inflating the pool cover. It may be fun to watch, but as it whips in the wind, it wears thru the pool cover, and in strong wind storms, your pool cover could be trashed! There's several treatments for the problem, and my favorite is called Winter Cover Seal, which is a large roll of cling wrap that cinches your pool cover tightly. Cover Clips and Wall Bags are also used to keep the cover stable.
With the Dryco Pool Cover Drain Kit, you simply cut a small hole and connect the gasketed drain cap to the center of your pool cover. A hose connects from the bottom of the drain to the pool wall return fitting. On the outside of the pool wall return, connect your backwash hose, or use a short section of pipe to discharge rain water and snowmelt - automatically, all the time. No power, no pumps, it's all done by gravity. Built to last for decades, it can be reused on your next cover.
The reason you need an Air Pillow, is to protect your pool from the expansion of the 4-6 inch thick ice block, that puts pressure on your pool walls. To prevent the first few inches of your pool from becoming a solid block of ice, Air Pillows are meant to be pressed down, into the water, and in the center of the pool, but that becomes difficult to do on many pools. Pool Pillow Pal helps you locate and hold the position of your air pillow, so your pool is always protected.
A Winter Kit is what we call a winter pool chemical kit, aka pool closing kit. It's a pre-packaged set of chemicals, in small, medium and large sizes, depending on the number of gallons in your pool. Our winter closing kits include winter algaecide, chlorine free shock, metal and mineral stain preventer and a non-chlorine floating sanitizer. The Ultimate Winter Kit also has Natural Chemistry's Pool Magic Spring & Fall with PhosFree and Metal Free.
Thanks for Reading!