If you’re a pool owner, you may have heard the term winterize your pool. As an Arizona resident, winter has a different meaning than those in the United States. But the reasons for closing your pool for the winter still apply.
During the colder months of the year, you may not be using your pool as much as you did during the summer months. The end of the season makes now an excellent time to consider a follow up on routine maintenance and possible a pool cover while it’s not in use.
In this blog post you’ll learn about why you may need to why you need to winterize your pool and how to go about it.
Many homeowners choose to take advantage of their pool year round and choose to keep it open. This is a perfectly fine option for Arizona pool owners, however it does require routine maintenance.
Maintaining the pH levels in the swimming pool is one of the hardest parts of keeping the pool open all year. Because of the cooler temperatures, pH can increase much quicker which means balancing these levels more frequently.
What happens if you don’t maintain the pH levels over winter?
If you do not maintain the pH levels, your swimming pool could be prone to stains. Pool owners can easily keep stains from building by regularly cleaning the skimmer baskets and filters, as well as brushing, vacuuming, and skimming. Neglecting these basic pools needs is when algae begins to multiple and collect, leading to larger pool issues.
Maintaining these levels throughout winter will make getting back into the pool during warmer months much easier. Typically, levels should be tested as often as once per week. You can do this yourself, or your pool maintenance company should provide this service in your weekly pool service.
Maintaining your pool yourself is great, but we tend to recommend having a professional spot check your work each season. The pool technicians are trained to have a deeper knowledge, and may spot potential issues sooner.
Once you’ve achieved the proper pH balance you can cut the frequency of your pool’s chlorine. Typically the ultraviolet rays from the sun breakdown and evaporate the chlorine. Since there is not as much direct sunlight, or people swimming in the pool as often, you can reduce the quantity and frequency of adding chlorine.
At client pools, we see the same sanitation effects of chlorine from 1 tablet a week during October-March, as 3 tablets a week during April-September.
If you will be completely shutting down your pool for the winter, you’ll have to take steps to prepare the water and the mechanics for the cold. We’ve included a helpful video to walk you through each step of the process.
Tools: Pool skimmer, brush and vacuum
Materials: Balancers, sanitizers and shocks, and algaecides
Turn off the motor and pump. Pool water tends to stay fairly clear. It is possible to find algae, but the algae growth is dramatically slowed during the cold. Also you’ll want to remove the skimmer baskets, wall fittings, and removable ladders.
Last, but not least, you will need to add winter lubricant, algaecide, and chlorine.
These 18 pool professionals have these pool closing tips for you to remember before attempting. For a local expert, a Bright and Clear technician can help you to determine the most effective solutions for winterizing.
Arizona doesn’t often have a hard freeze, but it’s possible. In order to avoid the pipes from freezing run your pool filtration system during the coldest hours in the night, typically between 2-6AM. Depending on pool size, the filtration in the summer months can be ran as much as 8 hours, but during the winter months you would be fine decreasing that to 4-5 hours. The majority of pools are set to run automatically at night, so this isn’t much of an issue, unless the pump isn’t working.
The part that controls the autofill on pools is called the Anti-Siphon valve, or Vac-Breaker- this is the part that can freeze and often does when we have a cold spell.
This valve is usually found next to or below the water spigot nearest the pool. It’s about the size of a door knob but has a flat top. The best thing to do it to wrap a towel or rag around it.
This should prevent it from freezing overnight during a cold snap if temps drop below freezing.
(The above are recommended only when the temps drop below 32 degrees for at least several hours.)
We recommend shutting down the filter pump if there is a VERY heavy downpour for an extended period of time. This is important especially if you know that your yard has poor drainage.
If the yard floods and the pump(s) sits in water, there is a high risk of the motor shorting out. At Bright and Clear Pools, we see this happen to pool pumps all the time after a big storm.
Another alternative, shut the equipment off at the breaker and cover it temporarily with a tarp or some kind of plastic box. Heavy rain can bounce up into the motor vents; when the bearings get wet, the motor will usually short out.
It may not get too cold during the winter months, here in Arizona, but it is always a good idea to winterize the plumbing to your pool to avoid water sitting within the pipes. Drain all pumping, heating, filtering, and chlorine equipment to ensure no water is left that can freeze when the weather gets cold. Also, unplug the wall outlets and disconnect the hoses to and from the pump and filter.
The winterizing pool tips listed above are designed to make sure your pool is well-maintained during the winter months, and that it is fast and easy to get back up and running when the weather warms up. The size, shape, and geographic location of your pool will determine the upgrades and winterization required, so enlist in the expertise of a professional if you’re uncertain about the winterizing process.
A Bright and Clear technician is available for your cold weather pool questions, or to schedule winter pool maintenance.