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10 Steps To The Pool Closing Season

You may just be remembering the pool opening season like it was yesterday. If you are living in Canada, or some other place known more for their heaps of snow, rather than heaps of sunshine, you really need to appreciate the next month, or month and a half left before the closing of the pool season. Even if you haven’t been able to do so yet, we recommend taking a few plunges in your backyard pool before it gets too late.

This is the best time that you need to start seriously preparing towards winterizing and closing your pool. Especially for those in Canada, that are familiar with weather patterns, winter can come sooner than you think, and you don’t want to get caught by a snowstorm complicating and adding more work to your pool closing session.

Now that you have decided on this, it’s time to start visualizing the steps for the final pool closing. Being prepared in advance is key here.

Here we are mainly discussing the steps for above ground pools.

1.  Purchase all your pool closing essentials: This is something you already need to have in stock with you at all times if possible, if not, this is the best time to purchase the pool closing equipment.
 • Various above ground winter pool covers (winter cover, leaf nets, solar blankets)
 • Winterizing chemicals/ chemical kits
 • Pool air pillows (must-have!)
 • Water bags
 • Various equipment for holding the pool cover in place

2.  Cleanse your pool thoroughly: This is the most essential step before the entire winterization process begins. It is essential to thoroughly cleanse your pool by vacuuming it, brushing down the walls thoroughly and skimming the surface. Remember that the entire pool opening and closing season is cyclical, so the better you cleanse your pool now, the less chances of leaving food for any molds or algae to grow on your pool. It also makes it easier to balance your water’s chemical composition.

3.  Test and Winterize your pool water: Use test strips or water testing kits for the best accuracy in testing your waters. The ideal measurements should be a pH of 7.4 - 7.6, alkalinity of 100-150 ppm, calcium hardness of 175-225 ppm, and chlorine levels of 1-3 ppm. Now, to increase the alkalinity, and also pH, you can use alkalinity increasers like sodium bicarbonate, and muriatic acid to lower the pH. Use a calcium hardness increaser for increasing the hardness of the pool water. The list of pool closing chemicals is quite comprehensive, and you need to make sure to also use a final pool shock like calcium hypochlorite or other before finally closing your pool.
It is optional, but using an algaecide and clarifying enzymes to reduce any algal growth can go a long way as well.

4.  Clearing up and storing the pool lines: If you leave your pool lines outside, they will be surely damaged by ice expansion. Hence, it is essential to clean and dry them up thoroughly and then store them in a dry place. Make sure that it is not in direct sunlight. Very important to dry them, in order to avoid molding.

5.  Protect the skimmer: Just like the pool lines, your pool skimmer can also get cracked due to ice expansion in the winters. Firstly, you should think of removing the skimmer basket, cleaning it thoroughly and drying it up before storing them for the winter should be your next step. Then, using a winter skimmer cover to cover the skimmer for the winter season is also important. Just make sure to keep the bottom of the skimmer clear and not plugged up!

6.  Winterizing the filters and pumps: This is quite a straightforward process. Filters and pumps are essential to the functioning of your pool, and also very critical. They are some of the most expensive pieces, and hence, it is essential to make them ready for the pool closing season.
 • Pump: Remove all the drain plugs to drain and remove the pool pump, chlorinator, and all the hoses connected to the main pump. Keep them inside in a dry place throughout the winter season.
 • Filter: The methods for winterizing the filter depends on the kind of filter you have. Whether your filter is sand, D.E or cartridge filter, make sure to check with the manufacturer the best storage guidelines for each type of filter.
In any case, they will all be stored indoors.

7.  Stash up your accessories: All kinds of pool accessories like ladders, toys, inflatables etc., should be taken out, and then cleaned with a multi-purpose pool surface cleaner. Leaving them in the pool can damage the items, and even negatively affect your pool. This is critical for metal pool ladders that can corrode within your pool water.
After cleaning them, they should ideally be dried up and kept in storage for the rest of the pool closing season.

8.  Lower the pool water: This step needs some careful thinking before proceeding.
 • If you have concerns about freezing and cracking, and don’t use a winter skimmer cover plate, then you should drain the water level below the skimmer.
 • If you do use a winter cover for your skimmer, simply remove the hose from your skimmer so it can drain properly, and install the plate, and you won’t have to drain your pool. Keeping the water level at its normal level is better for your winter cover.
In any case, draining the water completely from the pool is not ideal when winterizing. Your vinyl liner can easily dry out, which will shorten its functioning life considerably.

9.  Install the pool pillow: Winter cover air pillows, which are also known as ice compensators, are used to keep a solid ice sheet from forming on the surface of your pool water. It compensates for the pressure of the ice and snow that forms on top of the cover. Air Pillows are placed in the center of the pool, with the pool cover pulled tight over the pillow to press it into the water.
The secret to winterizing success lies in inflating the air pillow to around 50% or 60% of its capacity. This allows the pillow to compress without immediately popping after the first substantial snowfall.

10.  Installing the pool cover: The last and final step, is to get the right pool cover that you need, and secure it using a cable and winch, or a combination of winter cover clips and a cable. If your pool has a walk-around deck, you can also add water bags to help secure your cover properly.
In terms of covers there are 3 types that you need to be aware of:
 • Winter cover: A winter cover is basically a tarp with grommets around its perimeter, and is equipped with a cable and winch to hold it in place.
The quality of the weave and the number of weaves per square inch generally describe the durability of the cover. The higher the number, the better the quality. A cover expected to last one season usually has an 8×8 weave per square inch while a better quality cover lasting five seasons or more would be 14×14 weave
 • Leaf Nets: Pool leaf nets are meant to lay on top of winter covers during the autumn months while leaves are falling. Once the trees are bare, you would remove the leaf net and all of the debris it has collected. This is a temporary measure that lasts usually only during the fall season, and is then removed when all the leaves have fallen from trees.
 • Solar Cover: The other type of cover used on above ground pools is a solar cover, also known as a solar blanket. Unlike pool winter covers, solar blankets are not designed to protect the pool but to retain heat and limit evaporation. If you have an above ground pool heater or solar panels, a solar blanket is an especially wise investment. It will protect your above ground pool from heat loss overnight or any time the pool is not in use.

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