Winter Pool Care in North Carolina
As the colder months get into full swing, you’ll probably find yourself using your swimming pool less and less, to the point where you might be considering closing it for the winter. In this article, the team at Master Pools of Wilmington will look at the benefits of both sides: leaving your pool open during the winter and closing it until the weather warms up.
The Pros and Cons of Closing Your Pool for Winter
The main benefit of closing your pool for fall and winter is that you don’t have to worry about maintaining it. It’s one less job for you to do around the house – you can put your feet up, safe in the knowledge your pool is ready and waiting for you when the sun comes out again.
You will save money over the winter as your pool won’t be in use. That means lower electricity and water bills as you won’t be using the pump to keep the pool going.
A drawback of closing your pool for the winter, though, is that you need to ‘winterize’ it before you close it. This requires you to go through a few steps to ensure it’s ready for winter – adjusting the chemical levels, cleaning the pool and the filters, and blowing the pool lines to prevent freezing temperatures damaging your equipment. While this process is more than worthwhile, it’s something to consider if you’re thinking about closing your pool.
If you close your pool over the winter, bear in mind that opening it again in the spring will require some work, due to the pool being unused for such a long time. You may have to give it a thorough clean to remove algae, for example.
The Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Pool Open for Winter
On an aesthetic level, keeping your pool open for winter means that you can enjoy the beauty of the pool all year round. Looking out into the back yard and seeing the winter sun glinting off the water is a simple pleasure, as is the sound of the water gently moving around in the pool.
You can still enjoy the pool in winter! If it’s heated, great; if it isn’t, then there’s still great joy to be had in a cold swim – it releases endorphins, burns calories and helps to reduce stress, too.
One of the main drawbacks of keeping your pool open in winter is that you’ll need to spend time and money maintaining it. Chemical balances need to be kept, the pool will need regular cleaning and you’ll need to test the water a lot to make sure it’s OK.The extra water and electricity required in the running of the pool will incur costs, too.
How to Winterize your Pool
1) Make sure that the pH, chlorine and the alkaline levels are stable. You can do this with a shop-bought testing kit. Doing this will mean that your pool is nice and fresh when you open it again in spring.
2) Don’t empty your pool before closing it! When you do that, your pool will become much lighter, and during the winter, the water in the ground can freeze and expand. This expansion will shift the soil underneath your pool, which can be disastrous for it as the pool no longer has water in it to weigh the pool down – this can lead to the pool moving and becoming unstable.
3) You need to manage your water levels carefully. It’s recommended that you drain your pool to 4-6 inches below the skimmer if you live in a freeze area, but leave it full to the top if you live in a non-freeze area.
4) Make sure your filters are backwashed by running a full cycle on your pump. This should take around 8 hours. Remember to open the drain in your tank and the air relief valve if applicable, as this lets the water drain out. Here’s the advice for different kinds of filters:
Cartridge Filters: Remove them, inspect them and rinse them off, then decide whether or not you need to replace them.
Sand filters: You can follow the standard backwashing process, but make sure to replace the sand in the tank at this time. When you’re done, make sure the valve is in the ‘Winter’ position.
DE filters: Just backwash the filters using the standard process. You can replace your DE grids at this point, should you so wish.
5) Blowing out your pool lines is important. It prevents your pipes freezing over, which can render your pool equipment completely useless. Blow the water through the pipes and back into the pool; that’s all you need to do to blow out the lines. Once that’s done, make sure to drain pumps, heaters, chlorinators and filters, and put a freeze plug in.
6) Shut off all of your pool equipment.
7) Cover your pool. There’s a range of covers to choose from if you don’t have one already, including winter covers, mesh covers, leaf covers and safety covers. Make sure it is fitted properly.
That is Master Pools of Wilmington’s advice on what to do with your pool in winter. Whether you decide to leave it open or close it off, make sure you do everything to the letter and you’ll be able to enjoy your perfect swimming pool when the sun is shining again.
For over 40 years, Master Pools of Wilmington have been building dream pools for families across North Carolina. The perfect combination of creativity, professionalism and a people-first approach has seen us become one of the leading pool builders in the state. As members of the Master Pools Guild, you can be completely sure of our integrity, our quality and our commitment to you. For more information, just contact to our friendly team today.