Posted on November 19, 2013
This time of year, we get many questions from our friends that reside in the cooler climates. Some have in-ground pools and many have above-ground pools. Some folks do it themselves and some hire a pro. In most cases, preparing a pool for sub-freezing weather involves adding some chemicals, draining the equipment and partially draining the pool. In all cases, the goal is to have a pool that, come springtime, does not look like a scene from Scary Movie.
If you are lucky enough to have a salt pool, here is the short version of what we recommend: Start with a clean filter and a clear pool with well-balanced water. Timing is important and the idea is to minimize the dormant pool’s exposure to sunlight and warm temperatures. Close it too early or open it too late and algae will get a toehold. An opaque cover is preferable to a net for this reason. Cover your pool immediately upon closing and don’t remove the cover until the sanitizer is going again.
Two or three days before closing, turn your salt chlorinator up to 100% and run your pump 24 hours per day. If you use algaecide, add a double dose on the last day. Drain the pool to a point below the jets and if you use it, add antifreeze according to the directions. If the afternoon temperatures are still above 70, add a disposable chlorine floater with only two or three of the holes punched out. Drain the equipment and cover the pool.
In the spring, as soon as the afternoon temps are making it into sixties, lift the cover and toss in a new disposable chlorine floater with three or four holes punched out. Replace the cover. When the air temperatures are consistently making it into the seventies, it’s time to open the pool, regardless of when it will first be used. Don’t wait!
If you have a sand filter or a DE filter, you will begin three days before uncovering the pool. Even though your pool water looks great, algae ghosts are lurking, just waiting for some sun to paint them green. Drain any antifreeze, keeping it away from pets and kids. Bring the pool water up to the normal level and set the filter lever to the re-circulate position. (Skip this step if you have a cartridge filter.) Check that your water is circulating and set your salt chlorinator at 100%. After the water has circulated for a couple of hours, take a water sample and test for salinity and PH. Adjust both as needed. Within two or three days, your chlorine test should be looking normal and it’s time to switch your filter to the filtration position, remove the cover and enjoy your sparkling pool.
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