How to Get Your Pool Ready for the Winter (Part 2)

Partial Swimming Pool Winterization and Year-Around Pools.

You may be one of those lucky people who do not need to fully close your pool for the winter. The climate you live in may call for moderate winterization or better yet, no winterization at all. Here are our recommendations on how to get the most out of your pool for the next swim season and all year around.

Partial or Moderate Swimming Pool Winterization

This method is recommended in areas with light to moderate winters:

  • Service your pool filter per the manufacturer’s instructions in the early fall.
  • Clean the pool tile and interior surface by removing all the debris and summer grime. If a cover is not an option for you, make sure your pool is maintained free of debris. This will prevent obstructions in the plumbing and equipment, and keep the water free of algae and waterborne pathogens.

  • Balance the pool water including pH, total alkalinity, water hardness and the sanitizer levels. As the pool water gets colder, it can get very aggressive, potentially causing expensive damage to the interior finish of your pool, equipment and plumbing.

  • Opt for a winter maintenance cover if your pool is located under or near trees and other foliage that drop leaves and twigs into the pool.

  • Set the clock on your pool filtration pump to turn on the pump during the coldest part of the 24-hour cycle. For instance, set the pump to run 4 hours per day from 1AM to 5AM. The coldest part of a day is just before sunrise. A moderately winterized and uncovered pool should run at least 4 hours per day to prevent freezing and minimally filter the pool water. Most pools with an automatic controller system have a “freeze” protect mode—use it. Usually these systems will automatically turn the pump on once the ambient temperature falls to around 40-45°F. They will typically run for the 4-hour minimum suggested filter time or longer until the temperature rises above the preset minimum ambient temperature.

  • Shock your pool with the proper dose of chlorine to satisfy the chlorine demand of your pool for up to 6 weeks.

  • Maintain a minimal sanitizer level with a chlorine or bromine soaker-type feeder or where available, slow the feed rate on your chlorine/bromine feeder down to winter mode. It is important that your pool remains sanitized during the cold period.

  • Add a winter algaecide to prevent cold water blooms from occurring and to reduce the strain on the sanitizer.

  • Test the pool water at least once a month and adjust as necessary, especially if your pool is uncovered and fully exposed to the weather.

  • Maintain clean basket and automatic pool cleaner bags and screens as they may build up faster than what you’re used to in the summer.

  • As spring rolls around, service your filter per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Maintaining Your Pool Year Round

If you live in the sunbelt or simply enjoy the looks of your backyard oasis all year, the following are tips for you:

  • When it comes to operating a swimming pool all year long, there’s really no major difference in the general maintenance and operation of your swimming pool.

  • During the early fall, service your filter per the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • If you let the pool naturally reduce the water temperature, aim to save some electrical costs on your filter pump by following this rule of thumb:

    • run the filter pump 1 hour per day per 10°F outside ambient temperature. For instance, 60°F temperature equates to 6 hours of run time.

    • As fall turns to winter, you can actually run the filter pump as little as 4 hours per day. This run time should be accepted as the minimum run time in a year-round open pool.

    • Make sure that the filter run time is in the wee hours of the morning, such as 1AM to 5AM. This will help prevent freeze damage.

  • Test the pool water at least once a week and more often as storms pass through.

    • Run a follow-up water test to assess the effects of Mother Nature.

    • Water from rain and snow affects the water chemistry of your pool.

    • Since cold water is aggressive, it can cause further damage to your pool if your water chemistry is diluted.

  • At the beginning of spring, service your filter per the manufacturer’s instructions.

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