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How to Winterize and Close Your Pool

Updated: May 15

Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer, although the hot September temperatures may say the opposite (right?). Many public pools start closing around this time as kids are back in school and nighttime temperatures begin to drop. Soon, it’ll be time for families in Birmingham, AL to cover their inground pools and prepare it for the coming colder months when they will be unused.  Tools and supplies needed If this is your first year covering and closing your pool, you may need to purchase a few things, but a seasoned pool veteran probably already has much of this.  You’ll need your standard chemical supplies like shock, chlorine, and algaecide to shock and balance your pool and the testing kit your regularly use. Similarly, you’ll need the cleaning supplies you usually use- the pool vacuum and pool brush. Depending on the type of pool cover you buy, you’ll need water bags to weigh it down, unless you upgrade to an anchored system. If you’ve used either of these versions in years past, make sure you have enough anchors or leak-free bags ready to go. You may also need a set of tools to aid in the removal of your handrails and ladder. The following list contains products that are very helpful but not 100% necessary for closing your pool:

  1. WinterPillA WinterPill slowly dissolves sanitizer and clarifier into your pool over the several months the cover is on. Since your pump will be turned off pretty much the time, chlorine tablets or floaters may not dissolve or distribute correctly when used for winterizing a pool. The WinterPill can be found at your local pool supply store. 

  2. GizzmoThis tool is used to winterize your skimmer. There are other products or solutions for this purpose, but this one is a popular option. It’s essentially a rubber plug used to keep anything from getting in your filtration system while your pool is not running. 

  3. AntifreezeDo NOT use antifreeze designated for automotive use. This is an antifreeze specifically for pools. Since temperatures do not tend to stay below freezing for long periods of time here in the South, you can potentially skip this step, though it could be a gamble. To avoid any damage from frozen pipes, use a pool-specific antifreeze or blow out your pool’s plumbing lines. If you have never done that, please contact us. It’s a helpful step, but can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage if done incorrectly. Or avoid blowing out the lines and just add antifreeze! Step by Step There is a right way to close your pool for the season and we want to give you the proper steps: 

  4. Do your standard cleaning routine of vacuuming, skimming off leaves and debris, empty the skimmer, and brush the pool if necessary. 

  5. Shock, sanitize, and balance the pool. Add 10 ounces of algaecide per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Add metal remover agent per manufacturer's instructions

  6. Allow pool chemicals to filter for 24 hours

  7. After pool chemicals have properly filtered and pool has been vacuumed, drain water down according to the type of pool you have- fiberglass pools should not be drained below the skimmer

  8. Remove all plugs and water from pump and filter system, including any heating elements like a heat pump

  9. Turn water pipes off at the pump (you can blow out pool's plumbing lines with an air compressor if you're skilled at it). Drain pump

  10. Remove and store ladders and handrails

  11. Pull cover over of the pool and secure it. For vinyl or tarp covers, place a pump in the center to pump off rainwater

Additional Tips

  1. Close the pool before it gets below 30°F at night (that may take a while here in Alabama, so use your own discretion)

  2. Cover your pool before the leaves start falling, if you have several trees nearby

  3. For salt water pools- clean the salt water generator

  4. Clean filters for optimal pump life and so you don’t have as much to do come Spring. Check out a detailed, illustrated guide to backwashing a sand filter here

  5. Turn off all electrical components

  6. If too many leaves start piling up on top of your cover, use a leaf blower to clean the cover

  7. Routinely check sandbags, water bags, or whatever is weighing down your cover to make sure everything is secure and nothing is leaking. Repair or replace if necessaryWARNING for fiberglass pools: DO NOT lower the water level below the skimmer. It can void the warranty. It also runs the risk that water around the pool can build up hydrostatic pressure. Even though the swimming season for non-heated pools is close to over, it’s still a good time for a Desjoyaux pool installation, so you can enjoy it all summer long next year! Contact us at DSLD in Birmingham, AL for any and all of your inground pool questions or concerns. We’re happy to work with you on installing a brand new pool, cleaning your current one, and more! 

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