Winterizing a Swimming Pool

In warmer climates, seasonal pool maintenance is virtually nonexistent. Except perhaps for boosting the temperature during cooler months, you can use your pool or spa year-round with no difficulty. In colder climates where water freezes, though, or even in temperate climates where a pool or spa will remain dormant for long periods, you need to take proper care of your investment and make sure it’s ready for use when warm weather returns.

If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, you’ll need to clear the water out of your pool’s plumbing at the end of the swimming season. Frozen water won’t harm the pool structure itself, but it can damage the pipes. Use an air compressor to blow water out of the lines, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also drain as much water as possible from the heater and filter. If any water remains, add non-toxic antifreeze–which differs from automotive antifreeze and is available from pool-supply stores. Disconnect the pump and heater. Then disconnect, clean, and store any chemical feeders.

Thoroughly vacuum and clean the pool and empty the skimmer baskets. Close the valve on the skimmer line and lower the water level to about 18 inches below the coping. Superchlorinate to remove chloramines. Finally–and most important of all–tightly cover the pool or spa. This will keep debris from accumulating in the water, making it vastly easier to open the pool in the spring.

If you’ll continue using your spa during the cold weather, just continue your regular maintenance. On days that are too cold for outdoor soaking, lower the thermostat but keep the circulation system running to prevent the pipes from freezing. In the event of a severe freeze, drain all the plumbing but leave the spa full.

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