Guide to Winterizing and Closing Your In-Ground Pool

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Guide to Winterizing and Closing Your In-Ground Pool

Postby DohenysPoolSupplies » Thu 11 Oct, 2012 12:26

Closing and “winterizing” your in-ground swimming pool may seem like a challenge, but Doheny’s assures you that it is a task you can handle! Doheny’s Pro Guide blog series is here to help simplify the DIY process and turn you into a pool professional. Not to mention that doing the work yourself could save you $150-$450 depending upon your location! Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast has all of your swimming pool winterizing supply needs and we ship direct to your door, in some cases the very next day!

What is winterizing a swimming pool?
Winterizing is a crucial step in prolonging the life and quality of your in-ground swimming pool. If you live in a region where it snows or freezes, then it’s a must-do. The main purpose of winterizing your in-ground swimming pool is to protect pool water from freezing in the wrong places and damaging your equipment. Although it sounds like fun to try to ice skate on top of a frozen pool, freezing water can cause massive damage and repairs could be extremely expensive. Water expands when it freezes, which causes major issues with your in-ground pool’s plumbing and filtration system. It is still important to winterize your pool when it is not in use in warmer climates to prevent massive algae and sediment buildup. Plus, covering your pool helps prevent poolside accidents from occurring, especially when you are using a solid pool safety cover from Doheny’s. Those who have above ground pools should reference Doheny’s Pro Guide to Winterizing an Above Ground Swimming Pool tutorial for specific information and above ground pool winterizing products.

What types of pools need to be winterized?
Both in-ground and above ground pools need to be left mostly filled with water and winterized. DO NOT drain your pool completely and leave it sitting uncovered! In-ground pools can pop out of the ground when they do not have any water. This is caused by the groundwater beneath your pool putting pressure on it to rise. If there isn’t any water in a pool to counterbalance the force of the groundwater, then the pressure can literally “pop” a swimming pool out of the ground. Plus, drained swimming pools can become a breeding ground for insects, mosquitoes and algae. Inflatable pools and spas can be drained, folded and stored for the winter.

What supplies do I need to winterize my in-ground swimming pool?
1) Pool water chemistry tester
2) Pool rake or leaf skimmer
3) Pool cleaning brush
4) Pool maintenance chemicals (chlorine or bromine)
5) Pool safety cover or winter pool cover
6) Doheny’s Pool Closing Winterizing Chemical Kit
7) Doheny’s skimmer plug
8) Winterizing plugs
9) Non-toxic swimming pool antifreeze
10) Pool cover pump

How do I winterize my in-ground swimming pool?

5 steps before you tackle the swimming pool itself:

1) Check your winter supplies: Take inventory of all pool winterizing chemicals and check that they have been properly stored over the summer. Dispose of any containers that are unsealed, have expired or have been stored in direct sunlight. Keep all chemicals in a dark and secure location away from pets and children. Inspect your winter pool cover or pool safety cover for rips and tears. If you don’t have a winter cover, then you will need to purchase one. Be sure to order all necessary equipment and pool winterizing chemicals from Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast! Doheny’s free shipping gets all of your pool winterizing chemical supplies to you lightning fast!

2) Clean the entire pool area: Sweep the surrounding area to remove all dirt, leaves and branches from the deck or patio. Also, prune all bushes, flowers and overhead trees to eliminate future contamination before covering your in-ground swimming pool. You want to prevent debris from entering the pool and causing algae buildup once it is buttoned-down for the winter.

3) Secure the pool area: Check all fencing and gates to protect your pool from unwanted guests and intruders during the winter months. This is especially important if you have small children in the neighborhood. Make sure that there are no sharp objects, cracked tiles or slippery surfaces that may cause injury or damage to your winter cover or pool safety cover. Keep a first aid kit and other lifesaving devices nearby in case of an emergency. Be sure to check for lifesaving devices and pool safety equipment.

4) Inspect your pool equipment: Look for any cracks or leaks in your pool’s plaster, cement, gunite, fiberglass, or vinyl. You may be able to patch or repair small cracks in your vinyl liner or swimming pool yourself; however, larger cracks and damage warrant calling a professional. If you need to repair your pool liner, then make sure to try one of Doheny’s vinyl liner repair kits to add years of life to your liners. Check your pool filter, pool pump, gauges, fittings, and other items before storing for the winter. Making repairs before the season ends can help prevent further damage to your pool and its equipment.

5) Clean off your winter pool cover or pool safety cover after summer storage: Remove all leaves, debris and dirt from your winter pool cover before installation. If you notice a rip in your winter pool cover, then you can patch it with Doheny’s Patch Kit for Winter Covers. Use Natural Chemistry Cover Cleaner for hard-to-remove stains on your pool cover. Also note that pool safety covers can be used to cover your swimming pool during the winter. Safety covers help keep out intruders and will prevent accidents since they can support the weight of an adult, child or pet. If you don’t have a winter pool cover or a pool safety cover, then pick one up from Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast and have it shipped directly to your door!

Now on to your pool:

1) Clean and brush your pool. Use a pool rake or leaf skimmer to remove all leaves and debris from your pool water. If you don’t have an automatic pool cleaner, then clean your pool’s floor and walls with a pool cleaning brush or manual vacuum before closing to prevent algae growth and discoloration of your liner. Doheny’s is the perfect place to find top quality pool rakes, skimmers and automatic cleaners to make this process fast and easy.

2) Maintain all water chemical levels 24 hours before adding additional winterizing chemical kit. It is important to properly balance all pool chemicals before you start to winterize your pool water. Testing your pool water and maintaining pH and alkalinity levels should be done at least 24 hours before proceeding with the winterizing process.

3) Open your Doheny’s Winter Kit and pour an entire bottle of Doheny’s Algaecide into the pool. Make sure that the product is evenly distributed throughout the water.

4) Pour the entire bottle of Doheny’s Metal Out from the Winterizing Kit into the pool. Make sure that it distributes evenly as well.

5) Wait 15 minutes for the Algaecide and the Metal Out to distribute before sprinkling and emptying the contents of Doheny’s Chlorine Free Oxidizing Shock into the water. Sprinkle the shock treatment around the perimeter of the pool.

6) Run your pool pump for at least one hour after dispersing chemicals. Allowing your pool pump to circulate the pool water will help the effectiveness of the winterizing chemicals after your above ground pool is covered.

7) Make sure that pool water is clean and debris free before covering your pool. The last thing you want is to cover the pool if additional leaves and debris have fallen into your pool. Remember, organic matter is what causes algae formation so keeping dirt and leaves out of the pool will help keep it free of bacteria.

8) Drain your pool water to under your skimmer or 2″ below your pool’s return. You want to prevent your skimmer system from getting water inside and cracking over the winter. Using a skimmer plug is extremely beneficial if you do not want to drain your pool water.

9) Disconnect your plumbing hoses. Also drain your pump, filter and pool heater of all water according to the equipment manufacturer’s instructions. Draining your plumbing and equipment will prevent damage from water from freezing and expanding inside of its components. Drain your skimmer if you did not install a skimmer plug. Flush out the sand or D.E. from your filter, or clean your filter’s cartridge depending upon the type of pool filter you have.

10) Cover your pool equipment. Covering your pool equipment will help prolong its lifespan by protecting it from snow, ice and debris. Heater and heat pump covers are available from Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast.

11) Add winterizing plugs (or freeze plugs) to your pool’s plumbing returns. Freeze/winterizing plugs help keep your swimming pool’s plumbing safe throughout the winter. They prevent water from flowing through the pipes, freezing and expanding, and causing damage to your pool’s plumbing system. If you don’t want the hassle of lowering your pool water line, then try Doheny’s One-Way Winter Pool Valves. Simply replace your current “eyeball” return fitting with this simple one-way valve, drain the water inside the lines and you’re ready for winter—all without draining your pool!

12) Add swimming pool antifreeze to your pool’s plumbing. Swimming pool antifreeze could save you a ton of money in the event that your pool’s plumbing lines crack over the winter. Prevent water expansion and costly repairs by adding swimming pool antifreeze to your pool’s lines during the winterizing process.

13) Assemble the Floating Slow-Dissolving Winter Oxidizing Tablet Dispenser in Doheny’s Pool Closing Kit. Punch holes in ALL the dimples located on both sides of the floating dispenser. Slide the foam collar onto the dispenser and place in the pool with the smallest diameter down. This allows water to flow through the perforated dimples. Do NOT throw the dispenser into the pool.

14) Protect your swimming pool’s skimmer system. Add Skim-Insure to your skimmer to protect it from freezing and cracking. Check out Doheny’s YouTube video for more information and instructions on how to install Skim-Insure.

15) Uninstall all in-ground pool accessories: Remove pool steps and ladders, lighting equipment, diving boards and slides that were installed for the summer. Safely store accessories where they won’t get damaged or broken over the winter.

16) Install your swimming pool’s winter cover or safety cover. Read your winter pool cover’s instructions for information on how to properly install the cover over your swimming pool. Spread the winter cover evenly across your in-ground swimming pool.

17) Place water bags or aqua blocks on top of your in-ground winter cover to keep the pool cover in place. Water bags or aqua blocks are used to keep your pool cover weighted down so that it won’t blow away or fall into your pool. Aqua blocks and water bags must cover the entire perimeter of the pool or else wind may get under the pool cover and cause it to flap or billow, which could cause serious damage to your winter cover. If you are in an area of extreme cold, then fill the water bags to ½ to ¾ full to allow for freeze expansion.

18) Drain excess water and snow off of your pool cover throughout the winter. It is important to maintain your hard work now that your pool has been winterized and covered. Remove all snow and standing water from the top of your pool cover with a pool cover pump periodically throughout the winter. This will prevent unnecessary pressure and weight on top of your pool cover. Reference Doheny’s YouTube video on how to use a pool cover pump. Handheld pool cover pumps are also available from Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast.

Additional In-Ground Swimming Pool Winterizing Tips:

1) Do NOT cover your pool before testing and adjusting your pool water’s chemistry. The last thing that you want is a pool filled with algae when you uncover your pool in the spring.

2) Toss in a Doheny’s Winterball (also known as a winter pill) under your pool cover. These can be used in addition to winterizing kits. Winter pills help your pool water stay clean and cloudless all winter long.

Check out more pool maintenance articles on Doheny's blog!

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Guide to Winterizing and Closing Your In-Ground Pool

Postby tbenton » Wed 25 Sep, 2013 08:04

We have had our in ground plaster ool since 1987 and have had a loop loc cover. for 11 yrs. We lower the water 4" below the skimmer because thats what we were told to do so very long ago. We have a well so the water coming thru the cover saves us having to bring the water level back up so lowering it has become a necessity since we have had the loop loc or we would overflow.

Closing instructions have told us to put the winter chemicals into the pool and circulate and THEN lower the water. To me its a waste of $$$$ chemicals and sure doesn't do the yard any good when the chemicals run into it while lowering. Is it ok to lower the water and then add the chemicals without circulating?


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