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Pool Closing Instructions

How to Close Your Pool for the Season

This information is presented to help you close, winterize and cover your pool. If you should have any questions after reading it, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-983-POOL (7665).



Read Aboveground Pool Closing Tips   Read Aboveground Pool Closing Tips

Aboveground Pools

Aboveground Pool Closing Tips

Check for Water Leakage


Before you begin the process of treating the water and covering the pool, be sure to check the water level to make sure that the liner is not leaking. This may sound unusual, but many aboveground pools are destroyed during the winter months because the water in the pool leaked during the shutdown period.

During the winter, ice will form and push against the walls of the pool. When ice forms in a pool, the water underneath the ice is actually supporting it. If you are unaware of a leak, the water may drain out slowly during winter season leaving you with a rather nasty problem on your hands! Consider the following scenario: The ice in mid-winter is pushing against the walls of your pool with great strength. It will support itself for a while until things start to thaw in late winter, when the ice "loses its grip" (so to speak) and begins to drop into the water beneath it. If the water under the ice is at a very low level, or totally drained out (because of that tiny leak), the ice falls with great force, crashing to the bottom of your pool because there is no water under the ice block to cushion the fall. Your pool walls will be crimped and the total pool could be devastated! Worst of all—manufacturers of the pool don't give you any relief. They blame the liner manufacturer! The liner manufacturer blames the pool manufacturer! You lose! (Now is when you realize the importance of buying an aboveground pool with the same manufacturer as the liner).

First, mark the water level of the pool with a marker. Place a pan with at least two inches of water in it on the ground by the pool. Mark the pan of water with a marker also. Leave the pool off for at least 24 hours. No vacuuming, no swimming, no activity whatsoever! Now check the water level in the pool and compare it to the level in the pan of water. Both should be the same (because evaporation and rain will be the same).



Aboveground Pools in Cold Climates


Skimmer Guard

Skimmer Guard

Pools in cold climates have special winterizing needs that pool owners in warmer areas don’t have to contend with. First, we recommend using a Skimmer Closure which will keep you from having to drain the water below the skimmer opening.

Skimmer Guards also protect your Skimmer from costly cracks & damage due to expanding freezing water. Disconnect the hose under your skimmer so rainwater will drain out. Then plug the return fitting with a Rubber Compression Plug. We stock these plugs, but they are also readily available at most hardware stores. If you do not wish to use a Skimmer Closure, you can use a Skimmer Guard instead. A Skimmer Guard is simply a plastic compensator that is threaded at the bottom. It screws into the bottom of most and prevents ice damage to the skimmer housing by collapsing itself to take up the ice expansion. You can usually use it again next season, unless it breaks or tears. With a Skimmer Guard, you still plug the return line with a plastic threaded plug after removing the threaded eyeball directional flow fitting. Rubber expandable plugs also work well.


Notes:

  • If you are purchasing a Skimmer Closure, please provide the manufacturer or model number of your skimmer, so we can ensure you get the correct bolt pattern.
  • The best time to add a Skimmer Closure is actually in the spring (when your water level is lower). It is possible to install a Skimmer Closure when the water is at the "regular" level; while it is a bit more cumbersome, it can be done with only a small amount of water loss.


Adding the Winterizing Kit


Winter Closing Chemical Kit

Winter Closing Chemical Kits

Winterizing your pool water is as important as protecting the pool itself. We stock several quality products that will ensure a smooth pool closing, and give you sparkling water next spring, with a minimum of time, effort & money.

Our chlorine-free Winter Closing Chemical Kits come with everything you need, and are sized to your specific pool size. Winter Chemical Kits include pool shock, chemical floater w/ oxidizer, winterizing algaecide, Winter Stain-Away and our exclusive Winter Sorb to purge oils, lotion and swimmer waste from your water. And try our amazing AHH-Some Winter Pool Clarifier before you cover your pool… an easy-to-use, 3-in-1 treatment that saves you money and helps ensure sparkling clear water for spring opening.



Remove Summer Gear


Remove your solar blanket and lay it flat to dry so it can be rolled & stored in your basement (or other area that's protected from the elements). Do not leave your solar blanket out during the winter months unless you completely dry it and cover it first with an appropriate cover.

Now is also the time to remove any pool accessories that protrude into the pool (such as lights, fountains, or pool cleaner attachments). Failure to do so could ruin your pool or rip the liner as ice grips the object and moves. You would not believe how ice can ruin a pool not winterized properly!


Pump & Filter Care


Winter Cover Seal

Winter Cover Seal

First, backwash your filter thoroughly:

  • If you have a sand filter, remove the winter drain plug at the tank base & keep this drain open for the winter.
  • If you have a DE or Cartridge filter, you should remove the drain plug and open the filter top. Remove the element (cartridge) to clean it with a solution of TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) 2 cups per 1/2 gallon of water. Soak it for 30 minutes and hose it off and then let it drip dry in the basement or garage. Do not put the element back in the filter until spring. Clean your DE Filter Grids or Flex Tubes with a garden hose spray. If they look grayish or brown, clean them with TSP also. Make sure that all the DE Powder is removed from the tank.

If your filter is not too heavy to move, remove it from the outside for the winter. If you decide to leave your filter outside, wrap it with an old wool blanket, or consider a Winter Cover Seal. You will probably have more than enough for the pool, so keep some for the filter & pump.

During the winter shutdown, plug your pump motor in for about two to three seconds per month. This will keep it ready for a successful spring start-up.


Put the Cover on the Pool


Aboveground Winter Covers

Aboveground Winter Covers

Pool covers are always made larger than the pool. Generally, aboveground pool covers are at least three to four feet larger than the pool size. So, a cover for a 24' pool is made 27' or 28' round. Pool covers are made to lie on top of the pool water; they are not made to stretch across the pool. Pool covers will collect precipitation and they are designed to do just that. Do not "tee pee" a winter pool cover as it will fail!

In areas where the water will freeze, you MUST use an air pillow or ice equalizer to prevent the pool wall from crinkling. These vinyl pillows are filled with air from the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner. We recommend you inflate the pillow two or three days prior to using it. This way, if there is a leak you will know about it before you use it. Secure the pillow(s) in the pool with a nylon string or rope.

If you live in a windy area you should also use cover clips. Many of our customers prefer what we call Winter Cover Seal. Winter Cover Seal comes in a 500-foot roll and is applied around the pool perimeter after the pool is covered. It is a polyethylene wrap that stays in place all winter long. These inexpensive items will save your cover from wind-whip damage. If you want your pool cover to last many years, using the Winter Cover Seal or the Gladon clips will benefit you most.


Water Accumulation


Submersible Cover Pump

Submersible Cover Pump

It is normal to get water accumulation on top of most pool covers. If you get a very large accumulation of water or snow melt on the cover, it is advisable to use a submersible cover pump to remove some of it. Note: On winter covers that have sewn seams, it is important that you do NOT position the cover pump over a seam. This will result in you removing pool water from the pool! ALL solid pool lay-on-the-water polyethylene covers allow seepage of water from the pool to the top of the cover. This is NORMAL. Never disturb the ice block inside any pool by standing on the cover or shoveling snow off the cover. Serious damage can occur if this is done.

Shop Winter Products Now

If you have any questions please contact us at 1-800-983-POOL (7665).

Inground Pools

Safety Covers


Inground
Winter Covers


Skimmer Closure

Skimmer Closure

Check for Water Leakage


In-ground pools should also be checked for leaks before covering to prevent damage caused by ice freeze-up during shut-down season.


Water Quality & Water Level


We recommend that you chemically treat your water up until the day you cover the pool. Keeping the water clear and the bottom vacuumed will minimize your winterizing work (& Spring start up, next season!). If your pool has a Skimmer Closure on the skimmer(s), you can leave the water at the summer level (for Solid Covers only). If you are using a Mesh Cover (which allow rainwater and snowmelt to seep into the pool), you must drain the water level to approximately 2" below the bottom of the skimmer. Note: The water level does NOT have to be lower than the return inlets.


Notes:

  • If you are purchasing a Skimmer Closure, please provide the manufacturer or model number of your skimmer, so we can ensure you get the correct bolt pattern.
  • The best time to add a Skimmer Closure is actually in the spring (when your water level is lower). It is possible to install a Skimmer Closure when the water is at the "regular" level; while it is a bit more cumbersome, it can be done with only a small amount of water loss.


Filter Care

  • If you have a sand filter and your pool has a bottom or main drain, you should put the filter valve position on "Waste" to lower the water in the pool. Backwash the filter to clean the sand for next season before your water goes below the skimmer opening. Most in-ground sand filters can use the same sand (media) for approximately five seasons. Another good idea is to hook up your manual vacuum and vacuum out the debris while your filter is in the "Waste" position. Now you can clean the bottom of the pool and drain the water simultaneously. "Waste" position bypasses the filter media and lets the water go out the backwash port, onto the ground. Do not vacuum the pool with your valve set to the "Backwash" position. Be sure your valve is in the "Waste" position. This is what that position is used for.
  • If you have a DE Filter, backwash it completely and open the tank to clean or hose off the grids, fingers, or element. If your DE filter has a 6-Position or Multi-port valve on it, it is okay to use the "Waste" Position to drain the water down and vacuum the pool bottom.

Preparing the Pool for Covering


FILTERS - If your filter is a cartridge or element type, remove the unit(s) and clean them for the upcoming season. There is no backwash valve on a cartridge filter.

Cyclone Bypass Blowers

Cyclone Bypass Blowers


UNDERGROUND LINES (Blowing Out The Underground Lines) - It is important to use a strong vacuum (on "exhaust") to blow any water out of your underground lines. A garage canister vacuum with good velocity works well. We also sell Bypass Blowers which are powerful blowers specifically designed for vinyl liner installations and winterizing pools. Another item that will make closing the pool a bit easier is using the One-Way Winter Pool Valve. Simply replace your current "eyeball" fittings with our valve when winterizing, drain the water lines, fill with antifreeze (highly-recommended) and prevent any water from re-entering the lines - all without draining your pool.

First, blow the standing water from all the underground lines. Then, go to the pump strainer housing and remove the cover. Put the vacuum exhaust hose into the opening; close the valve so that the air goes to the skimmer only. Turn the vacuum on and hold the hose tightly into the opening. You will now see water being forced out of the skimmer(s). Do one skimmer at a time to get more air into the line. You do not have to blow air into the main drain line. This water will seek its own level in the pipe coming up from the pool bottom. This will not crack or be ruined.

After you blow out the suction lines, go to the return line at the filter and insert the vacuum exhaust into the system. You will now see water coming into the pool in the form of bubbles. Depending on how the pool was plumbed, you may have two or three separate return lines that are "T'd" or "Y'd" into one line. Furthermore, since the return lines are still underwater a little, you should have a helper to plug the line as the vacuum is still blowing. Next, plug the return closest to the filter first and proceed to the next one, and so on.

If you have a spa in the pool, you should blow out these lines completely as well. As you completely cap off the return lines, you will notice that the vacuum motor is becoming more labored (sounding a higher pitch). This means that you are doing it correctly. While many people add anti-freeze to the suction and return lines, we do not feel that this is necessary. However, if you feel that you have not eliminated most of the water from these lines, you should use Super-Safe Pool Anti-Freeze. This product is non-toxic and will give you the protection needed. Do NOT use automobile anti-freeze in your pool lines. All Plugs and Drain Caps should be removed and put away for safekeeping for the spring.


HEATERS- Heaters should be drained and air should be blown into the heat exchanger to make sure that all water is eliminated. Place D-Con or Mouse Away into the heater compartment. Mice can nest in the heater area and chew wires (quite the appetizer).


UNDERWATER LIGHTING- Underwater lights should be left alone. Do not remove them (inground).


HANDRAILS AND LADDERS- These should be removed where applicable. Lift up the escutcheons or beauty covers, take a 9/16 open-end wrench and loosen the bolt that presses the brass wedge against the round railing. Stuff some newspaper into these holes.


Adding the Winterizing Kit


Winter Closing Chemical Kit

Winter Closing Chemical Kits

Winterizing your pool water is as important as protecting the pool itself. We stock several quality products that will ensure a smooth pool closing, and give you sparkling water next spring, with a minimum of time, effort & money. Our chlorine-free Winter Closing Chemical Kits come with everything you need, and are sized to your specific pool size. Winter Chemical Kits include pool shock, chemical floater w/ oxidizer, winterizing algaecide, Winter Stain-Away and our exclusive Winter Sorb to purge oils, lotion and swimmer waste from your water. And try our amazing AHH-Some Winter Pool Clarifier before you cover your pool… an easy-to-use, 3-in-1 treatment that saves you money and helps ensure sparkling clear water for spring opening.



Put the Cover on the Pool


Water Tubes

Water Tubes


Anchoring the cover is the trick to effective winterizing. We recommend top quality water tubes instead of blocks, wood, or sand bags if you are using a "lay-on-the-water" type Winter Cover. DO NOT tie bungee cords to the grommets as these will positively rip out. Pool covers are made larger than the pool and are made large enough that the material rests on the top of the water. Do NOT make the cover taut like a trampoline! It will fail. If you have a Safety Cover, they are made to be stretched and taut over the pool. A properly fitted and installed Safety Cover will be the best investment you could ever make.


Water Accumulation


Submersible Cover Pump

Submersible Cover Pump

It is normal to get water accumulation on top of most pool covers. If you get a very large accumulation of water or snow melt on the cover, it is advisable to use a submersible cover pump to remove some of it. Note: On winter covers that have sewn seams, it is important that you do NOT position the cover pump over a seam. This will result in you removing pool water from the pool! ALL solid pool lay-on-the-water polyethylene covers allow seepage of water from the pool to the top of the cover. This is NORMAL. Never disturb the ice block inside any pool by standing on the cover or shoveling snow off the cover. Serious damage can occur if this is done.


Shop Winter Products Now


If you have any questions please contact us at 1-800-983-POOL (7665).


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