During winter, when millions of swimming pools are either closed or in some state of dormancy - stains can more easily occur. To keep your pool, vinyl, plaster, fiberglass or pebble; looking good - here's how to protect your pool from winter pool stains!
SOLID POOL COVERS:
SOLID POOL COVERS:If you really want to prevent stains in any type of pool during winter, the cover is the most important tool in your stain prevention toolbox. For inground pools, A Solid Safety Cover (without drain panels) as the #1 Best way to prevent winter pool staining. Mesh safety covers or Solid Safety Covers with drain panels allow a lot of dirt, oils, contaminants and other stain-producing pollutants to wash into your pool, all winter long. A Good floating solid pool cover is also a good way to prevent stains, but not if you buy a cheap winter cover punctures easily, rips and spills its gunk into your pool, causing... stains. Holes in solid pool covers also wash-in gunk during winter, causing waterline stains, or all-over stains - unless you pump/clean the cover religiously all winter long - better to buy a new new winter covers.
BALANCED WATER:The second most important thing to prevent winter pool stains is to make sure the water is balanced. Before closing the pool, check and balance the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. If your calcium hardness level is high (over 400 ppm), add Scale Free, and be extra careful to keep a pH below 7.6 during winter by checking it every so often. As the temperature of the water drops lower during the winter, and there is no circulation, it's easier for salts to form crystals, if pH, alkalinity and calcium are not kept in check. If your pH is always on the low side, bump it up to 7.6 at closing, and check it during winter if you have a mesh safety cover. If you use a salt system, do not add extra salt in the weeks before closing.
CLEAN THE POOL:The third most important thing to do is to thoroughly clean the pool, spotlessly clean before you cover the pool, and keep out debris during winter. If it's windy when you are closing, you can cover the pool early in the process, to keep the pool clean while you lower water and winterize the pool.
KEEP A CLEAN COVER:Mesh safety covers require less attention than solid covers. If the wind isn’t blowing the leaves off the cover, use a broom or blower and blow them off. Keep the water level a few inches below the tile, and tighten the cover if needed to prevent the wet spot in the center of the cover, especially in late spring. Keep your water level from touching the safety cover, it traps leaves and debris and acts like a big tea bag. And, it warms the water during spring, and freezes water to the cover in winter. For Solid Pool Covers, pump off the rain and snow melt promptly and use a Leaf Skimmer or pool brush to remove leaves. For solid covered pools with large trees, use the Leaf Catcher, you'll thank me!
KEEP LEAVES OUT:Pool noodles can be used around the edge to prevent leaves from blowing under; cut them in half lengthwise, with a hacksaw blade. If leaves blow under the edge of your safety cover, use water bags (I know....) on top of the cover, to hold it down flat in several areas. Transition areas (steps, spa, rocks) can be filled with foam or half inflated pool rafts.
STAIN & SCALE:
STAIN & SCALE:Fourth best way to protect against stains & scale is with a stain & scale preventative for metal and mineral control, both of which can stain. Metals leave colored stains on pools and minerals (mixed with dirt leave brownish scale deposits. Natural Chemistry has a great metal and mineral chemical called Metal Free. Add Stain & Scale chemicals a day before closing, to make sure that is circulated well before closing the pool, because stain & scale chemicals do their protective work right away, within hours. When applied directly, Stain & Scale treatments lock-in minerals and metals so they can't break free from water, and stain your pool!
ENZYMES:Finally, for pools with a mesh cover, or solid with drain panel safety cover, or for covers that do not fit very well or have some holes, add an Enzyme. The best one for a winter job is Pool Magic, Spring & Fall, specially formulated for the winter. Or for a time-release winter pool enzyme, drop in a Winter Ball. Enzymes protect your pool from stains by ingesting oily gunk that gets into the pool. Oils mix with dirt and pollen and minerals to make nasty pool stains. Pool Magic S&F also has phosphate remover and clarifiers and makes an amazing difference in the work required at pool opening. If you have a messy mesh cover opening every year, try Pool Magic Spring & Fall!
One More Thing,if you Use a floater in the pool during winter, use a non-chlorine floater, so if it tips over or comes to rest on a step, it won't stain the pool. If you do use a chlorine floater, attach a long piece of twine through or around the floater, and then tie it off equally on two sides of the pool, so it remains in the center of the pool, under the cover.
Each pool and each situation is different - but several of these steps above are perfect for you and your pool - if you want to prevent winter pool staining!
SPP Pool Expert