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    5 Step Inground Pool Winterization

    September 19, 2016
    bobarnold

    winter-pool-closingsAround here, we are truly DIY, and believe that an inground pool owner can do everything, and I mean everything, for their own pool. If this is your first year winterizing an inground pool, I am happy to walk you through winterizing an inground pool.

    I'll discuss pool closing in terms of winterizing an inground vinyl pool, because that's what we all have in our own backyards, the same SPP pool kits that we help you install. These concepts can be used for other pool types as well, i.e., plaster or fiberglass. Closing an above ground pool is also similar, with the exception of the underground pipes.

    Supplies for a DIY Inground Pool Winterization

    Check your stock of pool closing chemicals and winterization supplies before you plan to close the pool. Please contact any one of the SPP pool experts to help you find the winterizing plugs and closing materials you will need, for your particular pool type.pool-winter-supplies

    • Basic hand tools
    • Shop Vac or Air Compressor
    • Winterizing Plugs
    • Cover Accessories
    • Winterizing Pool Chemicals
    • Non Toxic Pool Antifreeze
    • Good Pool Cover
    • Extension Cord
    • Good Helper

    5 Steps to Winterizing an Inground Pool

    winterizing-an-inground-pool-step1

    Clean the Pool: Before closing the pool make sure the pool is clean of all debris  and leaves. Vacuum the pool as necessary, brush and skim. Make sure the pool deck area is clean and clear of all obstructions like handrails or pool furniture. Having a clean pool will prevent staining, and make your winterizing pool chemicals go farther.

    winterizing-an-inground-pool-step2Balance and Treat: Once the pool is clean it's time to test your water using test strips or a test kit. After adding any water balance adjustment chemicals, it's time to add the necessary winter closing chemicals. Non-Chlorine shock is best to use, as it won't harm your liner or affect the algaecide.

    winter-kit-roundOnce the Shock has been added and circulated its time to add the winter Algaecide and the slow dissolving winter Tabs in the floater. The last chemical to be added would be Stain Away. Let the water circulate overnight if you can, otherwise, brush the pool and turn on a pool cleaner for an hour or two before shutting down the equipment.

    winterizing-an-inground-pool-step3

    Lower Pool Water: It's now time to lower the water below the base of the skimmer mouth. Use your filter pump (closing the skimmer valve) to lower the water, or use a submersible pump. Lowering the water is done for two purposes, to allow you to winterize the skimmer, and secondly, to keep water from raising up into the skimmer and freezing.

    aquador-roundAlternatively, you could use a Aquador Skimmer Closure. This seals up your skimmer, and allows you to keep the water high. For a solid pool cover, lower the water 4-6" below the skimmer, and for a mesh safety cover, you can go as much as 12" below the skimmer, to allow for 6 months of rain and snow melt.

    winterizing-an-inground-pool-step4

    Winterize the Pool: With the use of a shop vac or air compressor, the lines can be blown out, one at a time. I would start with the main drain and skimmers.You can blow air from the skimmer towards the pump, or blow from the pump, in two directions return.

    Blow some air through the pump and filter and back to the return lines. Unscrew the eyeball fitting on all returns. After air has blown the line out and is still bubbling vigorously, insert your winterizing plug. Then the other return should begin to bubble, and when it's blown out, plug it also tightly.

    skimmer-guardWhen the lines are blown, give some special attention to the skimmer. Pour some non-toxic pool antifreeze into the pipe (just in case there's still some water in there, or a plug should fail), and plug the line tightly. To protect the skimmer against freezing solid when it fills up with rain water, you can either pour some antifreeze over the plug, or use a Gizmo. A Gizmo is a plug for the skimmer, and an ice compensator. It collapses from ice, absorbing the expansion, so that your skimmer won't crack. Now that all the lines are plugged and winterized its time to take care of the pool equipment.

    The pump will need to be drained, at the two bottom drain plugs, and the pump basket removed. I always take my pump inside for the winter. To do this, you need to disconnect the plumbing and the wiring. Most people leave their pumps outside, by the way, but if you don't mind the extra effort, the motor should last longer when stored indoors for winter.

    Next, open up the filter and remove the grids, fingers or cartridge as they will need to be cleaned and stored in a safe place. Make sure all of the water is out of the filter and the multiport valve is left in the open position.

    If you have a sand filter, just be sure the filter is drained and the valve left in the open position. It is not necessary to bring the filter inside.

    If you have a heater, make sure it is blown and drained. There are typically two drain plugs on a gas heater. Solar heaters and heat pumps should also be drained.

    Finally, you can place all of your fittings, baskets and pool accessories in a safe spot for winter.

    winterizing-an-inground-pool-step5

    Cover the Pool: Now its time to put on your winter pool cover. Bring the cover out of its storage area or storage bag and gather any tools you need to put the cover on. If it’s a water tube type of pool cover, break out the water tubes or weights that will be used to secure the cover down.

    safety-cover-toolsIf you have a safety cover, you'll need the cover tools to raise the anchors up (1/4" hex) and the installation rod to secure the cover. Stuck or stripped cover anchors can be replaced with new, if needed. It's ideal to have two people to help with putting the cover on, although I have done it by myself before.

    Swimming Pool Closing Help

    Every pool is a little bit different, and yet they are all the same. Here's a visual aid, that may help you to picture it, if you didn't install your own inground pool kit - in which case you likely have a very thorough understanding of the pipes and pool equipment!

    drain-plugs-infographic

    The idea of a pool winterization is essentially to clean everything well, remove the water from the pipes and the equipment, add chemicals to the pool and cover it tightly.

    It's the second step (removing the water from the pipes and the equipment), that's the most confusing for most people. It may help to visualize your pool circulation system in it's closed loop entirety - to assist in understanding how water (and air) moves through the pipes and equipment.

    If you need any help with your own DIY pool winterization, give us a call, any of the SPP pool experts would be happy to help!  

    Bob Arnold
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
    bobarnold
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