Another swim season is coming to a end and you know what that means - it's time to winterize the swimming pool. The question always comes up - "Can I do it myself?". I'll explain to you the proper way to close your pool and the equipment you will need. Once you close your pool once you wont forget how to do it and even better you won't have to take money out of your pocket and give it to your local pool company.
Before you close the pool you will need to have several items on hand for the closing. The first step is to order your pool closing chemicals, winterizing plugs and a cyclone blower to blow out the lines. You will also need to bring out the cover, extension cord, and a cover pump if you use a solid pool cover. And if you have a solid, water tube type pool cover you may need to purchase new water tubes to replace any that are worn out or leaking. Once you have all these items on hand we are ready to get started. Bring everything out close to the pool area that you will need.
At SPP we have everything you need to close your pool - plus the expertise to guide you through it. And, this expertise is F-R-E-E, no purchase necessary.
How to Winterize Your Own Inground Pool
FIRST: The first step is to remove all hand rails, ladders, return fittings, skimmer baskets, pool cleaner, pool furniture and any other items that are stored for winter.
SECOND: Now its time to add your pool closing chemicals. In the closing kit you will have shock, algaecide, slow release chemical floater with tabs stain away and a winter sorb to soak up any surface oils during winter. Circulate the winter chemicals with your pump running for several hours to distribute the chemicals throughout the pool. Then, backwash your filter thoroughly for at least 15 minutes (sand or DE filters).
THIRD: Lower the water level 3 to 4 inches below the skimmer (for a solid cover), or 12 inches below for a safety cover. If your pool has a separate main drain valve, close the skimmer line valves and continue to lower the water through the main drain with the filter valve on backwash or waste. Anthony pools, with a combination skimmer can plug the hole in the bottom of the skimmer to continue pumping from the drain only. If you have a combination skimmer/main drain with two holes, set up a vacuum hose into the skimmer hole (usually the one in the rear). Use a hose adapter for a tight fitting, to prevent air leakage. If none of these applies to you, or you lose pump prime while lowering the water, use a submersible pump, or set up several siphons to lower the water.
FOURTH: Remove the pump basket and clean it, and loosen up the pump, filter and heater drain plugs. If you have a cartridge filter remove the cartridge and clean it well with a pool filter cleaner, and tighten up the filter tank. If you have a DE filter, remove the grids or fingers, hose clean and put back inside the filter tank, and tighten the filter clamp band securely and fully.
FIFTH: Now it's time to use the Cyclone blower which you will use to blow out all the water in the lines to prevent the lines from freezing and cracking. Get the closing plugs ready. Screw a hose adapter into the skimmer hole, and connect the hose from the Cyclone to the adapter. If you have two skimmers, connect another hose into the other skimmer (you can use a vacuum hose). If you do not have another hose adapter, have a helper hold this hose firmly down into the skimmer hole. Open up the pump and put a plug into the pipe that comes into the pump, to keep air from coming into the pump, and turn on the blower to blow all the water from one skimmer, out the other skimmer. Run the blower until the all the water has been evacuated, and then plug the skimmer line. Now open up the main drain valve and blow air through the main drain line until it's bubbling strong to the surface. While bubbling, close off the main drain valve tightly to keep water from re-entering the pipe. Shut off the blower, and your suction lines are done.
Remove the plug from the pump pipe and replace the pump lid snugly. If you have a multiport valve, place it on the "recirculate" setting. Turn on the Cyclone blower and send air through the pump, through the valve, through the heater (if you have one), and out the return lines and cleaner line (if you have one). When you see water bubbling in the pool from the return lines, start by plugging the return that is bubbling the most. After plugging the first return, the other returns will start bubbling. Plug the other return lines, and finally any pool cleaner lines - and you are done! Remove the drain plugs from the pump, filter and heater, and place them in the pump basket for winter storage. Remove the Cyclone blower from the skimmer and plug the skimmer tightly.
SIXTH: Now you can winterize the skimmers by pouring in a cup of pool antifreeze into each skimmer, or halfway filling an empty (and clean) quart chemical bottle with antifreeze or small pebbles. These "skimmer bottles" absorb the expansion of ice that forms in the skimmer from rain, or spilling in from the pool.
SEVENTH: The pool is now essentially closed with the exception of the cover. If you have a safety cover turn all your anchor screws up to accept the spring that goes over the anchor. Proceed to lay the cover out in the proper position and start securing the springs to the anchors. If you have a water tube cover lay the cover out , fill the tubes half way with water to allow for expansion and place through the loops on the edge of the cover.
How to Save $7000 by Closing your own Pool
Now that the pool is closed and you did it your self your probably wondering how much money did I save over having a pool company do it. I have over 30yrs in the pool business and the average pool closing costs without chemicals is $350. Over a 10 yr period you have saved your self $3500! Open your own pool each spring, and you'll save another $3500 - saving you $7000 in ten years!
How to Break up with your Pool Company
Be nice to your pool service company, but its time to part ways. You are now the expert of your own pool. If you have a longstanding relationship with them, they may deserve a reason why you are no longer hiring them to open and close your pool. Tell them that you bought a Cyclone blower / vac - and have learned how to use it. They may try to scare you with a doubtful response, but do not listen to them.
You can winterize your own pool - and if you have any questions at all, you can contact us here at SPP, and we will have the perfect answer for you. It may be helpful to email us a few pictures of your pool and your pool equipment layout, but I am confident that you can winterize your own pool, just as successfully as your [former] pool service company. Save your money- Do it yourself!
How to Win Friends and Influence Neighbors
Now expand this and take your blower and submersible pump and start closing your neighbors and friends pools. You can even charge them to come over with your blower and winterize their pipes, in about a half an hour. Or, get together with a few like-minded neighbors and split the cost of the Cyclone, and you'll all save big bucks!
Not only are Cyclone blowers used to winterize pool pipes (and even blow out main drains), but they are also used to set pool liners. If you have a vinyl liner pool, you can save thousands of dollars by installing your own replacement pool liners. So, the next time you get a quote for $4000 to replace your pool liner, send us your pool measurements and be prepared for a surprise! Inground pool liners, when you buy direct, only cost about $1000 on average, and since you already have a blower/vac - you can replace an inground liner in a weekend!
At SPP - we're here to help so utilize our expertise. Call or Email us, and we will tell you exactly how to winterize your own pool - no matter how complicated it may seem!
Have a great and safe fall and winter season!
SPP Pool Expert