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    3 Winter Maintenance Tips for Easier Pool Opening

    December 27, 2018
    Sheryl Somers

    frozen winter pool maintenance

    When the pool is closed and covered, it becomes altogether common to ignore the backyard swimming pool. And even if your pool is not winterized, but just in hibernation, it also demands much less of your attention or enthusiasm even.

    Today's post is for those forward thinking pool enthusiasts, the pool owners that want to protect their investment with a little time invested during winter to  make life easier come springtime.

    Just like with summer pool maintenance, you can't just let too much slip and slide, or the water quality quickly turns, and it takes much more time, effort and money to bring it back blue and clear!


    clean the pool cover

    The number one thing to maintain on your winterized pool is to keep the cover clean, and nearly dry. A small amount of water on a solid cover is OK, and helps to hold the cover down, but more than 1/2" should be removed regularly with a cover pump.

    Safety covers usually stay fairly clean, but solid pool covers seem to trap every leaf and twig in the neighborhood! Use your pool brush, leaf blower or pool leaf rake net to remove leaves.

    Removing leaves promptly prevents accidental leakage of mucky, gunky leaf water tea into the pool, and stops sharp sticks from impaling your pool cover while trapped in an icy sheet of water on the cover.

    Keeping your cover pumped off prevents stress on the pool cover from the weight of the water, but also from the sharp edges of an ice sheet on top of the pool cover. Water on the cover also attracts worms, which attracts birds, that can poke holes in your pool cover, with sharp beaks and claws.

    After all of the leaves have fallen, pick-up wind blown leaves stuck in the corners of the yard and trapped under bushes, leaves that could blow onto the pool cover.

    TIP: Take a moment to inspect the cover fit, to be sure that leaves and animals cannot get underneath. Solid covers should be pulled tight around the edges, to remove wrinkles and folds running across the cover. Fold over any excess material underneath, and replace any deflated water bags.


    watch the pool water level

    For safety covered pools, the number-one thing you can do is lower the water level when you see it begin to touch the center of the cover. This keeps the water from warming, and also prevents the tannins from tree debris from leaching into the pool.

    Safety cover water levels should always be below the tile, but during some wet years (like this winter!), the pools fill up again fast, and may need to be lowered more than once during the winter.

    The ideal range for winter water level is 3-6" below the pool tile (or the skimmer opening). Use a cover pump in the skimmer, or on the top step or second step in the shallow end, to lower winter pool water level.

    TIP: You can also use the cover pump in the pool to provide some spring circulation to the pool. Just drop your cover pump into the deep end, with or without the hose attached, and let it run underwater for a few days before pool opening.


    test the water

    If your pool plaster is new this year, you should lower the pH during winter, to prevent high pH from forming scale and growing algae.

    In most areas, rain and snow melt has a slightly acidic, low alkaline and soft water quality to it, meaning that you may need to raise the pH, alkalinity and hardness levels during or after a long, wet winter.

    Warm spring time temperatures can raise water temperature quickly. As ambient air temps reach the 60's and low 70's, you can add additional winter algaecide, or granular chlorine, to keep algae from forming.

    TIP: To inspect the pool water quality, you can see-thru a mesh safety cover if you kneel down next to the pool, and cup your hands around your eyes. You can also open up a pool cover along one side or end of the pool, for inspection, adding chemicals, or brushing the pool for circulation.

    To summarize, a winterized pool needs 3 main things monitored - keep the pool cover clean, check the water level and test the water chemistry or water quality during winter and you'll be in the best shape for opening the pool.


    Blog Author
    Sheryl Somers
    SPP Pool Expert