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    4-Step Winterized Pool Inspection

    January 8, 2019
    Matt Spencer


    What to do with snow on the pool cover? As a previous blog post of mine states, the best thing to do is usually no-thing. Just let it melt on it's own, and for solid covers, pump off the snow melt as it turns to water.

    Number One thing to do when you finish your DIY inground pool projectWATER LEVEL: The more important issue with snow on the cover is this - is the water level in the pool holding? I mean, has the pool lost water during previous months, due to a leak in the pool or from pumping pool water out from holes in the pool cover? The water level in the pool is the most important thing to check during winter. All pool covers, even safety pool covers, rely on the pool's water level to support the pool cover.

    If the water level gets too low, safety cover springs and straps can become damaged, and can fail altogether. Solid pool covers can be pulled into an inground pool with low water level. For aboveground pools, a low water level can damage the walls, although in most cases the cover will rip first. If there is a large ice sheet across the pool surface, and then water leaks out of the pool, the ice sheet will fall :-0 which can damage walls and liner.

    Conversely, when the water level is too high in the pool, a frozen surface can pop-up loose coping stone, especially flagstone pavers, and freezing water at the tile line is never a good idea. During wet winters, it is important to remove water from the pool with a small submersible pump or siphon, to keep the pool water from touching the cover in the center, which freezes to the cover during winter, and traps debris and warms the water in spring time. Place the small cover pump in the skimmer or on the first or second step, to lower the water to 3-6" below the tile.

    Number 2 thing to do after installing your inground pool kitTIGHT POOL COVER: Secondly, check on the pool cover itself. Solid pool covers can become slack and saggy, and it's a good idea to "tighten-up" the pool cover, by pulling out the slack around the edge. This helps cover pumps to pump off the water more easily. Safety pool covers do not usually require much maintenance, but occasionally may need to have the straps tightened to keep the cover drum tight. Springs should be about halfway compressed, for best tension. Loose covers sag into the water, causing a teabag effect come spring.

    Air Pillows on aboveground pools are important to prevent a solid ice sheet from forming across the pool, which puts lots of pressure on pool walls. If your Air Pillow has deflated, replace it as soon as possible, using a wet/dry vac to inflate them quickly.

    Number 3 most important thing to do after you build your inground pool kitWATER CHEMISTRY: The next most important thing? Check your pool pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels, especially for pools with mesh covers that allow rain and snow melt to pass through. You may be surprised at how precipitation can change your pool water chemistry, which can lead to pool stains and algae growth come spring.

    Of course, if your pool is frozen over and topped with snow, there's not much testing or adjusting that you can do at the moment. But when the pool thaws out, pull back the pool cover in one corner, and test the pool water. If you need to add adjustment chemicals, open the cover along one side, add your chemicals and then brush that side of the pool to help distribute, before covering the pool tightly again.

    Number 4 thing to do after installing your own inground poolPOOL EQUIPMENT CHECK: The fourth step is to keep an eye on the pool equipment - pump, filter, heater, etc. Check to be sure that the pool has not become un-winterized. There should be no water in the pump or filter, of course. Also check that fallen branches have not caused any damage, or small mudslides, or anything out of the ordinary. And, of course make sure that the power is still Off - you do not want the pump running without water. Breakers should be turned off to the equipment pad.

    Your pool equipment is probably OK if it looks OK - no need to dismantle and look inside, but scan the equipment for any signs of cracking, or anything out of the ordinary. Should you dig out a pool pump covered in snow? I would, but there's probably no real need to. As long as melting snow won't cause flooding, or small mudslides, which is the real concern to your pool pump.

    Covering the equipment can trap moisture and humidity, but you can make a lean-to style of cover, or use something to cover the equipment, while still allowing the most air flow possible.

    image from istockphoto, winterized pool

    Thanks for reading! Taking care of your pool is important during winter, as tempting as it is to set it and forget it, give your pool a thorough winter inspection to tackle any problems head-on. If you find something upsetting, leave a comment below, I answer them myself!

    Matt Spencer
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
    Matt Spencer