If you close your pool for the winter, there are a few things you should do during winter, to avoid a messy spring clean-up.
Mesh safety covers and older solid covers can cause green, costly and time consuming pool openings, unless you take a few pre-season steps to prevent problems.
If your pool is frozen solid, wait for the ice to melt, but assuming that your pool is in a liquid state, you can take these steps to ensure a hassle-free pool start-up.
ALL POOL TYPES
- Use a Cover Pump Underwater: Drop a pool cover pump in the pool with hose attached. Let it run a few days to circulate the pool water under the pool cover.
- Check Pool Water Level: Solid covered pool water level should stay constant, or there may be a pool leak or a hole in the cover that the cover pump is pumping through. Mesh covered pools will rise naturally and need to be lowered with a cover pump.
- Check Pool pH, Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness: Reach under your cover, pulling it back enough to get a water sample from elbow depth. If adjustments are needed, pull the cover back along one side and pour in any needed water balance chemicals.
- Add Enzymes: Enzymes in the spring consume oils, pollen, mites and contaminants that use up winter chemicals and cause green openings seen in mesh covered pools.
- Brush Your Pool: After adding balancing chemicals or additional winter chemicals, pull back the pool cover along one or both sides, folding on itself, to give a good brushing.
MESH SAFETY COVERS: Depending on the age and the quality of the mesh material, mesh safety covers can let in a large amount of sunshine and silty contaminants. Add high water level and tree debris, and you get a nice batch of sun tea, which stains pools and makes spring openings a mess. Safety Cover Mate floats on your pool surface, to block the sun and catch fine silt and debris.
Water Level. If you see water touching the center of your safety cover, the level is already too high. Keep your water level 2-12 inches below the tile, and adjust your cover straps if necessary, to reduce the deflection or ‘dip’ of the cover, pulling it tighter across the pool. This will help prevent the ‘tea bag’ effect, and also help prevent water warming.
Winter Chemicals. Mesh covered pools need more chemicals in the spring, to combat the surge of contaminants that wash into the pool with heavy spring showers. You can add another quart of winter algaecide, a quart of Enzymes, or you can shock the pool and refill chlorine floaters with 3″ tablets.
SOLID POOL COVERS: Solid winter covers require frequent pumping of rain and snow melt, and removal of leaves, easiest with a Leaf Catcher. Water on the cover can attract worms, which attracts birds. Small holes could bring a small catastrophe if cover sludge leaks into the pool.
Water Level. For solid cover pools, you should also pay attention to your pool water level. A leak in the pool, or other drop in the water level, will also drop the cover level. Solid covers usually rest 3-4″ below the bottom of the skimmer opening, unless a skimmer cover or snap-in type of skimmer opening plug is used.
Cover Adjustments. Adjust your cover while cleaning it, so that you pull it taut across the pool, removing large wrinkles. Having a smooth pool cover around the pool is also helpful, for good drainage during heavy rains. With your solid cover mostly clean and pumped, pull on the outer edges and corners, to ‘tighten-up’ the pool cover. Add more water bags or Aqua Bloks as needed.
ABOVE GROUND POOL COVERS: Aboveground pools should also use a cover pump and leaf rake skimmer net or pool brush, to remove water and debris from the cover, for the same reasons listed above. You really don’t want to have a cover ‘accident’, trust me.
Air Pillows. An absolutely essential piece of winter gear for aboveground pools, Air Pillows prevent a solid ice sheet from forming across the pool, which could damage the liner, skimmer and walls. Be sure your Air Pillow remains inflated and centered, until the danger of freezing temps is passed.
Cover Adjustments. The winch and cable that is included with most above ground pool covers does only a fair job. It needs tightening occasionally, and it still won’t stop heavy winds from getting under the cover, which can cause cover damage. You can use Cover Clips or Cover Seal to stop high winds, or add some Wall Bags or other type of cable weights, to be sure your cover is tight.
Get your pool ready for spring openings by checking water chemistry, water level and adding some extra algaecide, enzymes or sanitizer to the pool.
Pay it forward with a small investment pre-spring, and you’ll save money, time and aggravation when it comes time to open the pool.
InTheSwim Blog Editor