When is the right time to close my pool?
Did you know closing your pool too early can be a bad thing? There are different factors that dictate when you should close your pool, ranging from water temperature to the amount of foliage that may get into your pool. Many say the standard is to open your pool early and close your pool late. While that is said to be the standard, it actually holds a lot of merit.
If you opt to close your pool while the weather is warm, you may be asking too much of your chemicals. Closing your pool for the season should not be based on when it is convenient – like a holiday weekend - rather it should guided by the proper timing. If you close your pool while the weather is still warm, the winter protection chemicals you’ve added will often not last until spring. That is because your pool chemicals are consumed much faster in hotter temperatures versus cooler temperatures.
When closing your pool earlier than the outdoor temperatures warrant, your pool is more susceptible to algae growth and staining during the early parts of spring. Not to mention it can also lengthen your spring opening and clean-up time due to severely unsanitary pool water.
If you uncover your pool water and find it green and filled with algae, you’ll have 2 options; drain out all your pool water and refill it with fresh clean water; or, increase the amount of chemicals and operating costs typically used to reopen a swimming pool – not to mention, you will have to wait longer to enjoy it.
Both options can be costly, and they are both situations you will want to avoid. If the weather in your area still has the potential to peak into the high 70s or low 80s, you will want to keep your pool open and maintained normally.
It is best to close your pool when the temperature of the water is consistently below 60 degrees. Once the water temperature drops below 60 degrees, microorganisms and algae cannot grow and become dormant for the winter season. Decreasing the likelihood of algae growth helps with the overall chemistry of your pool water and causes fewer issues in the spring when you open the pool.
Make sure to get your water tested by a pool professional so you can put the correct chemicals in your pool, as well as the precise amount. Keep in mind that the procedure for closing your pool for the season differs greatly from standard pool maintenance. There is nothing wrong with closing your pool yourself, just make sure you have the proper instruction to do so in order to experience an easy pool closing and opening.
During the off season, it is recommended that you add shock to your pool water twice while the pool is closed. Most people do this around Thanksgiving and Easter when the water will still be thawed enough to get the chemicals in the water without them just resting on top of the ice. Adding the shock helps keep your pool water clear for when you open the pool in spring.
Closing your pool requires preparation, a good understanding of how to balance the chemicals in your pool, and a full day dedicated to the task. The true test of a successful pool closing will occur when it is time to open your pool in the spring. A failed pool closure will rear its ugly face as soon as you uncover your pool and attempt to turn on your pumps for the first time.
Properly winterizing your pool will limit the chances of equipment and piping from freezing. It will also limit the need for repairs or the lengthy delays getting your pool water clear when you open it again.
One of the first instincts of many pool owners is to empty the pool completely for the winter. That is not suggested as the soil under and around your pool can freeze, expand, and then move your pool out of place. The weight of the water in your pool keeps the pool in place. As the northeast experiences temperatures below freezing, it is recommended to drain your pool 4” – 6” below the skimmer.
Most of the hard work in closing your pool is making sure your mechanical systems have been properly prepared for the freezing temperatures. Pumps, heaters and plumbing lines should be free of standing water and your pool should be safely secured with a good pool cover.
Consider using a combination of a safety or standard winter pool cover, and a leaf cover. By placing a leaf cover on top of your heavier pool cover, it will allow you to remove the leaves and debris that gathers over the winter first, and then remove the heavier cover with a lot less effort.
There are many how to videos available on YouTube, as well as some of the pool manufacturer’s websites if you are insistent on taking on this project by yourself. However, it is always good to consult with a professional who can help guide you in the right direction.
Stuart Roaker, President – The Pool Therapist
(718) 370-7000 www.pooltherapist.com
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