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Swimming Pool Covers – Guide to Closing an In-Ground Pool

Swimming Pool Covers – Guide to Closing an In-Ground Pool

Have you got your swimming pool cove ready for the winter season? As the swim season comes to an end, all pools must be closed for the colder months. As you are preparing for the closing of your swimming pool, there are a few precautions that you must consider to make sure the water stays clear, and the pool and its equipment remain intact and in good condition.

Swimming pools are not all the same, so covering one depends on its shape and size. However, this article will provide you with some useful guidelines.

The first thing you should is to do simple cleaning tasks. It should be skimmed, brushed, and vacuumed to close your pool for the coming winter season properly. The cleaner the pool is at closing, the cleaner it will likely be opening when springtime comes.

After cleaning the pool, the next task is to add winterizing chemicals to keep the pool’s clarity intact during wintertime. It is highly advisable to add the winterizing chemicals the night before you close the pool and let the filter run overnight to circulate the water’s chemicals. Afterward, backwash the filter thoroughly.

Lower the pool’s water level, preferably about three to six inches below the skimmer’s bottom. The reason for doing this is to prevent freeze damage and (to a lesser degree) overflow. The exact level to drain the water from the pool depends on the type of cover you will install to your pool and the pool surface you have. The water provides support to the pool cover and the load of the debris or rain that ends up on the top of the cover, so it is essential to follow the pool cover manufacturer’s recommendations. However, if you live in a warm and dry climate, there is no need to do this.

For additional safety, remove all drain plugs from the pump and filter, chemical feeder, and heater. If you have a D.E. filter, you should disassemble it, clean the filter elements with the correct chemicals, and rinse them off with a high-pressure washer. Assemble the filter. Manufacturers recommend storing the filter and pump inside for the winter season.

Blow out the underground lines. If you live in a warmer climate where the temperature does not get to freezing or below, and you want to avoid doing this step, you can use antifreeze or skip this step. Otherwise, use the exhaust from a shop vacuum and start blowing water from the skimmer lines at the skimmer, so the water comes out from the pump. Stop and then start the blower and repeat until there is no more water coming out from the pump. Then apply a non-toxic antifreeze down the skimmer. Insert a Gizmo in the hole in the bottom of the skimmer. For ½ pipe, you will need a gallon of non-toxic pool antifreeze for every ten feet of underground line to and from the pool (including all skimmer lines, the main drain, and all returns).

Then, blow out the other lines from the filter connections. Install the plug while the blower is still running. Ensure that the plug is tight enough so that no more air bubbles come out. Turn off the blower and add the antifreeze. If your pool has a main drain, you must winterize it by pouring a gallon of the antifreeze into the filter sideline. Shut off the valve but take time to check the filter system to make sure that it is completely drained.

Next, remove any pool accessories – ladders, handrails, anchor wedges, diving boards, etc. Now, if you ask why there is a need to take these accessories away, leaving them otherwise would expose them to possible damage – they may even rust. As for the diving board, it is usually far enough that it does not interfere with the winter cover, so removing it depends if the owner wants it.

Also, when you cover your pool, you want it completely covered. Unless you know a professional pool, cover maker who can create one that can fit the pool securely, even around rails and ladders, removing the accessories ensures a secure fit of the cover to the pool. Otherwise, a pool that is not completely and securely covered will allow leaves and other debris to enter the pool. Children and pets can also enter the pool if it is not sealed securely.

Now, it is time to install a winter cover. You have a couple of choices when it comes to the types of winter covers:

  • Regular winter cover – it will protect your pool from debris and contaminants and help maintain your pool water’s chemicals. It will also prevent any gaps along the pool’s edges. You can use water tubes or cover weights to prevent the cover from sinking. When using a regular winter cover, make sure that you use a pool cover pump to remove any standing water from the cover’s surface. Also, keep your pool clean by removing fallen leaves, and other debris using a regular push broom or a rubber broom.
  • Pool safety cover – They come in either mesh or solid, but there are hybrid options as well. If you use a hybrid cover, you may have to lower the pool water again during the winter if rain has gone into the pool.

Winterizing a pool is harder than it seems, and it is sometimes hard to do it correctly. Or perhaps you are headed out on a long vacation.  In these cases, it’s better to leave the job to the pros. Swimming pool covers will further protect your pool from the harsh winter elements, as long as they’re made by a reputable manufacturer and have exceeded the ASTM safety standards.