Closing your saltwater pool for the season doesn’t have to be a salty experience. With the right chemicals and a splash of know-how, you can ensure a smooth transition to off-season bliss.
As summer waves goodbye, it’s time to tuck your saltwater pool in for a well-deserved hibernation. Closing your pool properly is crucial to protect it from the winter elements and make spring opening a breeze. It’s not just throwing a cover over the surface; it’s about preserving the pool’s structure, equipment, and water quality.
Close your pool with a deep clean, water chemistry balance, and protection from freezing. Skipping this can mean expensive repairs and a messy spring. Use your closing checklist for a hassle-free shutdown—give your pool some TLC, ensuring a clear and pristine return next season.
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1. Alkalinity Adjuster
Alkalinity acts as your pool’s shock absorber, buffering the pH to prevent wild swings that can harm your pool’s surface and equipment. If your pool’s alkalinity is off-kilter, it’s like riding a bike with no handlebars—things can go sideways fast. Aim for an alkalinity level of 80-120 ppm (parts per million).
An alkalinity adjuster (such as sodium bicarbonate) can raise low levels, ensuring your pH stays stable throughout the winter. It’s the unsung hero of pool chemistry, often overlooked but always essential. Think of it as the bass player in a rock band—not always in the spotlight, but without it, the whole tune falls apart.
I once had a neighbor who ignored his alkalinity levels, and his pool turned into a science experiment gone wrong. His equipment was corroded, and his pool walls were stained. Trust me, a little alkalinity adjuster goes a long way in preventing a poolside disaster.
2. pH Balancer
The pH level of your pool is like the pool’s personality—it can be acidic, basic, or just right. You want it just right, around 7.4 to 7.6, to keep the water comfortable for swimmers and kind to your pool surfaces and equipment. An off-balance pH can irritate eyes, fade swimwear, and even damage your pool liner.
To adjust your pH, you can use sodium bisulfate to lower it or sodium carbonate to raise it. It’s like adjusting the thermostat in your home to keep everyone comfortable. Just a few tweaks can make all the difference between a pool that’s welcoming or one that’s downright hostile.
Remember that time I let my pH drift too low? It was like a poolside horror movie where the villain was the water itself, etching away at my pool surfaces. Lesson learned—keep that pH in check!
3. Calcium Hardness
Calcium hardness is all about protecting your pool from the inside out. Too little calcium and your pool water starts eyeing your pool’s plaster with hungry eyes, leading to erosion and damage. Too much calcium and you’ve got scaling, cloudy water, and clogged filters. Aim for a calcium hardness level between 200-400 ppm.
You’ll need a calcium hardness increaser if your levels are low, which is usually calcium chloride. It’s like giving your pool a protective suit of armor against the ravages of soft, corrosive water. On the flip side, if your levels are too high, you may need to partially drain and refill with softer water.
That time I neglected calcium hardness? My pool’s surface got so rough it could’ve exfoliated an elephant. So, a word to the wise: don’t skimp on the calcium.
4. Chlorine/Shock Treatment
Before you close the curtains on your pool season, give it a standing ovation with a good shock treatment. This is the equivalent of a full-scale cleaning crew, obliterating bacteria, algae, and contaminants. A chlorine-based shock product will do the trick, raising chlorine levels to a point where these unwelcome guests can’t survive.
Shock your pool a few days before closing to ensure the chlorine has time to do its job and dissipate. This isn’t a gentle lullaby; it’s a full-on rock concert to clear out the riff-raff before the quiet winter months. You want your pool to be as clean as a whistle—or in this case, as pristine as a chlorine-kissed oasis.
I once skipped the shock, thinking it was no biggie. Big mistake. It was like inviting mold and algae to a pool party and then leaving town. Never again.
5. Algaecide Application
Algaecide is your pool’s insurance policy against a green spring awakening. After shocking, adding a quality algaecide puts a protective barrier between your clear water and any algae spores dreaming of taking over. It’s like setting up a security system for your pool—better safe than sorry.
When applying algaecide, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. This isn’t the time for guesswork. Think of Algaecide as the bouncer at the pool’s winter club—it keeps the undesirables out so you can rest easy.
I recall a season I skimped on the algaecide, only to find my pool a swampy mess come spring. It was like returning from vacation to find your house trashed by party animals. Algaecide is a must-have in your pool closing toolkit.
Importance of Balanced Chemistry
Before you start tossing in chemicals like a mad scientist, understand that balance is the key to pool harmony. Balanced water chemistry prevents algae growth, protects equipment from corrosion, and saves you from a headache come springtime. Neglecting this step is like skipping sunscreen on a sunny day—it’s bound to burn you later.
Ensuring the right levels of alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, and sanitizer is like hitting the perfect harmony in a symphony—each component plays a crucial role in the overall performance. It’s the difference between a pristine pool and a green monster waiting to emerge from the depths of winter.
Remember the time I forgot to balance my pool before closing? Let’s just say, come spring, my pool looked more like a frog pond than a swimmer’s paradise. Learn from my mistakes; balanced water is your best defense against the off-season gremlins.
Additional Closing Supplies
Besides the essential chemicals, you’ll need a few more items to button up your pool tight. A quality pool cover is like a warm blanket on a cold night—it keeps out debris, sunlight, and curious critters. Water bags or weights ensure your cover doesn’t take flight in a strong wind.
Don’t forget to lower the water level below the skimmer, blow out the lines to prevent freezing, and plug the openings. It’s a bit like winterizing your car; every step is about preventing the cold from causing chaos. And a pool pillow? It’s not just for looks—it eases the pressure on your pool walls from ice expansion.
That year when I didn’t secure my cover properly? My backyard became an autumn leaf collection zone. Secure your cover as if a troop of squirrels is plotting to turn your pool into their nut stash.
Step-by-Step Closing Process
Closing your pool is a methodical dance that, when done correctly, leads to an easy spring opening. First, clean the pool thoroughly and balance the water chemistry. Remember, a clean pool is a happy pool. Then, lower the water level and add winterizing chemicals.
Next, shock the pool and wait for the chlorine level to drop back down. Add algaecide last to prevent any algae from crashing your pool’s winter party. Finally, cover the pool securely, ensuring everything is snug as a bug. This process is like preparing a delicious meal—the right steps in the right order make all the difference.
I’ve seen folks rush through closing, and it’s like skipping steps in a recipe—you end up with a half-baked mess. Take your time, follow the steps, and you’ll be rewarded with a pool that’s ready to go when the warm weather returns.
In the video, Viking Aquatics explains –
- Adjust Water Level: Lowering the water level in the pool is a crucial step for winterization. The amount depends on the type of pool cover, with a recommendation to drop an inch or two for a solid Rubbermaid cover.
- Filter Backwash: Before closing the pool, backwash the sand filter by turning off the power, flipping the handle to the backward position, and then turning the power back on.
- Basket Cleaning: Remove the pool’s skimmer basket and clean it thoroughly, ensuring it’s free from debris.
- Remove Wall Fittings: Take out all wall fittings, including rails and ladders, and use half-inch rubber plugs to seal the openings left behind.
- Blow Out Pipes: Utilize a powerful blower, such as the Cyclone Pro, to blow out water from all underground pipes. Connect the blower to the backwash line for effective results.
- Proper Airflow: Lift the backwash handle to allow air to travel through the filter. Ensure the handle does not seal, as it needs to rest on plastic bumpers from the pump.
- Drain Plugs Removal: Remove drain plugs from the pump, both on the pump and filter sides. Secure the plugs in a safe place to prevent accidental opening during winter.
- Anti-Freeze Application: Pour half a gallon of anti-freeze down the pipes and the remaining half on top of the plug to protect the plumbing system during winter.
- Valve Securing: Ensure that the valve is securely closed and cannot be accidentally opened during the winter months.
- Pre-Winter Cleaning: It’s essential to clean the pool thoroughly before closing it for the winter, ensuring a clean and well-maintained pool when it’s reopened.
Maintaining Your Pool Off-Season
Just because your pool is closed doesn’t mean you can forget about it until spring. Periodically check the cover for damage or displacement. It’s like keeping an eye on a sleeping child—you want to make sure they’re safe and sound.
Keep an eye on the water level and chemistry by testing every few weeks. If you need to make adjustments, do so promptly to avoid bigger problems down the line. It’s similar to maintaining a garden in the winter—you’re setting the stage for a beautiful bloom in the spring.
And let’s not forget about the equipment. Store your pump, filter, and other removable items in a dry place to prevent frost damage. It’s like packing away your summer clothes—take care of them now, and they’ll be ready when you need them again.
Closing your saltwater pool is an essential part of pool ownership, blending chemistry with a bit of elbow grease. Tackle it step by step, and you’ll be lounging by your sparkling poolside when the sun comes knocking again. Happy closing!