Winter Maintenance: What to Do with Your Pool’s Water

Having an above ground pool is a great way to keep cool in the hot summer months, however when the mercury dips, the pool is the last place you want to be.

But just because you won’t be using the pool for a while doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of it. In fact, proper care and maintenance of your pool over the winter is more important than ever. Without proper care, your pool could become damaged and be costly to repair or may even need to be replaced.

One of the first things many people wonder is whether or not water should be kept in the pool over the winter, or if it should be emptied during the colder months. You should definitely keep water in the pool, but not too much. If the pool is completely empty there is a great risk of your pool wall going off track as well as shrinking the liner to where it doesn’t fit your pool. Above ground pools need to be weighted in order to stay stable when not in use, especially over the winter.

Lower the Water Level

While some water is necessary, a full pool is not a good idea either. Instead, the water level should be a few inches below the pool skimmer basket designed to catch debris, It is also important to take care of any existing debris by brushing the sides of the pool and vacuuming before adding winterizing chemicals to the pool.

Adjust Chemical Levels

After assuring that the right amount of water is in the pool, you’ll need to add winterizing chemicals to the deep end of the pool. By adjusting these levels correctly you prevent scale build up or corrosion that can happen over the winter. Your pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6, just slightly alkaline. Your alkalinity should register at neat 100 parts per million, calcium hardness should be 175-250 parts per million and chlorine levels should be at 1-3 parts per million. If you live in an area where there are warm spurts throughout the winter, it is also a good idea to treat the standing water with an algae control chemical as well.

Cleaning the Accessories

With the pool itself clean, it is time to take care of the pool’s accessories. The pump basket, filter, and skimmer will need a thorough cleaning, and unused chlorine should be discarded. Filter grids and the elements of your cartridge filter can be cleaned and put away for the next swimming season. Any hoses can also be stored away for the winter, and store drain plugs in the pump basket. For pools with hard plumbing, an air compressor or shop Vac can blow water out of the system by directing air down the skimmer and through the plumbing.

One of the last steps is optional, but is recommended for anyone who lives in an area where winters are very cold. This is to place an inflated air pillow in the middle of the pool. This should be anchored to the pool wall with strings. These air pillows help keep the water from freezing and expanding over the winter.

Use a Pool Cover

Lastly, a cover is placed over the pool, as it is laid to rest for the winter. A cover pump should also go over the the pool cover in order to keep water from building up. The weight of the extra water can rip a cover and/or the water tubes of the pool. By taking time to properly winterize, you’re pool is sure to bring you many years of summer fun.