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How to close your pool for the season

A pool skimmer with multicolored leaves in its net resting atop blue pool water

Fall is inching toward us. It’s time to start preparations, and one of the biggest things to tackle is your large outdoor equipment, like your in-ground pool. Our tips below will show you how to close your pool properly, so you can enjoy it for many years to come. 

Close up shop when the temp drops

If you live somewhere that gets quite cold in the winter, you should winterize your pool once the temperatures consistently stay in the 50s. If you have a heat pump for your pool, however, you may be able to push the end of pool season back a few weeks.

The full scrubdown

Follow manufacturer instructions and get to know your pool and climate to determine your needs. Now is also a good time to remove and clean all pool accessories (ladders, poolside toys, etc.) before storing them away from the elements. It may help to shock your pool last, at least 1-2 nights before you close your pool, to have the greatest effect.

This is your pool’s last cleaning for a while–so be sure to make it count! Use your pool vacuum, brushes, and other equipment to make the walls, floor, and ledges sparkle, especially in hard-to-reach places. Afterward, use your skimmer attachment to remove anything that’s left behind.

Once your pool has been returned to its glimmering glory, be sure to balance the water (which we’ve written about here) and add enzymes, shock, and non-staining algaecide to kill bacteria, block algae growth, and prevent stains over the long winter.

Pool filter cleaning

While different filter types require different cleaning methods, you can clean most cartridge filters by:

  • Spraying the filter with pool filter cleaner and letting it soak according to the directions
  • Rinsing the filter with water at a near 45-degree angle
  • Flipping over the filter and repeating the second step
  • Letting the filter dry completely before reinstallation

You can also use a pool filter cleaning tool created for this task, as well as enzyme additives to help your cartridge filters last longer.

Sand and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters (aka sand filters) can be backwashed. To clean these types of filters, simply set your valve to ‘filter’, and drain all the water from the filter, pump, and pool heater, if you’ve got one. DE filters also have removable grids that can be rinsed off with a garden hose. If you do this, pour roughly one cup of DE powder into the skimmer.

Skim and drain

Now is a great time to clean out the pool pump and skimmer lid baskets. When cleaning the pool pump basket, be sure to turn the pump off before you open it, then leave it running for a full 24 hours after cleaning. Any water left in the pipes could create a problem when temperatures reach freezing, which is why it’s important to drain all the plumbing as well. This step may be best left to the professionals.

Winterize pool equipment/Add pool antifreeze (if your weather drops below freezing)

Another way to combat pipes freezing in the winter is to drain some of the water from the pool, taking note of where the chemical-containing pool water should be responsibly disposed. The amount you should drain depends on the cover(s) you use and the amount of expected snowfall; for many pools, this is between 6 and 24 inches.

If you live in a climate that doesn’t reach water’s freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit), you can fill your pool to the brim.

Pool cover options

To finish up the pool winterizing process, plug your pool, then cover it. There are three types of covers available for use alone or with others.

  • Leaf Nets: These are designed for areas that are warmer year-round, and they block larger debris from getting into your pool while allowing water through.
  • Winter Covers: This type of cover prevents large and small debris from entering the pool, though water passes through.
  • Safety Covers: For the utmost protection against debris and anyone falling into your pool, the safety cover is your best bet.

Winter pool maintenance

Now that you’ve officially closed your pool, you can make sure your chemicals and equipment are all where they need to be before wrapping up your summer. During the months your pool is not in use, do a quick monthly chemical and cover check to ensure things are as they should be. Once everything checks out, you are free to enjoy all the hot chocolate and holiday treats you like until the time for the first belly flop rolls around again.

Proper pool maintenance can help prolong the life of your warm-weather fun, but a home warranty can step in where pool covers can’t. Call 866.589.5518 or visit APHW.COM for more information on how to cover your major seasonal and year-round appliances and systems today.

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