Closing up the swimming pool is usually a sad time of the year for most homeowners and their families. Needless to say, the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are falling, and summer fun is now a memory. But closing up the swimming pool is a serious responsibility, and it’s important because it will avoid preventable problems and maybe even costly repairs. The good news is that everything will be in great shape for springtime, when the new swimming season begins.Clearly, closing an in-ground pool will be different than closing an above ground pool, but in principle, the steps will be common. And since all pools are different, there may be specific needs that are manufacturer recommended. Here, it’s always good to be in contact with a professional pool contractor (perhaps the one who actually built the pool) for good advice. The best rule is to be safe rather than sorry. This is not a time to be taking shortcuts or looking for quick fixes.Locate and assemble “winterizing” supplies. Amongst other things, this will include the pool cover, tubes and plugs, and any winterizing chemicals. It’s likely that a wet/dry “shop vac” will be required. Also important is to make sure that all parts and supplies are in good working order.Backwash the filter so that’s its clean. Depending on the filter configuration, valves may need to remain open, and drain plugs may need to be lifted. Valves should be free of water, and may need to be “blown” out (perhaps with the shop vac). Acid wash is not recommended at this time.Disconnect the pool pump and filter. The pool pump should be totally drained of water. Any drain plugs should be removed. And it’s always a good idea to stash pool parts in a container that is properly marked, so that everything is easy to find in the spring for the pool opening.Heaters should be drained of all water. There should be no sitting water in the heater. This can be achieved by blowing out any residue with a shop vac. Once again, heaters may have different manufacturer recommendations, and these should always be followed for best results.Unscrew, loosen or disconnect fittings. Plumbing fittings (and unions) located at the pump or filter system should be disengaged. All water must be fully drained from pipes and fittings in order to avoid freezing, expanding or cracking. In the spring this kind of surprise is unwanted.“Blowing out” the return jet pipes. Using a shop-vac, there are tricks of the trade for “blowing out” the entire system of return jets. Every pool owner will handle this task in his or her own way, but most important is to remove ALL water. Freezing parts will be a disaster come spring.Remove equipment and accessories. Diving boards, ladders, ropes and floats should be stashed and protected. That applies equally to mechanical equipment like pumps and filters – all of them should be well protected from the elements and safeguarded form potential freezing.
Undoubtedly, there are a host of other tasks to manage – everything from winterizing chemicals, to appropriate water levels, to the swimming pool cover. And although much of the work can be undertaken personally, it doesn’t hurt to work with a professional contractor who can provide the tools and experience and expertise that may contribute to a job that is 100%.