How to Close Your Inground Pool for Canadian Winters
A backyard pool provides endless hours of fun and relaxation during the summer months. However, in order to protect the longevity of an inground pool, there are many important maintenance steps. This includes regularly checking and adjusting water levels to balance chemistry, cleaning debris, shocking with chemicals and closing the pool during the winter months. This is especially important in Canada and the Greater Toronto Area, where the winter can be brutal. Heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and high winds can all damage your pool, water lines, plumbing and pool accessories if they aren’t properly cleaned and put-away. Unfortunately, many first-time pool owners and veteran pool owners aren’t sure how to properly close their pool for winter.
In this blog post, we are going to dive into why it is important to close your pool during the winter and provide a step-by-step description of the closing process. However, if you don’t want to close your pool yourself, many pool and spa companies provide closing services and we will also discuss how to organize a professional closing of your inground pool.
Why do I need to close my inground pool before winter?
The freezing temperatures of the winter months allow water to freeze and Canadians to enjoy skating, building snowmen, and unfortunately, shovelling driveways. However, freezing temperatures can also affect your pool equipment and water lines if you do not prepare appropriately. Water that remains in your pipes, pump and filter during the winter can freeze and damage the equipment.
Closing your pool for winter allows you to minimize any potential damage to your equipment by removing excess water from plumbing and installing a winter cover. It is important to wait until water temperatures are consistently below 15°C before you close the pool to ensure algae growth is minimal. Overall, following a detailed maintenance schedule and closing your inground pool ahead of winter can help extend the longevity of your pool liner and equipment.
What do I need to do in order to close my inground pool for winter?
To close your inground pool for winter, several steps need to be followed that are outlined below. This includes preparing and cleaning equipment, installing your winter cover and properly storing any summer equipment that will not be in use. The detailed step-by-step guide below can help you close your inground pool for winter or you may choose to hire a company to complete the process.
At Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs, we provide comprehensive pool maintenance and repair, including closing services. We can help ensure that your inground pool is ready for winter and your unused equipment and cleaned and stored appropriately. We can then help reopen the pool in the spring to make sure it is ready for summer fun. Contact us today to book your closing service ahead of the winter snowfall.
What are the steps to closing my inground pool for winter?
Get equipment organized
Closing your pool for the winter is a great time to take stock of your equipment and its condition. For the actual pool closing process, it is also important that you have all the necessary equipment including a winter cover, water bags, skimmer plugs, return jet plugs, winter chemicals and an air compressor or Shop Vac. Each of these pieces of equipment should be inspected for rips or tears, leaks and cracks. Unlike during the summer months, winter chemicals will include shock, algaecide, and stain and scale remover. Many pool and spa stores will sell pool closing kits that will include all these chemicals packaged in one convenient bundle.
Prepare the pool
To prepare your pool for the closing process, start by clearing the pool of any flotation devices, diving toys, ropes, accessories and diving boards. Following removal of all equipment, clean the pool using either an automatic or hand vacuum system. Water slides, waterfalls or other water features will also need to be turned off, drained and blown out. Finally, the water level of the pool should be drained so that it falls just below the return line.
Prepare filters and pumps
Start by disconnecting your pump and filter and ensuring both are completely drained. For the pump, this requires pulling out the drain plug and ensuring all water is completed emptied. Once the pump is drained, it should be turned on for only a moment to remove any excess water. For the filter, it should be cleaned, and the tank should be drained following specific instructions for either a sand or cartridge filter. The backwash valve should be left open, and multiport valves should be blown out using a Shop Vac or compressor. Finally, jet fittings should be removed and the pump, filter and any other parts should be stored in a dry place for the winter.
Prepare your pool heater
If you own a pool heater, it should be turned off and drained completely. Then, a Shop Vac or compressor should be used to blow any remaining water out of the lines.
Drain and blow out your lines
Instead of using anti-freeze which can affect your pool when it is opened in the spring, simply blow out your water lines using a Shop Vac or compressor. Once each line is completely clear of any water, each line will need to be tightly plugged to prevent water re-entering. Specific plugs are necessary to ensure that the line continues to be plugged throughout the winter and a pool and spa store can help you determine which plugs are right for your pool.
Plug the skimmer hole
In order to plug the skimmer hole and protect it throughout the winter, there are two popular options. The Gizzmo is a hollow tube that allows expansion without damaging the skimming system. The second option is a skimmer plate which covers the mouth of the skimmer. However, a skimmer plate is only recommended in pools with vinyl linings.
Balance your chemicals
Before you close your pool for winter, it is important to ensure that your water chemistry is balanced, whether you have a salt water pool or a chlorine pool. To help protect your pool liner from staining and prevent the growth of any algae or microorganisms, you will want to balance your total pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness. This can be accomplished with a series of chemicals, which are usually packaged in convenient bundles at pool and spa stores. For your safety and the safety of your pool, always follow the instructions on the chemical bottle and test the water after adding any chemicals to ensure balance is achieved.
Install your pool cover
A winter pool cover can help prevent debris such as leaves, sticks and mud from entering your pool water. To install your cover, lay it over the pool and place water bags along all edges. This will create weighted protection to ensure the cover remains in place throughout the winter. It is important to not overfill water bags as they will expand when they freeze during the winter. If you have a winter safety cover, water bags will not be necessary to weigh down the cover. Instead, previously placed anchors will be used to hold the cover in place.
Clean and store your equipment
Once your winter cover is safely installed on the pool, all other equipment and accessories can be stored in a clean and dry place throughout the winter. If you follow all the above steps, opening your pool in the spring will be easy and efficient.
Overall, closing your pool for winter can help prevent damage caused by freezing temperatures and stormy weather. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your water lines, pool cover, and pool accessories are protected from the harsh winter months and ensure that opening your pool in the spring is a smooth and effortless process. Many people choose to purchase pool closing kits or hire a pool closing service to help complete the process ahead of the winter months. With the long list of important steps involved in the closing process, hiring an expert team can help ensure that none of them are missed.
At Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs, we provide a comprehensive inventory of parts, chemicals and services to suit inground pools, aboveground pools and hot tubs. Whether you are looking for a pool closing kit, a winter pool cover, or a pool closing service, we can provide anything you may need. With two store locations in Newmarket and Markham, we are experienced in servicing inground and aboveground pools in the Greater Toronto Area.
Contact our team today at either 905-294-8030 (Markham) or 905-853-8500 (Newmarket) to inquire about booking your pool closing. Don’t let the winter stop you from enjoying your pool in the spring and summer! Protect your pool for years to come with a comprehensive closing service.