There is a common misconception that you have to close your pool by draining it during the winter months to prevent freezing. However, as your pool builders may tell you, this isn’t actually the most beneficial thing to do. Sure, completely draining your pool isn’t necessarily damaging, and may seem easier than maintaining it over the winter, but it can result in a lot more work when it comes to re-opening your pool in the summer. Keeping your pool maintained and filled during the winter actually can prevent damage and make it easier to balance the chemicals in the summer.
Benefits of Keeping Water in Your Pool
Leaving water in your pool during the winter comes with many benefits. If you live in areas that freeze in the winter months, your best option is still to leave some water in your pool as long as you add the proper winterizing chemicals to the water and drain it partially. Draining your pool entirely before the winter leaves your pool susceptible to the elements and can cause the liner to rip/tear, dry out, shrink, and/or crack. Once spring comes, having treated water already in your pool makes re-opening your pool that much easier.
How Much Water to Drain
Normally, you should drain your pool below skimmer levels before closing your pool. If you don’t know what this means, consult your pool builder or landscaper for more information. If you have an in-ground pool, you may need to drain more. The key to this step is draining enough water so that you can clean out the plumbing system in order to avoid frozen lines during the winter. If your pool has a removable pump and skimmer system, then you can simply remove this system, and drain a little water off the top to account for expansion when the water freezes.
Having a Winter Pool Cover
Whether you choose to drain your pool or not, you will need to cover your pool with a heavy-duty winter pool cover that fits your pool. If you have a automated retractable tarp, to avoid strain on your tarp, retract your tarp so the snows weight does not make it stretch and then lay the winter cover over the water and anchor it down with weights or straps. If you do not properly strap down the cover, then debris or animals may find a way into your pool which will ultimately force you to drain your pool and refill it in the spring.
Chemicals for Winterizing Your Pool
Simply adding chlorine to your pool in the winter isn’t enough. During the winter, non-living organic contamination is inevitable, even with a pool cover. Because the water is not being circulated during winter months, chlorine will degrade and eventually disappear. You will need to add an algaecide in order to stop algae growth and slow bacterial growth.
Having a thermometer in your pool can help you know when temperatures are getting low enough for you to close your pool if you do not heat it. Waiting too long to close your pool can result in burst pipes and a lot of extra tedious work. Keeping your pool partially filled and treated properly during the winter can really make your job easier when re-opening your pool in the spring. Consult with your pool builders and landscapers to know more about proper pool care and other tips for maintaining your pool in the winter months.