Closing Your In-Ground Pool and Off-Season Care

a pool with a gazebo next to a white fence.

Taking some time to close your in-ground vinyl liner pool correctly, and then caring for the pool during the off-season, will make opening it next spring easier and less costly. When you have a pool, you know how wonderful it is to open it in the spring and have the pool be in perfect shape. This is the case when you have prepared for the off-season six months before. However, if you were in a hurry in the fall and didn’t properly prepare for the colder months, you will find there to be much more work required, and just when you are ready to get back into the water!Off-Season pool care

When a pool hasn’t been winterized acceptably in the fall, you’ll find that it needs more chemicals and cleaning to get it back online in the spring, which translates into more time and money for you. So, now is the time to prepare your in-ground pool for the winter. It isn’t difficult to do. With a little extra effort and planning, you can make light work of getting your pool open next spring. Here is a simple list of things to do now in closing your in-ground pool and caring for it during the off-season.

When You Should Close Your Pool

Knowing when to close your pool is important. Generally, if the temperatures in your locale stay below 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, wait until the temperature falls below that point to close the pool. The lower temps prohibit algae growth so that the water will stay clear. However, if your off-season experiences warm days of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, just test and balance the water chemistry on the warmer days so the water will be cleaner. Start to winterize the pool one week before closing it by adding a phosphate remover to assist in keeping algae out and prevent algae blooms.

Steps for Winterizing Your Pool

1. Brush and Vacuum

Doing a thorough cleaning prevents algae growth. Brush the sides and floor of the pool to remove algae and debris. Then vacuum and skim the surface. Clean out the skimmer and pump baskets after vacuuming.

2. Check Water Level

If your location sees freezing temperatures during the winter, be sure the water level is 4-6 below the skimmer for a vinyl-lined pool or the tile line for a plaster pool. If there aren’t freezing temperatures in the off-season where you are located, then you keep the water filled to the top, almost to overflowing.

3. Balance the Chemicals

Using a test kit, measure the water balance. The pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and the alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm. Adjust these balances to be within these guidelines.

Shock your pool with chlorine to kill bacteria that may stay in the pool over winter. We recommend that you shock a few days before closing the pool or, at the very least, the night before. Allow the pool pump to run a full cycle and then backwash and chemically clean the pool filter.

When you have the chlorine level right, then add other chemicals as needed for your location and the type of water in your pool. Some of the chemicals you may need are algaecide, a metal segregator (for water with high levels of metals as from a well), and pool enzymes. Use chlorine and chemical products that are made to be left in a closed pool. These can dissolve over several months under the winter cover.

4. Drain Pool Lines

To avoid damaging pipes in freezing temperatures, be sure to drain the pool pump, pool filter, and pool heater. It is wise to remove DE filter grids and filter cartridges from the pool filter. Store the drain plugs in the pump basket. If you have severe temperatures during the winter in your location, add pool anti-freeze.

5. Use a Safety Cover, Winter Cover, or Leaf Net

You should protect the pool with a pool cover that is secured tightly across the pool. Not only does this help your pool withstand what the winter brings, but a safety cover also protects your family, guests, and pets. Use a winter cover to keep debris out of the water, but be aware that this type of cover does not offer protection from people or pets accidentally falling into the water. If you have a lot of freezing and wet weather during the off-season, you may want to use a mesh winter cover that allows water to filter through. Otherwise, a solid winter cover can be vulnerable to heavy standing or freezing water. If this is the case, you’ll need to periodically use a cover pump to remove water through the winter.

Contact Us for Winterizing Your Pool

If you would like some tips on winterizing your pool, contact Prestige Pools. Contact us to get expert design, installation, and maintenance information regarding your in-ground vinyl or concrete pool. Browse our site to learn more about us and our services, read testimonials, and find answers to frequently asked questions. Call us at 919-779-1033 or complete the easy-to-use form below!