Get your pool ready for winter

Get your pool ready for winter.. South Africans are lucky. We, mostly, have sunny skies all year round. But, on the flip side, just because the sun is up there, doesn’t mean it’s warm enough to swim!  That means your pool is looking at four or five months of solitude, where nobody’s jumping in, and chances are, it’s not getting care and attention. So, unless you have a heated pool or even one indoors, you need to help your pool stay at its strongest over South Africa’s wintry days and nights. You can continue taking care of chemical levels and such like manually, but what’s the point if you aren’t going to use your pool?

The good news is your pool is unlikely to freeze over!

South Africa’s temperature, again in most places, rarely drops below freezing during winter, so it’s unlikely that your pool will have an ice-related issue. That isn’t the only factor though in keeping your pool ship shape. The water that stays in your pool over winter can become chemically unbalanced, and leave you with nasty chemical deposits or corrosive damage. Not exactly things you want to deal with, when spring, and the swimming season, comes around. And, if it is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon winters, and your pool does freeze, the water can expand and damage your pool’s liner. That’s why you need to tuck in your pool for winter. It may seem like a chore, but a little hassle now could save you time and money later. If it sounds too much like hard work, or if you’d rather the peace of mind knowing that the job has been done well, get a professional pool service company to winterise your pool. If you choose to do it yourself, do it well. Properly closing your pool means that, come spring, it’ll be ready for use, and inviting enough for a swim.

  • Clean your pool.

Stands to reason. What’s in the water when you close your pool for winter will still be there when you open it. Leaves and algae aren’t going to magically disappear, so get your pool as clean as you can. Scoop debris and leaves out of the water with a net, and follow up by scrubbing your pool’s walls and floors with a brush. Make sure you get rid of any algae as well, by scrubbing and using a good algaecide.

  • Check the pH.

Want your pool water to look as new as the flower buds come spring? Get the chemistry right. Test the pH with a pool kit. It should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Too low? Add a pH increaser. Too high? Add a pH decreaser.

  • Check the alkalinity.

Your pool kit will also measure your pool’s alkalinity level. The level you’re after is between 80 and 125 ppm for gunite or plaster pools, and between 125 and 150 ppm for other types of pools. If the alkalinity is on the low side, add an alkalinity increaser. If it’s too high, use your pH decreaser.

  • Check the hardness. 

Nope. Water hardness doesn’t mean ice over winter! It’s about how much calcium and magnesium is in the water, and it’s important for your pool water’s health. The optimal level is between 175 and 225 ppm. If your water is too hard, drain a little out and add fresh water. If it’s too soft, add a calcium hardness increaser.

  • Shock your pool.

This is a must-do. Shocking your pool means adding chlorine at high dose so the chlorine content level rise quickly, making your water clean and clear. Get some from your local pool centre if you don’t have some to hand.

  • Clean out pumps.

You get lots of types of pool pumps, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to rid the pipes of any debris so that they’re clean. When you’re done, remove the plugs from your pump, filter, heater, and chlorinator, and store them in the pump basket until spring has sprung.

  • Clean and store pool fittings.

Now it’s time for your pool fittings. Remove diving boards, ladders, slides, skimmer baskets, handrails, and other accessories. Clean them thoroughly and put them in a safe place for the winter.

  • Cover your pool  

Don’t forget the final step! This is an important one, and you will need a full cover, either floating or attached, as well as it being in good condition. Pool covers get less effective with years of sun exposure and wear and tear. They can also get holes that will allow contaminants and UV rays into the water, which can compromise the water chemistry.

So, now you’re done! It’s time to go indoors and wrap up snug for winter. Light the fireplace. Turn on the gas heater. And stay warm, safe in the knowledge that even though your pool’s water will be chilly, to say the least, you’ve prepared it for the winter months! Now, you can look forward to your refreshing first dip in the spring!