The summer will forever be remembered as one of the hottest ones ever. And if you are fortunate enough to have a pool, you certainly got your money’s worth this year. But have you had a look at your skimmer lately? Much like a balding man finding hair in the sink, I was shocked at the amount of leaves and debris that has collected in mine in just the past couple of days. That is most definitely the sign that Fall is coming and our beloved pool season has it’s days numbered.
In order for you to get off to a smooth pool season in 2019, it is imperative that you close your pool properly. Not only do you want your expensive equipment protected, you also want to ensure that everything is cleaned and ready to go for next year. Here are a few tips that will help:
Declutter And CleanEverything from pool noodles, goggles, inflatable toys, and anything else that has taken refuge in your pool must be removed. Make sure that these all dry properly so as to not invite mold to the party. Pack them up, preferably in an airtight bag or container and store them away for the winter. Next, thoroughly clean the pool. Get right in there with your pool scrub brush and clean the interior walls, stairs, and bottom. It’s important to get as much dirt and debris off. Skim what you can see and run your filtration system for a good 12-24 hours to get all those smaller particles of dirt out
Clean The WaterNow that the pool and equipment is clean, take a water sample in to your local pool store for testing. Follow their instructions on which chemicals or minerals are needed to bring your water up to snuff. After getting the water to optimal levels, it is almost time for your pool’s long hibernation. Now that your pool is looking its finest, it is time to take care of the pump and filter. This is the time for a major backwashing. Not only will these clean the sand in your filter, it will save you some time when it comes to lowering the water level. After the backwash, remove all the connecting hoses and set them aside in the sun to dry. Pull the plug on the filter to drain excess water and remove your pump from the feed lines and set that aside to dry. After cleaning any dirt and debris from your pump, I highly recommend that you store your pump indoors for the winter so that it will not be damaged by the cold weather. Replacement costs can climb as high as $800. If you have a chlorinator (T cell), this should be cleaned with a solution of water and muriatic acid. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this as this is a potent acid. Once it has been cleaned and dried, store this indoors as well.
Drop Your Water LevelI use a simple ¾ HP pump to drop my pool’s water level below the skimmer and jet line. You do now want any moisture or water getting into the skimmer or jets during the cold weather as that may cause it to crack and break. Go about 6 inches below to ensure that a big gust of wind or blowing snow does not find it’s way into your lines.
Take Care Of The LinesNow everything is disconnected, cleaned, dried, and stored. What is left is your feed lines. These must be bone dry before any below freezing weather hits. I simply use my shop vac in reverse mode and blow all of these lines out. A good rule of thumb is to keep blowing the lines until you don’t see any more drips of water coming out the other end of the line. Once this has been achieved do it again! The motto “measure twice, cut once” applies to blowing out your pool lines as well. To finish it all off, plug up all the open holes in the lines with expandable rubber stoppers. I also double wrap everything in thick plastic. This will all but guarantee no moisture will be finding its way into your lines and creating monster headaches for you the following pool season.
Now that the major work is done, don’t neglect your accessories. Things like pool vacuums, skimmer nets, and other parts, although not vital to your pool’s operation, are nonetheless very preventable expenses. Dry them and store them safely (like in your garage) out of the elements. This will prolong their lifespan. All of this prepping and maintenance work will lead to a much smoother and happier opening of your pool next year.