If you routinely close your pool for the winter, it’s that time of year again when we have to close up our swimming pools and get out the winter covers.
For many of you this may be a task you don’t look forward to. Yet, you can do it! In this article, we look at six steps to close an inground pool.
1. Remove Deck and Skimmer Equipment
The first thing you want to do is remove the following:
- Diving board
- Safety Ropes
- Other equipment around the pool (not filtering equipment)
Once this is done, you can remove the eye ball fittings from your return lines and the skimmer baskets from your skimmers.
NOTE: If you have a dedicated line for an automatic cleaner, remove the plastic adapter. All return lines should be large, threaded openings that fit the same sized rubber plug with a wing-nut.
2. Test and Clean Your Water
Next, test your pool water. Bring us a sample, and we’ll test it for you using our free Alex Water System. We’ll give you a printout of just what your pool needs.
Your want to balance your pool before closing.
You also want to make sure your pool is as clean as possible by doing the following:
- Vacuum the floor
- Brush the walls and steps
- Skim the water’s surface
3. Add Winter Chemicals
Now that your pool is balanced and cleaned, you can add winterizing chemicals while your filter and pump are still operational.
Check the directions on your winter chemicals before proceeding or ask us for advice.
4. Backwash and Clean Filter and Pump
This is the time to clean your filter and your pump before you blow out your lines.
- You can open your pump lid and remove debris in the basket once you backwash the filter.
- Don’t forget to put the basket back in and replace the lid when you’re done.
- Turn your filter back to “Filter” on your multi-port valve before blowing out the lines.
- If you aren’t using a winter skimmer plate, drain the pool six inches below the skimmer.
- If you have an inground pool, you must blow out the pipes. You can attempt this on your own, or we can do it for you. If you do it yourself, make sure you plug the return jets and install a Gizzmo in your skimmer to protect it from cracking.
- If you do follow these steps, you shouldn’t have to drain your pool.
- However, if you have a tile border in your pool, you should drain it at least 4″ below the tile to protect it.
- Keeping the water level normal is better for your winter cover.
5. Blow Out The Lines
It’s time to blow out the lines. We caution you, though. If, after reading these instructions, you are unsure about doing this on your own, please contact us to do it for you. If you don’t blow out your lines properly, you can crack your pipes.
- Turn your valves so that the skimmers and main drain are open. If you don’t have a main drain at the bottom of your pool, you only deal with one opening.
- Hook up the air compressor to your pump by unscrewing the drain plug that’s on the pump housing (the part with the lid) and thread your air compressor into the drain plug opening. You may need to purchase an adapter for your air compressor if you don’t have the proper threading.
- Begin blowing air into the lines until you see bubbles coming from the return lines and the skimmers. Let it run for about 2 minutes.
- Look for whichever line is blowing first. You should see bubbles coming from the return lines or the skimmers.
- Take your gizmo or rubber plug and plug up the hole in the bottom of the skimmer where the air is coming from.
- If you’re using a gizmo, thread the gzizmo in the hole. A gizzmo is a long hollow, plastic tube that threads into the skimmer opening and prevents your skimmer from cracking in the winter. The gizzmo is an ice compensator, so if water gets into your skimmer and freezes during the winter, the gizmo absorbs the expansion rather than your skimmer, which protects your skimmer from cracking.
- If you don’t have a gizzmo, and you are just using a rubber plug, throw in a plastic soda bottle (with the cap on) to act as your ice compensator. Do this in all your skimmers.
- Now, walk around your pool and plug up all the return lines (the ones that are blowing air bubbles) with rubber plugs. You don’t want to see anymore bubbles coming out when you put the plugs in.
- The main drain is the last to blow, but you don’t have to swim to the bottom and plug it up. Turn off the air compressor.
- Blow the water out of your pool heater if you have one. Again, if you are unsure of how to do this, please hire a professional.
- Remove the drain plugs from the heater and turn the air compressor back on. Direct all the air into your heater, so close off all the valves except the one to the heater. You should start to see water coming out of the heater drains. Keep the air compressor running until you don’t see any more water.
- Replace the drain plugs on your heater and remove the drain plugs from the filter and chlorinator if you have one.
- Turn off the air compressor and remove it from the pump. Store all the drain plugs in the pump housing for safe keeping.
6. Put The Winter Cover On
Lastly, it’s time for your winter safety cover. Place the cover over your pool. Consult your manual on how to put your safety over on your swimming pool.
Did you know that Townley Pool and Spa offers a pool closing service? We’d be glad to save you the time and headache of closing your pool! Contact us today to schedule your service.