After a season of swimming fun, closing your pool properly will make opening it much easier next season. Warm climate or cold, here are simple instructions for protecting your swimming pool during the off-season.
Balancers prevent corrosion and scaling, and ensure bather comfort. These products include pH increasers, pH decreasers, alkalinity increasers, calcium hardness increasers and chlorine stabilizers.
Sanitizers and shocks kill bacteria and help keep your water clear.
Algaecides prevent and kill algae.
Having the proper chemical balance is important to prevent the water becoming too corrosive or producing heavy calcium deposits, especially during the off-season. Start the pool closing process by doing the following water balance tests:
Use a pool test kit to and this chart to measure water chemical levels following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Water Chemistry Test
7.2 - 7.6
80-125 ppm* for plaster/gunite pools
80-125 ppm* for plaster/gunite pools
at least 30 ppm
Check and adjust pH, the level of acidic and alkaline qualities in liquids.
Check and adjust water hardness to the proper level of calcium in the water.
Check and adjust alkalinity (how well the water resists a change in pH levels) as needed.
Check and adjust chlorine level in the pool water. Chlorine is what kills all the bacteria, viruses and germs in the water. However, the sun’s UV rays can diminish its effectiveness, so pool water also needs a chlorine stabilizer.
Cleaning involves more than just scrubbing the pool walls. The addition of certain chemicals will help keep your water stable, so it doesn’t damage your pool equipment.
Remove, clean and store pool ladders, diving board and other pool accessories.
Clean pool walls and floor with a pool brush.
As needed, add scale, stain and metal control chemicals. Scales are heavy deposits of calcium that can damage your filter system, so preventive action is best. Refer to product instructions for specifics.
Add granular chorine and let it circulate for six hours.
Add algaecide as recommended to prevent the growth of algae on the walls and floor of the pool.
Clean the pool filtration system:
Cartridge filters: Replace the filter as indicated by the filter pressure dial or the filter manufacturer. Some cartridge pool filters can be manually cleaned a few times before replacement.
1. Remove the filter and spray with water
2. Soak the filter in a filter cleaner.
Sand filters: Backwash the filter following the manufacturer’s directions. Need for backwashing is indicated by the filter pressure dial. Replace the sand bed as recommended. The following are typical steps for cleaning the sand:
1. Close the valves into and out of the filter.
2. Add filter cleaner at full strength to the filter top through the inspection port, anode port, sand fill or pressure gauge hole, whichever is applicable.
3. After one hour, open the valves and backwash the filter thoroughly.
4. Remove the drain plug.
5. Drain the filter and turn the multi-port valve to the closed position.
D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filters: Backwash the filter following the manufacturer’s directions. Need for backwashing is indicated by the filter pressure dial. Add additives or replace the D.E. as recommended by the filter manufacturer. Typical cleaning steps are as follows:
1. Remove the filter and clean with a filter cleaner to eliminate buildup of grease, oil and scale.
2. Inspect the septa for tears or stretching, and repair or replace as needed.
3. Clean the inside of the filter tank.
4. Reinstall the filter.
5. Make sure the drain plug is closed.
Drain the pool’s water level to appropriate level below the skimmer opening.
Remove the directional fittings and install the freeze plugs.
Shut off the filter pump, drain all equipment and store as recommended by the pool manufacturer.
In extreme cold climates, add swimming pool anti-freeze. CAUTION: Do not use automotive anti-freeze.
Install the cover over the pool and secure. You may need some help with this step.
In warmer climates, you may not need to close the pool. Following are a few maintenance steps for periods when your pool is inactive.
Test and adjust water conditions as described above.
Establish a pool maintenance schedule based on pool temperature. If typical pool temperature is 55-70°F, check and adjust water conditions once per week. If typical pool temperature is 40-55°F, check and adjust water conditions once per month.
Run the filter for at least 2 hours per day or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.