With temperatures starting to take a dip all over the country, many of the swimming pools we spent countless happy hours by during the summer are ready to be closed. But closing a pool for the winter means more than simply throwing the cover over top of it. Proper water chemistry is essential if you want to protect your pool and make next year’s spring opening tasks easier.
Why Pool Water Chemistry Matters Prior to Winterizing a Pool
A variety of nasty issues can plague your pool if the pool water isn’t properly balanced before winter arrives.
- Low calcium levels in a gunite pool can damage the plaster and cause etching on the surface of your pool. Low levels of calcium can also destroy vinyl pool covers.
- Low pH levels lead to surface corrosion.
- High alkalinity levels means having to deal with cloudy pool water in the spring.
With the right balance of chemicals in your pool water, you’re effectively protecting your investment before problems begin. You’ll have peace of mind in knowing that when you’re ready to take your first swim of the season that you’ll pool will be in good working order.
No Special Chemicals Required for Winterizing Your Pool
The good news is that you already have everything you need to winterize your swimming pool. This process should be started about one week prior to closing your pool.
1. Raise the pH
During the summer, swimming pools traditionally have a pH balance between 7.2 and 7.6. During the winter, it’s recommended that the pH be raised to 7.8.
This is because your pool water will be stagnant over the winter months. Over the days and weeks that your pool is closed, your pool’s pH will naturally lower itself. By raising the pH levels before pool closure, you’re offsetting the natural pH decrease that occurs over winter.
2. Raise the Alkalinity
During the summer your ideal pool alkalinity is between 120 and 140ppm. Because you won’t be frequently monitoring your pool’s water chemistry, the alkalinity should be increased to between 150 and 175ppm. This is done for the same reason why the pH levels are increased – alkalinity levels tend to decrease in stagnant water over long periods of time.
3. Raise the Calcium Levels
Unlike your pH and alkalinity, your calcium levels won’t decrease as the fall and winter month’s pass. But it’s still a good idea to ensure that its levels are adequate to prevent any unwelcome surprises once spring rolls around. Generally raising your calcium hardness levels to above 200ppm is all that’s necessary to prevent calcium from eroding your pool.
4. Shock Your Pool Water
Several days prior to closing your pool, add a shock product to your pool water to kill any existing algae and bacteria. Most experts recommend finding a product with a minimum of 65 percent sodium hypochlorite, or you can choose a non-chlorine alternative of the same strength.
After a few days your chlorine levels should return to anywhere between 1 to 3 ppm.
5. Consider Adding a Winterizing Algaecide
Algae can wreak havoc on your pool over the winter. Not only can it cause your pool water to become green or cloudy, but it often results in unpleasant odors and it can even clog up your pool filter. Winterizing algaecide can be added to your pool once the chlorine levels are sitting between 1 and 3 ppm
Remember that once your pool is closed, the pool water chemistry can’t be changed. This is because your pool water isn’t being circulated so the chemicals cannot be evenly distributed throughout your pool. Putting in the work now means saving your head headaches and potential problems later on.
Need help with winterizing your pool? Save yourself the time and hassle by enlisting the help of a the pool experts at Elite Pools & Spas, and give us a call today!
About Elite Pools & Spas
For over 20 years, Elite Pools & Spas have been providing new pool construction, pool remodels, pool repair and weekly pool maintenance services for Houston, League City, Pearland, Clear Lake and the surrounding areas.
Elite Pools & Spas of Houston can work with almost any budget and give you a personalized vision of your very own backyard paradise. Whether you need new pool construction or remodeling services, Elite Pools provides the same quality and attention to detail to all of their projects. As a Hayward Warranty Station, we offer energy-efficient pool products for your pool & spa.
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