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A Guide to Closing Your Pool in Florida

It’s that time of year when you can’t escape chilly weather, even in the Sunshine State.  If you have an unheated pool, we recommend closing it for the season. Winterizing and covering it can prevent damage and make opening it in the spring a breeze. Follow these 8 steps in our guide to closing your pool in Florida to winterize your pool!

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Step 1 – Thoroughly Clean Your Pool

When you open your pool in the spring, the last thing you want to see is green, algae-filled water. Thoroughly

cleaning your pool before covering it reduces the risk that algae will bloom in your pool. Removing leaves, twigs, and other debris also prevents clogged pool pumps and ugly stains. We recommend:
• Using a pool skimmer to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris that’s fallen into your pool.
• Using a pool vacuum to clean the walls and remove debris the skimmer didn’t catch.

Step 2 – Remove Pool Equipment & Accessories

Leaving stuff in your pool can make it difficult to cover and create a breeding ground for bugs or algae. That’s why pool experts, like us, recommend removing pool equipment and accessories, including ladders, handrails, and pool toys.

Step 3 – Lower the Water Level

Many pool covers require the water level to be below the pool skimmer baskets or tile. Check your pool cover’s instruction manual to see what the water level should be. You can use the pool’s filter pump to lower the water level if you need to adjust it.

Step 4 – Balance the Pool Water

Keeping your pool water balanced ensures that the chlorine and algaecide in your pool work effectively. It also prevents damage to your pool liner and metal components from acidic water or water that doesn’t have the right calcium level. (Too much or too little calcium can harm your pool.)

There are five components of water balance: pH level, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, stabilizer, and total dissolved solids. Balanced pool water has:

• Total Alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million).
• pH Level between 7.2 and 7.8.
• Calcium Hardness between 180 and 220 ppm.
• Stabilizer between 40 and 100 ppm.
• Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) lower than 3000 ppm.

Unless you are a pro, it’s smart to have your water tested by an expert in pool maintenance. Take a sample of your pool water to PoolWorks or a trusted pool supply store near you to test it. If your water isn’t balanced, we will tell you exactly what steps you need to take to fix the problem.

Step 5 – Shock Your Pool Water

Once your water is balanced, shock your pool. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the shock package(s). If your pool water has algae in it, you will want to add enough shock to raise the chlorine level to 10 ppm or higher quickly.

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Step 6 – Add Algaecide to Your Pool Water

Shock is used to kill algae quickly. In contrast, algaecide works slowly to prevent new algae blooms. Wait until the chlorine you’ve added has done its job before you add algaecide. We recommend using a tester strip to check the chlorine level. Once the chlorine level is between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm., add algaecide.

Never pour in algaecide at the same time that you add shock! If you pour them in simultaneously, the chemicals in the shock will make the algaecide useless.

Step 7 – Run the Pool Pump

After shocking your pool water and adding algaecide, run the pump for at least six hours or overnight to circulate the chemicals through the water.You should continue to run your pool pump for at least six hours every day throughout the winter. Water circulating in your pool will reduce the risk of algae blooming.

Step 8 – Cover Your Pool

Now that you’ve winterized your pool, it’s time to cover it. Using a pool cover cuts down on the cleaning and chemicals your pool needs during the winter. We recommend investing in a mesh-type cover that allows rain through. Solid pool covers are a drowning risk. Another downside of a solid pool cover is that it requires a pump or siphon to suck up rainwater. Otherwise, it can become so heavily weighed down by rain that it no longer seals tightly around the edges or damages your pool.

Winter Pool Maintenance

If you’ve followed these winterizing steps and covered your pool, you won’t need to work hard to keep your pool water crystal clear. However, while your pool is closed, you will need to:

• Test the water at least once a week and adjust the chemical levels as needed.
• Brush leaves, twigs, and other debris off the cover at least once a week.
These two winter pool maintenance tasks are quick, easy, and inexpensive compared to the cost of keeping your pool open.

Your pool will be ready for the coldest days of winter once you’ve followed these 8 steps to winterize your pool in Florida. Then, in the springtime, you will be able to open your pool as soon as the weather heats up.

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