How to Winterize Your Pool in Florida
Are you thinking about closing your pool for the winter? Even though we’re still enjoying warm weather here in Florida, late October through early November is a popular time to winterize the pool. Now that school is in session and the holidays are approaching, there’s often less time to jump in for a swim less. Closing and winterizing your pool will cut down on your weekly maintenance chores and costs. Following these 5 steps to properly winterize your pool will prevent algae buildup and stained walls during the winter. It will cut down on the cost and hassle of opening your pool in the spring.
5 Steps for Inground Pool Winterizing
Put away all pool toys and accessories.
Removing pool toys, inflatables and accessories will help them stay in good shape. It will also prevent them from attracting mold or algae. It’s a good idea to spray your pool toys and floaties down with a solution of water and rubbing alcohol or water and bleach to kill any bacteria on them. Then wipe them off, deflate the inflatables, and store them in an enclosed, dry place. This will prevent mildew and bacteria from growing while they aren’t in use.
Be sure to also remove any detachable ladders or handrails.
Test the chemical levels.
Many people believe that they should drain the pool when it isn’t being used. We don’t recommend it. Draining your pool can seriously damage it. Pressure from the water underneath your pool, especially after a severe rainstorm, can literally push it out of the ground. Instead of draining your pool, make sure the water is balanced. Then shock it.
The alkaline level of your pool should be between 80 – 120 PPM. The calcium hardness should be around 200 PPM. Once you’ve made sure the water is balanced, we recommend shocking the pool. Using a shock treatment will neutralize any bacteria in your pool before you cover it.
Be sure to continue to test the pool water at least once a week throughout the winter. The chlorine level should stay between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million to prevent algae from blooming.
Thoroughly clean the pool.
Leaves, sticks and other debris that collect in your pool can stain the walls, clog the drains and create a breeding ground for algae. Use a hand skimmer to remove any floating on the surface. Use a pool vacuum to get rid of any debris that’s sunk to the bottom. We also recommend scrubbing down the pool walls and cleaning the skimmer baskets. This is a great time to clean any tough spots that tend to attract dirt or mold. After you’ve finished manually cleaning the pool, run the pool pump for a full cycle or at least 8 hours.
Clean the Pool filter.
Once the pool pump has finished a full cycle, clean the pool filter. If you have a sand pool filter or DE pool filter, you can backwash it using the setting on the pool pump. Refer to your pool filter’s manual to find out how to backwash it. You may want to replace the sand or the DE grid, in your filter at this time. If you have a cartridge pool filter, you should remove the filter cartridge and clean it with water from your garden hose. After it’s clean, inspect it for damage. If it’s in good condition, place it back into the pool pump. If it’s damaged, replace the filter cartridge with a new one. Throughout the winter, continue to run the pump for at least six hours a day to keep filtering and circulating the pool water.
Cover the pool.
Once you’ve completed these four steps, you are ready to cover your pool! We recommend using a mesh pool cover that prevents leaves, dirt, and debris from collecting in your pool but allows rainwater to pass through. If you do not use a mesh cover, make sure that you have a cover pump. This will prevent rainwater from collecting on top of the cover.
Inground pool winterizing is like a spring cleaning for your pool! It’s an opportunity to sanitize your pool, pool toys, and accessories after a long swimming season. Following these 5 steps to winterize the pool will keep your pool water clean and clear throughout the winter. When it’s time to open your pool again in the spring, it’ll be a breeze!