Taking care of your pool during the off-season doesn’t end when you put on the cover. Caring for your pool during the off-season is essential for ensuring a successful and clean opening. I recently came across an article where the author asked a variety of pool care professionals from around the country for their best tips for off-season pool care. Listed below are some of the things they had to say.
Add mid-winter algaecide: On the last day of your pool’s operation, add algaecide to the water and run the pump for 24 hours so it can fully circulate, then shut down the circulation system for the winter. If you live in an area where there are heavy rains, add chemicals to make sure that what you already put in doesn’t get diluted.
Check your system to prevent freezing: Remember to check your pipes and motorized parts; drain the water from the pump, pool heater and filter. As the temperature starts to freeze, any excess water in these parts can freeze; if this happens, they can crack, which could cost serious money in the long term. You’ll also want to drain the water 4-6 inches below the pool skimmer.
Keep your pool cover clean: Backyard pool owners absolutely should have a loop-lock type cover for their pool. A cover can simply be hosed off to get at any debris; if possible, keep the water level where it’s supposed to be and the pumps running.
Add chlorine to your pool to ensure a clean opening: If you’re in a colder part of the country, make sure that you add liquid chlorine to the pool after the water thaws. Once your pool is opened, vac on waste to help remove any debris from the bottom of the pool.
Make sure your safety cover is always properly fitted: Having clean, clear water in the Spring makes the life of a pool owner much easier. One key to making this happen is having a properly-fitted safety cover. Follow your typical winter chemical program and about a month before you plan to open use a couple gallons of liquid shock and a gallon of algaecide one week before opening.
Pay attention to the weather: If you’ve had a more mild fall, then it’s a good idea to check the pool and add more chlorine and algaecide just ahead of the colder season. Checking the deep freeze areas just before the first big freeze hits and charging up the chemicals can help to ensure that water makes it through to spring start up without a boom in algae.
Use enzyme chemicals to break down non-living organic contamination: Using an enzyme product during the off-season will help to break down non-living organic contamination that will inevitably make its way into your pool over the winter. Some of this contamination includes bird poop, pollen or even contaminants left over from pool season. Such an enzyme will help to prevent the watertime ring that can occur through the winter, which would normally require a lot of scrubbing in the spring. Using an off-season enzyme will also allow for a faster turnaround time when you go to open your pool.
Keep your above ground winter cover free of debris: To make your life easier when you re-open your pool in the spring, keep your pool cover reasonably free of debris. Using an air pillow connected to the cover in the center of the pool will both protect your pool from snow and ice damage while also dispersing water and debris to the sides of the pool to make cleanup easy. Yet you’ll want to keep some water on the cover of the pool to help stabilize the cover in the wind, although you don’t want any debris.