31 Mar How to winterize your pool
Summer’s over, Adelaide! The swimming season is great while it lasted, though now it’s time to pack up and wait for the next one.
As you probably know, the secret to a spectacular pool is proper winter pool maintenance. Therefore, welcome to our step-by-step guide to getting off on the right foot and shutting down your pool properly.
Step 1: Balance your pool water:
You need to begin by getting your pH levels right. Do it yourself and buy some test strips or take a sample of water to your local pool shop.
You’ll find out exactly what your pH levels are and you will also receive the right advice on getting your chemical balance back where it needs to be. Adding the right amount of acid can help get pH levels right.
Hint: Algae loves high pH levels. Keep them low to avoid a green pool!
Step 2: Maintain pH through correct total alkalinity levels:
Total alkalinity refers to your pool water’s ability to resist changes (fluctuations) in pH levels. Getting your total alkalinity levels right means your pH levels will be in check.
If your total alkalinity levels are too low, you can add buffer to increate total alkalinity.
Step 3: Keep your phosphates low:
What is phosphate? In short, algae food.
Essentially phosphate prevents chlorine from doing the best job it can to keep algae away. If there are leaves or other debris on your pool then you have a cause for concern.
Debris that sink and begin to breakdown at the bottom of your pool cause your pool’s phosphate levels to rise. Luckily this is a simply fix. Just add phosphate remover for a quick fix.
Step 4: Use copper-based algaecide:
Copper naturally kills algae. To prevent any algae blooms throughout the year, just add some copper-based algaecide. Do this 3 – 4 times per year. One of the best time is when you’re winterizing your pool.
Step 5: Clarify
One you kill any algae in your pool, it will still float around as tiny particles. The same goes for other particles from animals, humans and pets – basically, anything that falls into your pool.
Your filter should clear up most of these, but for any leftover particles use a clarifier. It eliminates those hard-to-get-rid-of particles and keeps your water healthy.
Step 6: Clean your pool:
Now it’s time to apply some elbow grease. Brush your pool walls and floor to get any hard to rid of green patches or dirt. Then, vacuum your pool floor thoroughly.
Dirty water is a breeding haven for algae. Don’t forget to clear your skimmer baskets and pool pumps of debris either.
If you don’t own a robotic pool cleaner, this may be the time to consider buying one. It’s a lot more efficient than vacuuming manually!
Step 7: Clean your filter:
This is perhaps the most crucial time to clean your filter. You don’t want any grease or oil deposits hardening over winter. You’ll be greeted by a headache when summer comes around!
Here is how you can clean each filter type:
The general rule of thumb with cartridge filters is to clean them every fortnight. Simply take your cartridge out and hose it down well.
If you’re really nit-picky, put your cartridge in a tub full of water and Nappy San and soak it overnight.
Just as with your cartridge filter, ideally you should be cleaning your sand filter every two weeks. Sand filters are cleaned by back washing them. If the water that comes out is brown and dirty, you haven’t back washed it often enough.
Not sure how to backwash your filter? Give us a call or contact us via email.
Step 8: Clean your salt cell:
Generally, you should clean salt cells every 3 – 4 months to prolong its life as much as possible. When cleaning your salt cells, you’ll notice some calcium build up. This is absolutely normal!
Hold the top of your cell and dip it into the water. If any bubbles appear, that’s the acid eating up the calcium. Do this for about 4 – 5 minutes and rinse your cells under a tap before re-fitting your chlorinator.
As always, safety first! Make sure you handle all chemicals with care. Use gloves and put on safety glasses as well.
Step 9: Check your chlorine levels:
This is important. In order for your pool to remain clean and clear, its chlorine levels need to be right – about 2 – 3 PPM during winter. If you’re using a salt water chlorinator, then then it to between 60 – 70% output.
Step 10: Run your filter:
If you’ve read our winter pool maintenance guide, you’ll know that you should run your filter for about 3 – 4 hours each day during the off season.
Step 11: Don’t neglect your maintenance schedule:
Perhaps the most important step! You’ve done all the hard work, so you definitely don’t want to undo it. Winter is prime time for algae to grow. Perform a weekly inspection, ensure that your equipment is working properly, empty your skimmer and pump baskets, and check your chemical balance.
What chemicals should you purchase to winterize your pool?
Phosphate remover, copper algaecide, salt cell cleaner and filter degreaser are your winterizing friends. Alongside your regular chemicals i.e. chlorine, acid and buffer, your winter shutdown should be a breeze. See our range below:
Order these in store or have us send them out to you with full instructions. If you’re still unsure about winterizing your pool, contact us and we’ll help you out!
Note: Only select items can be posted. Postage distance is limited to the Adelaide metro area. Postage fees apply.