Winter Pool Maintenance

 Pool equipment by the edge of a home pool

 

For a majority of pool owners winter is a time during which the home pool isn't used, and simply sits idle in the backyard. To ensure the pool stays in good condition and is quickly back up and running in spring it's important to complete a few maintenance activities at the start of winter.

The First Step: Clean your pool

A thorough clean is the foundation of your pre-winter preparation. Skim your pool and make sure there's no organic matter left in the water that could trigger algae growth. Next, give all the pool surfaces a thorough clean and vacuum. Make sure all surfaces are scrubbed with a broom or brush to remove any algal growth or build-up from the warmer summer months. Ensure you get to all surfaces to remove the build-up; floor, walls, steps and fixtures. Manually vacuum the pool, taking care to remove all the debris and organic material you dislodged while scrubbing.

Step Two: Filtration

The pool will most likely be cloudy from all the scrubbing and vacuuming. Run your filter until the water clears up. It’s vital to give the filters a good clean and thorough backwash before winter. Over summer oils and fats accumulate in the filter media and over winter they will thicken or become hard, making it difficult to remove next spring. Follow your filter’s backwash procedure to ensure it is clean. If you have filter cartridges, now is the best time to remove them and clean them according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you have a “winter" setting on your filter, you should engage this once you have cleaned the filter.

Over winter the need for filtration isn’t as high as during the warmer months. You can reduce your filtration hours to just a few hours per day during winter - this will ensure the pool stays clean while it is covered up while also reducing your power consumption. Perth’s mild winter doesn’t prevent algal growth though, so discuss your optimum filtration hours with your local pool shop or pool maintenance provider and make sure you adjust the pump timer accordingly. During an average Perth winter, you should expect to run the pump for between 3 to 6 hours daily depending on the volume of your pool.

Step Three: Chemistry

The secret to a great pool is great water. Water is only great when the chemistry is correct for your pool. In winter you will need to use less chemicals, but you’ll still need to give your pool a shock treatment before it is ready for winter. A pool’s pH level needs to be in the 7.2-7.6 range before we pack up for winter. If it is too low (acidic) or too high (alkaline) you will need to adjust accordingly.

Winter algae is a problem in Perth, however long acting algicides are available. This should be applied after balancing the pool pH and will help to keep your pool water clear while also reducing the time you’ll need to take in Spring getting your pool ready for summer.

Step Four: Winter blanket

Now might be a great time to talk with your local pool shop about getting a pool blanket if you don’t already have one. Pool blankets serve multiple purposes and are an almost vital addition to any good pool. Pool blankets help trap heat in the pool water - this in turn helps stabilise the water chemistry and reduces power consumption required for heating over winter. It also reduces the amount of time required to re-heat the pool in spring if you have turned the heating off completely over winter. Pool blankets also help keep debris out of you pool, this means less winter maintenance and, again, a quicker return to swimming after removing the blankets in spring.

Step Five: Pack it all away and a little TLC

Putting the pool toys away is a great idea before the dreaded winter storms arrive. Deflate any blow-up toys and give all pool toys a good wipe over with a dilute bleach and water solution, then rinse them down with clean water and allow them to dry before storage. Now is a great time to perform any maintenance in the pool area too; pay attention to paving stones and decking, lubricate your gate hinges and locks and always make sure that there is nothing that makes the pool safety barrier less than fully effective.

Over winter it is recommended that you check your pool chemistry at least once per month and that any adjustments to the pool chemistry are made as you would do during summer.

Remember: a little effort is all that’s required before winter to ensure your spring and summer days are spent enjoying your pool instead of cleaning it.

Winter rains

One thing you will need to keep an eye on over winter is the water level and chemistry in your pool following heavy downpours of rain. Find out how to deal with rain in your pool at the link below.

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