While the rest of the world is enjoying their summer vacation, we are stuck with winter. It’s the one downside of living down under. Luckily for us, our winter is far kinder than it is in other countries. We rarely get snow except in the mountains. It does get a little chilly though, so it’s likely you won’t get much use out of your pool.
Since you won’t be doing much swimming, it’s a good idea to close the pool until the weather warms up. You can shut it down yourself, or you can call a professional to do it for you. It’s a tedious process, but it’s not a particularly difficult task. Besides, closing your pool for a few months will save you a lot of time and money in pool repairs. If you’d rather keep your pool open, we’ll give you some tips on pool care.
The first thing to do is to test the water for acidity, alkalinity, and calcium levels. If the water is too hard, it can get corrosive, and that can damage the pool equipment. Inappropriate water pH will only get worse over time, and if you don’t correct it, it’s likely to irritate your skin when you eventually get back into the pool.
Adjust the pH of your pool water to safe levels. A healthy swimming pool should have a pH of 7.2 to 7.6. If the water has too much calcium, drain a little water out of the pool and add some fresh water to balance the calcium levels. Confirm the pool’s chlorine levels as well.
According to Jeff, Owner of Affordable Pools, If you’re going to keep the pool open, you’ll need to keep it clean even if nobody is actually swimming in it. Rays from the sun can affect the level of chlorine, even if the pool isn’t being used. Re-check the pool regularly. Depending on the temperature, you can test and tweak your water chemical levels weekly or monthly. The higher temperature, the more often you need to treat your water.
Pool filters help to circulate water inside the pool. They get rid of any germs and bacteria that may have accumulated, so it’s important to run the filter. If the pool isn’t being used, the filter doesn’t need to stay on throughout. You can switch it on for 2 or 3 hours every day, just to keep the water from getting stagnant and breeding pests.
When you’re doing your weekly or monthly water check, you should do some manual maintenance. Use a skimmer to remove any surface dirt and a pool vacuum to brush the walls and sides of the pool, getting rid of any visible residue. Check the baskets too. If they’re dirty, empty them and clean them.
The frequency of your manual cleaning depends on your surroundings. If the pool accumulates a lot of dust and fallen leaves, you might need to clean it every day. This can be very labour-intensive, especially if nobody is actually swimming. To save yourself the trouble, you could choose to just close the pool completely.
In that case, start by running the pool filter non-stop for two or three days, then check your water levels for acid, alkali, chlorine and calcium, adjusting accordingly. Clean the floor and sides of the pool, then dismantle pool accessories like diving boards, ladders, and lane markers. Clean them, dry them and store them in a locked pool shed. Since the pool will be undisturbed for a while, measure the right amount of chlorine grains and algaecide. Put them in the pool to keep it clean and free of bacteria, algae and fungus.
Take out your pool filter, clean it thoroughly according to its type, then put it back into the pool. Let some water out of the pool. If you’re using a pool cover, the water level should be 1 to 6 inches beneath the opening of the skimmer. If you don’t have a cover, lower the water level further, around 18 to 24 inches below the opening. At this point, you can switch off the pump and store the rest of your equipment.
The final step is to install a pool cover, if you’re planning to use one. Hold it securely in place, and if you have a pool gate, lock it to keep the kids and animals out. Closed pools can still be a health hazard, so make sure children don’t play near it unsupervised. They might try to stand on the pool cover and end up hurting themselves.
Follow these brief, simple steps to maintain your pool during the cold season, and it will stay in good condition, ready for use when things heat up again.