It’s fall here in Phoenix, and while the impending winter doesn’t bring visions of blizzards and ice, it’s still a bit too chilly (for some of us, at least!) to enjoy the pool out in the backyard in the middle of January. However, just because it’s not in use, that doesn’t mean that the pool doesn’t need continued maintenance throughout the winter. At the very least, likely, the pool won’t see as much use during the winter months as it does during that hot Arizona summer. Sometimes the lack of use of the pool can result in oversight, but that might result in expensive repairs in the spring when the family is ready to use the pool again. Keep in mind these tips for keeping that backyard pool in top shape during the winter.
If the pool won’t see much use during the winter, it’s a perfect time to follow up on some routine maintenance or to close the pool down completely to avoid added chores during the busy holiday season. If homeowners decide to close the pool for a few months, there are a few things to do first to avoid expensive repairs or other problems when it’s time to get the pool back up and running again.
A few days before homeowners plan to close the pool for the winter, they should check the pool’s pH levels. One of the hardest parts about maintaining a swimming pool is keeping the water’s pH levels within an acceptable range. When the temperatures drop in the winter, even though it doesn’t get that cold here in Phoenix, pH levels increase. If homeowners aren’t diligent about their pool’s pH levels over the winter, they may find themselves with a buildup of algae, stains, or other more extensive issues. Consider hiring a professional to keep up with the pool’s chemicals over the winter, because pH is just one facet of winter chemical maintenance.
Once the pool’s pH levels are acceptable, homeowners should evaluate the amount of chlorine the pool receives. During the summer, the sun’s ultraviolet waves break down chlorine, and it evaporates from the pool’s surface. During the winter, there’s not as much direct sunlight due to shorter days. Since not as many people are using the pool, and not as often, it doesn’t need as much chlorine.
In addition to evaluating the pH levels and the chlorine in the pool, homeowners should ensure that the calcium hardness of the pool reads between 175 and 220 parts per million (PPM). Low calcium in the pool leads to severe damage when not addressed. More specifically, homeowners with low calcium levels in their pools often have problems with the pool’s plaster, liners, metal rails, grout, and concrete around the pool. High levels of calcium in the pool can lead to cloudy water, eye and skin irritation, and difficult-to-remove concrete scaling.
After all of the pool’s chemicals have been evaluated and adjusted to the appropriate levels, make sure the pool is cleaned correctly. Make sure to brush and vacuum the sides and bottom of the pool. Then, ensure the tile and vinyl are clean so that no oil and scum lines remain. Once the pool is clean, it’s time to move on to the next steps of closing the pool.
Pool covers aren’t necessary when closing the pool for the winter, but they certainly make maintenance easier. When homeowners don’t have to worry about debris getting caught in the pool, it’s easier to have peace of mind. Before putting the pool cover on, make sure to remove skimmer baskets, wall fittings, and any removable ladders. Turn the motor off and add a clarifier to the water to keep the water clear.
Additionally, pool covers are an added safety feature for homes with young children. If the pool is above-ground, ensure the heavy-duty air pillow is adequately inflated and that the cover is held up well. Check the cover cable and the cover clips to make sure the seal is secure. For in-ground pools, ensure the pool cover is held in place by water bags.
Once the pool has been cleaned and prepared for the winter, much of the work is done. However, homeowners still need to be diligent about keeping up with their pool over the winter. If pool maintenance is too hefty a chore for the winter season, consider hiring a pool professional to maintain the pool until it’s time to use it again. Here are a few things that need to be monitored throughout the winter after the pool has been winterized.
Leaves and other debris can build up on the pool cover during the winter. Make sure to periodically clean this debris off of the pool cover so that the cover doesn’t get weighed down. Also, making sure to keep the pool cover and the surrounding areas clear lessens the chance of water contamination.
Throughout the winter, it’s a good idea for homeowners to check the pool’s pump, filter, heater (if there is one), and surface. By doing so and ensuring these parts are working well, homeowners will avoid nasty surprises in the spring.
Specialty Pools in Phoenix, Arizona, has a team of experienced pool professionals with decades of combined experience. Whether homeowners are looking for a new backyard pool or want to remodel their existing pool, we are involved with every step of the process. From idea to design to construction, Specialty Pools can help Phoenix homeowners’ backyard dreams come true. Call today to get started on a new customized pool!