Cold Weather Double-Check
Here are some tips for pool, hot tub, and outdoor furniture owners. They are by no means all-inclusive, just some of the issues that we see pop up every year. Check these items now and avoid heartache and costs in the spring.
Make sure pool equipment is protected from freezing temperatures.
The most common off-season problem pool owners have is not adequately winterizing filters and related components. No, these components do not have to be stored in a warm environment. They just need to be well-drained and remain that way for the duration of the freezing months. The most common problem is not removing a simple drain plug. Plugs are located near or at the bottom of tanks, filters, heaters, and chlorination systems. That’s because, believe it or not, gravity is a real thing! Water collects down low, so make sure those plugs are all removed.
If you removed plugs then put them back in once the component is drained, you just goofed. Leave plugs out, as water can and will condense inside. I recommend sticking them in a plastic baggie and putting that in the hair and lint pot on the front of the motor.
Finally, if you know you are going to change the sand in your filter next spring, empty it now. Old filter sand will collect and trap calcium inside. This sand-calcium mix will give you a false sense that your tank is adequately drained. It may not be.
Don’t let winter freeze destroy your outdoor furniture.
I recommend covering your comfy (and expensive), outdoor furniture with a quality cover designed specifically for outdoor furniture. It just makes sense to protect your investment. However, if yours is made of tubular construction, you must make sure no water is trapped inside. Like a pool filter, those hollow aluminum and steel frames cannot survive freezing weather without proper planning. Start checking via the Slosh Test. Don’t bother doing a google search on Slosh Test. It’s my term. Simply pick up and outdoor chair a shake it. If you hear water sloshing around inside, you have trapped water just waiting to ruin the furniture. Simply, water freezes, then expands. The expansion frequently cracks the finish. Even worse, frames can crack, rendering the chair unusable. This is especially true of the cheaper sets often found at big box stores, groceries, and lumber yards. Those frames tend to be thinner to begin with and have less tolerance. Freeze damage is not a warrantable issue.
Most tubular furniture pieces have drain holes, referred to as weep holes. Like drain plugs, they will be located down low. Inspect your pieces and locate the holes. Note that multiple holes are likely to exist so make sure you find them all. Use a large needle to clear each one. Even if you did the Slosh Test and didn’t hear anything, it is still a good idea to address each hole. Dirt or spider webs inside could still cause problems as the winter goes on.
For hot tub owners, it’s all about the timing!
As in, changing the water. Having had three hot tubs, I know a little about changing the water. With my first one, I found myself needing to change the water in mid-February. Hey…it was time, according to my maintenance schedule. That was an experience I never want to repeat. It was bitter cold, windy, and once drained, it was impossible to address water line rings. My cleaner simply froze up when it hit the shell. But I had to complete the change as there was still water in the plumbing lines. I knew it would freeze if I didn’t get the tub filled and running again. I started the garden hose fill and went inside to restore feeling to my fingers, ears, and nose. I then took a phone call and talked for about an hour. Then came the epiphany! I’d forgotten about the filling. I hurriedly disconnected the call, rushed outside, and found I had a new skating rink on my deck. The tub had overflowed. I yanked the hose out of the tub, slid myself to the spigot, turned off the water, then created some new curse words. I bucketed out some water and hit the power. Fortunately, it fired up without issues.
Ah…the moral of the story is Plan, Plan, Plan! Know how many months in advance you want to change the water. In the Greater Cincinnati area, early-December is usually bearable. On the other end, that should get you to March or April when Mother Nature is thinking about being kind. Just don’t end up like me, trying to negotiate with Old Man Winter in mid-February.
Water changes are important. Go too long and you’ll have clarity issues. Dissolved solids build up, water lines get disgusting, and you will even get some strange odors. Don’t find yourself postponing a change when you are using the tub the most.
These are just a few tips of the trade. If you have questions, feel free to call or stop in for more in-depth answers and solutions. We are here to help.