A few reminders and tips.
Is your pool already winterized for the season? A better question is, did you do it correctly? Forgetting one little step or procedure can be frustrating come springtime. More accurately, it can be costly. Let’s look at the most frequently forgotten steps that lead to oops moments.
Forgetting about system drain plugs.
If you forget to remove drain plugs from filters, pumps, or heating systems, be prepared to spend a lot of money in the spring. Water contained inside will freeze, the resulting ice will expand, and likely crack the housing. If you forgot to remove them, do so now before the first hard freeze.
Okay, so you did good and remembered to remove all plugs. However, once everything was drained, you put them back in so you wouldn’t lose them. Guess what? The possibility of damage still exists. Water can still accumulate inside. If you have a sand filter, the sand is still wet, and water will continue to drain to the bottom of the tank. Plus, there is a natural condensation inside. Lastly, water can get inside through a plumbing line that has an open end.
Once removed, don’t screw those plugs back in. If you are worried about losing them, put them in the hair and lint pot basket on the pump.
If you have a cartridge or diatomaceous earth filter, they are quite light when emptied. I recommend putting them in your basement or heated garage for the winter. That way there is no chance of freezing.
Secure your skimmer.
While a cracked skimmer on an above ground pool is not terribly difficult to replace, it is still costly. Firstly, you have the actual cost of the skimmer. Secondly, if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll have the expense of a service call. Lastly, your ego will take a hit as you will certainly hear about this avoidable problem.
If you have an in-ground or sunken hybrid pool, your problems are compounded ten-fold. Skimmers are usually buried in a deck. You may have to break out concrete and/or dig under the deck to get to the plumbing lines. Skimmers are expensive and labor costs to perform the work can be staggering.
In both cases, cracked skimmers are easily avoidable. No matter where you leave your water level, use a device that will eliminate expansion issues from freezing water. Most skimmers will accept a screw-in device that will squeeze inward as water freezes, thus taking pressure off the skimmer. I go one step further. I stuff the rest of the skimmer with packing material and small plastic bottles. This provides added protection against ice expansion.
Leaves make for lousy pool companions.
Fall’s vibrant leaf colors are beautiful to behold, but a nuisance when they find their way to your winter cover. It’s not too late to minimize the annoyance and reduce spring clean-up. Simply put a leaf cover over your winter cover. This is a lightweight durable net that makes leaf removal easy. As leaves fall, they are trapped on the leaf cover. Just peel the cover back and dump the leaves. Then, put it back on for the next batch of leaves to accumulate. Repeat the process until the trees are bare. Then remove the leaf cover, rinse it off, allow it to dry, and store it away until next fall. Don’t leave it on the pool all winter. Doing so will shorten the leaf cover’s life expectancy.
Is this a mandatory step in pool winterization? No, but it will go a long way in making your pool opening easier. You won’t have rotting leaves clogging your cover pump and burning it out when it runs dry. You also won’t have this gunk slipping into the water when you open your pool next year.
Leaf covers are inexpensive and make pool ownership much easier come pool opening time. The savings to your sanity are immeasurable.
These are reminders and tips to help you make your pool off-season less stressful and next spring less expensive. If you have concerns or questions about pool winterization in Greater Cincinnati, give Eastgate Pools & Spas a call. Our pool professionals are here to help, and we are open year-round except for holidays.