Pool Winterization

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Swimming Pools

It’s Time to Winterize Your Above-Ground Pool

As much as we hate to see it go, the outdoor swim season is pretty much over for this year. Looking back on 2023, it was a great year for backyard pool owners. We survived early spring storms then enjoyed a relatively dry, hot summer. It was perfect swim weather for most. But like a great movie or book, there comes an end. And so, now comes the time to close the pool for the season.

Pool Cover

Which pool owner are you?

To simplify, there are three types of pool owners this time of year. Many have already closed and winterized their pools, ready for falling leaves and the arrival of colder weather. That’s group one. Then there is group two. These are the diehard swimmers, unwilling to concede any remaining swim days. I salute you. You’ll jump in your pool even if the water feels like it’s about to ice over. Lastly, is group three. The pool is still open, but these people haven’t paid it much attention for a couple of weeks. Maybe they’ve added some chemicals; maybe not. Maybe they’ve scooped out leaves or vacuumed; maybe not. Many haven’t been in it in a few weeks.

This message is for those in that third group. It’s time to shut it down.

Opening the pool next spring.

Remember that how your pool looks next spring is determined by how it looks now. If you don’t vacuum up debris when you close, it will be there in the spring. Fail to scoop out leaves and they will rot during the winter. This could stain liners and make for extra work in 2024. In short, do it now.

If you are new to pool ownership or need a refresher course, click here. This will give you our recommended step-by-step above-ground closing procedure.

Winterizing chemicals. Don’t…

I don’t recommend winterizing with a heavy dose of shock. Chlorine is an oxidizer. If you put your winter cover on immediately after shocking, the gas-off has no where to go. It collects near the sides, while the cover itself rests on the heavily chlorinated water. This will greatly reduce the cover’s life and increase the likelihood of a split seam. A split seam equals a big mess in the pool. If you insist on shocking the pool, do so but don’t put the cover on for several days.

Some pool owners also try chlorine floats under the cover. Save yourself some heartache and don’t do it. At best, you succeed in getting a little chlorine into the water with the same risk of damaging the cover. At worst, the float tips over and empties or is crushed by ice when the water freezes. Everything drops to the bottom where the chlorine tabs permanently bleach the liner. Even worse, it scalds or blisters the liner and makes it extremely brittle. Plan on needing a new liner.

A better way. Do…

Skip the shortcuts. I have recommended using the Eastgate Pools preferred winterizing kit for nearly forty years. There is a reason we have sold this kit for so long. It works and won’t damage the liner or pool itself. It’s the Maintain Winterizer. Each box treats up to 12,000 gallons and contains three distinctly different granular powders.

  • A non-chlorine shock that can reduce or eliminate organic contaminants.

  • A time-release algaecide.

  • A sequestering compound that will help clump microscopic particulates, making them easy to remove in the spring.

Maintain will not harm covers, liners, or the pool frame. It is totally compatible with chlorine, but to reiterate, if you shock, don’t immediately cover the pool. Let the shock work and gas-off first.

A note to Simple Salt users: Everything you need is in a bucket of Simple Salt Shield. This is a specialized winterizer formulated to compliment your system. It is not necessary to use Maintain with it.

In summary…

What you do now directly determines how your pool will look when the cover comes off in the spring. So, rectify any algae issues you might have. Vacuum the pool and scoop out any leaves that might have found their way into the pool. Follow each step in the closing procedures link and use Maintain Winterizer to treat the water before covering. Do this and there is a good chance you’ll be smiling when the cover comes off next spring.