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Things to think about before, during and after closing your pool

By: Ellen Lampe


When it’s back to school and the weather begins to cool, it’s time to close the pool. Yes, summer and pool season are soon to be on their way out.

The optimal time to close a pool is when the air cools off and the water temperature is below 60 degrees, at which point algae and bacteria cannot grow. In the Midwest, the month of October or first week of November is a good time to close the pool, or before the first freeze of the season hits.

Closing a pool too early can lead to a green pool come spring. So, in other words, continue your cannon balls for the next month or two, or as the weather permits!

Whether you use a pool service to complete the process or prefer to tackle the task on your own, here are some tips for preparing your pool for closing as well as ensuring it’s in good shape throughout the bitter-cold winter months. 

Check the pool for damage

Before closing your pool for the winter, check for tears in the liner, cracks or leaks. Any abnormalities will need to be repaired before closing the pool. Whether it’s a simple fix or something larger such as replacing the liner, be sure to get the job done before the cold weather strikes. Waiting too long could lead to severe foundation issues.

Prep the pool

In order to avoid that sinking feeling when you take the cover off next year, take preventative steps now against an algae infestation. Using a standard chemical testing kit, make sure the pool is chemically balanced before going any further. Also remember to remove everything from the pool including ladders, diving boards, pool toys, ropes, etc. 

Dispose of leftover chemicals

At the end of each pool season, excess pool chemicals should be disposed of in a responsible manner. Pool chemicals tend to lose their potency rather quick, and thus will not effectively rid the pool of bacteria and algae. Each new pool season, fresh chemicals should be purchased. 

Backwash and clean the filter and pump; blow out the lines

To prevent your pipes from freezing, you will need to backwash and remove any excess water from both the filter and heater. Leaving water can cause cracking, and subsequently a steep repair bill.

This is a vital step that can be complicated. If you do not know how to backwash and blow out your lines, call your local pool company to help you out. 

Lower the water, but do not drain

Pools should never be completely drained, as that can cause damage to its liner in chilly temperatures. However, pool owners should lower the water a few inches below the skimmer and tile to prevent ice damage and cracking. 

As with the previous step, if you do not have the appropriate tools for this task, call your local pool company. 

Cover the pool

The final step in the pool closing process is covering the pool. Be sure to check the cover for rips or tears. Patch holes with duct tape to prevent outside elements from entering the pool during the winter. Then, tightly secure the cover. Throughout the winter months, periodically check  to make sure the cover is in good shape. Winter winds can knock the cover loose, and snow and debris can pile up, causing damage. Be sure to readjust the cover and brush off debris when necessary.

Add shock

Experts recommend adding shock twice to the pool water while the pool is still closed, to ensure the water remains clean. Many people do this around Thanksgiving and Easter – or November and April – when the water likely is not frozen.

Check throughout the spring

Pool owners should keep an eye on the pool water as temperatures begin to rise. Warm water breeds algae, so it may be necessary to add chemicals to the pool during Spring to help it stay bacteria-free until it’s ready to be opened for the summer. 

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