This is a question that is frequently asked to us by our customers, particularly those new to the pool world. Unfortunately, it’s rarely as easy as turning off a switch and leaving the pool over winter. In order to properly put your pool to bed for the winter, there are a few steps to undertake, to ensure your pool will not sustain any (preventable) damage.
A Final Clean
A final clean of your pool is always going to be beneficial. Removing any debris in the pool as well as ensuring the water is clear, will make the difference upon opening the pool again in the spring. If your pool is green – our engineers will not be able to shut the pool down. As a result, our engineers would thoroughly clean your pool before beginning the close down process (usually a week later to allow time for the chemicals to clear the pool).
During the summer months, checking your pool’s water chemistry part of your regular maintenance routine; it’s crucial. In the winter months, keeping your water chemistry balanced is just as important. As the pool is not regularly checked or maintained during the winter season, like it is when the pool is open, an unbalanced pool will go unnoticed for longer, and could cause a lot or damage to both the pool and the filtration equipment (if the system hasn’t been drained).
For example, if the pH in your pool is too low and acidic, less than 7.2, this could cause corrosion to the pool and/or the pool equipment. On the other hand, if the pH is too high or has a high Total Alkalinity, scale is likely to form on the walls and floor of the pool. Since the chemical levels are not checked regularly in the winter season, as stated previously, it is important to ensure that the water chemistry is balanced correctly before the pool is shut down. This will also help to ensure a smoother opening of the pool come the spring. As standard with our winter shutdown visits, all our engineers carry out a chemical test on the water to ensure your chemicals levels are correct, before they put your pool to bed for the winter.
Adjusting Water Levels
Traditionally, the pool water level is lowered to the bottom of the skimmers to prevent the pool from over-filling by the (inevitable) rainfall that occurs over winter. Lowering the water levels also helps to prevent the pool and pool surround from cracking if the pool freezes. To help prevent this, placing something on the water surface will absorb the expansion created from the water freezing. Our engineers generally use the empty barrels of sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) half filled with water for this.
Normal Operating Level (NOL)
There are certain instances where the pool water level will be left at the normal operating level (NOL) instead of being lowered. The most common instance why this would happen is due to the pool using a safety cover. Therefore, the pool does not have need of a debris cover, as the safety cover can double as one. In order to ensure no damage is done to the safety cover, the higher water level will support it.
An alternative reason for the water level to be left higher, at the normal operating level, is due to the pool’s water table. If your water table is high, lowering the pool’s water level can cause problems. Our engineers, however, are very knowledgeable and will always adjust your pool accordingly.
Draining and Disconnecting the Filtration
With a traditional close down, all of the filtration system (pump, filter, heater, UV etc.) are drained and turned off over the winter period. This is to prevent the pipework and equipment from cracking and being damaged from the cold weather. The except to this, where the filtration is left intact, is when the plant room is indoors and will not be affected by the weather. The system is drained by removing the plugs in each piece of equipment, and allowing the water to flow out. The plugs are generally placed in the pump basket for safe keeping. Furthermore, the multiport valve is turned into the ‘safe’ position, to protect it.
Adding a Debris Cover
With leaves falling off the trees, and dirt and debris being push around by the wind and rain that inevitably comes with a typical English winter, a debris cover is the ideal solution to prevent these things from falling into your pool. Whilst the fine holes will allow water to pass through the cover and into the pool, dirt and debris will stay on top of the cover.
An added piece of mind – whilst not manufactured and patented as such, we must point out – debris covers will have an element of safety to them. The material used in debris covers is strong enough to provide a slight piece of mind that it will be able to provide some safety, especially in comparison to a solar cover.
Is your Pool Still Open?
If your pool has yet to be shutdown for the winter, and you would like one of our engineers to do this for you, contact our office on 01233 840336 or fill out the form on this page. We can also provide quotations for you for a debris cover, if you do not yet have one.