Winter time is the time of year we need to put our swimming pools into “hibernation mode”. We obviously won’t be using it for many months until the temperatures rise again. We need to take certain steps and precautions to make sure our swimming pool is protected and easy to reopen once the time is right. If you winterize your swimming pool, you will need to take certain steps.
Winterizing a Swimming Pool
Did you know that water expands as it freezes? This obviously poses a danger to your equipment and your swimming pool plumbing. If you are not storing your pool equipment , you’ll want to make sure the freeze setting is programmed on your pump. This way, as the water gets towards freezing, it will automatically come on to prevent any damage.
When one is going to winterize their pools, it takes just a few easy steps. Remember, we are trying not only to survive the winter, but make the opening season a breeze as well. First, remove all of the accessories out of the pool. This includes any toys, floats and removable lounge chairs and umbrellas.
You will want to do a good ol’ deep cleaning. This means netting, skimming and brushing like your life depends on it. Then test and adjust your water chemistry as needed. You do not have to worry about the chlorine level as we will get to that in a bit. Lower the water level if storing your equipment. Then drain the equipment. Remove and store if desired.
If leaving plumbed in, again, make sure your pump is set to freeze mode. So the answer to the question of “Can I run my pool pump in cold weather?”, the answer is yes. Next we want to shock our pool and add a preventative algaecide. The final step is to cover the pool. Make sure you have a good cover pump to remove the water off of your swimming pool cover.
If you live somewhere like I do in California, we do not winterize our pools. We just program the pump to run for fewer hours and many choose to still cover the pool. Let’s talk about that.
Why Cover a Swimming Pool?
The simple answer is to keep dirt and debris out of the swimming pool. It also prevents the pool from overflowing if you get a lot of rain or snow. Depending on region, people will use a solar blanket, a mesh swimming pool cover or for true coverage, a plastic or vinyl cover. When we use a solid cover, it will naturally build up water on the surface. This is not good for the cover and can cause sagging, pitting or tearing. It also makes it difficult to remove the cover come Spring. Stagnant water on top of your swimming pool cover can also pose a drowning risk. The water can get yucky and draw mosquitos that could possibly carry West Nile and other viruses. This is why I suggest investing in a good cover pump.
What is a Cover Pump? Are they Expensive?
Cover pumps are submersible pumps that sit on your swimming pool cover and remove the excess water. Most come with a cord that will plug into any standard GFCI protected 110v outlet. There are two types of cover pumps: manual and automatic. The “automatic” refers to turning on and off the cover pump. If you are a meticulous backyard chore guru, then manual would suit you just fine. The American-made, household loved name of Black & Decker have lended their genius and quality to the swimming pool industry. They make a manual pump you can check out here.
If you are more like me and want to set and forget, then you would probably be better off with an automatic cover pump. Black & Decker makes a great one with an extra long discharge hose. Always make sure you are aiming the hose,and therefore the water, away from your home. Check out this beauty at 1,500 GPH AND automatic.
So whether you winterize your pool or just tone things down, you can absolutely run your swimming pool pump in the Winter. Hopefully you have invested in an Energy Stat Rated Variable Speed Pool Pump by now so it won’t cost you as much to run. Still have the old technology of a single speed swimming pool pump? Take a few minutes to take a look at what Black & Decker has for VSPs (Variable Speed Pumps). They are high quality and won’t break the bank. In fact, you may even qualify for a rebate from your utility company for making the switch. See you poolside come Summer!