We all know how important proper circulation of our swimming pool water is. It allows the water to be sanitized and filtered. But what about during winter when we have winterized our pools? Winterization includes covering your swimming pool with either a mesh or plastic cover. Can we run our filter pump when the pool is covered?
Is it Safe?
Absolutely! A cover does nothing to interfere with the water circulating through your system. It doesn’t touch your pump or any other piece of equipment you have. When your pool is covered during these winter months, you can run it less, thus protecting the pump from premature aging.
Pool pumps are designed to keep contaminants, dirt and debris out of the water. The debris gets caught in several different spots such as your skimmer basket , your pump basket and finally, your swimming pool filter.
Why Cover the Swimming Pool?
People cover their pools for a variety of reasons. One, as mentioned above, is to winterize your pool. Another reason would be to keep dirt and debris out during the season. Finally, a safety cover can save lives, especially of children. Just make sure you have a cover pump to pump the excess water that can build up on your pool cover, because along with damage to your cover, this can also propose a potential drowning hazard for people and animals.
Cover pumps come in a variety of sizes. By size I mean the gallons per hour (GPH) they remove the water. The higher the GPH, the more water you can move off of your swimming pool cover. Just have a little bit of water? I suggest getting a small cover pump like this one.
If you live in a place where the temps get low enough to freeze plumbing, this includes your swimming pool plumbing. Most pumps come with a freeze control setting, which tells the pump to come on so as not to damage your plumbing and interfere with circulation.
Winterizing Vs Closing
Ok, so it is winter. You are not going to be swimming for several months. Depending on how cold it gets in your neck of the woods will determine whether you close or winterize. If you live in the Sunshine belt, you may use your pool and spa all year round! Or you may want to close it.
Closing a pool means reducing the pump run time. It is typically about half the amount of time of Summer months. You can cover your pool with a heavy duty plastic cover or something as simple as a solar blanket. Solar blankets are those bubble wrap looking things. They not only help trap heat inside the pool, but help keep dirt and debris out of the water. You’ll need to lift the cover up periodically to test the water and adjust accordingly. You do not HAVE to cover your swimming pool to close it.
Winterizing a pool is a different story. After following a few easy steps, you can basically ignore your swimming pool until it gets to be over approximately 65 degrees.
- You’ll need to balance the water chemistry. This helps protect against any surface damage.
- Brush and vacuum the swimming pool. Give it a thorough brushing to remove any algae spores that may be stuck to it and loosen dirt and debris before vacuuming. I like an ergonomic brush that really gets into all the nooks and crannies like this one. With its 360 degree technology, there is no need to purchase a separate corner brush. I have had my professional pool cleaners using them for months now!
- Clean the filter. We want a clean filter through winter and proper circulation. On a personal level, when I open my pool the LAST thing I would want to have to do is a filter clean.
- Shock the pool. This means adding copious amounts of chlorine to the water. That is what shocking is. It is a method, not a product. Some products are labeled “shock” to be consumer friendly because you can use that product to shock your pool.
- Add algaecide. It never hurts to have an insurance policy. Let the pool circulate for 24 hours after adding all these chemicals.
- Turn off the pool equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Lower the swimming pool water below the skimmer. You can either remove the equipment completely or leave the pump on freeze control. Make sure you drain the equipment using the drain plugs. You can either store your equipment in the garage or they make covers you can use to prevent freezing.
- Plug any openings with a winterizing plug. Do not do this if you are leaving your equipment on!
- Take any accessories out of the pool like cleaners and ladders and toys
If you are unsure how you should winterize your pool (either with equipment left on low or removed) please consult with a pool professional in your area. You can also hire them to do it for you.
In any event, once again, yes, you can run your filter pump with the cover on. See you poolside!