There are many things we need to do to Winterize our swimming pools during those cold months. One of them is adding shock.  That is not the first thing we need to do, however.  Let’s review the steps needed to properly close our swimming pools for the Winter.

The first thing we need to do is remove all of your accessories.  These are things like toys, rafts, chlorine floater, skimmer baskets, steps and your solar blanket.  Basically, we need to remove everything that could prevent us from covering our pools.  You’ll want to rinse these items off to remove any chemicals, dirt, debris and potential algae spores.

Now it’s time to deep clean the swimming pool.  Don’t forget the filter!  Remove all leaves, silt, dirt, debris that is hanging out in the water.  You’ll want to utilize your leaf rake to get the junk off the bottom and your leaf skimmer to get the junk off the top.  Vacuum the pool.  Use your universal pool brush to give it a solid brushing.  Looking for a good universal brush?  Check out the cool 360 technology of these brushes. 

If it were me, I would throw on my pool cover so my hard work doesn’t get undone.  You can lift up a corner for the next steps.

We also need to “clean” the water.  What I mean by this is testing the water and making any necessary chemical adjustments.  We want desired levels in every field.  I am talking about pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, etc.  I suggest bringing in a water sample to a local swimming pool supply store for a free water test.  They usually test for more fields than our home test kits will do.  

For those of us that live in an area where water freezes, we need to lower the water level.  If using a mesh cover, lower it just below the skimmer.  If you are a solid pool cover owner, you’ll want to aim for half a foot below the skimmer.  

Draining all of your equipment is next on your to-do list.  The reason we do this is to prevent any damage that can occur when the temps get freezing. Brrrr!  After you clear your plumbing lines with a blower, you’ll want to use winterizing expansion plugs.  All of your equipment has drain plugs to make removing the water easy.  If you are able, store the equipment indoors.

Pro Tip:  You can always add a swimming pool antifreeze for added protection.

Now let’s talk about preventative maintenance, such as shock.  I recommend adding an algaecide for insurance.  Now it is time to shock the pool!  A good rule of thumb is one pound of granular shock per 10,000 gallons of water.  You can also shock using liquid chlorine, using the rule of 1 gallon per 10,000 gallons of pool water.  Keep in mind, liquid chlorine is only 10-12% chlorine whereas granular chlorine is 55% if using di-chlor and up to 73% if using cal-hypo.  I strongly suggest using a granular shock.  Obviously if you have a vinyl liner you will need to dilute it in a bucket of water first.  Always add chemicals to the water, NEVER the other way around or you could have an explosion.  The reason we shock the pool, which means adding extra chlorine, is to break down any contaminants and organic load, while leaving us with a nice chlorine reserve.  

Finally, it is time to secure our pool cover.  Some folks have a tension held safety cover.  While others use a solid or mesh swimming pool cover.  Safety covers are the best defense against debris and accidental drowning. Whatever cover you are using, make sure to inspect it for rips or tears.  We want our cover in tip top shape!  

The last step is to put on our cover pump.  The stagnant water that can accumulate on top of our covers is dangerous for many reasons.  They can damage the cover.  It is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.  It is a drowning risk for animals and small children.  Plus, it is extra work come Spring.  Don’t have a cover pump?  You can get a name brand, American made, household name of a Black & Decker cover pump in either manual or automatic.  Go with a name that is not only trustworthy, but affordable to boot!  Check them out here! See you poolside come Spring!