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How to Get Your In-Ground Pool Ready for Winter

November 2nd, 2011 Tools

If you're the proud new owner of an in-ground swimming pool, you may not be familiar with the process of winterizing your pool. Preparing your pool for harsh weather in the fall will ensure that it's clean for next season and that freezing water won't cause any damage. Here are some tips to help you with the closing process, according to the Home Depot's Garden Club and PoolWarehouse.com.

1. Gather up your supplies, which should include a cover, water tubes, plugs for the skimmers and return jets and winterizing chemicals. You'll also need an air compressor or a shop vac to get rid of any water in the pipes and drains.

2. Check the pool and liner for any leaks or cracks. Fix these problems before you begin to close your pool, otherwise they could become worse over the winter and create problems for you next spring.

3. Test the water to make sure it's chemically balanced and has a chlorine residual (above 3.0). The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. The alkalinity should be between 100 and 150 parts per million. Adjust all the chemicals as needed to prevent corrosion or scale build-up while your pool is closed. There should be no algae in the water, and make sure any granular chemicals are totally dissolved, as undissolved granules can settle on the floor and stain the liner. Mix them all into a bucket and dump it into the deep end when you're ready. Run the pump for 4 to 6 hours afterward.

4. Remove all of the deck equipment, including the ladders and diving board (if you have one) and store them in a safe place.

5. Brush the sides of your pool and vacuum as well, otherwise leftover debris can cause staining.

6. Thoroughly clean the filter by backwashing it or using a cleaning product.

7. Clean all of the skimmer baskets and the pump basket. Get rid of any unused chlorine in the chlorinator.

8. Drain the Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter tanks and leave the backwash valve open. If you have a sand filter, unplug the drain plug and leave it off. Store the plugs in the pump basket so you don't lose them.

9. Disconnect the pump and filter, making sure there's no water in the pump. Loosen quick-connect fittings and unions before removing jet fittings and plugs.

10. Drain the heater if you have one and remove the drain plugs if you have them.

11. Use the shop vac or air compressor to blow out all the return pipes, hooking it into the return lines at the filter system. Once there are a lot of bubbles coming from the return jets, plug the jets tightly underwater. The water should be almost completely out of the pipe.

12. Repeat the same process with the skimmer pipes, then tightly secure the skimmer plugs.

13. Blow out the main drain and plug the pipe, or close the gate valve. This will prevent any more water from entering.

14. If there are tiles around the top of your pool, lower the water level so it is underneath them so they don't crack.

15. Install the pool cover and make sure to get rid of any water that accumulates on the cover during the winter.

16. If you live in a warmer climate, check to see how the water looks mid-winter by pulling back some of the cover. If it looks cloudy, shock the water again.