POOL CLOSING TIPS FOR OTTAWA WINTERS
by Brady’s Pool & Spa Care
As fall approaches so does pool closing season. Here are 9 pool closing tips to help you open your pool clear and trouble free!
1) Balance The Water
One of the most important things you can do for your pool is to test the water. Pool closing time is no different. In fact, making sure that your water is properly balanced is even more important at closing time than at any other time of the year.
Ottawa winters are long. If your water isn’t properly balanced when you close your pool you won’t be able to fix it for at least 6 months. Water that is out of balance for that period of time can cause a ton of problems for your pool including:
To make sure that your water is properly balanced, be sure to get your pool water tested around a week before you plan on closing the pool.
2) Keep Your Pool Running Until It Is Closed
For a lot of people, the temptation is to shut off their pool pump as soon as the swimming season is over. While this will definitely save you some money in Hydro, it can really cost you in the long term.
This is because water that isn’t circulating turns green much faster than water that is circulating. If water isn’t circulating it’s also not getting properly chlorinated, making the problem even worse.
This isn’t to say that you need to keep your pump running 24hrs a day right until the pool is closed though. To make sure that the pool stays clear you should run it at least 10 -12 hours day while maintaining chlorine levels.
3) Close As Late As Possible
Even though your pool will likely not see a lot of use after kids go back to school, you still want to keep it open for as long as possible. Algae can easily grow in water that is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you shut down your pool in the middle of September, by the start of October all the chlorine you added before closing will be gone. Once that happens, the water will quickly start to turn green.
Waiting an extra couple weeks and closing the pool after the water is consistently below 65 degrees greatly increases your chances of opening up a clear pool in the spring. This will save you a ton of time, trouble and money!
While closing your pool late is the best way to make sure that it doesn’t go green…this is probably too late.
4) Treat Any Water Problems Before Closing
While this probably goes without saying, you can’t open your pool clear unless you close it clear. Not taking care of water problems like algae, scale buildup or staining will only make that problem worse. Over the 6 months that your pool is closed, these problems can even begin to cause permanent damage to the finish of the pool.
Along with making sure the pool is algae free, you should also make sure that there is no dirt and debris in the pool before closing it. Any organic matter left in the pool can quickly begin eating away at the chlorine in the water. For this reason, make sure that you give the pool one final brush and vacuum before closing it up for the season.
5) Add Closing Chemicals Early
Now that you’re finally ready to close down your pool, it’s time to start adding the closing chemicals. To get the most out of your closing chemicals add them 24-48 hours before you close the pool.
Pool closing kits usually consist of a chlorine shock and an algaecide. For these chemicals to properly work, they need to be evenly distributed in the water. Adding them early allows your pool’s filtration system to evenly treat the water and lessen the chances of algae growth over the winter.
Note: The City Of Ottawa doesn’t allow pool water to be discharged into sewers unless it has been fully dechlorinated and doesn’t contain any algaecide. You can however, still discharge pool water onto your lawn. Worried about the chlorine killing your grass? No need to worry as chlorine is not known to have any harmful effects on grass.
6) Add A Stain & Scale Preventer
Along with the algaecide and chlorine shock, you should also add a stain and scale preventer to the water before closing. Stain and scale preventers coat any calcium or metals that are present in the water. This coating prevents them from sticking together and either forming scale or staining the finish of the pool.
7) Clean Your Sand Filter
Cleaning your sand filter once every season keeps the filter working effectively and can help extend the its life.
Backwashing your pool filter only does so much. While backwashing is good for removing larger debris from the filter, oils, lotions and smaller debris will remain trapped in the sand.
Before doing your final backwash of the season first add a filter cleaning chemical like One Step Filter Cleaner. Chemicals like this help break down oils, lotions and other debris caught in sand filters. You can then easily backwash out this debris before the pool is closed.
8) Add Anti-Freeze To Your Pool Equipment
While everyone know that anti-freeze should be added to the pool plumbing to prevent freezing damage, not everyone knows that it should also be added to pool pumps, filters and heaters.
Nothing in life is perfect and it is extremely difficult to get all of the water out of pool equipment. Adding some anti-freeze to your pool equipment gives you added insurance against them freezing and breaking. Spending $12.99 on anti freeze is a lot better than $500 to fix your pool heater because you forgot to remove one of the drain plugs!
Note: Along with stopping water from freezing, pool anti-freeze also contains lubricants. These lubricants prevent rubber o-rings and seals from drying out over the winter. Even if you bring your pool pump inside, it’s still a good idea to add some anti freeze to it. Doing so will keep the shaft seal lubricated, preventing it from drying out and leaking in the spring.
9) Use A Safety Cover Or Leaf Net
Our final pool closing tip is to make sure that you install either a safety cover or leaf net to cover the pool.
As we’ve previously discussed, safety covers are the ideal winter covers for pools in Canada. Not only do they look better than traditional winter pool covers, they’re also safer, last longer, and easier to use.
Not only that, safety covers make opening your pool a breeze. As the snow melts, the water flows through the mesh, filling the pool for you. The leaves and other debris on the cover then dry out and are blown away by the wind!
Safety winter covers are much safer than traditional winter pool covers. They also make opening and closing your pool much easier!
Safety covers don’t work for every kind of pool though. For most aboveground pools, safety cover installations can be tricky. If you can’t install a safety cover on your pool next best thing to use is a leaf net.
Leaf nets are nets that are installed on top of regular winter covers to catch and remove leaves. While not as convenient to use as safety covers, leaf nets will save you a ton of time and effort once it’s time to open the pool.
Properly closing your pool not only keep it save from freezing damage, it also helps keep the water nice and clear, saving you a ton of work and expense in the spring.
We hope this guide gave you a few helpful tips for closing your pool. If you still have any questions about how to close your pool, you can contact us anytime.
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