Leaves are falling. The days are getting shorter. And there’s a chill in the air. It’s not just Old Man Winter knocking at the door. Your swimming pool is telling you it wants to hibernate for the season. Follow these simple winterizing – and upgrading – tips to give your pool the TLC it needs heading into the cold-weather months.

START BY CLEANING

Cleaning your pool now, before closing, helps prevent algae and will make your spring opening even easier, with less spring cleaning. First, be sure to remove all leaves, dirt, insects, or other debris. Don’t forget to vacuum the pool and brush the walls using a non-abrasive cleaner made for vinyl or tile.

ACHIEVE PROPER BALANCE

Properly balanced water protects your pool and equipment from corrosion. Use a test kit to measure pool chemistry. Total alkalinity should be between 80-120 ppm; pH level should be between 7.4-7.6. Once the water has been balanced, shock and chlorinate your pool. Shocking kills stubborn bacteria that might linger even when the temperature drops drastically. Not sure what chemicals to use? Your local pool retailer is a good source for correct supplies and expert advice.

REMOVE EQUIPMENT

Remove any floats, ladders, rails, skimmer baskets, wall fittings, hoses and cleaners. Clean and dry them, and store them in a dry space. Now is also a great time to store all of your outdoor furniture and accessories to prevent weathering. While you’re at it, consider an upgrade to our designer-inspired Artisan Series handrails to give your pool a customized, modern look. Adding designer rails and new stainless steel ladder, such as our Meridian Series, will be a huge step forward in giving your pool a sleek, sophisticated look that will last for years to come.

CHECK THE WATER LEVEL

To protect your pool from frostbite during freezing temperatures, lower the water level. It should be 4-6 inches below the skimmer in vinyl-lined pools, and below the tile line in plaster pools.

UPGRADE LIGHTS

Winter is also the perfect time to consider a pool lighting upgrade while the water level is low. If your pool is more than 20 years old, it most likely has outdated fiber optic lighting. Here’s a brilliant idea: use an S.R. Smith PT-6000 upgrade LED lighting kit. The PT-6000 can power up to 10 TREO LEDs Lights. With 6 solid colors and 2 color shows, the lighting setups you can create will dazzle people in or out of the water.

DRAIN PUMP AND HEATER

Make sure all of the water is drained from the pump and filters before disconnecting them. You can use an air compressor to be sure there is no standing water in the system. Also, be sure to remove the drain plugs since they can trap water inside. Trapped water—even a tiny amount – can turn to ice, eventually expanding and possibly damaging your system.

CLEAR THE PIPES

Eliminating water in the pipes eliminates potential freeze damage. Unscrew and loosen any quick-disconnect fittings or unions at your pump and filter system, then blow out the pipes using a wet-dry shop vacuum or air compressor. If there’s a main drain line, clear it the same way.

COVER THE POOL

The winter cover is important for both the pool and the people around it. It's stronger than a summer cover, both to withstand the weight of snow and ice, and to protect people or pets from accidentally falling through the cover into the water. If your cover has any rips, fix them. If they're beyond repair, replace the cover. Select one that best fits your pool and can survive winter weather typical in your region.

When springtime rolls around and uncovering the pool takes center stage, your winter preparation will pay off. Your pool will thank you.

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