How to Close Your Pool in 9 Steps

How to close your pool

The dog days of summer may still be upon us, but it will be fall before you know it. August through early September is still prime swimming time in Cincinnati, but soon your beloved pool will need to close for the winter season. Have you thought about how to close your pool?

Knowing when to close your pool can be tricky. Experts recommend closing your pool when the temperature outside consistently is 65 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and the water temperature consistently dips below 60 degrees. If you close your pool while it’s still warm out, you may be dealing with algae growth and green, unsanitary water come spring. With the unpredictable weather in Cincinnati, you may need to play it by ear to determine when to close your pool.

When the right time to close your pool does come, closing your pool for the season can be a challenge. There are several steps you need to take to make sure your pool doesn’t get damaged during the freezing cold conditions of winter. While we always recommend calling in the experts if you’re not a confident DIY-er, this guide will help you winterize and close your pool properly in 9 simple steps.

Step One: Clean the Pool

The first step before you start to close your pool is to clean it thoroughly. You’ve likely kept up with basic cleaning throughout the summer, but you should give your entire pool an extensive cleaning before closing it for the winter.

First, skim the surface of the pool with your skimmer net to remove leaves and other debris that may be floating on the surface of the water.

Next, brush the sides of the pool with a pool brush, making sure to scrub away any dirt or grime that has built up, especially at the water level. Pay extra attention to the stairs and ladder, or other areas with poor water circulation. 

You should also vacuum the bottom of the pool with a pool vacuum to remove any debris that has settled at the bottom of the pool. Make sure your water is as clean and clear as possible. Any missed debris can clog the filtration system over the winter season.

Finally, clean out your skimmer baskets of any debris. You may also want to wipe or hose out the skimmer baskets if they’re slimy or dirty.

Step Two: Test and Balance the Water

While you’ve been testing and balancing your water chemistry throughout the summer, you will need to thoroughly test and balance your water one last time before closing your pool. It’s imperative your pool has the proper chemical levels before you start the winterizing process to make sure your water stays sanitary while your pool isn’t in use.

Use a standard test kit and then add the proper chemicals to balance your water chemistry to your pool’s standard levels. Take special consideration of your chlorine levels before closing your pool. If your chlorine is higher than 5.0 ppm (parts per million.) If it’s too high, it might interfere with other chemicals used to winterize the pool and prevent them from working properly.

Step Three: Add Winterizing Chemicals

About a week before you intend to close your pool, you should add winterizing chemicals to your water to ensure that the water chemistry stays optimal throughout the winter. The chemicals needed can vary based on the type of pool you have, but at the very least you’ll need two chemicals:

  1. A phosphate remover or algaecide to prevent algae growth
  2. A stain and scale chemical to prevent mineral buildup

Step Four: Shock the Pool

The night before you close your pool, use a commercial pool shock to give it a final blast of cleaning power. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and let the shock sit overnight while your pump runs to get the most benefit out of the chemicals.

Step Five: Reduce the Water Level

Before you put the cover on your pool or finish the other closing steps, make sure that you have an optimum water level for your pool cover type. If you have too much water in your pool over the winter, it can freeze and damage your skimmers or other parts of your pool.

The proper water level for your pool depends on the type of pool that you have and the cover that you’re using over the winter. In general, you want to keep the water level just below your skimmer or tile line, but no more than 18 inches from the top edge of the pool. Use a pool pump to

Step Six: Clean the Filter

Your pool’s filter can get dirty over the course of the summer, and you don’t want all the dirt and bacteria just sitting there all winter long. Before you close your pool for the season, turn off your pool pump and clean your filter thoroughly using your manufacturer’s instructions.

There are three types of pool filters: sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. The cleaning process for each filter type may vary a bit, but in general, you’ll want to either backwash your filter or clean it with a hose and use cleaning chemicals if necessary to sanitize the filter before reinstalling it.

Step Seven: Empty the Pump Lines

It can get quite cold in Cincinnati over the winter, which means it’s imperative to empty your pool lines, pump, and filter of all water to properly winterize your pool. Water left in the lines over the winter can freeze, causing pipes to crack or burst and costing you money in damages.

This step can be difficult, so it’s recommended to have a professional like Cincinnati Pool and Patio do this if you’re not confident enough to do it yourself. If you do want to attempt a DIY method, use an air compressor or shop vac to blow air through your system until everything is dry.

Step Eight: Remove All Pool Accessories

Before you cover up your pool and call it a day, remove all pool accessories from your pool so they don’t get damaged during the winter. Ladders and rails should be removed, as being exposed to winterizing chemicals for long periods of time can damage the finish on them. Dry them off thoroughly and store them in a clean, dry environment for the winter. Pool toys, slides, and other items should also be cleaned, dried, and stored away until next summer.

Step Nine: Cover the Pool

Finally, you will need to cover your pool for the winter and fasten it properly. The installation process of your pool cover will depend on the type of cover you use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and make sure that the edges are sealed properly, so no dirt or debris can get into your pool over the course of the off-season.

Periodically clean off the top of your pool cover over the winter to keep it free of debris and snow using a soft broom or squeegee. Don’t use anything sharp, like a rake, to clean off your pool cover, or you risk puncturing the cover and ruining all your hard work of winterizing!

The Professionals with Cincinnati Pool and Patio can Help Close Your Pool

Closing your pool can be a lot of work but making sure it’s done properly will ensure that your pool opening in the spring will run smoothly. The experts at Cincinnati Pool and Patio can close or open your pool for you, so you know that it’s done right. Schedule your pool closing before our schedule books up for the fall or get in touch with us for questions about how to close your pool.

How To Care For Your Pool In Winter

pool in winter

Your Pool In Winter

During the long winter months when your pool isn’t in use, caring for your pool in winter even more important.

Don’t let it sit there forgotten about until next season.

The better you take care of it now, the easier it will be to open for next season!

Pool Covers

In colder areas, many of you closed your pools months ago to protect your pool from the harsh conditions. Adding a pool cover is a necessity to protect your pool from snow, debris and any animals, so it’s important all pool owners understand how to maintain them.

First, ensure that your winter pool cover is securely attached to your pool. That can mean for an above ground pool inflating the air pillow, tightening the cable, or securing cover clips. For an inground pool, you need to make sure the water blocks or bags are secured and all your safety components are in place.

Remove debris and water from your pool cover. Use a hose to remove plant debris, such as leaves and twigs, and a vacuum to remove any excess water.

Use a roof rake to pull the snow off your pool cover. The excess weight can cause damage, especially when dealing with above ground pools. It’s easiest to remove the snow when it’s still fresh, but always make sure to take the proper safety precautions when dealing with snow and ice.

Pool In Winter Chemistry

Most of us do not completely drain our pool in winter, so chemically balanced water is key to a clean swimming pool. Balanced water will prevent algae, bacteria, waterlines, and decontamination making the opening process much easier for pool owners.

Check your pool chemistry every two months when not in use. Improperly balanced pool chemistry can be the cause of algae and bacteria growth.

Discard all pool chemicals from the previous season. You don’t want to save the chemicals for the following year as they lose their potency.

Use an enzyme product to help break down non-living contamination and prevent a waterline ring from forming. Adding this product will save you from having to scrub your pool tile or finish when opening your pool in the spring.

Have any questions about the proper care for your pool during the winter? Contact us here!

How To Deal With Fall Leaves In Your Pool

leaves in pool

Dealing With Fall Leaves

Autumn has arrived. With it comes warm days, cool nights, and lots of fall leaves drifting down into your backyard swimming pool. Below are tips for making the process as quick and easy as possible.

Removing Fall Leaves from a Pool

If leaves have found their way into your pool while it is uncovered, here’s how to remove them quickly and efficiently:

Use a pool rake to gather and remove leaves, allowing them to dry if possible before hauling them away. Ideally, you want to make two or three passes around the edge of the pool before moving inward.

After making a few passes with a leaf rake or vacuum, you may need to gently brush the bottom or sides of the pool to free any leaves stuck there before collecting them.

Removing Fall Leaves from a Pool Cover

If you have a solid or mesh safety cover or an automatic safety cover, the good news is it will help prevent fall leaves from getting into your pool. However, you will need to regularly remove leaves from on top of the cover. Here are the steps to follow:

If the leaves on your cover are dry, use a leaf blower or pool brush to move them onto the deck or into the yard, and gather them there. If the leaves on the cover are wet, you’ll want to have a leaf rake specially designed for use on pool covers. It’s an inexpensive item you can attach to the end of your pool pole.

Get Ahead of the Game

The best way to minimize the time spent dealing with leaves is to prevent them from getting into your pool or onto your cover in the first place.

You might also consider buying a leaf net. It is a lightweight net that lays on top of your pool cover. Regularly pulling it off, emptying the leaves, and repositioning it greatly simplifies the process of “leaf management.” However, you choose to keep your pool leaf-free, don’t forget to enjoy this wonderful season.

Have any questions on how to keep your pool in tip-top shape all year long? Contact us here!

Pool Safety Covers: Why You Need Them

pool cover

Pool Safety Covers

The statistics don’t lie. With an average of 10 deaths a day by accidental drowning in the USA it is up to everyone who owns a swimming pool to be aware of the steps they can take to help try and prevent these needless deaths. Even though there are over 80 million residential swimming pools in the USA. Our goal and yours as a pool owner should be to get this average amount of daily accidental drownings down to zero. One of the important items you need to ensure your pool is safe is pool safety covers.

When People are using your pool

When there are people in the pool it is up to you and the supervising adults to keep a close eye on the children. Establish a firm set of rules for your pool that everyone clearly understands and are strictly followed.

When the pool is unattended

This is where a pool safety cover comes in handy. These covers will ensure that no unattended child, animal, or leaf is able to fall into the pool.

Out of the season, it’s important to check your cover to make sure it is working properly. This will keep your family and pool safe during the entire year.

If your pool isn’t covered, you need some pool safety covers that will protect you from harm. Contact Cincinnati and Patio and we can find the perfect safety cover for you.

Fall Pool Maintenance Tips

fall pool maintenance

Fall Maintenance

The weather is cooling, summer is ending and the leaves are about start falling. Fall pool maintenance is key to keeping your pool issue free going into winter.

Here are some changes and services to consider for your pool this fall.

1. LEAVES & DEBRIS.

Fall pool maintenance involves a lot of leaf removal. When leaves accumulate in the pool, algae begins to grow and thrive. Leaves that sink to the bottom of the pool stain the flooring material. If you have a lot of trees around your pool, keeping your pool covered while not in use can save lots of cleaning time.

2. HEATING CYCLE.

It is a good idea to adjust your water’s heating cycle so your pool is comfortable for swimming. Outside temperatures are falling and so to keep costs down, cover your pool at night.

3. PREPARE FOR THE EARLY FREEZE.

If you live in a colder climate, the first freeze of winter can happen early and unexpectedly. Depending on how far north you live, you may want to partially winterize your pool.

No matter where you live, be sure to get on board with fall pool maintenance to ensure your pool is hassle-free going into and coming out of winter.

4. POOL FILTER.

If you’ve had a busy summer, it might be a good time to clean your pool filter. With the debris from falling foliage and lower temperatures, a clean filter to start the fall season is important.

5. GENERAL FALL POOL MAINTENANCE

Removal all pool toys. Ensure the pool is in the good general order. Use your pool vacuum, brush tiles and clean the pool deck.

Need help with pool maintenance or with closing your pool for the season? Contact us here!

9 Effective Ways to Close Your Pool for the Season

pool closing

Close Your Pool

Closing your pool for winter is the most important step in ensuring it lasts season after season.  But, with so many different how-tos available online how can you be sure you are closing it correctly?  That’s what we’re here for. To tell you the best way to close your pool.

We have composed a list of generic steps to help you close your pool:

  1. A few days before you plan to close sweep all silt off the bottom of the pool and remove all debris
  2. Two days before closing add a phosphate remover to prevent and kill algae
  3. Run the filter for 24-48hours
  4. On Closing Day add or remove water to reach the level specified in your owner’s manual
  5. Balance the chemistry of your pool: total alkalinity should be between 80-120ppm and the pH between 7.4 and 7.6
  6. Drain pool lines and add antifreeze to prevent damage to your pipes
  7. Turn off all power to support equipment and remove fuses/turn circuit breakers to off
  8. Remove and store ladders, slides, and diving boards
  9. Install your safety cover, winter cover, or leaf net**

**optionally install an air pillow first.  An Air Pillow is a large air pocket underneath your cover that stops water/snow from pooling in the center of your cover

Remember, if you have any questions you stop in the store or give our friendly experts a call and we will be more than happy to help you with your pool closings.