Read below to learn about the 5 factors that can make your swimming season a walk in the park!
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There are five factors that can make pool maintenance a breeze
- Circulation - Pool water must be circulated for maximum chemical effectiveness. The more your water is in motion, the harder it is for algae and bacteria to take hold. The best time to circulate the water is during the day, for 10 hours or more.
- Filtration - The filter is the most important piece of equipment. It removes visible debris and most microscopic matter. A filter should be backwashed (sand filter) or bumped (DE filter) when the pressure in the filter reaches 8-10 pounds above normal (see manufacturer's guidelines). Backwashing or bumping does not remove oils & deeply embedded debris, every filter needs to be cleaned regularly. For sand filters, use Bioguard filter cleaner. For DE filters, shut the pump off, take the filter apart, take out the filter element (cartridge or grids), hose them off, soak them in filter cleaner for 24 hours, hose it off again, put the filter back together, turn the pump back on and put DE powder in through the skimmer.
- Cleaning - Some pools have certain areas where there is little or no circulation. This is where algae can begin to grow. At least once a week, the walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed to remove any debris that the filter may have missed. Brushing is a must, even if you have an automatic pool cleaner.
- Testing - Every pool's chemicals must be regularly measured & adjusted. The most important are the sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity levels. By testing these levels regularly (2-3 times per week), pool owners begin to understand how bather load, weather, and product application affect the water. Every backyard is different, so it is very important to keep testing your pool's water regularly. It is recommended to bring in a sample of water to Lake Champlain Pools when opening the pool, closing the pool, and every 2-3 weeks during the season for free water testing.
- Proper Water Maintenance - The final step is applying the right products to your pool water at the right time. This allows you to provide a sanitary swimming environment, have brilliant and sparkling water that is inviting, protects the equipment and pool surfaces. We carry a wide range of chemicals; the Synergy system, liquid chlorine, algaecide, a complete line of Bioguard pool chemicals and a line of a non-chlorine Baquacil sanitizer.
Guidelines for Closing Your Above Ground Pool
- Make sure that the pool is not leaking. If it is leaking, repair the leak before winterizing or there could be severe and expensive damage to the pool if not fixed.
- Test and balance water chemistry before winterizing the pool. Make sure the pH is 7.2 - 7.6 and Total Alkalinity is 80 - 120 ppm. Closing a pool that is not properly balanced could lead to problems in the Spring, such as algae and staining of the liner.
- Brush the walls of the pool and vacuum the pool carefully taking time to clean out all the leaves and debris from the water as well as from the skimmer. Leaving such materials in the pool will use up your winter chemicals too quickly, again allowing algae to grow and staining to occur. The more time you spend closing properly, the less time you'll spend opening in the Spring.
- It is very important to take proper care of your pump and filter when closing. Proper winterization is the key factor in getting a long life out of your system.
- DE Filters: Disconnect filter, drain out water, remove grid element, hose off any remaining DE from the filter and grid and reassemble the filter to store. Keep the filter inside for the winter. Grids that are over 4 years old or ones that are badly stained should be cleaned with a filter cleaner before storing for the Winter.
- Sand Filters: Before stopping the filter, run a "backwash" of 4 - 5 minutes, clearing it of any foreign objects. Remove the drain plug at the base of the filter and let the water escape, leave the plug off for the winter. As long as the drain plug is open the filter can stay out all winter, we suggest you cover it to protect it from the Winter elements.
- Pumps should be taken inside if possible; if the pump cannot be put inside make sure that it is drained completely and covered.
- Remove and store pool accessories such as ladders, steps, floats, solar reel, solar cover, etc. Also remove the return directional (eyeball jet) as well as skimmer accessories. Automatic chlorinators should be drained and cleaned out as well; old chlorine tabs should be removed.
- *We recommend removal of walkout steps before the water gets too cold, be careful when you removes these steps because there is potential for liner damage to occur*.
- Gas and electric heaters should be drained and the lines should be blown out. Make sure the gas or electric is turned off and cover the unit for the Winter. If you are unsure about winterizing your heater, contact us for assistance.
- The water level in the pool should be right below the return directional (eyeball jet) for Winter, this includes pools with Aquadors. Draining the water below the return directional allows for the water to expand without damaging the pool or the top tracks.
- It is best to use a closing kit that is designed for Winter. Winter kits contain winterizing powder; stain preventative, and non-chlorine shock. We have found that these chemicals work best for an easy opening in the Spring.
- Cover the pool to protect it from wind, leaves, dirt, debris, and UV rays. Periodically during the Fall, remove leaves and debris from the cover. If you don't cover the pool, a second dose of Winter chemicals should be added before the water freezes.
Guidelines for Closing Your In-ground Pool
- WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND POOL CLOSINGS BE DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL - Lake Champlain Pools: (518) 561- 5050
- The main purpose in winterizing your in-ground swimming pool is to protect it from damage due to freezing water. Another goal is to keep it as clean as possible for the next season. Closing your swimming pool properly can save you a lot of work when it comes time to open the swimming pool for the Summer.
- The first step in the winterization procedure is to test the water to make sure your water chemistry is balanced. You should make sure that your pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness are all balanced. By balancing your water chemistry you are protecting the surface of the pool from staining and etching.
- Adding a winterizing chemical kit to your water will help keep it blue and clear for the next season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the kit.
- Do not use a floater that contains a strong oxidizer (chlorine or bromine) as the floater will stick against the wall and stain and/or bleach your wall. Especially a vinyl liner. For the same reasons DO NOT throw chlorine or bromine tablets into the pool. They will sink to the bottom and damage your pool's surface.
- When water freezes, it expands. This can cause great damage to your pool, pool plumbing and its filter system. If you are closing up your pool for the Winter, you should always take precautions to protect from freeze damage.
- The next step is to lower the water below the mouth of your skimmer(s). This will get the water out of the throat of the skimmer.
- One option for vinyl liner pools is to put an Aquador over the mouth of the skimmer(s). This is a plastic dam which keeps water from the skimmer.
- Blow out the water from your plumbing lines. Use the discharge of the vac to blow water out of each line from the filter system. As the water is purged from each line, you will need to put a plug in the lines at the pool end.
- In the skimmer(s) you should use a Gizzmo to seal the line. This device is a hollow tube which will collapse if water should get into the skimmer and freeze. Be sure to put teflon tape on the threads of the Gizzmo to make a seal and to ease removal in the Spring. It is usually impractical to put a plug in the main drain if you have one, but its extreme depth will normally protect it from freezing.
- You should cover your pool to keep out the debris. The type of cover you use will depend upon several factors.
- The final step is draining all the water from your filter equipment.
- We recommend pool closings by a professional, to protect from costly repairs.
If you have any doubts, it is much better to contact a local pool specialist to do this for you. Call our representatives at Lake Champlain Pools: (518) 561- 5050.