If you’re planning to switch off pool equipment over winter to save money on electricity and chemical costs, think again. Not only will you run the risk of damaging expensive filtration and sanitation systems but can also damage your pool’s interior. The result? A potentially costly and time-consuming process to return pool water into a state that’s ready for you to swim in when the weather heats up.
Preparing your pool for winter saves money as it will help maintain surface finishes and water quality, ensuring an easy transition into summer.
Swimart's 10-point winter pool care checklist
- Clean the pool: Brushing the walls and floor, and then vacuuming the whole pool on a regular basis will prevent algae from blooming. Cleaning the skimmer baskets and the pump’s lint basket of leaves and debris will also ensure the filtration system works efficiently.
- Balance pool water: The pool’s pH level needs to be between 7.2 and 7.6, which you can easily check by taking a water sample from elbow depth and adding the appropriate treatment to bring the pool to the correct level. If you're unsure about this process, take your sample to your local Swimart store and we'll measure it for you.
- Clean the filter: Ensure that the pool’s filter is sparklingly clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over winter and make the filter even harder to clean in the warmer months.
- Check chlorine levels: To keep your pool clean and clear, it’s important to maintain your pool’s free available chlorine at a constant level of 2-3 PPM (parts per million) throughout winter. If you’re using a salt chlorinator and a pool blanket, remember to reduce the output of the chlorinator to 1-2 PPM, as pool blankets trap chemicals and chlorine, and can cause high chlorine levels to occur - potentially damaging pool equipment if not monitored carefully.
- Use a shock treatment: Regularly 'shocking' your pool helps remove organic and inorganic wastes (referred to as chloramines), which range from sweat and suntan lotion to bird droppings and dead bugs. It also ensures that the sanitiser can concentrate on killing bacteria and algae instead of these contaminants. Once you’ve added the shock treatment appropriate for your pool, run both the pump and filter for several hours to ensure it has been well distributed throughout the pool. If you're still unsure what shocking means, read this.
- Remove algae as soon as you see it: When there is an algal bloom, most of the sanitiser in your pool is used trying to control and kill the algae, leaving no residual to keep pool water clean and healthy. We highly recommend Aqua-Health Concide as it provides year-round protection against algae without the need for constant use. (Here is some more info about how to keep algae out of your pool.)
- Reduce filter-running times: The pool’s filter should operate 3-4 hours each day during winter. If you’re using a timer, adjust it to suit. You can save money by switching the filter on during off-peak periods.
- Set your solar heater to Winter Mode: If you don't have an automatic controller on your solar pool heating system, manually switch it to Winter Mode or switch it off completely if you’re heading out of town.
- Use your pool cover: Using your pool cover when you're not using the pool will help keep leaves and other organic material out of the pool, which means less cleaning for you and less food for algae and bugs to feed on. Pool covers and blankets also help minimise chemical evaporation – saving you time and money.
- Keep up your maintenance schedule: Once you’ve completed your preparation for winter, it’s important that you keep to a weekly maintenance schedule even when you're not using the pool. This involves doing a visual inspection to make sure all your equipment is working properly, checking the water level and topping up if necessary, emptying the skimmer basket, and checking your chlorine and pH levels.
If you have a busy work schedule, or are a new pool owner who is still learning about its equipment, Swimart’s peace of mind pool services will help winterise your pool and ensure it remains in peak condition throughout the cooler months.
Find out more by contacting your local Swimart store or calling us on 1300 991 104 to book this valuable service.