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SOUTHERN POOL WINTERIZATION
Ask most southern pool owners about pool winterization and they look at you kind of funny. For most southerners, it's rare that the pool freezes over, because most southern pools are kept circulating, with only occasional dips below 32 degrees.
As the weather turns cool, the average southern pool is used very little, maybe not at all. Even so, the southern pool owner has to continue operating the pool pump, keep the water balanced and clean. There are times - below freezing temps, where the pump must be running to prevent freeze damage.
If you'd rather not worry about the pool this winter and save 4-5 months of pump electricity and chemical expense - you can do a partial pool winterization. A partial pool closing can be preferable to maintaining an unused pool all year around.
1. Balance your water chemistry
You know - pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels. Make it simple and allow Graves Pools & Spas to perform a FREE computerized water analysis to let you know exactly what chemicals are needed and the dosage for a proper closing. After balancing, shock the pool with either chlorine (Power Magic) or non-chlorine (Shock N Swim) ProTeam pool shock.
2. Vacuum, Brush and Skim your pool
In that order. Even if your pool cleaner keeps your pool very clean, a good brushing of the pool surfaces with a good pool brush is important before shutting down for the winter.
3. Lower the water level below the skimmer
If you have a separate main drain, close the skimmers and continue "wasting" or draining water to 1-2" below the skimmer opening for a solid cover, or 6-8" for a mesh cover.
4. Cover the Pool
Options for covering the pool include safety pool covers, solid pool covers and leaf nets. Safety pool covers can be either mesh or solid and are made to fit the exact shape of your pool (plus one foot all around). These covers anchor into the deck for safety, they look great, and can last over 12 years. Solid covers are laminated polypropylene tarps that float on the water and are held in place with water bags placed around the edge. A small cover pump, attached to a garden hose, is needed to pump off rain water.
Leaf nets are not really meant to be used as a winter cover, but would be better than having none at all. Leaf nets will block some of the sun, but not nearly as much as a solid cover or a safety cover.
Blocking the sun is a big part of what winter pool covers do, in addition to keeping debris and dust out of the pool. This will help to ensure that your unfiltered water will stay fresh and clean. Without a winter cover, most stagnant pools will grow algae when water temps are above 60 degrees.
5. Drain the Equipment
If your pool equipment is below the level of the pool water, draining the equipment is difficult, and different steps would be involved. But, assuming that your pump and filter is at or above water level, you can simply remove the drain plugs on all your pumping, filtering, heating and sanitizing equipment. Move all of your valves, including the backwash valve, to make sure no water is left standing inside or up against a closed valve.
What about the underground plumbing lines? For most southern pools, these need not be drained or blown out, as they are for snowbelt pools. For the water to freeze in underground pipes, a freeze of 1-2 weeks duration is usually necessary. An extra step for skimmers is to plug the lines with winter plugs.
And that's how you can winterize a southern pool. It's everything a northern pool would do, with the exception of blowing out the lines. The benefits to this type of partial winterization for sunbelt pool owners are:
- Reduce pool maintenance for 4-6 months.
- Reduce wear and tear on your pool equipment.
- Reduce electrical and chemical consumption.
- Increase pool safety, when a safety cover is used.
The Original MeyCo Pool Cover
Safety for children and pets was the motivating factor in Meyco's development of the mesh cover back in 1956. Decades of improvements and four U.S. patents later, Meyco continues to offer an outstanding version of the original mesh safety pool cover. Meyco pool covers exceed all ASTM standards for safety as well as many local safety requirements. When properly secured to the pool decking, the cover's crisscrossed webbing holds taut across the pool in "trampoline style". Meyco pool covers can not blow off in a windstorm, are difficult to remove without the safety installation rod, and if that weren't enough, the straps are capable of withstanding over 4,500 lbs. of tension. Check them out online at www.MeycoProducts.com
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