Winter Pool Maintenance: A DIY Guide
The quality maintenance of your swimming pool does not stop with the closing of the swimming pool. Maintaining a swimming pool is a year round responsibility! At Leslie’s, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of customers open their pools. And one thing we’ve learned over the years is that a few quick and easy maintenance steps during the winter can make opening your spring pool easier. To help you, we’ve put these tips together in this handy winterized pool maintenance guide.
Follow these simple tips to maintain your pool water when your pool is closed. Some highlights include:
Remove excess water from the pool cover with a submersible pump.
Monitor the water balance and correct for signs of stains, scaling, or color changes.
Circulate the pool water to help your sanitizer work efficiently, keeping the water cool and clear.
Use specialty chemicals as needed to maintain pool water during the off-season.
Visually inspect pool equipment, plumbing, and winter accessories like pool cover, water bags, and air cushions.
1. Refresh your pool of pool chemicals.
Once the pool is winterized, part of your pool maintenance checklist won’t even involve the pool at all. Although some pool chemicals do not have an exact expiration date, it is recommended that you discard any unused pool chemicals from the previous season. Why? These chemicals lose their potency and won’t do the job as well as expected. And of course, pouring too many chemicals in the water can be bad for your pool.
2. Remove standing water from your pool cover.
Too much water on a winter tarp or sturdy security tarp can make it heavy, causing damage or even complete tarp failure. And if there are leaves on the cover, the standing water will create a dark cloudy “tea” which can cause a big mess if it ends up falling into the pool. It is best to remove this extra water with a submersible swimming pool cover pump.
If there is snow or ice, let it sit until it melts. We do not recommend trying to remove it, as this can damage your pool cover.
3. Visually inspect pool equipment and winter accessories.
Check your water bags and air cushions regularly, and refill or replace as needed. Examine your winter blanket carefully, looking for signs of damage. If you notice a tear, tear, or worn area, secure the cover with a patch. Or, if the damage is severe, replace the cover. Even a small hole in the blanket can lead to a cloudy spring mess if not dealt with quickly.
While you’re at it, visually inspect your equipment and plumbing for any signs of damage, expansion from freezing, or other conditions that could compromise your spring pool opening.
DIY TIP: If you notice damage to your pool equipment or plumbing, don’t panic! There is still time to have it repaired before opening day. However, if you don’t notice it until the warmer temperatures arrive, we have some tips in another blog post that will temporarily help you. maintain a swimming pool with damaged equipment.
4. Circulate the pool water.
Whenever possible, circulate the water in your swimming pool with a submersible swimming pool pump. Moving the water around as much as possible leads to a more sanitary pool, and will ensure a smooth pool opening day.
5. Pull the corner of your pool cover and check the water condition.
As part of your regular maintenance routine for your winterized pool, visually inspect the water levels in the pool at least once a month to make sure there aren’t any leaks lurking somewhere. Undetected pool leaks and low water levels can cause many problems in the winter, including damage to the pool cover or even to the pool itself. If there is a leak, add water to maintain the proper levels until you are able to locate and repair the leak.
As you look under the lid, look at the visual state of the water. If you notice any color changes or signs of stains and scale, take a water sample for testing.
Check your pool chemistry at least once a month to make sure you have a balanced and healthy pool. Or let us do the work for you! Bring your water to your nearest one Leslie’s store and have your water tested free. Leslie’s AccuBlue® Water Test System provides the most accurate results for 10 different aspects of water chemistry in under a minute.
BONUS TIP: With your pool equipment disconnected, you will not be able to circulate the water enough to add most of the balancing chemicals. When testing your water in winter, the most important thing is to make sure that the sanitizer levels are sufficient to fight germs and algae.
6. Keep your pool water cool with winter maintenance chemicals.
If you must add pool maintenance chemicals to your winterized pool, it is important to circulate the water to disperse the chemicals. As mentioned above, you can do this with a submersible pump and garden hose placed at opposite ends of the pool. Using a pool brush to agitate the water is also helpful in circulating the water. If chemicals remain concentrated in one area of the pool, it can cause discoloration and damage pool surfaces.
If necessary, add chlorine to the pool to maintain the levels of free available chlorine in the range of 2.0 to 4.0 ppm. If you are using a floating chlorine dispenser, make sure there are still tablets in the dispenser. To help oxidize contaminants in the water and make your chlorine more efficient, add a dose of chlorine-free pool shock, such as Leslie’s Fresh ‘N Clear.
The use of an enzyme-based chemical such as Perfect natural chemistry pool will help break down any kind of non-living organic contaminants. This dramatically reduces the risk of an oily scum ring appearing at the waterline, meaning you won’t need to scrub your pool tile or finish in the spring.
In winter, your pool is practically dormant, which means that the water is not circulating. Uncirculated water means that microorganisms can grow more easily, as disinfectants like chlorine degrade and slowly disappear. If you know that the low season will see warmer temperatures, it is recommended to add algaecide in order to protect the water in your swimming pool. This will help your water reach the spring start without an algae bloom.
Bonus winter swimming pool maintenance advice
Winterizing your pool is important, but did you know that winterizing your garden is too? We’re specifically talking about patio furniture, large outdoor storage spaces, plants, and any other outdoor gear you might own. These items should be securely attached or moved to prevent movement during strong gusts of wind, which could damage your pool cover if they land on the pool. Keeping your furniture and accessories properly stored or covered will also help protect them during the off-season.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Click here to save and print your own copy of our Winter Pool Maintenance Checklist! It will come in handy during the off-season and speed up your pool opening routine this spring.