After the glorious weather we enjoyed in the Antelope Valley over this past Christmas (70 degrees plus!), it is hard to imagine thinking that a California swimming pool would need to be winterized. However, that is not to say that we don’t have some chilly nights and surprise snow, ice, and inclement weather. Both my commercial swimming pool clients and my residential customers always ask me about how to handle their maintenance in the winter time.
Typically, the commercial accounts in apartment buildings and hotels close their pools for the winter time from use, but homeowners may still want to take a dip with the heaters on blast or sit in the spa. Here are some tips for “winterizing” your swimming pool the California way (which is much less work than if you were living back East!).
There are some specific reasons why swimming pools undergo a winterization process:
- Prevents damage from freezing temperatures. You don’t want to spend money on burst pipes or other damage.
- Saves money on supplies, utility expenses, and maintenance expense.
- Leaves swimming pool in good condition when spring arrives.
The basic steps for winterization include:
- Thoroughly clean the swimming pool and spa, including removing dirt and all debris from skimmer baskets.
- Put away all pool equipment.
- Balance the water by checking pH and adding appropriate chemicals. At this point, the pool can go without regular chemicals each week until the weather warms up again.
- Check all equipment. This is a good time to look over all your equipment or make sure your pool servicer scans to make sure everything is in good working order.
- Clean the filter. This will help the filter do its job through the winter season and have the water clean and ready to go in the spring time.
- Place a cover across the service of the pool and spa. This will help keep much of the debris out of the pool.
- Consider adding a freeze protector to your pool system. This will sense when temperature drops and get the equipment to start up so water can circulate. As long as the water is moving through the system, it does not have time to freeze in the pipes.
Word of Warning about Draining Your Pool in Winter-time
In California, it is not advisable to drain your swimming pool each winter. Here’s why. What happens is that water can build up in the ground during rainy seasons around the swimming pool. This may not seem like a big deal, but if the swimming pool is empty, the science of physics kicks in.
The water beneath the shell of the swimming pull increases buoyancy that then leads to an upward hydrostatic force. The result is that the entire pool shell is actually lifted out of the ground. And, this is not something you want to have happen! Instead, follow the process above to keep your swimming pool in shape during the winter and protect from the dangers – and expense – of freezing.
Call in Professionals
With all my swimming pools, I continue to service and check on them throughout the winter to ensure that all are in good working order. If you are unsure of how to winterize your pool, it is best to call on a professional who can prepare your swimming pool and spa for the cold season.