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  • Writer's pictureA POOL AND SPA

How to keep your pool open during the winter!

Are you looking to keep your pool open in the winter? Read these tips

Step 1. Keep your pump running 12-24 hours a day

Wondering how to keep your pool from freezing in the winter? If you want to keep your pool open during the winter months, then you have to keep your pool pump running.

For how long?

As long as necessary. The point of running your pool pump in the winter is to keep your water moving, which prevents it from freezing should temperatures get too low.

So ideally, run your pump (and keep it running) whenever temperatures start getting close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water.

Of course, you’re probably not going to be standing by your pool all day with a thermometer. So how do you keep your pump running and prevent freeze damage while you’re away?

Step 2. Install an automatic timer with freeze protection

An automatic timer is a solution for every pool owner who doesn’t want to constantly turn their pump on and off all winter. So basically, everyone reading this post.

Automatic timers with freeze protection turn your pump on and off for you, both on a schedule, and whenever temperatures reach a pre-set limit. They can also be installed to run your pool heat pump automatically too.

IF you’re keeping your pool opening during the winter, then getting an automatic timer is a smart investment. It’ll save you time, keep your equipment safe, and prevent freezing. What more could you ask for?

Step 3. Keep your water warm and above freezing temperatures

This is targeted more towards those living in colder climates. But it applies to anyone who wishes to extend their swimming season into the winter.

In some parts of the US, winters can reach temperatures below zero. In these areas, while solely running your pump will help prevent freezing, it won’t stop all of it.  In these cases, we advise running your pool heater to keep your water in at least the 40s.

While it may not be warm enough to swim in, you’ll still be able to keep the pool open without having to worry about accidental damage.

But if you live somewhere with milder winters, then keeping your pool warm during the winter is a great way to extend your swim season.  Even if your winters get as cold as 60 degrees, a pool heat pump can keep your water warm and swimmable.

Step 4. Turn off and winterize water features

Running your pump prevents freezing, and keeps water flowing throughout your pool system.

But your water features, like the fountain and waterfall, are a different story. They usually run on their own pumps and set of pipes.

So unless you plan to also run your water features whenever you run your pump, it’s usually best to close the valves, turn them off, and keep them winterized.

Also, consider that features made out of mortar or stone can suffer from micro freezing whenever water gets into the smaller cracks and crevices.

Step 5. Keep your valves open for proper flow

If you’re keeping your pool open during winter, then keep your valves open too.  This is an absolute must for maintaining good water flow and avoiding any freeze damage.

The only time you should close your valves is if you happen to lose power (more on this later).

Step 6. Maintain the pool to keep it clean

When it comes to pool maintenance, keeping your pool open in the winter is just like any other time of year. The water needs to stay clean and balanced.

Remember to:

Skim your water at least 2-3 times a week. Brush the walls at least 2 times a week. Vacuum at least once per week

Even if your pool is left uncovered all winter long, your water should still look great if you keep up with maintenance.

(Don’t want to do all that work? Learn how to automate pool maintenance)

Step 6A. Turn off the salt generator, and switch to regular chlorine

If your pool uses a salt generator, then you’ll have to switch to regular chlorine for the winter months. Unfortunately, saltwater chlorine generators don’t work properly in winter temperatures.

While this may not be a big deal, it’s still important to remember and prepare for. To keep your pool sanitized during the winter, buy a gallon of liquid chlorine or granular chlorine powder.

If you choose to run your salt generator anyway, you risk causing serious damage to it.

Step 7. Keep the water balanced to avoid staining

You’ll also need to keep your water balanced and adjust pool chemicals. But on the bright side, chemicals are typically much cheaper in the winter (low demand), and your pool uses far less of them since temperatures are colder.

To balance your water, adjust your pool chemicals in the following order:

Total AlkalinityIdeal range: 80 – 120 ppmpH Ideal range: 7.4 – 7.6Calcium HardnessIdeal range: 200 – 400 ppmChlorineIdeal range: 3 ppm (chlorine)

Step 8. Cover your pool to retain heat

Whenever you’re not using your pool in the winter, cover it. It’ll keep it clean, and prevent heat from escaping, both of which save you time and money (lowers energy costs).

If you still plan to swim in your pool during the winter, use a solar cover. They’re easy to remove, lightweight, and quick to set up.

But if you’ll only be keeping your pool uncovered on occasion, consider a more permanent winter cover or safety cover.

If you lose power…

If a winter storm causes you to lose power, here’s what to do to keep your pool safe:

Remove drain plugs on the pump, heater, and filter. Turn off the breaker (power down the pump and heater) Close the line valves. Open the filter air pressure release.


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