How to Close Down Your In-Ground Pool for the Winter

October is the perfect time to close down your in-ground pool for the season in colder climates, but before digging in, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment you will need to finish the job. Tools and equipment you will need are:

1. A air compressor to blow out pipes; at least two-horse power or more

2. Skimmer guard Gizzmo’s)

3. Rubber plugs to plug up return lines in pool

4. Chemicals, winter kit

5. Winter ball, slow release chemicals

6. Water tubes- corner bags

7. Pool cover

8. Pump on pool cover, Keeps all of the snow and rain that melts on pool cover off.

9. Flat head screw driver

10. Channel locks

11. Phillips screwdriver

12. Large channel locks for removal of unions and taking off multi port in filter system

Now that you have gathered your supplies, here are the steps in closing down your in-ground pool for the winter:

1. Start with your diving boards and ladders. With appropriate size ratchet head, remove the bolts from base of diving board and ladder. Some ladders are permanent, for those wipe down the metal with Vaseline to help protect against rust. Store ladders and diving boards in a garage or another dry element free location.

2. Net debris out of pool.

3. Remove any floats or toys and brush down the floors and sides of your pool then vacuum.

4. The next several steps deal with winterizing your filter system. First, remove jet eyeballs and fittings. You can twist these out with your hand but if tight use channel locks. Be careful if you have to use channel locks, jet eyeball fittings are made of plastic and can crack easily if too much pressure is placed on them.

5. Skimmer: remove lid, take out skimmer basket, and clean out. Stick your hand in to where basket sits and pull out any other debris that was not caught by the skimmer basket.

6. Cartridge Filter: Discard old cartridge. Wipe out interior casing of cartridge, dry. To prevent damage or cracking from winter elements store in garage or other location out of the weather elements.

7. Sand Filter: Discard old filter. Clean out sand filter tank, dry and store in garage or other location out of the winter elements.

8. DE Filter (Diatomaceous Earth Filter) Discard any remaining diatomite, empty the tank of any existing water, clean out and dry, and store in a garage or other location out of the winter elements.

9. Back wash out filters: Turn off filter system, go over to multi port, push down on handle, and turn handle 180 degrees, to where it says backwash position. If filter system come equipped with an extra value that helps prevent leaking, open that. Turn on Filter system and let it run about 2 and half minutes. Once you see the water has turned clear you can stop backwashing at that time. Turn off and turn off, return multi port back to filter position and close extra value to closed position.

10. Check chlorine basket: Remove all chlorine tablets left and discard. Wear rubber gloves because you are working with active chlorinate. Return the cap back on chlorine basket when done.

11. Empty Pump basket: Remove debris out of pump basket

Make sure value in front of pump is in off position or you will be flooded with water. Unscrew the pump lid and remove. A little water will come out, reach in and pull out leaves and any other debris, return the lid and make sure it is tight. Turn pump back into on position

12. Blowing out the pipes: Unscrew drain plug at bottom of pump; water will shoot out. Turn on compressor and immediately thread into bottom of pump, Make sure values are in open position; the compressor will start air flowing through all pipes.

a.) You will see air coming out the skimmers. This is where you use your Gizzmo. Stick your hand in skimmer, and feel which port the air is coming out, find the hole and screw the Gizzmo in port until the blow of air stops. After you have successfully closed off that port, place an empty soda bottle inside skimmer well with the cap on it, return lid of skimmer. The soda bottle absorbs the expansion of the ice to save you from a cracked skimmer.

b) Blowing out returns: Take the plug for returns and screw them back in tight until the air bubbles stop coming out. Now replace the wing nut. Plug all returns until no more air comes out

c) The Main drain is usually the last drain you see the air escaping. Return plug.

13. Pool Heater: It is wise to have a professional winterize your pool heater. Call a gas heater professional to do this job. Failure to do it properly can be very costly in the springtime. If you are brave enough or have had experience in shutting down a pool heater for the winter the basic steps are open up drain values on heater. You will hear air coming out. That is normal; sometimes even water will shoot out. Loosen wing nuts and turn off all values. The air is then diverted to heater; let it go until you do not see any more water. After water stops blowing out, close values up. However, this is the important part; you must quickly go to the multi port and open up the value. This lets all the excess water and air release out of the backwash hose. You want to do this fast because you do not want air pressure to build up in your system and crack any components. When you are done blowing pipes out, turn off air compressor and unattached hose from bottom of pump

14. Disconnects pool equipment: Remove both the pump and filter from system and store in a garage or another location out of the winter elements.

15. Disable timer and remove both timer pins, lay pins inside timer box so they do not get lost, go to circuit breaker of pool and turn to off position.

16. Chemicals and pool cover:

a) Basic shock treatment is one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. At this time, you will want to give your pool water a shock treatment according to the amount of water your pool holds. Do not throw shock treatment directly in pool. Get a large bucket and fill it with pool water. Pour the shock treatment into bucket and stir it up until completely dissolved. You do not want shock to settle at bottom of your pool because it can stain the pool floor. Take the bucket of shock treated water and slowly walk around the pool as you are pouring shock treatment into pool.

b) Winter algaecide will kill any remaining algaecide left in pool water. Walk around pool as you put it in, no need to premix with pool water.

c) Rust and scale remover: removes surface stains and discoloration of the water over wintertime, no need for premix, just walk around pool and put it in the pool water.

d) Winter chemical ball: slow release chemical ball aids in keeping pool clean and chemical levels right throughout the winter. Just toss it in pool; it will float up to surface.

17. Pool cover: It is best to have more then one set of hands for this job. When placing the pool cover over your pool, make sure there are at least 2 or 3 ft hanging over ends of all sides of pool. Then place water bags on pool cover. Slide them in the provided loops on cover the water bags. Do this while the water bags are empty. Once in position, fill the water bags with the hose but do not over fill. When they freeze, the ice will expand them and cause them to break. The bags should be on outside of water holding pool cover securely around edge of pool.

By properly closing down your in-ground pool for the winter will save you money and heart ache in the springtime.

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