Yes, A Pool’s Water Level Must Be Lowered For Winter

The arrival of winter is the start of winterizing for outdoor pools. Should the water level in a swimming pool be lowered? The answer is yes. 

Why Lower the Water Level in a Pool

During winter, if the outside temperatures are cold, the water can turn into ice. And, it’s a scientific fact that ice takes up more space than water.

Result: by applying pressure through its larger volume, ice will damage all the walls of the pool as well as its coating, and the piping, the filter circuit, etc.

To avoid any damage due to ice, it is advisable to empty the pipes of the swimming pool filtration system before winterizing the pool and to lower the water level in the pool to just under the skimmers. Therefore, the water will be drained from the filter system and pump. There is now no risk of freezing the pipes.

By How Much Should the Water Level Be Lowered

It is advisable to lower the water level just before or after a shock treatment with chlorine, and after having thoroughly cleaned the walls and the entire pool.

Lower the water level to about 15 centimeters or 6 inches below the outlet jets and the skimmers. Remember that winter rains can raise the water level. So don’t hesitate to lower it further. It is advisable to keep the water at the correct level throughout the winter.

After lowering the water level, you must drain all the pipes of the filtration system so that no water remains in these pipes.

Note: these recommendations are not applicable for swimming pools that have a rigid submerged cover. However, the water level should also be monitored so that the shutter is not driven higher than normal.

Winterizing correctly will allow your pool to be properly maintained during the winter. Read my post on how to correctly winterize an above ground pool for winter.

How To Close an Above Ground Pool for Winter

Every fall is the time to close the pool. It is best to wait until the water temperature is below 12 degrees Celsius or 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool water will retain its properties and algae will not be able to grow. In addition, it will be easier to reopen your pool in the spring.

Several steps are necessary to close an above-ground pool. Remember: the water will not freeze completely inside the pool. Without proper precautions, you could damage the pool and related equipment.

Here are the steps to close an above ground pool.

  • Stop the pump.
  • Move the 3-position valve valve so as to close the skimmer and leave only the bottom drain open.
  • Put the filter in the drain or waste position.
  • If necessary, unroll the filter drain hose into the garden.
  • Start the pump.
  • Lower the water level in the pool to 18 inches below the skimmer line.
  • Stop the pump
  • Move the 3-position valve so as to close the pump inlet and leave the skimmer and the bottom drain open.
  • Remove the jet from its location and store it.
  • Gently remove all the external pipes (between the pump and the 3-position valve, between the pump and the filter and between the filter and the jet.
  • Store the pipes.
  • Remove and store the pump caps and rotate it in all directions to remove any remaining water.
  • Clean the pump basket.
  • Store the pump.
  • Remove and store the basket and the skimmer valve.
  • Remove and store the filter cap.
  • Remove and store the pressure gauge from the filter.
  • Remove the glass eye of the filter with the sealing rubber.
  • Put the filter handle in the ” winterization ” position or between two positions.
  • Store the filter drain hose and blow air through it so that no water remains.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the skimmer.
  • Add a gallon of antifreeze to the skimmer.
  • Add and securely fix a gray expansion rod of approximately 24inches in the skimmer pipe.
  • Add a set of 2-parts above-ground skimmer foam to the skimmer
  • Don’t forget to put a wooden stick to hold the 2 foam blocks
  • Place the skimmer cover in a plastic bag and replace it.
  • Add a set of sealing chemicals to the pool water.
  • Winterize the water heater if necessary.
  • For an electric water heater or heat pump
  • – If necessary remove the drainage plug.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Tilt the water heater a little forward.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a gas water heater
  • – If necessary remove the drain plug under the water inlet and outlet or on the sides.
  • – Remove and store the pressure switch or pressure valve.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Shut off the gas supply on the main cylinder or on the outlet near the main inlet.
  • – Shut off the gas supply near the water heater.
  • – Set the intensity indicator to the ” off ” position.
  • – Put the pilot indicator in the ” off ” position.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a solar water heater
  • – Remove as many stoppers as possible from the line leading to the panel.
  • – Blow air through to be sure that no water remains.
  • – Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the automatic actuator.
  • – Reinstall the caps.
  • Other Equipment
  • Store the steps or ladder.
  • Store the lights.
  • Store all small parts inside the pump basket so as not to lose them.
  • Store the chlorinator and drain the water inside.
  • Dispose of the contents inside of the chlorinator.
  • Install the winter cover or net on the pool if available.
  • Put boat grease on the bolts which might rust during the winter.
  • Secure the pool area to avoid any risk of injury or drowning.
  • Safely store the pool chemicals in a dry place.

TIPS:

  • Clean your pool before closing.
  • Keep your pool free of algae and make sure the water quality is good before closing.
  • Put a leaf net or liner over the pool to reduce the number of leaves in the pool. In addition, the pool will be safer.
  • Switch off the electricity supply to swimming pool equipment ( pump, water heater, salt system).
  • Store the pump and the salt system indoors or under cover if possible.
  • Clean your pool equipment before storing them (ladder, step, light).
  • Secure the entrance to the pool so that no one has access to it.
  • Never break the ice in or on the pool.
  • Do not walk on the pool during winter.
  • In spring, as soon as the ice in the pool has melted, open the pool.

Common Mistakes

It is important to look after your pool. Homeowners often forget a few steps which, if not done, will damage equipment.

The most common errors are:

  • Forgetting to close the drain valve. Result: the pool empties;
  • Forgetting to add antifreeze, which leads in particular to broken pipes;
  • Storing the pump outdoors, causing premature wear.

If done correctly, the closing of the pool has an advantage. In the spring, it will be easier for you to reopen the pool and benefit from it during the first hot days. You will also save money due to less faulty or broken equipment.

How To Clean A Swimming Pool Liner

Over time, a pool liner gets old, discolored, get dirty … To keep it in good condition for a few more years, you can easily clean it. 

Why Maintain the Liner of Pool

The pool liner is one of the most important parts of a swimming pool. If it is dirty, the color of the water may change. And over time, the liner can quickly get dirty due to the natural elements that can fall into the water (leaves, dirty rainwater, pollen, etc.), and through heavy use of the pool.

A swimming pool liner has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. It is important to ensure that it remains clean during all these years:

  • By making sure to maintain a good water balance (pH level, disinfectant level)
  • Be careful not to dirty it: avoid swimming after having spread tanning oil on the body for example or, even, avoid throwing things in the swimming pool.
  • By acting quickly when traces appear on the liner.

Tips for Cleaning the Pool Liner

There are liner cleaners, products specially developed to remove stains and traces of dirt on a liner. Just apply the product on a sponge, or with a cleaning glove, and rub. The idea is to proceed in a circular fashion: make circles by rubbing. This will absorb dirt particles without damaging the liner.

Other tips on how to clean the liner:

  • You can clean your pool with a  magic eraser, a white sponge, and rub the liner with a little water. It removes the most stubborn traces, without even using a cleaning product.
  • There is also what is called the silver stone. This is a clay-based, biodegradable solution. You just need to impregnate the silver stone with a sponge and rub on the traces.
  • You can finally use white vinegar. With a sponge and a little elbow grease, you can easily remove all traces on the liner.
  • To remove stains related to the presence of algae in the water, you can use a chlorine tablet (with gloves!) Or carry out a shock treatment with chlorine. 

How To Remove Black Spots From Underneath A Pool Liner

Sometimes black spots appear on the walls of your pool. This may be due to a local proliferation of algae, the presence of metal particles in the water or high humidity under the liner.

There are different types of stains, some are white and come from limestone, others are at the waterline and are caused by the sun and bathers. 
The black or green spots are caused either by algae that grow in the pool or by the presence of copper salts, iron or manganese in water, or by too much humidity under the liner.

A local proliferation of algae

Black or green spots often signify an algae invasion in your pool. The problem must be treated as quickly as possible to avoid the appearance of opaque green water.

  • Start by brushing the colored and slippery areas of your pool.
  • Then, you have to adjust the pH level of your pool, if necessary, to optimize the effects of the disinfectants. Using the following products: pH less liquid, pH more liquid, pH less powder, pH more powder.
  • It is important to ensure the proper functioning of your filter, to do a backwash to maximize its efficiency. Then turn it on to filter continuously. Using the following product: Filter and electrode descaler.
  • It is necessary to make a shock treatment using disinfectants such as chlorine or active oxygen. Using the following products: Shock catch, Chlorite, Chlorine shock tablets, Granuchlore 60, Granuchlore 90.
  • In addition, you must put a large dose of algaecide in the water. Using the following products: Algicide 100, Algicide 200, Algicide Multi.
  • Dead algae will cloud the water, so you have to use a flocculant to improve filtration and eliminate residues. Using the following products: Liquid flocculant, Flocculant in socks.

The Presence of Metal Iron’s In The Water

Black spots can also be caused by bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide, which can migrate through membranes in liners.
In the presence of copper ions (which may come from the quality of the water or the treatment products used, such as certain algaecides or multifunctional chlorine) or iron and manganese, black spots (copper, iron, or manganese) appear. They frequently develop in the corners and hollow parts of swimming pools.
To fight against these stains, you must carry out a shock treatment with chlorine, combined with a sequestering product of metal irons.

Using the following products: Chlorine shock tablets, Granuchlore 60, Granuchlore 90, Chlorite, Metafloc.

Pink or Black Spots

Black, or sometimes pink, spots come from bacteria that have grown under your pool liner. They are due to too much humidity below it. To remove these black or pink spots, you must first lower the pH to 6, as well as the temperature. Using the following products: pH minus powder, pH minus liquid. Then, shock treatment with chlorine (about 10 mg / l). And end up filtering continuously for 48 hours. Using the following products: Shock catch, Chlorite, Chlorine shock tablets, Granuchlore 60, Granuchlore 90.

When black spots appear on the walls of your swimming pool, it is important for you to know the cause in order to carry out the appropriate treatment. In all the cases mentioned above, the problem must be quickly resolved to avoid the appearance of new spots.

How To Clean The Cartridge Filter Of Your Pool

The more a cartridge filter works, the more it clogs up. And the more it clogs, the less it is able to filter the dirt and impurities present in the water of your pool. This is why it is important to clean it regularly.

Why clean the cartridge filter?

The cartridge filter is an important piece of equipment that allows quality filtration due to its pleated filter media. The only downside is that this type of pool filter gets dirty and clogs quite quickly.
If you want to have an optimal filtration system and swim in perfectly clean pool water, it is therefore important to clean it regularly. In high season, when the pool is used every day, it is also advisable to clean the cartridge filter at least once or twice a week.

How to dismantle the cartridge filter to clean it?

The first step to cleaning a pool cartridge filter is of course to dismantle it. To do this, you must first switch off the pool pump. and close the outlet and inlet valves.
Then, once you have opened the drain plug, you will be able to access the filter cover. Once the filter cover is open, then remove the filter from its tank. Before cleaning the filter, do not forget to clean the bottom of the tank!

Note: When you have finished cleaning, replace the filter, close the drain plug, re-open the valves, and restart the pool pump.

Equipment Needed to clean the cartridge filter

To clean a cartridge filter properly, you just need a jet of water and a soft brush. For the cleaning to be done thoroughly and to be effective, do not hesitate to move all the folds of the filter, and always clean from the inside to the outside.

Note: For your convenience, there are commercially available, water jet heads and cleaning brushes that are specifically designed for cleaning cartridge filters.

Soak the cartridge filter to remove fatty deposits

To remove fatty deposits (sun oils, algae, etc.), it is also necessary to soak the cartridge filter for at least 3-4 hours (an entire night if possible) in a pool filter cleaner that can be purchased from your local pool store.
Alternatively, you can also soak the cartridge filter in a water-washing-up liquid mixture, or a water-bicarbonate mixture.
And when your cartridge filter is clogged up with mineral deposits (copper, iron, etc.), you can soak the filter for 15 minutes in a water-hydrochloric acid mixture (20 parts of water for one part of acid).

It is very important to rinse the cartridge well with water before putting it back in its tank!