Is it necessary to winterize a swimming pool in North Texas? Our notoriously warm weather gives way to winter storms fairly rarely. In the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, our daily temperature averages around 57° in January and February. However, our average lows descend to around 37°, and anything close to the freezing point of 32° is cause for taking precautions to protect your pool and its equipment. What are your options?
The majority of pool owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex choose to keep their pools open for use during the colder months. Your pool is an aesthetic feature to your backyard and makes being outdoors more enjoyable whether you are in the pool or not, particularly if you like to entertain in your backyard. If you have a pool heater, you may use your pool regularly even during the offseason. You will want to have a freeze guard switch in case of the rare winter storm so will not have to be concerned about your swimming pool pipes bursting.
If you decide to use your pool throughout the winter, it is extremely important monitor your pool water chemistry regularly. Even if your use of the pool is nominal, it is very important to ensure that the chemicals and PH are correct to prevent the growth of bacteria. Algae can grow even in temperatures close to freezing. However, it will grow at a much slower rate in cold weather. When temperatures begin fall in the autumn, shocking your pool with chlorine and then using a proper algaecide is a good way to prepare your pool for use during the winter.
It’s also very important that you keep a clean water line. The line where your water level sits can be an area that is particularly conducive to bacterial growth. Scrub the pool wall regularly with a good pool brush and monitor your pool’s chemical balance on a regular basis.
As the water line is also an area where ice will likely form in the event of freezing temperatures, brushing around your water line will also move the water around help to prevent ice buildup if a frost occurs.
If you leave your swimming pool uncovered, you will need to brush and vacuum your pool regularly. If lots of leaves regularly make their way into your pool, you’ll need to do these tasks frequently.
Regularly running your pumps will keep them functioning optimally. It will also keep any fluids and small-motor lubricants from sitting too long inside the pump and helps ensure they will be properly distributed when in use.
If there is excessive dirt, leaves, or other outdoor debris in your pool, your pump will need to run longer, so it is very important to clean your filters weekly or bi-weekly even during the winter. The dirtier your filter is, the harder your pool pump has to work. Your pump will be less efficient and your pool will ultimately cost you more in energy bills because the pump will need to run longer to circulate the water in your pool fully. In general, a pump will need to run for 6 to 10 hours at a time for proper water circulation, but the amount of time needed is largely influenced by the size of your pool and its level of cleanliness.
If you decide not to use your pool for the winter and plan to cover it, a chemical treatment is critical. A combination of proper water balance, an oxidizing agent, a stain preventative, and a concentrated non-metallic algaecide ensures that your pool will remain clean over the winter months and will be ready for use when warmer weather arrives.
Many manufacturers offer convenient winterizing kits that contain the chemicals mentioned below. Each manufacturer will provide somewhat different directions for the winterizing kits, so it is important to read them thoroughly and follow them so make sure you follow the specific directions provided. In essence, you will be putting very putting high levels of chlorine, alkaline, and algaecide in your pool to prepare it for the winter months ahead. Some of these chemicals will require that the pool filter be turned on while the chemicals are added.
Once the chemicals have been added, you can go ahead and cover the pool. Make sure that the cover is at least 5’ longer and 5’ wider than the longest and widest points of the pool. Before stretching the cover across the pool, you should install a floatation device in the center of the pool. This device can be a large inflatable winter pillow designed for this very purpose. The float serves two functions:
Due to the plentiful oak, elm, and cypress trees in North Texas, mesh covers have become increasingly popular for pool owners in our area. Mesh covers allow water to pass through, while still retaining debris and leaves. Because the mesh cover permits rainwater to pass through it, it is still necessary to run the pump regularly and also add chemicals as needed.
Consider a floating solar cover if you want to have the option of pulling your cover off relatively quickly. If you feel confident that you will not be swimming until the arrival of spring, we recommend covering the pool for the season with a good winter pool cover. A sturdy cover can prevent leaves from collecting in your pool. It also is a deterrent to small animals finding their way into your pool.
Check your pool cover regularly, whether your pool is inground or above ground. It’s important to ensure the cover has completely sealed the pool from collecting dirt and debris. Depending on the type of pool and style of cover you’ve chosen, there are several different tools and tricks to keep it in place. Use a hose to wash away any buildup you see. Also, be sure the ropes or ties you are using to secure the cover are still in place.
Be sure to winterize your pool pump by having a freeze guard or pool freeze switch installed. This guard or switch is a basic thermostat that will override your pool pump timer and turn it on if the air temperature drops close to freezing. It’s smart to set it a few degrees above 32°F because accuracy can vary. By setting your equipment to run at night rather than daytime during the winter, you can save money on electricity and help prevent freezing during the cold nights.
If a hard freeze is on its way to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, double-check for brittle pumps or excess water. If we are expecting heavy rain or the rare snow storm, be sure to check that your pool cover is tightly fastened over the pool and store any supplies or unnecessary equipment out of the danger of freezing.
It doesn’t matter where you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. If you need help or have detailed questions about winterizing your pool, we at 1Stop Pool are here to help. Give us a call or use the contact form to reach us today!