Fall Pool Maintenance

Fall Pool Maintenance Tips

In Ask the Pool Experts by Swimming Pool Expert

Pool owners may not be using their swimming pools as much during the fall season and with the change in the weather there are some things in regards to pool maintenance that you need to keep in mind.  Although most people don’t close their oasis in Southeast Texas, there are exceptions to the rule.  So, it is a good idea to keep reading and learn how to prepare a maintenance checklist to keep the pool in top-notch condition.  After all, we had a few surprises with the weather in the past few years, right?

Falling Leaves and Debris

When leaves accumulate in your pool, algae begins to grow and thrives.  In addition, leaves that fall to the bottom of the pool can damage and contaminate the surface of your pool.  Use a leaf net to skim off the top and clean your skimmer baskets regularly.

The Pool Filter

As we come into Fall you should also be sure to clean the filter.  Falling leaves and debris can clog the filter.  At the start of the new season, make sure the filter is clean and in good working order.

Chemical Levels

As air and water temperatures drop, you won’t need as many chemicals in your pool.  As temperatures drop, monitor pH and chemical levels, and adjust as needed.

Winterize the Pool

The first big freeze can come unexpectedly, and it is best to partially winterize the pool or, if winter is fast approaching, winterize it completely.

Start winterizing after the end of the season, when the temperature drops consistently to 65 degrees or below.

Avoid starting too early to prevent problems with algae, which thrive in warmer temperatures.  Allow a week to complete this process, as there is a need to follow some steps over the next few days.

Step 1: Remove Pool Accessories

Begin by removing the pool’s accessories, such as skimmer baskets, cleaners, ladders, steps, and solar blankets.  Remove dirt and algae with the hose, let the items dry, and store them in a safe place over the winter.

Step 2: Deep Clean Pool

Remove all leaves, mud, and other debris.  It will make it easier to balance the water chemistry and prevent mold and algae growth.  Clean the pool’s surface with a landing net and vacuum the bottom with a vacuum cleaner.  Then thoroughly brush the bottom and sides of the pool.

Step 3: Adjust the Water Chemistry

It is important to do a water test and ensure normal levels of alkalinity (between 80 and 150 parts per million (ppm)), pH (between 7.2 and 7.6), calcium hardness (between 175 and 225 ppm), and chlorine (between 1 ppm and 3 ppm).

Make the necessary adjustments by first balancing the alkalinity before addressing the pH. 

Assume a higher value for each of these measurements, as the values will naturally decrease over time.

Step 4: Lower the Water Level

If you don’t use a skimmer cover and live in an area where the water freezes in the winter, you’ll need to lower the water level of your pool before closing.

When using a mesh or solid cover, the water level should be approximately three feet below the skimmer.  Depending on how you remove the water from your pool, this process may take a day or two.

Step 5: Drain and Store the Equipment

It’s important to drain all the equipment so that the water doesn’t expand and cause damage when temperatures drop below freezing.

Use pool antifreeze if you want to be extra careful to avoid broken pipes.  A blower can also help to remove water from the pool pipes and seal them with expansion nozzles.

Drain all filters, pumps, and heaters (most have drain plugs).  Remove and clean all filters as well.

Step 6: Add Shock and Algaecide

Before covering the pool, add shock agent to kill bacteria, and algaecide, which kills algae.  Depending on the type of shock agent, you may need to do this a few days before the pool officially closes.  Follow the instructions on the package and distribute the chemicals evenly throughout the pool rather than just pouring them into one area.  If you use a chlorine shock (as opposed to a non-chlorine shock), don’t add it simultaneously with the algaecide.

Step 7: Cover the Pool

Safety and winter covers need anchoring to avoid spills and accidental falls from people or animals into the pool.  Ensure that it fits tightly, and check for holes and tears.

At Platinum Pools, we are here to help you with any questions regarding the care of your swimming pool. We also have an excellent service department ready to help your pool stay in top-notch shape. Call us today or visit our website for an appointment.