Every year, pool owners around Ottawa make basic mistakes when closing their pools. These mistakes can cause a host of problems; from simply making the pool opening harder than it needs to be, to reducing the lifespan of the pool equipment. Today, we will cover a few of the most common pool closing mistakes to you can avoid them this year!
1) Closing Too Early
The first, and most common, pool closing mistake is to close the pool too early. Many pools simply don’t get a lot of use after kids go back to school. When they’re not being used, it is only natural to want to close it down and save on the running costs. This is a mistake though as algae will grow in water that is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Waiting an extra couple weeks and closing the pool after the water is consistently below 65 degrees will greatly increase your chances of opening up a clear pool in the spring. This will save you a ton of time, trouble and money!
2) Not Running The Pool Before Closing It
Another way that people try to save money before closing their pool is simply not running it when it isn’t being used towards the end of the season. While this will definitely save you some money in Hydro, it can really cost you in the long term.
This is because water that isn’t circulating turns green much faster than water that is circulating. If water isn’t circulating it’s also not getting properly chlorinated, making the problem even worse.
This isn’t to say that you need to keep your pool running all the time either though. You can, in fact, reduce the amount of time that your pool is running in the weeks before you close it. This is because bacteria and algae have a harder time growing in colder water. For this reason, the chlorine in the pool water will last longer and the pool will not need to filter as much as it does in the summer. Depending on water temperature, you can typically get away with only running the pool for 4-6 hours per day once the weather starts to cool down.
Note: When running your pool pump less you will want to keep an extra-close eye on the chlorine levels in the water. If the chlorine ever drops below 1ppm, increase the amount of time that your pump is running and add more chlorine until the chlorine level rises back up to an acceptable level.
3) Putting Off Water Quality Issues Until The Spring
While this probably goes without saying, you can’t open your pool clear unless you close it clear. Not taking care of water problems like algae, scale buildup and staining before you close your pool will only make that problem worse in the spring. Over the 6 months that your pool is closed, these problems can even begin to cause permanent damage to the finish of the pool.
Along with making sure the pool is algae free, you should also make sure that there is no dirt, leaves or other debris in the pool before closing it. Any organic matter left in the pool can quickly begin eating away at the chlorine in the water. For this reason, make sure that you give the pool one final brush and vacuum before closing it up for the season.
4) Not Balancing Your Water Before You Close Your Pool
As we’ve previously discussed, one of the most important things you can do for your pool is to test the water. Pool closing time is no different. In fact, making sure that your water is properly balanced is even more important at closing time than at any other time of the year.
Ottawa winters are long. If your water is not properly balanced when you close your pool, you won’t be able to fix it for at least 6 months. Water that is out of balance for that period of time can cause a ton of problems for your pool including:
- Wrinkles forming in the liner.
- Scale building up on the walls and in the plumbing.
- Metal components rusting and leaving stains on the surface of the pool.
5) Adding Your Closing Chemicals Incorrectly
For pool closing chemicals to properly work, they need time distribution themselves evenly through the water. Many pool owners add their closing kits a couple of hours before closing their pool, others still wait until after they lower the water level to add their chemicals to the water. This is a mistake as it doesn’t give the chemicals enough time to evenly spread through the water; meaning that some of the water will have too much chemical, and others too little. Algae can then easily form in the areas with less chemicals present; resulting in a green pool when you go to open it.
To evenly treat the water and lessen the chances of algae growth over the winter, we recommend adding your closing chemicals to the pool between 24-48 hours before you close it.
6) Not Cleaning Your Pool Filter
Cleaning your sand filter once every season keeps the filter working effectively and can help extend its life.
Backwashing your pool filter only does so much. While backwashing is good for removing larger debris from the filter, oils, lotions and smaller debris will remain trapped in the sand.
Before doing your final backwash of the season first add a filter cleaning chemical like One Step Filter Cleaner. Chemicals like this help break down oils, lotions and other debris caught in sand filters. You can then easily backwash out this debris before the pool is closed.
7) Not Installing A Leaf Net
Nothing is worse than opening a clear pool in the spring, only to drop a bunch of rotting leaves into it when removing your winter cover. Fortunately, there is a simple tool to help prevent this! Leaf nets are a simple mesh net that sit on top of your winter cover. As their name suggests, they’re designed to trap and remove the leaves that get caught on your winter cover.
To prevent dirtying your pool when removing your winter cover, simply remove the leaf net and all of the trapped leaves. The best time to remove the leaf net is late fall, when most of the surrounding leaves have finished falling. This way, your winter cover will not have leaves rotting on top of it over the winter.
8) Plugging The Skimmer In Above Ground Pools
While the previous pool closing mistakes will simply cause you some headache or reduce the lifespan of your pool’s equipment, plugging the skimmer of an above ground pool can cause serious damage to its structure; even potentially causing the pool to collapse altogether.
In order to prevent water in the plumbing freezing and breaking the lines over the winter; in-ground pool plumbing is emptied of all water before the pool is closed. The skimmers are then fitted with a plug to prevent any water that might get into the skimmer from making it into the plumbing.
Above-ground pool skimmers aren’t supported from the bottom like in-ground skimmers are, however. For this reason, you do not want them to fill with water and freeze as the added weight will pull on the sides of the pool. Over time this can deform the side of the pool or even rip the skimmer off of the pool wall. Adding a fitting to easily disconnect the pipes from the bottom of the skimmer will make this process much simpler from year to year.
Closing your pool properly is not only key to the long-term health of your pool, it also helps keep the water nice and clear, saving you a ton of work and expense in the spring. If you still have any questions about how to close your pool, you can contact us anytime. If you think it might be a good idea to get some professional help, please fill out one of our pool closing request forms.