How to Maintain Your Pool

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How to close a swimming pool - Pool maintenance

In performing the pool closing or winterizing of your pool, it is very important to get all the water out of the plumbing lines.   Of all the tasks relative to pool maintenance, this is by far the most crucial.  Any error in letting water freeze in the lines will result in a costly repair the following season.  If a line breaks, then most likely youíll find this out by having to constantly add water to the pool during next pool season.  Hopefully, you can avoid that scenario.

If you have very frigid winters where the temperature gets below 20 degrees, then you may want to hire someone who will provide a warrantee indicating theyíll pay to replace any broken pipes due to freezing.

If you want to take the chance, then follow these instructions after you read this disclaimer.

In my experience, I have not had any problems with any of my pool closings, but that is not to say something could not go wrong.  I believe that as long as the plugs stay in place to prevent water from entering the plumbing, then you should be fine.

Step1. Drain the pool until itís below the skimmer opening.

You can let the pool pump run as you drain water off of the pool with your sump pump. Place the sump pump on the second pool step, plug in and let it run.

Avoid contact with pool water while the sump pump is running in the pool.

In the meantime, you can start removing the pool railing and diving board. Since these parts are not in the water, you donít have to worry about contact with the water.

Step 2. Clear the water from the skimmer line.

Once the water level about an inch or 2 below the skimmer, you can now clear the skimmer line. However, unplug and remove the sump pump before you proceed.

Turn the valves to the deep water suction and the low water suction to the off position. This should leave just the skimmer line open. Then, allow pool pump to pull the water through. Once it has pulled the water through, then turn off the pool pump. Then turn the valve to the skimmer line to the off position.

Step 3. Open the deep and low suction valves.

Keep the valve to the skimmer closed to prevent water from going back into that line. Open the deep and low suction valves and loosen lid to the pump trap. This will allow the water to go back into the pool via gravity from the filter housing.

Step 4. Drain the filter housing.

Remove the lid to the filter housing. Open the drain line on the side to let the water out of the housing. Also remove the filters. Clean filters with a hose and set aside to dry. Store filters outside of the filter housing.

Step 5. Remove plugs to the pump trap.

Remove the lid to the pool pump trap.  Remove the tiny pump trap plugs in order to drain the water out of the pool pump. Remove the pump trap basket and store the plugs in basket so you can find them easily next spring.

Step 6. Drain the pool until itís below the side inlet openings.

Place the sump pump back on the second or third pool step and plug in. Drain water until it is below the all of the inlets opens on the side. Once it has gotten below this level, then unplug and remove sump pump.

Step 7. Remove inlet fittings.

Now that the water line is below the inlets, go ahead and remove the inlet fittings. These need to be removed to allow the rest of the water to drain from the lines and so you can install the inlet plugs. Also remove the skimmer basket. Store the inlet fittings in the skimmer basket so you can find them easily next spring.

Step 8. Clear the lines.

Remove the connection between the filter (or chlorinator if you have a chlorinator) and the inlet valves.

Blow the water out of the lines using a shop vacuum. The shop vacuum must be cleaned out beforehand and the hose needs to be on the exhaust end, not the suction end. Be extremely careful that the shop vacuum does not fall into the pool.

Skimmer lines

Insert the shop vacuum hose into the skimmer on top of the opening and turn on shop vacuum. This should blow any remaining water in the skimmer line up through to the pump.

Inlet Lines

Insert the shop vacuum hose into one of the inlets. Turn on shop vacuum and go around to each of the inlets to see if you can feel air blowing through. There may be separate lines to each set. Repeat for each inlet until you see no more water coming out of any of them.

Allow ample time for air to circulate and dry up any remain water in the lines.

Ask you pool installer if they recommend adding the special pool type of anti-freeze. I personally, donít add anti-freeze. Iíll let this up to you to decide whether or not you want to add it.

Step 9. Plug the lines.

Skimmer box

Attach the long odd shape flexible plug (gizzmo) to the skimmer opening. Apply plumberís threading tape to the threads so that the seal prevents water from getting into the skimmer line. This flexible object also prevents the skimmer box from cracking. Even thought there is no water in the skimmer box now, there will be once it rains and fills the pool or pool cover. This water will most likely freeze in the box. The first thing to give is this flexible object, not the skimmer box.

Pool wall Inlets

Attach rubber plugs to the inlet openings and hand tighten the wing nut or if the plugs are the screw in type, then hand tighten. Make sure these plugs are in place securely. Try pulling on them to see if they loosen or pop out. If they would loosen or pop out during the winter, then the water would most likely get into the pipes and freeze causing a cracked pipe.

Inlet lines at the shutoff valves

Dry out the filter housing and attach filter housing loosely. Disconnect any tubes on the chlorinator and attach chlorinator lid loosely. Attach plug to the line between the chlorinator and the inlet lines.

Pool Pump

Dry out pool pump trap and attach winter plug in the pool trap at the opening where the suction line is attached to the pool pump. This prevents any water from backing up into the pump trap and freezing the pipe or the pump trap. Attach trap lid loosely.

Step 10. Remove ladder, Railing, Diving Board.

Remove railing and ladder by loosening the bolts at the base. Gently wiggle the railing out of the opening. Repeat for the ladder. Remove the diving board from the base. Remove the base. Be careful not to trip over the bolts sticking out of the pool deck. Put these items in the storage area.

Step 11. Cover the pool.

Locate the pool cover and unfold. Walk along the sides of the pool as the cover unfolds until you have it covered end to end. If this is a water bag cover, then lay out the water bags and fill with water. Or you could use sand bags if you do not have water bags. Do not use cement or cinder blocks. If one of these falls into the pool, itíll probably tear the liner.

Step 12. Turn off the breaker to the pool pump.

If the pool pump motor is on its own breaker, then trip the breaker.

One final note: If the pool pump motor and filter and any other equipment is not under cover like in a pool shed, then cover the equipment. Do not allow water to get into any equipment.

Store items in an area together so that youíll have an easier time next spring locating these items. Check back occasionally for more helpful tips and ideas. Bookmark this site for future reference.


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