Having a pool can be an absolute blast in the warm summer Sydney weather, but we have noticed that some people have struggled to maintain their pool during the winter months. Who can blame them? It’s colder out, more rain, people aren’t as concerned with spending all day outside in the fleeting sun, who has the time to worry about their pool when it’s raining? Winter presents a brand new set of challenges when maintaining your pool, and the work you put in during the winter off-season will pay big dividends for when you decide to crack open your pool next year.
We are lucky in Sydney, because the same climate that gives us amazing summers also ensures that we rarely have to deal with frost or snow in the winter. Although this means you won’t have to winterize your pool to the extent that other climates might require, winterization is still important. Leaving your pool open and untouched through the winter invites falling debris and algae growth, and will also cause unnecessary wear and tear to your pool, which could shave years off its life. It is important to think in the long-term with your pool – a little bit of work during the winter could ensure another few years of summer fun in the end.
To Drain or Not to Drain
The first question when winterizing your pool is should you just drain it and not worry? The answer is a resounding no! In-ground pools are subject to something called hydrostatic relief, which essentially refers to the pressure that groundwater places on structures around it. The effects of hydrostatic relief are insignificant when your pool has water in it, since the pool’s water works to balance the effect and create an equilibrium. If your pool has been drained, the equilibrium is gone, and your pool shell will now receive pressure from the soil and water around it. This effect reduces the structural integrity of your pool, and can actually erode the pool enough to either cause the collapse of the walls around it, or force the entire pool shell out of the ground.
With this in mind, we always recommend that clients keep their pools filled with water during the winter. This of course will result in the occasional ten minutes to clean the pool, but as we previously stated, your pool will thank you.
Steps to Winterize
- Clean any debris out of your pool: First thing to do is to clean any debris out of your pool. This is the exact same routine you’ll have established throughout the summer months, just grab your net and remove any objects from the pool.
- Measure and Maintain your pH Level: Next thing you’ll want to do when winterizing your pool is to check your pH level to make sure that it is within the recommended range. The range you’re looking for is between 7.2 – 7.6. Too high of a pH level could reduce the effects of your chlorine disinfectant, the creation of lime residue, and cause skin irritation. Too low of a pH level could cause damage to the pool liner and mechanical parts of your pool, such as the pump or jets. You should also be dosing with chlorine during the winter, in order to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria. Sunlight tends to break down chlorine, so if you’re using a pool cover as part of your winterization process you will want to reduce your chlorine dosing to compensate for the lower amount of sun. Be sure to discuss with your trusted pool shop for the best chlorine dose for you, as this can vary. After adding all of your chemicals, wait about 48 hours before closing up your pool.
- Remove any ladders (if possible) or other objects: By now your pool should be cleared of any debris and toys left in it. Now you’ll want to remove your ladder if you can, if not then it’s not a problem. This step is only really relevant if you will be using a cover on your pool during the winter.
- Clean the mechanical components of the pool: Make sure to clean out the mechanics of the pool the best you can so that any risk of damage is minimized during the winter time. This includes the pump, heater, filter, and any other components. If you’re confused or concerned about doing this properly, call your local pool shop for instructions and support.
- Cover the Pool: Place your cover on your pool if you have one, and it has been 48 hours since adding any pH altering chemicals and chlorine. Remember to properly secure your cover to the sides and corners if you are able. If you aren’t using a cover, jump to Step 6.
- Maintain your Pool during the Winter: Keep measuring the chemicals and removing any debris during the winter. Although this seems like a hassle, setting aside 10 minutes every weekend will pay big dividends later on in the life of your pool. This will also greatly reduce the amount of work you will have to do during the Spring when you want to get your pool ready for use again.
That’s all there is to winterizing your pool in Sydney! If you have any questions or are interested in resurfacing your pool for next summer, give us a call to set up a free quote or simply chat pools. We love talking pools with anyone!