How To Maintain Your Pool In Winter
Maintain your pool in Winter for your best Summer results with our simple step-by-step guide
We all know that spectacular, healthy and enjoyable Summer pools are maintained in the Winter!
How do I maintain my pool in Winter?
There are a number of steps you can take in order to ensure your pool is properly winterised, and ready to go again when Summer rolls around! These include:
- Balance the water
The pool pH level needs to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Taking a sample of pool water to your local pool shop will tell you exactly what the pH is or you are easily able to test it yourself by using test strips or a test kit. If the level is not correct, add the appropriate dosage of acid to bring the pool to the correct level.
Algae loves high pH, so by keeping your pH level, this will keep the green water away!
- Maintain the pH and Total Alkalinity levels
Total Alkalinity (the measure of the ability of your pool or spa water to resist changes in the pH) is the overseer that keeps the pH of your water where it needs to be. If your buffering capabilities are too low (low alkalinity), your pH levels can swing drastically from highs to lows. Increase alkalinity by adding Buffer.
- Keep your phosphates low
Leaves in your pool? We’re here to help! Phosphate is Algae food. If debris such as leaves, gumnuts or sticks are not cleared quickly through either the skimmer, manually scooping or vacuuming or your pool cleaner, they’ll settle on the bottom, start to break down and cause your phosphates to rise. High phosphate levels = low sanitisation levels, because sanitisers such as chlorine can’t do its best job. The best way to fix this is a simple chemical called phosphate remover.
- Use a copper based algaecide
Copper is a natural killer of algae, so by adding a copper based algaecide to your pool regularly (3-4 times per year) will keep any algae blooms at bay.
- Bring in the garbage man for your pool
After you kill any type of algae, it’s going to be floating around as tiny particles in your pool water, along with many other tony waste particles from humans,pets, or animals that land in your pool. Your filter will pick up most of these, but for what’s left over, there’s Oxyfresh. Oxyfresh is a chemical that is like the garbage man for your swimming pool water. It clings to and eliminates any left over waste particles in your pool, keeping it sanitised and healthy to swim in.
Hot tip: As a rule of thumb for a 40,000-60,000L residential pool, adding 1L of phosphate remover, 1L of algaecide and 1 sachet of Oxyfresh to your pool 3-4 times per year alongside your usual sanitization (chlorine) and pH control (acid) will keep all of your levels in check for happy and healthy pool water!
- Clean the pool!
It’s important to brush the walls and floor of the pool and then to vacuum the whole pool thoroughly. Algae thrives in unclean water, so don’t forget to clean the skimmer baskets and the pump baskets of debris. Also,if you don’t already have one, a pool cleaner is great for the job as opposed to manually vacuuming!
- Clean the filter
Ensure that the pool’s filter is sparkling clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over winter and make the filter harder to clean in the warmer months, not to mention reducing its overall efficiency.
Take your cartridge out and give it a good hose down. Rule of thumb is to clean your cartridge once every 2 weeks.
Hot Tip: If you are after a thorough clean, soak your cartridge in a tub of clean water with a cup of Nappy San overnight (the same stuff that you use in the laundry in the pink tub). Nappy San contains the same cleaning chemicals as your expensive cartridge filter cleaning chemicals. Follow this by a good rinse with your garden hose the next day.
Give it a good backwash. Rule of thumb is to backwash once every 2 weeks. Chances are you’ll notice that the water that comes out during the backwash is very brown and dirty, this means that you should be doing it a bit more often! Let that backwash run for 2 minutes or until the backwash water turns clear. Set the handle back to filter and you’re good to go.
Not sure how to backwash your sand filter? Here’s a simple step by step:
- Turn off the pool pump.
- Set the filter valve handle to the BACKWASH position and ensure the handle locks in place.
- Turn on the pump and backwash for 2 minutes or until the water in the sight glass (located on the filter) is running clear.
- Turn off the pump.
- Set the filter valve handle to the RINSE position and ensure the handle locks in place.
- Turn on the pump and run the rinse process for 1 minute or until the water in the sight glass is clear.
- Turn off the pump.
- Reset the Filter Valve to Filter and ensure the handle locks into place.
- Turn on the pump.
- Clean your salt cell (if you have a chlorinator)
As a rule of thumb, salt cells should be cleaned every 3-4 months to help it live its longest life! You’ll probably see some white calcification building up on the plates of your cell, you remove these by giving your cell an “acid bath”. This is done by mixing 1/10 of acid to water (a tub/bucket filled with 90% water and 10% acid). Hold onto the top of your cell, and gently lower the plates into the bath. Continue to hold the plates in the water for 4-5 minutes. You’ll notice some bubbles, this means that the bath is eating away the calcium. When you’re finished, rinse the salt cell plates with water and re-fit to your chlorinator.
As always, please always be careful when handling any type of chemicals, including acid! Ensure it does not splash up or make contact with you in any way shape or form.
- Check chlorine levels
To keep your pool clean and clear, it’s important to keep your pool’s free available chlorine levels at a constant level of 2-3 PPM (parts per million) at all times during winter. If you’re using a salt chlorinator, turn it to about 60-70% output.
- Run the filter
The pool’s filter should operate for three to four hours each day. If you’re using a timer, adjust it to suit. Remember if you switch the filter on during off-peak periods, you can save money.
- Cover the pool
This will prevent water loss and also stop debris from entering the pool. Ensure you have a good quality pool blanket or cover.
- Keep up your maintenance schedule
Once you’ve completed your preparation for winter, it’s imperative that you stick to a maintenance schedule even though it’s cold and the pool is not being used. Once a week do a quick visual inspection of your pool and make sure all of your equipment is working properly, check the water level, empty the skimmer basket and pump basket and check your chlorine and pH levels.