An Easy Guide to De-Winterizing Your Swimming Pool

In many places, the time to open a swimming pool depends on both the weather outlook and the climate. In many respects, de-winterizing pools is a process similar to winterizing them, which also happens at different times countrywide. Winterizing pools in the northern hemisphere occurs earlier in more northern climates like Minnesota, and later in southern states like Texas. In contrast, de-winterizing pools in these northern areas most often takes place later than in southern regions.

When de-winterizing a pool, it’s a good time to look at maintenance, which is normally put off until right before the swimming season begins. This might include inspecting a pool’s lining for tears, along with ensuring that equipment like filters, piping, and pumps are functioning properly before de-winterizing. Pools also require extensive cleaning after cold weather and winter storms have had their way, which will involve adding chemicals. While it’s the most labor-intensive part of de-winterizing, pool maintenance is essential to ensure the health and safety of swimmers throughout the swimming season.

De-Winterizing Pools for the Swimming Season

Simply de-winterizing a pool doesn’t mean it’s time to start swimming. As any seasoned swimming pool operator knows, it’s best to start preparations well before opening. Properly de-winterizing pools makes opening them easier when it’s warmer. But before getting into the nitty gritty of de-winterizing, pool covers should first come off so the water can be properly inspected.

Correcting Errors: Inside Winterizing Pool Oversights

The pool operators must ensure the water is clean and clear when opening the pool after winter. Neglecting pool maintenance during winterization can lead to water issues that need fixing now. Tasks like backwashing filters, shocking the water, and vacuuming the lining are crucial for a smooth pool opening. Cleaner water means less time spent on pool maintenance later.

Uncovering the Pool

During winter, many pools are kept covered, leading to the accumulation of water from melted snow and rain, as well as debris. It’s important to check the cover for damage, especially any holes. If holes are present, hold off on removing the cover until the water drains. You can achieve this by siphoning or using a submersible pump when preparing above-ground pools for the season. Before storing the pool cover, clean and dry it so that mold won’t begin to form.

Draining the Pool Water

The water level should already be low after winter. According to every authoritative pool maintenance guide, winterizing pools involves lowering the water level, though it shouldn’t be emptied to prevent damage from a hard freeze. Water should be drained a couple inches below skimmers, return outlets, and any other plumbing that will need to be free of water to prevent damage from freezing. The proper amount will vary upon region, pool setup, and other factors. Water should be drained from the pump and filters by opening or removing drain plugs often located on the underside or side of equipment.

Cover & Begin De-Winterizing the Pool

The text provides practical advice on managing rainwater in pools during spring. It emphasizes covering the pool, addressing algae buildup, and draining excess water. It suggests using a solar blanket or inflatable pillows as alternatives to a pool cover. Additionally, it is recommended that rainwater be removed from the pool cover and that water be drained from the pool’s center. Attaching a garden hose to an electrical drain pump may help remove puddles effectively for home pools.

Other Helpful Tips for De-Winterizing Swimming Pools

When the weather starts warming after winter, pool owners and operators must consider the steps necessary for de-winterizing. Pools often stay dormant for several months between swimming seasons, so many may find this task daunting. Yet it doesn’t take long when one understands everything involved in de-winterizing a pool. Knowing how to open a swimming pool for the new season enables a quicker and simpler process.

Priming the Pump 

After the pool has been inspected and all apparatus checked to ensure it’s in good working order, it’s time to prime the pump. This just means forcing all the air out inside the pump by filling it with water.

Filling the Pool 

Once primed, the pool should be filled with an external water source like a garden hose. Water levels are considerably below normal at the start of de-winterizing, so this may take a while, depending on the pool’s size. Any inner or poolside winterizing of pool plugs or other equipment should then be removed, and pool systems reconnected. Some pool owners use antifreeze in the plumbing when winterizing a pool, especially in climates where winter freezes are common. This ought to be drained before the startup of the filtration system.

Re-Engaging the Filter & Other Equipment

Filters play an integral role in keeping a swimming pool clean and safe for swimmers throughout the swimming season. During de-winterizing, pool filters should once again be plugged in so that they start circulating water again. Other pool equipment, like pool lights or heaters, should also be hooked up and turned on.  

Cleaning the Pool 

Once everything’s plugged in, it’s time to clean up the mess leftover from winter before it begins to biodegrade. Winterized pools tend not to experience algae growth, though this might not be true for those who live in milder climates. Next comes skimming leaves and other debris from the water, which can be done with a leaf rake or skimmer. Finally, a pool vacuum can remove any grime attached to the walls or settled debris on the pool floor over the winter.  

Testing & Adding Chemicals

Just like during the swimming season, de-winterizing a pool means testing alkalinity, hardness, and pH levels to determine what’s needed to ensure the water is safe. Once it’s established what pool chemicals are needed to balance the water, these should be added in the correct amounts.

Chemicals for de-winterizing pools include: 

  • Algaecide: Winterizing a pool usually involves adding algaecide, though should the weather be warm enough, algae can grow even in the winter.
  • Chlorine: Used to kill bacteria like E. coli and salmonella, chlorine in pools also eliminates viruses that can cause diseases like diarrhea or otitis externa, otherwise known as swimmer’s ear.
  • Clarifier: These positively charged particles help make pools clearer by attracting suspended negative particles within the water that make it cloudy, in much the same way as magnets attract ferrous alloys; these larger particles are then captured by the pool’s filtering system.
  • Muriatic acid: This should be added to reduce pH if the water is too alkaline, meaning pH is above the highest optimal level of 7.8.
  • Soda ash: Known by the chemical name sodium carbonate, it does the opposite of muriatic acid, raising the alkalinity of the water should pH fall below the lowest optimal level of 7.2.

As an aside, chemicals should neither be mixed nor added together.

Restarting Automated Devices

Once a pool owner gets to this point, the pool is just about ready to reopen, though the weather may still not be warm enough to dive in. If a pool features a heat pump – depending on the size of the pool and heat pump – it takes anywhere from twelve hours to two days before the water is comfortable enough for a swim. The water should pass through a bypass while heated continuously for best results, and the pool should remain covered. At this point, automatic devices like chlorine injectors or electrolyzers should also be turned on.

Professionally De-Winterizing Pools

For those who don’t have the time and patience, it may prove more advantageous to contact a professional pool cleaning company to assist in de-winterizing a pool. A trained Pool Professional will know the right amount of pool chemicals needed and they’ll also bring the right de-winterizing equipment. Additionally, professional pool cleaners can often fix any issues with the pool or its systems on the spot.

Halogen Supply: Everything You Need for De-Winterizing Pools

De-winterizing pools isn’t that difficult. It requires some basic chemistry knowledge and takes a bit of common sense. As long as a pool owner follows certain steps correctly, there’s very little risk involved. To learn more about opening or de-winterizing pools and what you’ll need for the task, contact the swimming pool experts at Halogen Supply. Or, if you want some simple steps to aid you in winterizing your pool, check out Pool Winterizing 101: Everything You Should Know.