Above-ground swimming pools are mostly household swimming pools that are constructed above the ground surface. They are in various shapes according to the preference of a household. Materials such as vinyl liners are used to hold water above the ground. These swimming pools have some benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness as well as a satisfaction to the household.
During winter, swimming could be the last recreational activity one would prefer. Households and recreational facilities are expected to start preparing for the Winterization of their pools towards the end of summer in readiness for winter. Recommended procedures should be carried out to keep the pool clean and in good condition so that it can be used after the winter. Necessary equipment and chemicals should be used for proper and safe Winterization.
Chemicals used for Winterization
It is important first to make sure you have the necessary material before beginning the winterization process. Here are some of the chemicals that may be useful:
- Bromine or chlorine
- One may need a Clarifier, e.g. Clear Blue for aiding the sand filter in filtering sand particles.
- Meta Sol- for preventing the metal parts of the pool from staining and scaling.
- Oxy-Out- Is a chlorine-free and anti-bleaching soluble chemical used as a treatment for shock.
- Concentrated algaecide- destroys all kinds of algae growth.
- Jack’s lube- may be used as a lubricant for the o ring.
- Filter free- a cleaning solution that could be used for cleaning the filters.
Some of the materials that may be needed include; winter cover, solar blanket cover, water bags, solar blanket cleaner, winterizing kit, winterizing plugs, etc.
Procedure for Winterizing
- Water protection and balance should be ensured in preparation for the winterizing. Seven days before the closing of the pool, the chemical balance of the water should be checked before any chemicals are added. The water’s acidity and alkalinity should balance, necessary adjustments are recommended in case of any imbalances. Chlorine or bromine content in the pool water should be ranging from 1.0ppm to3.0ppm at the closing time. Lowering pool temperatures gives the water corrosive properties which in turn destroys the liner of the pool. If the corrosion persists, metal parts of the pool get tainted.
Three days before closing the pool, dilute clear blue should be spread all around the pool. Meta Sol is added as well. A day to the closing of the pool, Oxy-Out is evenly distributed over the pool for Shock Treatment. 50% of concentrated algaecide is added to destroy all kinds of algae.
- After balancing and protecting the water in the pool, the next step should be vacuuming the walls and floor of the pool, cleaning the filters by backwashing them and maintaining the recommended water level. A filter rinse may be used in the last backwash of the filter. Vacuuming can as well be done after backwashing the sand filters. When the vacuuming is all done, the water level should be 4 inches lower than the mouth of the skimmer. Vinyl liner cleaner and a sponge should be of help in removing the ring formed around the pool since this could discolour the liner or even destroy its pattern.
- Any accessories at the pool or deck are removed. The solar blanket ought to be cleaned using cover cleaner and properly rinsed to remove any chemical stains. It is then dried and neatly stored away from the reach of ultraviolet rays. Ladders and any steps used in getting into the pool should be removed as well.
- Ensure the equipment is powered off and follow the steps given for Winterization.
- The pump and filters should be removed before Winterization. In the case where the pump is not removable, it can be retained in the pool. For either cas4es, the pump should be drained of any water that may be present. Jack’s lube may be used on the lid’s o ring to return the lid after emptying the pump.
- Cartridge and Diatomaceous filters should be kept indoors if possible. To clean the filters, they should be socked in filter-free solutions; this helps in increasing their shelf life as well as maintains their efficiency.
- On the other hand, sand filters being too heavy is left put for Winterization. It has a drain cap that is removed to let any water drain and leave the sand back. Any removable parts should be detached from the sand filter and kept in the pump basket for the winter. It should be noted that removing the valve head requires a lot of caution; it is best left in place since it is made of a material that can withstand the winter.
- Chlorinators may contain chemicals and water that ought to be emptied. They are of two types; the off-line chlorinators which should be freed from feeder tubes with loosely fitted lids to avoid exerting too much pressure on the o ring especially during the unused period. For the inline chlorinators, all joints on the cylinders should be undone so that can it can be detached from the filter. Since the chlorinator contains fumes, it is stored outside covered with plastic for protection.
- Gas valves, as well as pressure valves of the gas heaters, should be turned off and all the water from the gas heaters blown out.
- The heat pump’s inlets should be disconnected from the supply and emptied until all the water is removed. The top should be covered or plywood laid over it so that no debris finds its way into the pump.
- Salt chlorine generator’s cell is kept indoors just in case of harsh winter conditions. The panel may be put indoors too if possible. The winter conditions can easily damage the cell, float switches as well as plumbing.
- Lights on the surface should be removed and kept indoors. Any opening left is covered with a rubber plug.
- All components above the ground should undergo Winterization. Piping should be detached and properly stored as well as any other connections.
- Winter covers and leaf covers should be set up as per the producer’s guidance. The leaf covers prevent leaves from getting into the pool hence keeps it clean until the winter is over. The cover should be cleaned regularly to prevent leaves and debris falling on it from damaging it.
- During winter, one should keep checking on the water level often. When water reduction is noticed, keep adding to it until the cause is determined and repaired once the winter is over. Increasing levels of water should also be reduced to the recommended level. Leaves and other dirt particles should be removed from the cover.
Manufacturer’s guidelines should be strictly followed when mixing chemicals to avoid using wrong ratios and timing, which may damage the components of the pool.
When handling the chemicals or any components that may be bearing chemicals, use proper protective equipment. Chemicals should be disposed of correctly.
Filters should be correctly shut and cleaned. In case acid solutions were used for cleaning, proper rinsing with fresh water should be done. When not thoroughly rinsed, the acid may erode the components during storage.
During vacuuming, the level of water goes beneath the skimmer. The equipment may take in some air which could destroy the prime of the pump. Some water should be passed through the skimmer to make it airtight so that the prime will not be destroyed.
Some parts, like the motor, should not be stored in plastic bags. The bags hold on moisture which is a key cause of rust. Such parts should hence be stored in a box or someplace with an aerated covering.
The pool should only be covered when the water balance, level, and cleanliness are according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Advantages of Winterization
The pool gets to be cleaned. This cleaning is also a good opportunity to discover any damage to the equipment and take corrective measures.
The water is free from the growth of algae.
The covers protect the equipment from direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Leaves and other dirt do not get into the pool since it is covered.
Disadvantages of Winterization
Purchase and setting up of the whole procedure is costly.
Some of the chemicals are harmful and therefore require a lot of care.
Winterization has a package of advantages. They cannot just be ignored; however expensive it might seem. With all the detailed and involving sophisticated procedures, Winterization of the above-ground swimming pool is based on several factors. The correct timing of the required procedures is very crucial since the process depends heavily on climatic changes as well as changes in temperature and precipitation. The sole purpose of the process is to maintain the efficiency of the equipment; therefore, the correct use of the chemicals is important and necessary precautions observed. Producers of the chemicals used, equipment used and the pool builders should be consulted, so that appropriate winterization procedure suitable for the specific location is chosen.