As the mercury dips during winter, taking a dip in the pool might not seem like an exciting prospect. In fact, you are inclined to keep away from the pool area, relegating it to a state of neglect. You might even consider saving on the pool equipment—switching it off to save chemical and electricity costs. Come spring, cleaning the built-up dirt, debris, and algae becomes a mammoth task! You might even end up spending a fortune on fixing the impaired sanitation and filtration systems and even the pool's design.
Wintertime pool maintenance
When winter sets in, it is advisable to winterise your pool, that is, carry out a series of maintenance activities. Pool winterisation enables you to keep your pool in good condition, in readiness for the onset of spring.
Cleaning the pool at regular intervals is a must, including brushing and vacuuming the pool walls and floors. To ensure efficient working of the filtration system, the skimmer basket and lint basket must be cleaned. The pool water must remain clean to prevent any algae growth. After scrubbing and cleaning the pool, run the filter until the water is crystal clear. It is also necessary to keep the filter squeaky clean, ensuring that oil or grease does not accumulate. Any oil or grease buildup hardens during winter, making it difficult to clean during spring.
Pool water balancing
It is imperative to ensure that your pool's chemicals are at optimum levels. The pool water must stay stable during winter, when the pool will likely remain unused, to prevent or control scaling, staining, and algae growth. The first step is to balance the alkalinity, which should ideally be between 80 and 120 ppm. Once you get the optimum alkaline levels using the right chemicals, pH levels of 7.2–7.6 can be easily achieved.
The pool water must be hard so that it does not absorb too much calcium, which should remain between 150 and 250 ppm. The stabiliser level must be between 30 and 70 ppm in order to prevent chlorine loss—chlorine levels should be between 1.5 and 3 ppm. If, however, you happen to use a salt chlorinator and a pool blanket, the chlorinator output must not exceed 2 ppm. Pool blankets tend to trap chlorine, which might potentially increase chlorine levels and damage pool equipment. The next step is to add algaecide to remove, control, and prevent algae growth.
It is recommended to use an oxidiser to shock your pool in order to remove debris, including skin cells, sweat, dead bacteria and algae, and bird droppings. You must then run the filter and pump, enabling the oxidiser to be evenly distributed in the pool.
Decreased filter and pump runtime
Operating the filter and pump during winter is mandatory to keep the pool clean. Running the pump replenishes the pool water. The runtime, however, can be reduced to approximately three to four hours daily to save power, depending on the winter temperatures and pool size. A milder winter and larger pool size might require an increased runtime of up to six hours.
Pool covers or blankets
Pool covers and solar blankets help mitigate heat loss and water and chemical evaporation. The trapped heat helps stabilise the pool water chemistry and cuts down the cost of heating the pool in spring. The covers can also prevent the entry of debris into the pool water, which eases winter maintenance.
Storage of pool accessories and toys
Pool toys strewn around might be susceptible to damage and might end up being tripping hazards. You must clean and dry pool toys and deflate inflatables before storing them safely so that they remain damage-free and ready to be used. It is essential to dry the toys, as wet toys might cause mould to grow, making them risky for children to play with. Sprinkle some talcum powder on inflatables to prevent them from sticking to each other. Inflatables should ideally be stacked away in airtight storage to prevent damage. Clean and put away the pool chairs, tables, and umbrellas, too.
Besides cleaning up the poolside, it is also important to have a well-maintained garden, especially if it is nearby your pool. Ensure you mow the lawn, weed the garden and remove fallen leaves, and prune the plants and trees. Rotting leaves can be a breeding ground for algae. If you keep the garden clean, you can prevent any debris from finding its way to the pool.
Pre-winter preparations should be followed up by regular maintenance to make sure all pool equipment is functioning properly. Frequent visual inspections must be carried out to ensure optimum water and chemical levels.
Growing popularity of fibreglass pools
Pool owners now prefer fibreglass pools to concrete or vinyl liner pools because fibreglass pools are easier to maintain all year round. Although installation costs are relatively higher, fibreglass pools offer better durability and lower maintenance costs. Premade fibreglass pools are easier to install and last longer than concrete pools.
The fibreglass pool surface is nonporous and smooth, which increases comfort, reduces the need to scrub often, and makes it resistant to algae and stains. As algae growth is negligible, fibreglass pools help save on the cost of chlorine and stabilisers. Water chemistry is easier to maintain, so loads of chemicals need not be used. You also need not worry about water salinity—fibreglass pools are saltwater compatible.
Fibreglass pools do not need an acid wash every few years. The costs incurred on replastering pool floors and replacing pool liners can also be saved. With fibreglass pools, the lifetime maintenance costs will be significantly lower, making these pools a viable and cost-effective option.
Fibreglass pools make wintertime pool maintenance much easier, with minimal effort and at a fraction of the maintenance costs. Either invest in a robust pool maintenance schedule or consider investing in a fibreglass pool!