If You Winterize Your Pool, You Must DE-Winterize!
Living in North Texas definitely has its benefits, one of which is that we rarely have to worry about winterizing our pools come winter. However, we also know that weather can be unpredictable, and some folks choose to winterize around here, just to be on the safe side. Whether you live in Plano, Allen, or McKinney, or if you're checking in with us from "up North" as we say, if you choose to winterize your pool during the winter months, you are going to need to de-winterize once Spring rolls around. Follow these easy tips for opening the pool back up for the spring:
In the winter, lowering your water level can help to protect your swimming pool and equipment from the damage caused by ice and frozen plumbing. When Spring comes around, you want to bring your pool's water level back up to its optimum level. Doing this allows your skimmers to skim out the debris that collects in your pool, without drawing air into your pump, which can burn it out. Some pools have a "Fresh Water Fill Line." You can use this as your guide, or you can also eyeball it by raising the water level to the middle of the skimmer opening. However which way you measure it, you must make sure that your pool is full, but not too full. A pool with too high a water level will not be able to skim out debris, and this will settle at the bottom of your pool. Remember, it's a happy medium- not too low, but not too high either.
Remove Winterizing Plugs and Discharge Anti-Freeze
Some people like to ensure that their pool systems remain airtight and water-free during the winter months, especially if you live somewhere that has particularly harsh winters. We experience moderately mild winters in North Texas, but we do get our fair share of freezing rain, ice, and the occasional snowstorm. In order to keep your pool equipment free of water, you can use what are commonly known as "winterizing plugs" or "pool plugs". These plugs are inserted into return lines, cleaner lines, and skimmers to keep water out while your pool is hibernating. Simply remove these plugs when you are ready to start opening your pool back up so that your pool can start to flow, drain, fill, and filter properly.
Another way people commonly "winterize" their pool is to add anti-freeze to their water lines. Anti-freeze does just that- it keeps water from freezing in your pipes and lines, which can cause these pipes and lines to burst. Anti-freeze should be handled by an adult, and disposed of properly, as it can and will attract neighborhood critters (especially cats) with its sweet smell, and is absolutely poisonous if ingested. When Spring arrives and you are ready to start getting your pool in swim-season shape, remember to flush out the anti-freeze from your system, and again, dispose of the waste water properly. Check with your local authorities on how to dispose of this waste.
Prime Your Pump
Priming your pool pump is a critical step in making sure that your pool is ready for Summer. Priming the pump allows you to get any extra air out of the system and get water circulating properly. Priming your pump is fairly easy- here's a quick video that shows you a step-by-step guide to priming your pool pump.
The Air Relief Valve
This is a pretty simple step. As you saw in the video, the purpose of priming your pump is to get any extra air out of your pump to ensure that the water can circulate correctly. Locate the air relief valve on your filter. Open this valve on the filter and gradually release air that may be trapped in the pump. When water begins to come out, close the valve.
Test Your Water and Correct the Chemical Levels
After sitting dormant all winter, your pool can be dirty and full of bacteria. Before you start swimming, you want to make sure to either test the pool yourself using a home test kit (which you can get at most home improvement stores) or hire a professional to come out and test your water for you. The correct balance of chemicals will keep your pool clean and sanitized, as well as safe to swim in for you and your family.
Remember: SAFETY FIRST!
Never mix pool chemicals with each other or other products and never use the same container for two chemicals. Remember, you are dealing with dangerous chemicals! Ignoring safety precautions or being careless with your products could very well result in a fire or explosion. If you plan to balance the chemicals yourself, don't forget to wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles/glasses. Do not breathe in the vapors directly, and if necessary and/or possible wear a mask (especially for indoor pool/spa).
Hire a Pro!
If you feel at all uncomfortable with de-winterizing your pool, the process is routinely done by many professional pool service companies. Call us for a referral if you don't already have a regular pool maintenance service.
De-winterizing the pool is an exciting time! It means Summer is almost here! Follow these steps to ensure your pool is ready to go when that temperature starts to creep up!