7 Easy Tips For Closing Your Pool This Fall

closing your pool

Closing Your Pool

With summer gone, it’s time for above ground pool owners to close down their pools. Winter brings frigid temperatures and ice can cause thousands of dollars of damage to pools that aren’t prepared correctly. That makes properly closing down your pool an essential part of pool maintenance. Here are our key steps to prepare you for closing your pool.

In-Ground Pools

The first task in prepping your pool for its winter nap is to make sure the water chemistry is correctly balanced to last through the winter without corroding or forming scale on the sides of your pool. This will also keep the thousands of gallons you have in your pool clean and ready to use next summer.

Next, cycle the water through the pump and filter for a few days until chlorine levels to return to normal. Then add winter algaecide.

On closing day, clean the pool one last time. Be sure to use a brush on the walls and the bottom to clear any leftover algae or silt. Drain water from the pump, filtering, and heating systems.

It’s a general practice to drain the pool below the mouth of the skimmer inlet. The idea is to keep water out of the filter and pumping system. While this sounds convenient, freezing may be an issue if you have tile at the waterline.

Above-Ground Pools

You’ll need to remove and store pumps and filters. Insert plugs into the pool filter water intake and outflow openings (usually in the pool’s sidewall). Disconnect all hoses from the pool and let it drain. Disconnect and drain all water heaters, filters, skimmers, automatic chlorinator, or salt chlorinator, and then store these in a warm, dry place like your basement.

Lastly, inflate and deploy the pool pillows and cover the pool. Be sure the cover is secure so that it won’t blow away and that there is enough support from the pillow underneath so that ice meltwater will drain easily from the cover. Otherwise, ice and meltwater can stretch and tear the cover and contaminate your pool water.

Closing down your pool may sound like daunting maintenance job, but it’s something that can be finished in the span of a week but a mistake could cost you thousands.

There’s a lot more to it than just slapping a cover on and calling it a day.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your swimmin’ hole ready for its long winter’s rest.

1. Get the timing right

Closing your pool too early can encourage algae growth and make your job a whole lot harder when it’s time to reopen the following spring.

Make your life easier and enjoy your pool longer by waiting until late summer.

If your pool is heated, you can get away with waiting until October.

A good rule of thumb is to wait until the water is consistently lower than 65 degrees before closing.

Begin the process about a week before you actually want the pool to be closed.

2. Clean it up

Brush the sides and bottom of your pool and then vacuum it. A thorough cleaning before closing for the season will help to prevent algae growth and lighten your workload when it’s time to open it back up.

3. Test the waters

It’s best to take a sample of your pool’s water to a reputable pool store to have it tested.

You’ll want the pH to be between 7.4 and 7.6 and the alkalinity to be between 100 and 150 ppm.

Shoot for the top of these ranges when you’re closing your pool for the winter.

4. Add the chemicals

The winterizing chemicals you’ll add to your pool are:

  • A pH increaser and/or an alkalinity increaser.
  • Sanitizer, such as Chlorine or Bromine.
  • Chlorine shock.
  • Winter algaecide.

Keep in mind that the chlorine shock will destroy the algaecide.

The best course of action is to add the shock five to seven days before closing your pool, and then waiting to add the algaecide until right before you put the cover on.

5. What about the filter and pump?

Remove the drain plugs and allow the pump to drain. Remove the pump and all the hoses that are attached. If you have a chlorinator, that should be removed at this time as well.

If you keep all the drain plugs in the pump basket, you’ll know right where they are and you won’t risk them getting misplaced.

The hoses, pump, and chlorinator will last longer if you store them inside during the cold winter months.

No matter what type of filter you have, it will need to be removed and cleaned before storage. Filters should also be stored inside, with the exception of a sand filter, which may be too large and/or heavy to take indoors.

6. To drain or not to drain?

There is some debate about the validity of lowering the water level for the winter. This issue revolves around protecting the skimmer from cracking due to freezing temps.

For an above ground pool, removing the hose from the skimmer and using a winter skimmer cover plate will remove the need to drain the pool at all. The normal level will actually be better.

An inground pool is a bit different. Your best bet is to hire a professional to come and blow out the pipes. They can insert a rubber piece that will protect the skimmer from damage in the freezing cold. If this is done, you won’t need to drain the pool.

If you have tile on the sides of your pool, you should lower the water level to about 4 inches beneath the tile. This will prevent it from possible damage.

At this point in the process, it’s also the best time to remove ladders and any other accessories that can be stored.

7. Cover it up

An above-ground pool will need an air pillow beneath the cover.

You can use clips and cables to secure your cover.

An in-ground pool doesn’t require an air pillow but should use clips to secure the cover.

The long wait for spring

You’ve cleaned and scrubbed, added chemicals and covered up your pool.

Following these maintenance tips gives you the best chance of not having any unwelcome surprises come spring. Have any questions about closing your pool? Contact us here. 

Retaining Walls for Pool

retaining walls

Retaining Walls for Pool

Retaining walls are usually used for sloping backyards. Sometimes a wall is used to add more room by cutting into a small hillside. While other times its to allow perimeter space around the pool. Some homeowners incorporate a retaining wall into a water feature, such as wall spouts or rock waterfalls.

SLOPE

One of the biggest challenges that pool owners run into is the grade of their yard. Very rarely is someone’s backyard completely flat. If you have a sloped backyard, then you’ve probably considered incorporating a retaining wall into your design.

Sometimes with some extra gravel and some creative backfilling, we can get by without the extra expense of walls. Sometimes walls can add to the aesthetics of the pool when incorporated properly.

Determining when a wall is needed is the most important thing. This can become a disaster for the homeowner if the pool goes in and no wall was put in place to divert water. What this means is that the rainwater coming off the slope is going to end up in the pool carrying with it all the dirt and debris that comes along with a storm.

The slope is usually determined by how much dirt is left from the excavation of the pool. Sometimes the homeowner will have some extra fill dirt brought in to help feather the slope out.

RETAINING WALLS STYLE

There are two main styles of retaining walls, both with their method of construction. Masonry walls are built out of either poured concrete or concrete block and faced with stone.

Segmental retaining walls are constructed of dry stacking pre-cast concrete block together. Segmental block retaining walls are the most popular for several reasons, including being very attractive and more budget-friendly than masonry walls.

Sometimes when there is a slope in the yard that goes down to a level spot where the pool can go, it may be possible to put in a French drain to catch the water before it runs onto the patio. If you have to cut into the grade of the yard to put the pool in then this will probably not be an option for you.

LENGTH

One thing to keep in mind is that you do not sell yourself short on the length of the wall. When the wall is tapering down it is good to carry it a few feet longer then what is needed to ensure that water does not wash around the wall and onto the deck due to trying to save a couple of hundred dollars.

WALL FEATURES

When doing walls, you should try to make the wall more than just a wall. You can do an elevated patio which is always nice. Another option is to put the wall right on the pool itself with a cascade or two in it. It is always nice if the wall can be 20 fiberglass pool with retaining walls 24 inches so that the wall can be used to act as a sitting wall.

Not all walls are designed to keep the water from running onto the pool deck. Sometimes the wall is there to keep the pool in place. When dealing with these walls it is a little harder to incorporate them into the project to make it play a role in making the pool look better. A lot of times with the proper backfill and compaction a wall can be avoided in these situations.

Perhaps your property is level, but you want to add a dramatic backdrop to your pool with a raised wall on the far side. On top of the wall, you can add water features, a raised spa or additional pool deck spaces. Retaining walls can be topped with small bushes to add greenery and act as a barrier to blowing leaves. They can also serve a safety function by restricting access on one side of the pool.

There is usually extra cost in the gravel that is needed and the extra time in prepping the ground. But it can be much less expensive than the wall itself. The area would have to lend itself to enough area for grading the slope out so that it is not to steep.

COST

How much do retaining walls cost? This is a pretty broad question with a variety of answers depending on which options you choose. Retaining walls are typically priced by the square foot, so the length and height will directly influence how much you spend.

The cost of segmental walls is also determined by the size and shape of the block used. Walls with multiple sized blocks are typically more attractive.

Have any questions about retaining walls or the pool construction process? Contact us here!

How To Get Ready For National Pool Opening Day

national pool opening day

National Pool Opening Day

There is a national holiday for each date on the calendar and also for every subject under the sun, but National Pool Opening Day is a holiday we can all rally round.

Schedule Your Pool Opening Today

As a pool owner, you understand there’s a lot of things that go into opening your pool. National Pool Opening Day is an amazing reminder to prepare for the summer season!

Test the Water First

Once you peel the winter cap and realize the challenge before you, begin by assessing your pool chemical levels. A good water test kit is important for testing your pool’s chemical balance.

When stocking up for summertime on pool shock and pills, don’t forget to purchase water balance chemicals for pH, alk, and calcium. You might also need an algaecide to control algae. And a water clarifier to remove finer particles out of the water.

Pool equipment

Examine the pool gear, mainly the filter and pump, but also other pool equipment like pool valves, chlorinators, heaters, cleaners, skimmers, ladders, slides and diving boards.

Start looking for any soil, mulch, trees or nearby plants that may get in the way of your equipment. Pool equipment does better in a sunny, dry location and not buried in bushes.

Pool cleaners have wearable components, and generally, require more frequent repairs than other pool equipment. Inspect closely for the cleaner parts that contact the surface, or debris totes or hose components that are worn.

Pool filters, either sand, DE or cartridge will need the filter press replaced at a single point. Sand lasts about 5 decades, DE grids for ten decades, and filter capsules 2-3 years for a good-sized filter. You can prolong the life and improve filtration by using a Pool Filter Cleaner before and after opening your pool.

Pool pumps have electric motors that will fail at some point in time, usually at spring startup, or at the hottest aspect of the summer. When your motor will not turn or trips the breaker, it might be a loose cable, triggered GFCI or it might be an engine that is fried. Pumping problems may be air leaking to the pump, or a clogged impeller, or the water level.

Pool Accessories

Pool Ladders, Slides & Diving Boards possess a lot of bolts that need to be checked for tightness. Notably the step treads, which can loosen over time.

Chlorinators are normally easy to care for, but the chlorinator lid o-ring needs to be lubed often to protect the o-ring from the chlorine.

Pool Heaters

If you have a pool heater, the best spring maintenance you can do is clean out the base of the device to remove any leaves, cobwebs, and anthills. Make sure the air vents and drain holes aren’t blocked in the cabinet. If leaves have collected inside a heat pump, or in addition to a gasoline heater exchanger, remove the heater top to wash out them.

Above-Ground Pools

Above ground, pools will join the hoses or pipes from the wall skimmer to the pool filter and then to the pool pump, and back to the pool return. Open the filter air bleeder, open the lines to be flooded by the valves and fill the pump with water. After being sure that the return and suction valves are available plugs the pump into a grounded electrical socket, and the pool skimmer and wall return aren’t plugged.

Inground Pools

Inground pools equipment reassembly is a bit more complicated, but it begins the same way, by screwing the drain wires back to the pump, heater, filter. Together with the water level up, pool plugs can be pulled out of the skimmer and wall contributes to flooding the lines. Contrary to Above ground pools, inground pumps sit above the water level. Fill the pump with water from a hose or hose, and seal. Open the filter air bleeder, open the return and suction valves, and then turn on the pump. Start-Up with a multiport valve on the ‘Waste’ place is a fantastic way to flush out the skimmer and drain, and it has much less resistance too, great for pumps that have difficulty ‘grabbing prime’.

 

National Pool Opening Day is the last Saturday in April. Make it your annual tradition to join us in welcoming spring by opening your pool! In case the final Saturday is too soon to start your pool, then join in by cleaning off your pool cover and prepping it to open when it’s warm enough. If you open the pool in May, it is the ideal time to examine your pool water.

If you need help opening your pool, contact us today!

The Benefits of an In-Ground Pool

in-ground pool

The Benefits of an In-Ground Pool

Whether your backyard is a clean slate waiting to be turned into an in-ground pool paradise, from in-ground pools to water features, decking and lighting, living spaces and landscape, the choices may seem endless. Therefore, consider these important design elements before creating your masterpiece.

The In-ground Pool

A pool makes a definite statement and, depending on the added touches, begins to set the tone. Additionally, consider a vinyl lining for the following reasons:

Easy installation makes it one of the lowest initial costs of all types of pools. Plus, the material is durable, smooth and inhibits the growth of algae.

The Lighting

Lighting offers both beauty and safety, and it is a vital element in setting your tone. Likewise, from underwater hues to subtle illuminations along walkways and lights filtering through trees and waterfalls, the possibilities are endless.

Water Features

This is the pièce de résistance–the crowning glory. From waterfalls to grottos to diving rocks or unique and inventive slides, this is the place where your imagination soars.

Finally, we are recognized as the leaders in our market for innovation and the use of the latest green technologies and, in the process, save you thousands of dollars in wasted water and energy. Contact us and we will help you create your vision.