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Top 10 tips for closing and winterizing pools in Canada

As summer winds down, it’s time to close your pool. Get it ready for winter with these tips to protect from damage caused by freezing, and keep it as clean as possible for next season.

  1. Look for cracks, leaks or other types of damage; cold temperatures will worsen these problems. Contact your local pool professional for repairs.
  2. Skim, brush and vacuum to remove debris and prevent algae from forming.
  3. Use a pool test kit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check and adjust pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. By balancing the water’s chemical levels, you’ll protect against corrosion, staining and etching.
  4. Shock and chlorinate the water to kill any bacteria that might linger during the winter. Add a winterizing algaecide, available at most pool supply centres, to kill existing algae and prevent more.
  5. Backwash the filter, following manufacturer’s directions, to clean it out.
  6. Lower, but don’t completely drain the water. Some people prefer to drain the water down past the skimmer, but a higher water level during winter places less stress on the cover and liner. If you have decorative tiles, keep the water level below the tiles, as surface water will freeze, expand and cause tiles to crack.
  7. Drain all water from the pump, filter, heater and their tubes. Any water left in the system can freeze and cause damage. If you use a shop vacuum, be gentle with delicate items like tubing.
  8. Remove decorative pool fittings and equipment, such as ladders, baskets, hoses, filters, pumps and heaters.
  9. Cover your pool and secure tightly to keep out debris. Repair any rips or tears in the cover. Place rags or cardboard over sharp points that extend into the pool.
  10. Keep a pool alarm active during the winter months to protect children and pets.

Keep in mind that each pool is different, so yours may need special care not listed here.

Once you’ve completed the closing process, stick to a maintenance schedule even though you’re not using the pool. Every few weeks, check the water level and chemical balance, and do a quick visual inspection to make sure the cover is secure. Keep your pool in great condition over the winter months, so it can provide many more years of enjoyment.