Pool 101: How Snow Affects Your Swimming Pool
With the recent winter weather across the country, you may have been affected by snow even if wintry weather isn’t the norm where you live. But did you know snow runoff can negatively affect the water quality of your swimming pool?
Due to air pollution, natural precipitation is more acidic than the ideal pH of pool water. So when the ice and snow on your pool cover melts, the runnoff can flow into your pool. Because of its acidity, the runoff will change your pool's water chemistry. This includes the calcium hardness, alkalinity and the level of dissolved solids in the water.
The change in chemical balance can cause scaling, corrosion and algae build-up. Additionally, increased acidity can eat away at the plaster or metal parts of the pool, causing damage that will require repairs.
Runoff can also bring along dirt and debris along with it. Dirt and debris can damage your pool's surface and impact the water quality.
Finally, if there is a significant amount of runnoff or snow on top of the pool cover it can cause the pool cover to make contact with the surface of the water. The added tension can allow sharp pieces of ice to slice through the pool cover and depending on the type of pool you have, they can also cut the pool lining.
While that seems really nerve wracking, here are a few things you can do to protect your pool before, during and after a snow event:
Before It Snows:
Before closing your pool for the season, make sure you're winterizing your pool. This includes lowering the water level, balancing the pool chemistry and using an “air pillow” to separate the pool cover from the water. If you are uncomfortable winterizing your pool by yourself, contact your local pool professional!
During the Snow:
Keep an eye out for any snow and debris accumulation on the pool cover. If it is over an inch deep it can put stress on the cover, damaging it. Also, keep in mind that ice weighs more than snow per square inch. Make sure to be more diligent about cleaning off your pool cover when ice is present.
After it Snows:
Regularly clean your pool cover with a long broom, gently brushing off the snow. Never use any sharp objects, like a shovel, to remove snow or ice. You can also use a leaf blower to remove the snow if it’s light and powdery. Also, don’t forcibly remove or try to melt the ice on your pool cover. Wait for ice to melt and pump the water off as quickly as possible to prevent it from refreezing and damaging the cover.
With these simple steps, you can help protect your pool from the snow and ice this winter season so your pool will be ready to open your pool this spring!