The Winter Pool: 5 Off-Season Maintenance Tips

Snow around a swimming pool that isn't closed for winter

This winter has been a wild ride with Mother Nature and after last weekend’s deep freeze, we’re all ready for summer! If you didn’t close your pool this winter, you’re not alone. For many pool owners in areas that winter temperatures don’t typically dip below freezing (and if they do, it doesn’t last long) closing your pool is optional. So if you’re one of those lucky pool owners, don’t forget the off-season or winter maintenance!

Don’t leave out these 5 tips for off-season pool maintenance:

1. Set Alerts for Freezing Temperature

When the temperature drops below freezing, your pump should be running to avoid damage. If you don’t have automation for your pool that will notify you and turn on the pump during freezing conditions, then you should set up weather alerts so you’ll know when freezing temperatures or other severe weather conditions are expected.

Weather alerts can be set up on most mobile devices and desktop computers. When an alert is received, you’ll need to go out and start your pump.

2. Winterize Water Features

Even if you don’t winterize your pool, you should always winterize your water features. These include deck jets, wall fountains, and cascades or waterfalls since the pump and pipes that feed them are more prone to freezing and damages.

3. Keep All Valves Open

It’s important to keep the water in your pool circulating and ensure that all the valves are open, especially if you have a pool with a complex plumbing system and/or an attached spa. Keeping the water flowing through these pipes will help protect against freezing.

So when you’re preparing your pool for winter, don’t forget to check ALL the vacuum lines, cleaner lines and waterfall lines, as well as the skimmers, drains and returns to ensure that all the valves are open.

4. Run the Pool Pump

Running your pool pump isn’t just for freeze protection! It’s for filtration too.

Even though you can reduce filtration to lower energy consumption during the winter months, be cautious not to run the pump too infrequently since circulation is important to keep the pipes and equipment functioning properly.

To reduce energy consumption and maintain your pool properly during the winter, you can use a seasonal timer that automatically reduces run-time during winter months. However, if debris tends to collect in your pool, you should run the pump longer OR if the temperature drops below 35 degrees, you should run the pump for 24 hours to prevent freezing.

5. Maintain Proper Pool Chemistry

Periodically test the water chemistry to make sure your pool has the proper pH, alkalinity, calcium, and cyanuric acid levels. Maintaining proper water chemistry can prevent pool surface staining or scaling, and reduce the amount of work required when you reopen your pool.