Many new pool owners in Phoenix ask this question coming up to winter, but the truth is, we never really close our pools- at least not like they do in some colder states. Some homeowners prefer to leave their pools open year long, using pool and deck heaters to extend their swimming season or just enjoying the beauty of it during the winter season. But every now and then we do get freezing temperatures and winter storms that can cause damage to your pool and shorten the life of the structure and equipment. Pools left uncovered during these cold spells also pose a greater drowning risk as cold water can cause confusion, disorientation and impair one’s ability to call for help. So preparing your pool properly for the colder months ahead and having a plan in place for freezing weather is not only recommended for preserving your pool’s value, but also for protecting area children and animals. It can also save you a lot of work when you’re ready to prepare your pool for swimmers again in spring.
Clean Your Pool
Brush the sides of your pool and the steps with a stiff bristled brush to remove any stubborn dirt and algae. (Make sure the bristles aren’t too abrasive- you don’t want to scratch tile or stonework.) Skim large debris out of your pool with a net and then vacuum your pool floor, making sure to pay extra attention to corners and sloped areas where dirt tends to settle. Once you have gotten rid of the debris, it is time to test and treat your water.
Water Testing and Treatment
If you don’t already have a water testing kit, make sure that you go out and purchase one before you close your pool for winter. A water testing kit will include all of the tests you need to maintain your water chemistry while the pool is closed. When the pH levels in the water are off, you risk damaging your pool and creating a need for expensive repairs in the spring. Adding the correct amount of chlorine to the pool is also an important part of winter pool maintenance. You will need to make sure the water is shocked enough so that viruses and bacteria will not be able to survive the winter months.
Another chemical that you will need to use to close your pool for winter is an algaecide. During periods of mild temperatures, there is more of a chance that algae will try to make a home in your pool. These chemicals can be dangerous, so be sure to wear protective gear when working with them.
Consider Covering Your Pool
Some pool owners in Phoenix choose to leave their pools uncovered year-round, but if you have children or pets you should consider covering your pool during the colder months as an added safety precaution. Cold water paralyses reflexes and increases the risk of drowning. The best pool cover is one that is tight fitting and secure. This will be more stable if an animal or child wanders into the pool. It will also help keep out leaves and other debris that would normally get blown in by winter storms.
Clean and Cover Deck Chairs, Patio Furniture and Outdoor Decorations
Though not as common in our area, it’s important to protect patio furniture from extreme temperatures and ice when they do occur. Cover your deck chairs, patio furniture, and grills and move any potted plants and smaller outdoor decorations like chimes and portable water features into the garage- but first give them a good wipe-down to remove any dirt or debris from the summer. Don’t forget to remove your garden hose and store it as well. Protecting these outdoor items from the elements will extend their life and protect their value and beauty.
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