How to Close a Pool

Closing a Pool Right will prevent a Catastrophic Pool Failure During the Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

For thirteen years and counting we have closed our pool in mid September. My wife and I pretty much have it down to a science. We always check the PH and alkalinity levels the night before the pool closing, and adjust the water as necessary to achieve a neutral PH. This assures the winterizing chemicals do their respective jobs well. We then shock the pool and add winterizer, and allow the chemicals to work over night while we leave the pool filter running.

In the days leading up to closing the pool my wife or I visit the local pool store and pick up the necessary shock and winterizing chemicals, as well as other pool items.

Usually we need to buy a new pool cover and ice equalizer pillow every 2 to 3 years as the wind and ice wreak havoc on them. We’ve also begun to use pool cover clips versus the wire cable to hold the pool cover down. We’ve found the wire cable to be unforgiving if there is too much snow on the pool cover during the winter. Twice in 12 years the pool collapsed from the weight of the snow and ice pulling on the wire cable that held the pool cover on. The pool cover clips break away easier than the wire cable so there is less risk of any structural damage to the pool in the event of too much snow and ice sitting on the pool cover during the winter months.

The following day after applying the various chemicals to the pool, my wife usually is the one who ends up vacuuming the pool, while I remove the ladder and other pool items lying around the pool edge. I also use a small air compressor to fill the ice equalizer pillow.

We then lower the pool water level by siphoning off water from the pool. Typically we like to reduce the water to just below the bottom edge of the skimmer. We do this as inevitably water filters through the pool cover and fills the pool somewhat during the winter months.

After draining off the desired amount of pool water we install a winter plug in the return line and seal the skimmer with a rectangular cap.

Then we disconnect the filter and hoses from the pool and clean the filter before storing it. All we do to clean the filter is hose it down with a standard garden hose.

We then install the ice equalizer pillow in the center of the pool. We use nylon rope to center the ice equalizer pillow in the pool and tie off the ends of the rope to opposite corners of the pool.

Once the ice equalizer pillow is installed we then slide the pool cover over the pool and attach it to the side of the pool with the pool cover clips. We typically use two pool cover clips per each pool top rail wall segment, making sure to not tear the pool cover in the process.

The pool cover is on signifying the pool is officially closed.

With the cover in place the pool closing is complete and the pool is set for the winter. This said, we always try to remove snow from around the edges of the pool cover after every snow storm.

Typically I remove the first 4 to 6 feet of snow around the perimeter of the pool. This helps to ensure the pool doesn’t collapse during the winter months.

In the spring, we always find the pool water to be crystal clear when we remove the pool cover. All we do to open the pool in the spring is to top off the pool with water, reconnect the filter and hoses, and add the necessary chemicals, e.g. shock and chlorine.

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