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Thread: Closing an AG pool for the winter

  1. #1
    Watermom's Avatar
    Watermom is offline SuperMod Emeritus Quark Inspector Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars
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    Charleston, WV

    Default Closing an AG pool for the winter

    This is the procedure I use when preparing my AG pool for closing.

    I actually cover it pretty early in the fall before all the trees start dropping leaves. (Make sure it is really clean. If you have recently been fighting algae, shock it before covering it and keep it at shock level for a couple of extra days to make sure the algae is gone before you put the cover on. You don't want to put the cover on a pool that is at shock level as the fumes can damage the cover if they can't vent.) I continue to test ph and chlorine every few days after it is covered and add chlorine if needed. At this point in the fall, (September, October) we still have warm day time temps and I want to keep an eye on my cl in particular so I don't have any algae problems which try and start. So, it is covered yet my filter/pump are still attached and running some each day.

    When we finally get to the point where we are having freezing temps at night, I raise my chlorine to the high end of the maintenance range based on my cya level and I adjust my ph to between 7.6-7.8. (I adjust it so high because we get a lot of rain in the fall and winter and it is pretty acidic. So in case rain does get into the pool, if my ph starts out at the high end of normal, then it has a little room to drop before it becomes a problem.) Don't want it to drop below 7.0 during the winter because that would mean the water becomes acidic and can damage your pool. Also I make sure my alk is between 80-125 (usually 100-110 for my pool) which will help the ph to be more stable.

    I then add a double dose of 60% polyquat algaecide. Don't use another type!! Put the filter on recirculate instead of filter and run it like that for a day. (If you have it set on filter, the polyquat will just filter out.)

    I then drain my pool so that the water level is below the return and skimmer. (By using the waste setting on the filter at first. When the water level gets too low, I then use a submersible pump to lower it a few inches below the skimmer.)

    We then add a couple of very large inner tubes tied together under the cover in the middle of the pool. This keeps water from pooling on top of the cover in the center of the pool. Without it, you can get a really big puddle of water in the middle which will pull inward on your pool walls. (I typically pump off my cover a few times during the winter when I see a lot of water puddling on top of it.)

    We drain the filter and then we take the pump and filter inside. Some people leave theirs outside all winter after they drain it and leave the drain cap off the filter. If you are going to leave your filter outside, remove the pressure gauge or it will freeze and break.

    We put a "gizmo" in the skimmer which for us is like a big cylinder shaped piece of foam ( similar to the type of foam that pool noodles are made of). We remove the eyeball from the return and put in a plug.

    We also unhook the solar panels and drain them and take them in before we get freezing night time temps. If they would freeze, they could be destroyed and I don't want to take that chance.

    Periodically through the winter, I will test my ph and chlorine level just to make sure we are still OK. So far, we always have been, but I just want to make sure. (Partly this is also just because I want to go and visit my pool cuz I am having withdrawel from not getting to play in it during the winter! )

    Last year, my dogs chewed through the ropes which held my cover on and it blew off. Since we were past the point where there were any more leaves on the trees, I didn't bother trying to put it back on but just left the pool uncovered for the rest of the winter. It was just fine. My pool wasn't perfectly clean when I opened it like it usually is, and I had more vacuuming to do in the spring, but other than that, the water was fine. Still clear, just a little dirty on the bottom.


    I originally wrote this sticky about 5 years ago. I don't do things quite the same way anymore.

    Although I go ahead and remove my solar panels once it gets to the point where we are no longer swimming which is sometime in October, I keep my pump and filter on until late in the fall and circulate a few hours each day. I use my Polaris 65 to get the leaves out as they fall. It actually does a really good job of that. Not too good at removing dirt,dust, etc., but really good at getting leaves, twigs.

    Right before I close it (which is late fall -- probably some time in November when the nights start getting cold), I'll shock it and make sure my pH is on the high side of normal. I no longer bother with the Polyquat. I lower the water level below the skimmer and return and plug the return. The filter is drained and the pump and filter are stored in the shed. I do not use a winter cover any more. In my opinion, it is too big of a hassle so I haven't covered my pool in several years and it hasn't been a problem. By the time I take the pump and filter off, the leaves have all fallen from the trees. So, actually even without the cover, my pool stays pretty clean over the winter. I will have a little dirt in there, but that is easily removed by the vacuum in the spring.

    I do open my pool early in the spring as we typically get hot around here pretty early. Probably late March or early April, everything is hooked back up and I start chlorinating. I open to clear water and once the solar panels are on and doing their job, we usually are swimming early May.
    Last edited by Watermom; 08-05-2011 at 08:25 AM. Reason: to update my closing procedure

  2. #2
    CarlD's Avatar
    CarlD is offline SuperMod Emeritus Vortex Adjuster CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars
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    North Central NJ

    Default Re: Closing an AG pool for the winter

    My procedure is a little different, but similar. The results are the same as Watermom's.

    The biggest difference is I use a mesh safety cover. This allows the water to breathe so chlorine gas can't build up. It also means I don't need to use air pillows. I have, but last winter it failed and deflated and it made no difference to the mesh safety cover.

    Before I start I remove the drop-in steps and the ladder, and clean, dry and store the solar cover.

    I, too, balance the water first--like Watermom, I like the pH to be a LITTLE higher to allow for the acidity of rain. Then I add the big dose of Polyquat 60% (usually 1 quart) and wait 48 hours (rather than 24). Polyquat algaecide will cause the FC level to drop, but after 48 hours it's basically done. Then I raise the FC up to shock level and close. I can do this rather than raising FC just to the maintenance level because I have the mesh cover, rather than the closed one.

    I lower the water level below that skimmer, the lights, and the returns.

    Rather than the Gizmo, I use an AquaDor to cover the skimmer completely, after removing the weir. But the idea is to protect the skimmer from freezing ice cracking it.

    I plug all the returns and drains--I have 3 returns, one from the pump, 2 from solar panels, and 3 drains: the skimmer, the low drain, and the overflow drain. I plug them all.

    I then disconnect the TigerFlex pipes from the skimmer, the main return, the low drain, the filter, the pump, and the solar panels. I have quick-connects at all points, sometimes as quick-connect ball valves. All the gaskets are coated in teflon grease and each sealed in a zip-lock bag that's marked with its location. The pipes are drained, rolled up and put in the basement.

    The pump and filter are disconnected from each other and the pump is drained and put in the basement, too.

    I remove the Multi-port valve from my sand filter and drain and clean it--sometimes I dis-assemble it if it's been tight and lube everything with teflon. I lube and seal the valve's big O-ring gasket just like the other gaskets. I drain the filter, leaving the drain open, put the travel/storage retainer in the top in place of the valve, and cover it with a contractor's trash bag. I duct-tape the bag at the neck and bottom to keep it tight without having to get the tape on the filter.

    I disconnect the solar panels and drain them, getting out my shop vac to blow them out as best I can. Since my panels are 4'x2' and I have about 30 of them, this year I'm going to remove the ones that have been leaking and see if I can repair them.

    The winter cover goes on, the chemicals and tools are stored, the gate is locked and I'm done. I check the water once a month to see if it's clear or too high, and syphon off some if it it is. It's always clear, too.

    Like Watermom, I have always opened to clear water, and a lot of dust/dirt/pollen on the bottom.

    So the procedure is similar to Watermom's, but a little different to meet my needs, which are a little different than hers.

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