Making Your Pool Wonderful: A Pool Blog

What to do with your swimming pool over winter

by Jeanette Perez

As the winter months approach, not many people feel inclined to jump in their swimming pools. Many new homeowners are unsure of what to do with a pool over winter. Here are some of the options.

Ignore it

Some folks choose to simply ignore their pool chemistry over winter and instead leave it be. Pool chemicals can be used to 'bomb' it back into submission as the weather warms up. This can be unsightly so it's often a good idea to place a light cover over the pool for this time. While this is the easiest and cheapest option in the short term it can often cost more in the long term if you need to call a pool contractor to help get the pool back to swimmable conditions in spring. 

Run the pump on low each day

Another option is to run the pool filters on low for a couple of hours per night (on a timer) and continue to take regular tests of the pool chemistry with your normal pool testing equipment. You can then add pool chemicals as needed but these are likely to be at a much lower dosage without people swimming in the pool and overall lower ambient temperatures.  The exact amount of time you need to run your filter will depend on a number of factors including the size of the pool and the daily temperature. A pool contractor can often help you to set up a useful routine. This is often a more expensive option but has lower risks of having an out of control pool requiring a large repair bill when you start swimming again.  

Use a shutdown cover

It can be well worth it to buy a shutdown cover which locks tightly over the pool limiting both sunlight and oxygen. Without sunlight and oxygen bacteria can not breed, and by providing a tight seal you limit organic matter getting in the pool such as fallen tree leaves. It also helps keeps ducks and other waterfowl out of the pool if you live near the water. While initially expensive to purchase many people find air tight covers pay for themselves over time with lower running costs and repair costs. 

If you are unsure of what to do with your pool this winter it can often be a good idea to discuss the matter with a pool contractor, who can explain your options and make some sensible suggestions.