We all know that spectacular Summer pools are maintained in the Winter! Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to to do just that:
Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Winterize Your Pool
1. Balance the water
The pool pH level needs to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Taking a sample of pool water to your local pool shop will tell you exactly what the pH is or you are easily able to test it yourself by using test strips or a test kit. If the level is not correct, add the appropriate dosage of acid to bring the pool to the correct level.
Algae loves high pH, so by keeping your pH levels just right, this will keep the green water away!
For more information, here's an in-depth guide on How To Test And Fix Pool Water.
2. Maintain the pH and Total Alkalinity levels
Total Alkalinity (the measure of the ability of your pool or spa water to resist changes in the pH) is the overseer that keeps the pH of your water where it needs to be. If your buffering capabilities are too low (low alkalinity), your pH levels can swing drastically from highs to lows. Increase alkalinity by adding Buffer.
3. Keep your phosphates low
Leaves in your pool? We’re here to help! Phosphate is Algae food. If debris such as leaves, gum nuts or sticks are not cleared quickly through either the skimmer, manually scooping, vacuuming, or your pool cleaner, they’ll settle on the bottom, start to break down and cause your phosphates to rise. High phosphate levels = low sanitisation levels, because sanitisers such as chlorine can’t do its best job. The best way to fix this is a simple chemical called phosphate remover.
4. Use a copper based algaecide
Copper is a natural killer of algae, so by adding a copper based algaecide to your pool regularly (3-4 times per year) will keep any algae blooms at bay. Keep your pool water sparkling and clear the whole year round!
5. Bring in the garbage man for your pool
After you kill any type of algae, it’s going to be floating around as tiny particles in your pool water, along with many other tiny waste particles from humans, pets, or animals that land in your pool. Your filter will pick up most of these, but for what’s left over, there’s Oxy fresh. Oxy fresh is a chemical that is like the garbage man for your swimming pool water. It clings to and eliminates any left over waste particles in your pool, keeping it sanitised and healthy to swim in.
Hot Tip: As a rule of thumb for a 40,000-60,000L residential pool, adding 1L of phosphate remover, 1L of algaecide and 1 sachet of Oxyfresh to your pool 3-4 times per year alongside your usual sanitization (chlorine) and pH control (acid) will keep all of your levels in check for happy and healthy pool water!
6. Clean the pool!
It’s important to brush the walls and floor of the pool and then to vacuum the whole pool thoroughly. Algae thrives in unclean water, so don’t forget to clean the skimmer baskets and the pump baskets of debris. Also, if you don’t already have one, a pool cleaner is great for the job as opposed to manually vacuuming!
Don't know how to start cleaning? We've made a comprehensive guide on how to manually vacuum a pool just for you!
7. Clean the filter
Ensure that the pool’s filter is sparkling clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over the Winter and make the filter harder to clean in the warmer months, not to mention reducing its overall efficiency.
Take your cartridge out and give it a good hose down. Rule of thumb is to clean your cartridge once every 2 weeks. Need a new one? You can see our range of replacement cartridge filter elements.
Hot Tip: If you are after a thorough clean, soak your cartridge in a tub of clean water (just enough to cover your cartridge) with about 250g of our specially formulated Zodiac Filter Cleaner for 12 hours (giving it a nice shake after the six-hour mark) and your filter should be as good as new with a thorough rinse with a garden hose after.
Don't know which size to get? Here's a quick guide on how to measure your cartridge filter.
Cleaning Sand Filters:
Give it a good backwash. Rule of thumb is to backwash once every 2 weeks. Chances are you'll notice that the water that comes out during the backwash is very brown and dirty, this means that you should be doing it a bit more often! Let that backwash run for 2 minutes or until the backwash water turns clear. Set the handle back to filter and you're good to go.
For a more comprehensive guide on backwashing your sand filter, make sure to check out this guide we call, you guessed it, How to backwash your filter.
8. Clean your salt cell (if you have a chlorinator)
As a rule of thumb, salt cells should be cleaned every 3-4 months to help it live its longest life! You’ll probably see some white calcification building up on the plates of your cell.
How to clean your salt cell:
- This is done by mixing 1/10 of acid to water (a tub/bucket filled with 90% water and 10% acid).
- Hold onto the top of your cell, and gently lower the plates into the solution for 4-5 minutes.
- Rinse the salt cell plates with water and re-fit to your chlorinator.
Is your salt cell acting up? You might need a new one. Shop Salt Cells here!
As always, please always be careful when handling any type of chemicals, including acid! Ensure it does not splash up or make contact with you in any way shape or form.
How long should a salt cell last? Check out the linked article to find out the answers.
9. Check chlorine levels
To keep your pool clean and clear, it’s important to keep your pool’s free available chlorine levels at a constant level of 2-3 PPM (parts per million) at all times during winter. If you’re using a salt water chlorinator, turn it to about 60-70% output.
Chlorine levels low? Learn more on how to raise chlorine levels.
10. Run the filter
The pool’s filter should operate for three to four hours each day. If you’re using a timer, adjust it to suit. Remember if you switch the filter on during off-peak periods, you can save money.
11. Keep up your maintenance schedule
Once you’ve completed your preparation for Winter, it’s imperative that you stick to a maintenance schedule even though it’s cold and the pool is not being used. Once a week do a quick visual inspection of your pool and make sure all of your equipment is working properly, check the water level, empty the skimmer basket and pump basket and check your chlorine and pH levels.
What is a good chemical pack to use in my pool?
We've gathered everything you need and made a nice neat bundle for all your winterizing needs. This Zodiac Winterizer Chemical Bundle consisting of Phosphate remover, Algaecide and Clarifyer is everything you need to maintain your pool through the winter so it is ready to use when the warmer weather comes around again. These chemicals alongside your regular sanitisation (chlorine) and pH maintenance (acid and buffer) will keep your pool sparkling whole year round:
Bonus Tip: Install a Salt Water Generator
Although your pool won't be seeing much action during the winter months, it's still real important to maintain our chlorine levels to ensure that our algae won't take root and any bacterial growth is eliminated before it starts! Installing a salt water generator will virtually eliminate the need to manually check and raise your chlorine levels during the winter months. Our best bang-for-the-buck model, the Water TechniX Atomic Salt and Mineral Chlorinator is more than enough for the job, but only for a few hundred dollars more, you can go for a more complete system with the Vapure VP35 which automatically controls your pump for you as well! Making your winter pool maintenance tasks as hands-free as possible! For more information, you can check out our complete writeup of the Crystal Aquatic Vapure Salt and Mineral Chlorinator here.
If in doubt or if you need help, Mr Pool Man's technicians are available to provide advice and service.
For other in depth-guides on how to keep your pool in top condition, check out the following listings and articles:
All of our Pool Maintenance articles in one place!
A complete listing of all the Pool Chemicals you'll ever need!
Not ready to throw in the towel yet? Extend your swimming season with the use of a pool heat pump!
Note: This blog is a rough indication of advice for an average sized pool and average dosing recommendations. Mr Pool Man always recommends getting your water tested by a pool professional before adding any type of chemicals for your own safety, or giving us a call on 1300-511-901 or contacting us if you are unsure.
Mr Pool Man does not take any responsibility for incorrect dosages. Just give us a call or an e-mail and we'll be happy to help you figure out the correct dosages for your pool!
Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.
Happy swimming :)