Unlike the rest of the world (or a majority at least) where they have to worry about their pipes freezing and other specialized winterizing chemicals, we here in Australia are blessed to have (reasonably) mild winters. Although we don’t have quite the amount of winterizing tasks that our friends up north have, we still have a lot of things to keep in mind during the off-season. Here are some of the most important things we have to do to maintain our swimming pools during the winter.
Balancing our pool chemicals BEFORE winter
A week leading up to closing your pool for the season, you should already be starting to balance your pool’s chemical levels to as close to the optimal levels as possible.The reason we do this is that we want our pool chemical levels to remain as stable as possible during the winter months. By keeping our pool chemical levels stable (especially pH) we’re preventing things like staining, algae growth, and scaling, all things that may prevent us from opening our pool early in the coming summer or even delaying us from enjoying our pool once winter is over!
For a more complete guide on what to do before winter comes, check out our complete winterization guide here.
Testing and Balancing pool chemicals during winter
Although not as much as during the summer months, we will still need to test and balance our pool water over the winter months to prevent algae growth which may delay our pool opening when summer rolls in. Remember, even if we’re not using the pool, there’s still the risk of algae growth when our chlorine levels drop below the effective range of 1ppm to 3ppm. Testing and balancing our water once a week or once every two weeks should be more than enough to ensure that algae growth is kept in check during the winter months.
Running the pool pump during the winter
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a lot of different answers when it comes to running the pool pump during the winter. For us, the best way to go about it is to run your pump daily, ensuring that all of your pool water is turned over at least once every day. How long? That depends on your pump capacity and pool size, as a good rule of thumb, 4 to 6 hours a day should be enough to filter your pool water and circulate all of the chemicals during the winter months. For a more accurate estimate, you can check out this post where we answer the question: How long should I run my pool pump every day?
Continue your regular pool cleaning regimen
Do you have a schedule for skimming and scooping out debris from your pool? Continue it during the winter months! Leaves and other debris left in your pool not only causes staining on your pool surfaces but also provides food to algae in the form of phosphates. You’ll not only be preventing staining and starving algae, but keeping your pool water free of debris also protects your pool chemical levels from wild swings.
Bonus Tip: Getting a robotic pool cleaner to handle your cleaning regimen can spell the difference between keeping our pool clean during the winter months, and just letting it stay dirty because we’d rather keep warm and toasty rather than stand outside in chilly weather skimming and scrubbing our pools.
Maintain your pool water levels
Even though it doesn’t feel like it, the sun is still out in full force during Australian winters. With the reduced rainfall during the winter months, evaporation of pool water still happens and we can still expect a few inches of water loss over the months. Allowing the water level to drop below your skimmer levels can lead to a whole range of problems, especially your pool pump. If you don’t want to think about your water levels during the winter months, installing an automatic leveling device can easily keep your water levels in check not only during winter, but the whole year round!
Sounds like too much work!
Does it all sound like too much work to maintain your pool over the winter? You can always extend your swimming season with the use of a good pool heat pump and keep on using your pool during the off-season! If a pool heat pump is out of the picture due to budget constraints, then your next best option is to get a good solar pool cover. Not only will a good pool cover extend your swimming season by up to a month (or more depending on your location) but it will keep debris out of your pool, reducing the need to skim and clean your pool during downtime.
Need help in fitting for a pool cover? Check out our ultimate pool covers guide for more information.
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Happy swimming :)