A pool cover can help to prevent algae growth and debris from entering your pool. (Source: Leslies Poolmart Inc.)
* Based on a 2016-2020 American Community Survey of Raleigh, NC residents with a pool from https://www.census.gov/.
STEP 1: Do a deep clean – This is more than your average routine pool clean. Not only should you skim the water and remove any debris, but you should take a pool brush to every inch of the pool wall and floors and vacuum anything you knock up while brushing.
STEP 2: Balance your pool chemicals – Before you close your pool, your water chemistry needs to be spot on. Make sure you test and adjust all the necessary levels: alkalinity, pH, chlorine, and everything else you regularly keep tabs on.
STEP 4: Shock your pool – Your pool should already be super clean, but a chlorine shock treatment leaves little room for error, killing off any lingering bacteria and algae.
STEP 3: Protect against algae, staining, and scaling – One of the biggest challenges of pool winterization is keeping algae build-up in check. To give yourself a fighting chance, apply algaecide – along with stain and scaling chemicals – and let your pump run for a full 24 hours.
STEP 5: Add final winterizing chemicals – There’s one more step you need to take to prepare your pool water for the chilly Raleigh, NC winter: add a winter pill (a.k.a. a winter floater or winter sorb). These products dissolve in your pool over the course of several months, gradually releasing chemicals to sanitize and clarify the water, help prevent stains and scaling, and more!
STEP 6: Reduce your pool water level – Raleigh, NC temperatures don’t drop below freezing TOO often, but for the days that do, it’s still important to lower your pool’s water levels every winter. The water level should be 6 inches below the skimmer – or just 1 inch below the skimmer if you have a vinyl pool. Do NOT drain your pool entirely!
STEP 7: Drain & store pool equipment – Turn off your pool equipment and remove the plugs and drain caps from your filter, pump, heater, and chlorinator. This allows your equipment to drain completely. Don’t forget to remove your pressure gauge from your filter. Thoroughly dry the equipment that can be removed, and store it in a dry, cool place.
STEP 8: Remove & clean pool accessories – It’s almost time to cover your pool, but first, take out any ladders, rails, and other pool accessories. Clean them well, and store them with your other equipment.
STEP 9: Prevent damage to your plumbing – To protect your plumbing lines and pool equipment when Raleigh gets the occasional below-freezing chills, your pump, filter, and pipes need to be completely dry before you close. Use a pool air compressor or shop vacuum to blow out any remaining water.
STEP 10: Install the right pool cover – For the best results (and the easiest time opening your pool again in the spring), you’re going to want a solid pool safety cover. This not only guards against harmful wintry conditions, but it also prevents kids, children, and other bystanders from falling in by accident.
Winterizing your in-ground pool is a delicate process – especially when it comes to balancing water chemistry and drying out your pipes and equipment.
If you want to avoid the costs and hassle of cold weather damage (or simply don’t have the time to figure out pool winterization yourself), consider hiring a professional pool service company to handle closing procedures for you.