How Does Winter Affect Your Swimming Pool?

How Does Winter Affect Your Swimming Pool?

Snowy street scene

Can you believe it’s nearly December already? Like it or not, this year has flown by, and now many Cincinnatians are preparing for the cold winter months ahead. They’ve pulled out their winter coats, stocked up rock salt, and closed up their swimming pools for the season.

So, when it comes to pools, do you know why you have to take these precautionary measures? Why don’t you just cover up the pool and wait until spring – or better yet, drain it entirely? The answer lies with the elements and how they affect your pool from December to February.

pool drained of water

Can I Just Drain It?

If you have a particularly large pool (or you are a teen eager to master some skateboard tricks), you’ve probably considered completely draining your pool. At first blush, this might seem like the simplest way to keep your pool in tip-top shape during the winter. You don’t have to worry about the pool freezing over or any algae that could sprout before you open up the pool again. Everybody wins, right?

Actually, pool experts agree that leaving a little bit of water in your swimming pool is actually beneficial when it comes to the cleanliness of your pool. Most pool owners test their pool water for optimal pH levels before they drain it, and that means that your water should be already balanced when you return to it in the spring. Draining the pool completely means starting fresh in the springtime, which raises your risk for unbalanced pool water.

Of course, you will have to prepare your pool water for their months of stagnant waiting. Pool antifreeze and algaecide are only a few clicks away at a swimming pool supplies online shop – make sure you use them! Proper pool levels in the winter are the key to getting you back in the pool quickly once the weather warms up.

outdoor pool covered with snow

Can I Leave It Alone?

This option is less popular (it gets too cold in The Queen City for a year-round pool), but there may be a few folks out there who simply don’t want to bother with draining their swimming pool. Trust us, this is not the way to go – whatever convenience you get in the short term will not make up for the damage you’ll be repairing a few months down the road.

We all know that as winter sets in, the temperature drops. The colder it gets, the more likely your pool water is to freeze – a destructive and costly situation. Remember, freezing water expands, and that can lead to burst or cracked filters, pumps, and valves. If you simply leave your pool to wait out the winter, you could be starting your spring or summer break by calling a repairman.

What if this winter doesn’t get freezing cold; wouldn’t the pool be just fine? Not exactly. Wind and rain can contaminate your pool, too. The wind blows in particles like dust, algae, and phosphates that can quickly contaminate your water. Leave it there all winter long, and you’ll have a massive clean up job on your hands. Similarly, the rain can affect pH levels and increase the acidity of the water. If you or your family aren’t careful, the first springtime swim could be one that leaves their skin rather irritated.

So What Do I Do?

The steps for closing your pool are relatively simple. First and foremost, make sure that your water is pH balanced. Then, drain the water down to below the skimmer opening and drain your equipment (don’t risk a busted filter). Add anti-freeze and algaecide if necessary, then cover your pool until spring comes again!

Owning a pool is a lot of fun, but it also means regular work and upkeep. Thankfully, supply stores in Cincinnati, and even stores online, are available to provide you with the right chemicals and tools you need to keep your pool clean and protected all winter long. You can enjoy the holiday season and cold, cuddly weather without worrying about your pool – and when May comes around, you’ll be able to dive back in!

Author Bio: Keith Salvador is a freelance writer from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He has over 15 years experience in pool care and installation, starting with his summer job at the local YMCA. He’s used his expertise to teach friends, local businesses, and online swimming pool supply shops the keys to perfect pool maintenance.