March weather in Maryland can be fickle. We might get a snowstorm one week, and…
Colder temperatures have arrived, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we’re settling in for what could prove to be a long winter. At this point, probably the last thing on your mind is pool maintenance. But contrary to popular belief, you should not just cover your pool and ignore it over the winter months. We’d like to provide you with some winter pool maintenance tips to help your inground pool survive unscathed, and be ready to open without problems come springtime.
We’re assuming you, or your pool maintenance company winterized and closed your pool. This included adding chemicals, blowing the water out of the plumbing lines, and installing your winter pool cover. If you don’t have a pool cover, keep in mind that you can install one now. It’s not too late.
While winter pool maintenance is not as involved as summer pool care, we recommend that you maintain three main areas:
- The pool cover
- The water level
- Pool chemistry
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip #1: Your Pool Cover
A sturdy winter pool cover keeps debris, small pets, migrating waterfowl, and curious children from getting into your pool. Not only does a pool cover provide safety, but it will help reduce the required time it takes to clean your pool and get it ready for pool opening in the spring.
If Maryland is about to get dumped on with lots of snow, open your pool safety cover. Most solid covers aren’t able to withstand heavy weight and will sink in the middle or pull away from the edges. You can close the pool cover after the snowstorm passes.
Rain and Snow Melt
If you have a mesh pool cover, rain and melted snow will drain through it into your swimming pool. If you have a solid winter cover, you will need to have a pool cover pump to get rid of standing water.
You should pump water off your solid pool cover for two reasons:
- Many pool covers will collapse if too much water collects.
- If you allow water and debris to collect, it will all get dumped into the pool in the spring when you open the cover. Gross. That negates a major benefit of the cover in the first place.
You know how every once in a while we get a gloriously warm day in Maryland in January or February? It’s amazing. But for your pool? Not so much.
Algae multiply like crazy in warm and dark conditions. If the temperature rises into the 60s, open your pool cover to prevent algae growth.
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip #2: Maintain the Water Level
Heavy rain and snowmelt can make the water level in your pool go up. A few inches is nothing to worry about. After all, you winterized and plugged the plumbing lines. But if the water level is high enough that you’re really concerned, call a pool care pro. DO NOT attempt to drain water from the pool yourself. You could damage your pool, or void the warranty, or both.
Conversely, if the water level falls too low, it could cause your pool cover to collapse. Keep the water 3-12” below the skimmer level. More than 12” below the skimmer will cause problems.
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip #3 Maintain Proper Pool Chemistry
Believe it or not, maintaining proper pool water chemistry in the winter can give you a head start to a sparkling clean pool in the spring. Test your pool water chemistry weekly, and make adjustments based on the results.
Call the Pool Care Pros with Questions
If you have questions or concerns about how your inground pool is dealing with Old Man Winter, call your pool care company. While winter is a slower time for most inground pool companies, they should have someone who answers the phone and can either help you over the phone, or send a pool care technician out to take a look at the problem.