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February in Maryland can bring lots frigid temperatures and heavy snow. In addition to running to the store for bread and milk, or clearing the driveway, you need to remember to take care of your inground pool as well. We’ve put together some winter pool maintenance tips to help you. Following Tips 1-3 can help prevent winter damage to your pool.
We’re writing this assuming that you or your pool maintenance company closed your pool for the winter the right way. You winterized the plumbing lines, pump, etc.
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip #1: Pool Covers
Winter pool covers help keep debris, small pets, birds, and curious children from getting into your pool. But you need to take some steps to keep your pool cover in good shape.
What to Do if it Snows
If we’re about to get dumped on with lots of snow, you may want to open your pool cover. Many pool covers aren’t able to stay tight under heavy weight, and will sink in the middle or pull away from the edges after a heavy snow. You can close the pool cover after the snowstorm passes.
If you keep the pool cover closed, you may want to check out our blog on how to clear snow off your pool cover.
Dealing with Rain and Snow Melt
Rain and melted snow will drain through a mesh pool cover into your pool. If your pool cover is a solid safety cover, you will need to have a pool cover pump to get rid of standing water. Doing so will prevent the pool cover from collapsing. It will also help you avoid dumping brackish water into your pool when you remove the cover in the spring.
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip #2: Maintain the Water Level
The water level in your pool can rise with heavy rain and snow melt. A few inches is nothing to panic about. But if the water level is close to overflowing your pool, call a pool maintenance pro. . DON’T try to drain water from the pool yourself. You could damage your pool, or void the warranty, or both.
But if the water level falls too low, your pool cover could collapse. You need to keep the water 3-12” below the skimmer level. A water level that is more than a foot below the skimmer will cause a collapse.
Winter Pool Maintenance Tip#3 Monitor the Pool Chemistry
It might seem strange, but testing your pool water chemistry and adjusting it as called for can help give you a head start to a sparkling clean pool in the spring. Test your pool water chemistry and add chemicals as needed to balance the pool chemistry.
Report Pool Damage to Your Pool Care Company
If you had a professional winterize and close your pool, call them if you notice problems. Common winter damage can include:
If you didn’t thoroughly drain the pool plumbing and water was left inside the pipes, it will freeze. That can result in burst pipes. If you had a pool maintenance company close your pool, you need to notify them of what happened.
Cracked Pool Tile
As long as you winterized your inground pool correctly, and keep the water level below the tile line, the tile should not be affected by freezing water. Freezing water at the tile can crack the tile. Damaged tile will need to be replaced once the weather warms sufficiently.
Damaged Pool Cover
A mesh pool cover will eventually freeze to the pool water. This is normal. The mesh cover will sink a bit, but will go taut again once the water thaws. If your pool cover rips or totally collapses into your pool, you may need to replace it midwinter. Call your pool company for advice.
And take heart! The warmer weather of April and May is just around the corner.