First a little in the way of Why?
If you are new to pools, you may not know this but there are two great reasons to have your pool properly closed. First and I’d wager most important – to keep expensive bits from breaking due to water freezing in them. Second is to keep it clean – this makes opening the pool next year much easier.
Closing a swimming pool is a little bit more involved that opening a pool because of the need to blow the lines out and cap them off, but it is by no means hard to do.
You will need the following tools / supplies to do the job:
1. Air compressor or blower of some sort, a shop vacuum with a blow port that you can hook up the vacuum hose to works fine. They make specialty blowers for this. They are cool, but not necessary. I just picked up a Ridgid Shop Vac model#wd4522 and it works great! On some fittings the hose end is a little small to make a tight fit so I wrapped some duct tape around it and it works great. Not to mention I saved like $250- $300 vs. the “pro” pool blower.
2. Depending on the type of wall fittings your pool has you may need a tool to remove these. There are as many tools as types of fittings.
3. A big set of channel lock pliers to undo the unions from the pool equipment. You may be able to do this with your bare hands.
4. You may need a pump to remove some pool water if the pool is not already plumbed to do this. I like to drain the pool water to just below the skimmer. I know that most people just leave the water level as is and there is an argument for that as well. Actually I will write a whole blog article in the future on this topic.
5. A plug for the skimmer - one popular model is called a Gizzmo. Make sure it is in perfect working order. Any cracks or holes in the Gizzmo are a no go. Do not try to fix it, this is false economy. You will spend more later if disaster strikes. Teflon tape is great to use on the threads.
6. Plugs for your water returns and any other lines such as spa jets, vacuum line etc...
7. Winter pool cover. There are many to chose from, just pick one and use it. I prefer automatic covers. Yet another blog article in itself.
8. Pool Antifreeze, wanna use RV antifreeze instead? Go ahead, just make sure that it is made of Proplyene Glycol. Never use the stuff that goes in your car.
Once you have all of the supplies and tools that you need out you are ready to go. If this is your first time attempting this just remember. The main thing that we are trying to avoid here is your equipment or plumbing having water in it at a level that will cause the pipes or equipment to freeze. The frost line where I live is 48" anything below that should be fine, so removing the suctions on a 6' deep pool is probably not needed and I’m not going down there anyway. But blowing out the line is.
1. Get your water right – yes all of it. You need your PH, Total Alkalinity and hardness balanced. This is especially helpful if you have a vinyl or gunite pool. Pools with the aquaguard gel coat are much tougher and can deal with slightly out of wack water. But other pools will fade and / or stain.
2. Add a winterizing chemical kit, and follow the directions. When it says use hot water and mix it in a bucket first – do yourself a favor and do just that. The floating balls are junk. Also, Chlorine / Bromine tabs – umm no. They will just land somewhere and stain the area.
3. Drain some water out, I like to go about 2” under the bottom of the skimmer opening.
4. Start blowing out the lines. There are a few different ways here. If my pump has a small threaded plug on it at the bottom you may be able to remove this plug and thread on an air tool fitting. I like this method because it is super simple. The down side is that you can over pressure the line and create a DISASTER. On second thought, maybe a shop vac is better.
5. Force air through the lines and while they are bubbling cap them off. When you cap off the skimmer use the Teflon tape to help the threads seal. Remove excess water in the skimmer with the shop vac. Make sure your shop vacuum can handle water and that you followed the instructions to make it ready for water
6. Drain & clean your equipment, remove chemicals from any feeders. If it is practical take your equipment and put it inside for the winter.
7. Cover your pool to keep debris out and lock the gate.