Close or Not to Close Your Pool for the Winter: All Your Questions Answered

Posted by Blue Haven Pools on 10/04/2021

pool with snow around it

Winter is coming: will you close your pool? It’s a personal decision that all homeowners must make for their own pools. There are pros and cons to each side of the issue, and your decision will depend on many factors, including your location and the type of pool system you have. Here are some facts to consider in making your decision.  

Should you empty the pool?  

One thing that’s not recommended is completely emptying the pool. Many pool owners think that emptying the pool before winter can keep them from having to maintain it or cover it, but that’s simply not true. The way that pools are designed, they depend on the weight of the water to hold them in place. When the water is removed, the soil under and around the pool can freeze, thaw, and shift, and your pool will suddenly be out of its proper place. Rather than draining the pool entirely, if you live somewhere that frequently experiences temperatures below freezing, you should drain the pool four to six inches below the skimmer. One caveat: if your pool is fiberglass, don’t lower the waterline under the skimmer, or you could void the warranty.  

Should you keep your pool open?  

This brings us back to the question, should you close your pool for winter? If you don’t close it, you might think that you’ll have to spend tons of money and energy maintaining it all winter. It may surprise you to learn, then, that this is actually not true. While it’s true that you will need to use both chemicals and electricity during the winter months, this may be offset by the fact that you don’t need to purchase a cover. What’s more, when you keep your pool open all year, you won’t have to spend as much money on chemicals in the spring getting it back into swim-worthy shape. As a result, you’ll get to spend time enjoying your pool while those who closed their pool for winter may find themselves dealing with algae and other issues.  

You will, of course, have to keep up with maintenance if you keep your pool open. Throughout the winter, you’ll have to balance the water, clean the filter, and maintain the pool equipment. You won’t necessarily have to use as many chemicals as you did in the spring and summer, though, as cooler temperatures help preserve the chemicals in your water, allowing them to go further and last longer. You’ll lose less chlorine and water through evaporation, so you may not need to run your pump as much. The fall season might be labor-intensive as leaves and debris make their way into your pool. Is that a good enough reason to close your pool? That’s a question only you can answer.  

It’s important to understand temperature threshold of your pool system. Most salt systems don’t work under a certain temperature and the same is true of heat pumps. This may not be a problem, as the pool water doesn’t need as much sanitation in the cooler temperatures. However, you’ll need to test your pool water regularly to maintain a proper balance in the water. If you’re not sure how your pool will fare when it’s cold outside, talk to our pools experts before making your decision about closing it or keeping it open.  

Frozen pool lines can be a problem if a pool is kept open. However, this is largely preventable. If you keep your pump on, you can maintain a constant flow of water that will help prevent your lines from freezing and your pipes from bursting. There’s also the option of purchasing a freeze protection pool timer. This kind of timer turns on the pump and heater when the temperatures outside drop below a certain point. It’s important to note, though, that these freeze protection systems aren’t meant to withstand long periods of sub-freezing temperatures. If you live somewhere that stays below freezing for much of the winter, you may be better off closing your pool.  

Is closing the pool a better option for you?  

If you don’t want to bother with your pool during the winter, closing it may be the best thing to do. That’s a perfectly viable choice, as long as you know how to close a pool for winter. Winterizing your pool incorrectly can cause problems, so before you close it, follow these steps: 

  • Brush, shock, sanitize, and balance, adding algaecide and metal remover as needed 
  • Vacuum the pool bottom and clean the filter 
  • Let the chemicals circulate and filter for 24 hours 
  • Lower the water level as needed 
  • Tend to the pump and filter system, removing plugs and water and any heating elements like a heat pump 
  • Blow out and plug the plumbing lines, using an air compressor, and plug the skimmer 
  • Remove ladders or handrails 
  • Cover the pool and secure the cover 
  • Clean the saltwater generator. 
  • Winterize the heater 
  • Turn off electrical components 

Ofcourse, you can always opt to have a professional pool service do the winterizing for you if this seems too labor-intensive. However, if you’re thinking, “I know how to close my inground pool for winter, I just need to know the best time to close my pool for winter!” here are some guidelines.  

When should you close the pool?  

Again, this depends largely on location. If you close the pool too early, when the weather is still warm, you run the risk of running out of the winterizing chemicals before spring. This could mean a pool full of algae when you take off the cover. On the other hand, if you wait too long to close it, a winter storm could knock out your power while the temperature is below freezing, which can wreck your pipes. We recommend you close it when the temperatures are consistently below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Contact Blue Haven Pools Today  

Whether you want to install your dream pool or you need help maintaining the pool you already have, you can depend on Blue Haven Pools to help with all your swimming pool needs. We’re Oklahoma’s premier provider of custom inground pool designs, and we even offer features like sun shelves, rock waterfalls, pool fountains, beach entries, pool mosaics, and much more. We’ll install your decking and pool, and help you find the right supplies and chemicals to keep it beautiful and clear. With over 30 years of experience, we’ve got resources and knowledge to provide your perfect poolContact Blue Haven for more information or call 405-817-1946 today!