Winterizing FAQ’s

I am excited to be writing my first blog for Schoenen Pool & Spa. I hope that this can be a place for gathering information and learning. Pools and hot tubs are a very enjoyable backyard feature, but can cause frustration and expense when not treated and managed correctly. It is our goal at Schoenen Pool & Spa to make pools and hot tubs fun, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. We hope that you, the customer, will contact us with any questions you may have.

Winterizing your pool:

Q: When should I close my pool?

A: There is of course no right or wrong time to close your pool, but generally when the fall leaves become hard to handle, this is a good time. Make sure when you close your pool you have a final professional water test. This will ensure your pool is properly balanced for the cold winter months. If pool water is too acidic meaning your total alkalinity is too low and pH too low, the pool liner can actually wrinkle under the weight of all the pool water. Removing these wrinkles will force a drain of the entire pool and will not guarantee that they will come out. Often irreparable damage occurs to liners from incorrect water balance. Having Alkalinity and pH too high during the winter can lead to scale damage. Don’t guess, test! It’s free of charge at Schoenen Pool & Spa.

Q: Do I have to close my pool?

A: No. Many people leave their pool open year round. If you can get through the leaf season, you are home free. In our climate algae will become dormant due to the cold water temperature. During the winter months you want to maintain water balance and maintain a mild to low chlorine level. You can choose to run your pool pump all day or use a timer to run the pump only at night when you have the greatest risk of freeze. A common myth is that chlorine and algicide will keep your pool from freezing. This is not true. As long as the water is moving it cannot freeze over. So don’t forget to run your pump!

Winter Covers:

Q: What kind of cover do I need for my pool?

A: There are three kinds of pool covers, water-bag style, Mesh safety, and Solid safety. Water bag covers come in different qualities. Always select a winter cover that has at least a 10-year warranty. This warranty often means that 2 years of the warranty are covered in full and the final 8 years are pro-rated. Make sure you always see a sample of the cover material before you purchase. You want to tug and pull on the material to see if it will separate or lose its shape. You DO NOT want a cover that with just a tug and pull will lose shape or separate. Mesh safety covers drill down to the concrete or wood decking surrounding your pool with brass anchors. These anchors screw down into the concrete when the cover is removed in the spring in order to prevent accidents like stumping toes. A mesh safety cover looks fantastic installed on the pool and creates a safer backyard for children and animals during the winter months. The downside to a winter cover is that it allows the rain water to seep through. When you open a pool with a mesh safety cover, it is frequently green with algae and the water balance is severely altered due to the rain water. A solid safety cover installs the same way, costs about the same as a Mesh safety and prevents all water from passing through. These covers come with an automatic cover pump that rests on top of the cover, automatically pumping away collected rain water. Safety covers although expensive, last for years and significantly reduce accidents.

Q: How do I cover my above ground pool?

A: Only drain your pool below the skimmer and plug your inlets lines. Make sure to use an expansion plug in the skimmer. (This is the same procedure as an inground pool). Since most above ground pools use connection hose instead of PVC pipe, make sure you have disconnected all your connection hoses and remove all plugs or drain caps for your pump and filter. Use air pillows in the center of the pool to elevate the cover. Air pillows are available in 4 x 4 or 4 x 8. The more you use, the less water that ponds in the center of the cover.

Q: Why should I use an expansion plug in the skimmer?

A: An expansion plug is a plug filled with air, threaded into the skimmer under the basket (basket removed for winter). As rain fills the skimmer during the winter and begins to freeze, the expansion of the freeze presses into the air filled bottle instead of expanded outward and busting the plastic of the skimmer housing. Expansion plugs last for years and can save you a great deal of money and aggravation!