Common Winter Pool Problems and Tips to Prevent Them

Hot tub and pool area covered in snow

You’ve invested a lot of time and money in creating a safe, healthy pool for your family, and that means you want to protect it with the right winter pool chemicals, a winter pool cover for safety, and the right techniques to keep it protected through the cold winter months. As your local pool safety professionals in Northern California and Nevada, we’re happy to help you make sure you’re closing your pool the right way while making it easier on yourself when spring rolls around and it’s time to reopen your pool for fun in the sun once again. From algae bloom to water on your pool cover, let’s take a look at the challenges your pool faces as temperatures start to drop and how to make sure they’re managed before they turn into problems that impact the water in your pool, the swimming pool itself, or your family and loved ones who will be using it in the future. 

Closing Your Pool Too Early or Too Late

When you have a service area as large as ours, you have neighbors with very different fall weather experiences. That means we can’t give you an exact date to shut down your pool, but we can tell you what to look for. You never want to shut your pool down for the winter when temperatures regularly get above 65℉, and it’s best to wait until it is consistently below 50℉. You do not, however, want to risk having your pool still open and unprotected when the temperatures dip down into freezing territory. 

Swimming pool cleaning and chemical balancing set

When you close your pool, you use winter pool chemicals to keep it protected for an extended period of time. It’s not being used, and no one wants to stand out in frigid weather cleaning a pool that is months away from being your backyard oasis again. Higher temperatures are more conducive to the growth of bacteria and algae, the two main biological threats facing your pool. At higher temperatures, your pool chemicals work harder to keep these contaminants under control, and in the process, the chemical reactions burn through the carefully balanced ratios faster. This can leave your pool unprotected, allowing contamination to gain a foothold in your pool.

The water in your pool may protect it if it’s a brief time period, when a night that’s supposed to be 35℉ dips down to 31℉ in the wee hours of the morning, for example, but any hard or extended freezing temperatures risk expensive pool damage. Waiting to close your pool with winter pool chemicals and a winter pool cover leaves it more prone to temperature-related damage in areas that are both in and out of the water. 

Low Water And Leaky Plumbing

When water freezes in man-made structures, bad things can happen. Much of the pool winterization process for your pool is about preparing the water in your pool and the structures that usually hold the water so that freezing temperatures don’t cause damage. For the water, you use winter pool chemicals. For the structures, you remove enough water to keep swelling ice from bursting them. 

All pool equipment that actively moves water for your pool needs to either be set to a freeze guard timer that operates it periodically, keeping water flowing enough to deter ice formation, or needs to be drained if intermittent usage isn’t possible or practical. That’s why when you winterize your pool, you lower the water level below the skimmer basket level and drain pumps and lines before installing freeze plugs. This gets water out of your pipes and waterlines when they’re in the most danger.

While you removed some water, you do need to periodically check under your winter pool cover to make sure the level is staying constant. A water level that significantly or quickly drops may point to a leak in your pool, with water seeping into the surrounding ground. This increases the weight pushing against your pool walls making further damage likely, and groundwater also swells as it ices. Spotting this potential sign of trouble early and having it checked by a professional could save your pool and property along with the balance in your pocketbook.

Winter Pool Cover Problems

Blue winter pool safety cover installed on a swimming pool

Your winter pool cover works hard to protect your pool and family, so you want to protect it and keep it in good shape throughout the winter months. Anchored around the outside of your deck and stretched taut, this cover keeps out dust and debris while helping to provide an insulating layer of protection against the worst of winter’s ravages. It helps harness the heat from the sun, keeping your pool water warmer while preventing your winter pool chemicals from evaporating away. Most importantly, it is strong enough to hold the weight of a full-grown adult. While this definitely has benefits when holding up heavy snow and ice accumulation, it also keeps your loved ones safer by preventing unsupervised or accidental access to the pool’s frigid waters–a situation that proves deadly for thousands yearly.

One of the most common winter pool cover problems is debris, snow, ice, or water on the pool cover. Your pool cover is built to prevent these things from entering the water, but you definitely want to get them moved off the cover and away from the pool as soon as practically possible. Dirt, snow, loose ice, and accumulations of leaves and small branches can be gently swept off the surface of the cover. Larger branches and limbs, pool furniture, or other larger objects should be lifted and moved away to reduce the risk of a puncture or tear in your pool cover. Standing water can be removed with a pool cover vacuum, wet/dry shop vac, or a rubber-bladed squeegee so it doesn’t enter your pool, potentially introducing additional contaminants for your winter pool chemicals to contend with.

If your pool cover is damaged, it’s important to mend it as soon as possible. Fluctuating temperatures can cause additional stress on stitching and fabric, which is easily compounded when structural integrity has already been compromised by damage. Small tears may be able to be patched by your local Lifeguard on Duty pro, but larger tears may require a complete replacement to ensure your family and pool are protected. Whenever you need to clean off your winter pool cover, open it partially to check your pool’s water level, or just have a chance to inspect it between bouts of inclement weather, do a quick inspection of the anchor points, straps, and your pool cover material to make sure issues are found and managed quickly. 

Keeping Chill As Temperatures Cool

Whether you need help protecting your swimming pool or you’ve found an issue with your winter pool cover that needs professional assistance, we’re always right down the road. Our installers live in the communities they protect, ensuring you always have a Lifeguard on Duty pro a phone call away. They’ll come out and inspect your pool area, take any measurements, and give you a written quote that helps you understand your pool cover, net, and fence options. Protect your friends, family, and loved ones. Contact your Lifeguard on Duty local installer today.

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