I recently posted this on our blog at work. I thought you all might enjoy it as well.
5 Tips to Prevent Winter Damage to your Pool
Pool damage can be ugly and expensive! Use these simple tips to protect your pool.
Drain Rain and Snow Melt
Over the past few weeks we have had some big snows followed by warmer temps. With the potential for lower temps over the following weeks this is the most important thing you can do. For vinyl pools you can get water behind your liner or damage to the bead. If you have a gunite pool it’s even more crucial. If the water has risen to your tile line and refreezes it make crack or cause tiles to fall off. I recommend Little Giant pumps. See Tip #4.
Check Your Skimmers
Make sure your winterization device is holding up. People use lots of different methods to winterize skimmers. If you're unsure what was used they all serve one basic purpose. To crush under the pressure of the ice instead of cracking the plastic of the skimmer. If yours fails use a shop vac to completely drain skimmer. Then, using swimming pool antifreeze pour half gallon in skimmer. Recap the remaining half gallon and place in skimmer. Done!
Inspect Your Cover
The weight from almost 3 ft of snow can put quite a stress on your cover and it’s attachments. Visually inspect everything. Double check any water bags or lawn anchors. If your cover falls in the pool it can open you up to a host of problems. Best case is still weeks of cleanup in the spring.
Take Care of Your Cover Pump
Cover pumps are great tools to prevent damage during the winter but they can also be damaged by the freezing temps. To keep them in good shape you only need to do 2 basic things. Don’t let them run dry! They can deal with a lot more heat than most motors but they also use the water to cool themselves. 15 minutes of running dry no problem, 6 hours not a good idea. Also bring it in when you're done using it. Some contain switches to sense water level. These switches and other sensitive parts can be damaged if allowed to freeze.
Don't Forget Your Water
Over the winter your water will separate into layers. These layers can potentially have harmfully low (or high) PH and other balances. When your pool thaws use your cover pump to circulate the water. Remove the hose and drop it to the bottom of your deep end for (3) 12 hour cycles. This is also a great time to use a 60% Algaecide to help keep your water clean and clear.