In my service area, we keep our pools open all year long so in the winter months the pools on my route need service just like in the summertime with a few differences. The pool water is much colder and the weather can be very windy and rainy leading to all kinds of issues.
Contrary to what you may think, scale forms easier in colder water and if you don’t keep on eye on your pH and Alkalinity and you live in a region like mine with very hard water, the scale in the pool can quickly get out of hand. On the flip side, this is a great time of year to actually work on reducing the scale build up in your pool and stains. Products like Easy Care ScaleTec work great at reducing the scale and I do most of my scale treatment in the winter. With the water being so cold you can keep a very low chlorine level which generally helps all of the scale and stain products.
One thing that we must deal with in the Winter is the weather and the wind and rain can be an issue. The Santa Ana Winds will blow in my area from October through February and these winds can reach gust up to 60 mph making a real mess of the pools. You need to be very proactive when it comes to leaves and dirt in your pool. The leaves from the wind can easily clog your skimmer and pump basket causing your pump to work very poorly. If left unchecked your pump can even burn out due to lack of water flow. So be ready to scoop out the leaves and empty the skimmer and pump baskets.
Any dirt that gets in the pool from the wind or rain should be vacuumed out quickly to avoid any staining. If you leave dirt in the pool for long periods of time, metal in the soil could cause stains on the pool surface. I recommend getting a good automatic cleaner or be ready to manually vacuum your pool when needed. The bottom line is that even though it is the middle of Winter and no one is using the pool, you still need to clean it regularly. In fact, your pool may be dirtier in the Winter than in the Summer in most cases.
If your area gets excessive rain you may notice that the pool may overflow with water. In most cases, the pool water is safe and won’t do any damage if you have sufficient drains around the pool deck. If the water overflows and it looks like it will enter your house or do other types of property damage you will need to get a Sump Pump and have it ready to drain some of the water from the pool.
You will notice that in really cold water the pool chemicals will stay very constant and you will not be adding much chlorine, acid or base to the pool. Generally, in water temperature, less than 65 degrees the pool’s salt system will also stop operating. At this point simply switch to liquid chlorine and use that as your primary sanitizer. Typically in colder water, one gallon of liquid chlorine will hold a good chlorine level for 2 to 3 weeks or more.
If you service your pool in the winter the water can be bone-chilling cold so wearing the proper gloves is essential. I like the Atlas 772 Nitrile Coated Gloves which as 25-inch-long and will protect your hands from the cold water while emptying the skimmer basket and cleaning the pool.
If you have an automated system or a stand-alone VS pump you may notice the pool turning on at odd hours in the night and at unscheduled times. These systems have a Freeze Mode or Freeze Protect Mode so when the air temperature gets below 37 degrees the pump will turn on. This is to prevent the pipes from freezing but in most areas where we do not get freezing temperatures this feature is more of an annoyance. You can’t disable the feature so to prevent the pool from running all the time I suggest switching the pool’s start schedule to the coldest point of the night, usually, Midnight to 8 am. That way the pump is set to run anyway at that time and won’t be running all night and then the regularly scheduled runtime.
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