Three Costly Pool Closing Mistakes

There’s always confusion when it comes to the best ways to close your pool for the year. Should you drain it or leave it alone? Are pool covers worth the money? As you’re hustling to get the rest of your property ready for winter, it’s easy to make mistakes or overlook details. Here are three of the most common mistakes people make as they winterize their pools.

Is your swimming pool ready for the winter? Photo Credit: Flickr

Is your swimming pool ready for the winter? Photo Credit: Flickr


Pool Closing Mistake 1: Skipping the Pool Cover

People often avoid covering their pool for the winter because pool covers are an additional cost. However, an uncovered pool will cost you far more over the span of a few short years than a simple pool cover.

For one thing, an uncovered pool will become a catch-all for leaves and debris. Those leaves will spend all winter stewing away in the bottom of your pool. In the spring, you’ll be welcomed with a nasty, sludgy mess. You’ll spend hours shoveling rotten leaves out of your pool, and the grime is likely to leave your pool stained. That means an expensive pool opening in the spring, or possibly even a new liner to make your pool look fresh.

A cover can protect your liner from the elements, too.  Floating chunks of ice, branches, and other sharp objects can make it into the pool over the winter, which can cause liner cuts and tears.  A cover can collect those things on top and keep them away from the liner itself.  Also, year round sun exposure can reduce a liner’s lifespan.  Covering the liner can prevent it from becoming brittle and fading too soon.


Pool Closing Mistake 2: Draining the Pool

To some people, it makes sense to drain the pool for the winter. After all, wouldn’t a giant block of ice do some kind of damage? The Arizona Department of Water Resources says otherwise. Pools very rarely need to be drained completely.

If you have a vinyl-lined above-ground pool, leaving it full for the winter will protect the vinyl liner from shrinkage and other damage. Since these pools are above ground level, keeping them full ensures that the wind will not damage the walls, liner, or frame.

While in-ground pools are fairly safe from wind, they do present their own challenges. As temperatures dip, the ground freezes and expands, putting pressure on your pool’s walls from the outside. The weight and force of the water inside your pool counteracts the pressure from the ground outside your pool. In other words, a drained in-ground pool has the potential to crack – or in extreme cases, cave in – when the ground freezes!


Pool Closing Mistake 3: Ignoring the Dangers of Snow, Ice and Giant Leaf Piles

So you’ve left your pool full of water and put the cover on – that should keep it safe over the winter, right? Not necessarily! You’ll still need to protect your pool from ice, and your pool cover from leaves, snow and other heavy debris.

Here are some helpful closing tips:

  • Take care to pump excess water off of the cover as it collects.  A little water is advised, as it keeps the cover from whipping in the wind, but too can put intense pressure on the straps and pool rails.
  • Sweep or shop vac off leaves as they collect on top of the cover.  Not only can they add to the weight of the cover, but they can cause the collected water to become swampy.
  • Use a Gizmo ice compensator so that if your water freezes, the ice will squeeze inward on the Gizmo rather than outward on the pool walls.

These three mistakes are some of the most common that people make year after year. If you skip one of these steps, your pool isn’t likely to suffer catastrophic damage. However, the cleanup and repair process will end up costing you more than proper maintenance, and it will be yet another item on your already long spring to-do list!

If  you’re thinking about a hot tub for the winter season, be sure to check out our new hot tub selection in our Moore, Oklahoma showroom.