Follow these steps for the best results

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(BPT) - As the temperatures start to drop, you know it’s getting to be that time again — pool closing time. If you live in an area that sees snow and freezing temperatures, it’s especially important to properly clean and prepare your pool for closing each year. Not only will it help protect your pool and equipment against damage during freezing weather, but it also ensures your opening next spring will be as effortless as possible.

When you're ready to close the pool for the season, follow these steps:

1. Check the thermometer

Make sure outside temperatures are consistently below 65 degrees Fahrenheit before you close your pool. Closing too early, when it’s still warm out, can use up available sanitizer quickly, leading to increased algae growth in your pool. Left unchecked, this will make it much harder and more costly to get your pool ready for swimming next spring.

2. Prep your pool water

To make the job easier, you can get a pool closing kit from Leslie's, which has all the chemicals you'll need to prepare for winter and help keep your pool cleaner throughout the colder months. If you're using a kit, carefully read and follow all product label instructions.

You'll need to complete a few tasks first before closing:

  • Add phosphate remover a week ahead of closing.
  • Clean the pool by skimming, brushing and vacuuming out debris.
  • Add winterizing chemicals, including stain/scale prevention and algaecide.
  • Test and balance the water chemistry. Leslie’s can help. Just bring in a water sample for a free in-store AccuBlue® 10-point water test and customized treatment plan to make sure your water is healthy.
  • Shock the pool to kill bacteria, control algae, and oxidize organic contaminants.
  • Run the pump and clean the filter. During and after adding chemicals, you'll want to run the pump for a complete 8+ hour cycle, then clean or backwash the filter before closing.

3. Winterize the plumbing and equipment

Once you know the water has been correctly treated, you can prep the plumbing and equipment for closing. Remember to turn off the power to your pool equipment first by flipping the switch at the breaker box. Lower water levels below the skimmer with a submersible pump. If available, refer to the pool builder's or manufacturer's instructions when deciding how much to drain from the pool. For most pools, this will be about 4–6 inches below the skimmer.

Next, remove drain plugs from the equipment, and evacuate the water from the pool lines with a blower tool or the air outlet side of a wet/dry vacuum. Finish up by adding winterizing plugs to the returns once all water is removed. It's a good idea to also add non-toxic pool antifreeze in the lines for extra protection against freezing temperatures. A Gizzmo or weighted plastic bottle will protect the skimmer against freeze expansion.

4. Finish closing and cover the pool

Covering your pool properly is essential, especially in areas of the country that experience a hard freeze. A pool cover helps keep out dirt and debris for an easier pool opening next spring. Solid covers also block out sunlight, which can help guard against a severe algae bloom.

  • Remove all non-permanent fixtures and accessories from your pool, including ladders, handrails or anything else that would come in contact with the cover. Don’t forget about toys, floats and pool cleaners that should be removed and stored for the winter.
  • Clean off the pool deck so nothing will fall onto the cover.
  • Prep any cover accessories you’ll be using, such as air pillows, cover cables, water bags or safety cover hardware.
  • Install the winter cover or safety cover on the pool.

Following these steps will help you properly and safely winterize your pool, which can make your spring pool opening that much easier. Or, if it makes sense for the region where you live, consider installing a pool heating system so you can swim in your pool even longer.

Questions? For help with completing your pool closing or to find any winterizing supplies you may need, visit LesliesPool.com. You can also check out Leslie's blog for more pool closing tips, or schedule an appointment with one of their certified service technicians to close the pool for you.

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