Living in Texas means you can escape the polar vortex. And keep your swimming pool open all winter. Now you know why the snowbirds flock to Texas during the winter months.
With average temperatures in the 60s, extending the swimming season doesn’t take much effort.
People who live in colder states use a complete winterization program. They partially drain the pool, blow out pipes and lines, and plug the return and suction lines.
Pool owners in Texas don’t go to that extreme even if they don’t keep the pool open all year. But why not take advantage of the climate and take a dip on a winter day?
We’ve put together a swimming pool care guide especially for pool owners in Texas who believe in year-round swimming. Continue reading and keep your pool running smoothly all winter long.
Don’t put your swim trunks and your floaties away just yet!
Use a Pool Cover
Covering a pool in the winter saves you from skimming and vacuuming as often. You may not get leaves and grass in the pool like you do during the summer months, but you’ll still get your share of debris.
You have options when deciding on a pool cover.
If you have children, mesh pool covers reduce the chance of accidents. They also work well if you live in an area with high amounts of rainfall because the rainwater filters through the cover.
Install a leaf cover over the swimming pool’s safety mesh and prevent leaves, insects, and other winter debris from polluting the water. One caution with leaf covers—they don’t act as safety barriers.
Solar pool covers can help lower your heating costs. Finally, an automatic pool covers work two jobs. They keep heat in and people out. They’re also the most expensive option.
If you do cover the pool, take a peek during the week and check the water line.
Watch the Water Line
Whether you keep your pool open all winter or not, you should keep an eye on the water line.
The line where your water sits is a breeding ground for bacteria. During the summer months, that area gets more attention because you use the pool more often and have a more regular cleaning routine.
Keep the water line clean with a quick brush and scrub. Algae and bacteria can’t buildup if you keep the area clean.
Ice buildup can happen if temperatures outside dip below freezing. Brushing at the waterline moves the pool water around and prevents ice buildup.
Ensuring the pool pump runs properly also keeps ice from settling on top of the water.
Run Your Pool Pump
Understanding your pump and how it works is basic for swimming pool care.
Pool owners who don’t swim all winter lower the water level. If you keep water in your pool, the pump must run. For proper water circulation, the pump should run for 6-10 hours.
Also, even if you don’t use the pool every day running the pump on a regular basis ensures fluids and other lubricants don’t sit for extended periods inside the pump. Think of it like your car. You don’t leave a car sitting for months without starting it up, right?
That leaf cover we talked about earlier will help reduce the amount of time you run your pump. The less debris, the less pump time you need for circulating it through the filter.
Speaking of pump running time, if temperatures drop to 32°F, run the pump and keep it running. Water freezes at 32°F. Keep it moving!
Since no one hovers over the pool with a thermometer waiting for falling temperatures so that they can turn the pump on, how do you avoid damage from freezing when you’re not at home? Continue reading about your pool’s freeze protection system.
Guard Against Freeze Damage
Even if you don’t expect unseasonably cold temperatures, plan for them anyway. Protect your pool from freeze damage by installing a freeze protection unit.
A freeze protection unit is a device that circulates the pool water when temperatures fall below 38°F. A sensor measures outside air temperature and activates the pool pump if temperatures reach the threshold.
If your pool uses booster pumps or you have other water features like a waterfall, deck jets, or wall sconces, consider an advanced pool controller. Advanced pool controllers can turn on the other pumps and open closed valves if necessary.
Your pool company may advise winterizing your water features, especially if you have any constructed from rock. Fear of freeze damage is one aspect of swimming pool care and maintenance that prevents most owners from keeping a pool open during the winter.
Caution is always good but with the proper protection installed, why not swim when it’s cold?
Winter Pool Chemistry
No one enjoys sharing the pool with debris, insects, or algae. Keeping dirt and insects out is easy. Eliminating algae means regular water checks.
If you don’t keep your pool open year-round, you may not pay close attention to the chemical balance in the water. If you swim all winter, you can’t forget about good water balance (and shouldn’t even if you don’t)
You won’t need as much chlorine during the winter as you would during summer and if the water temperature stays in the 40°F range, you need even less.
During the summer when your pool gets more action you probably (hopefully) check the pool chemicals 2-3 times per week. During winter, a weekly check works.
Check the following:
- Chlorine levels
- Algaecide levels
- Cyanuric acid
If you don’t use a pool cover be aware that without protection, the pool water absorbs everything from the atmosphere. If you’re not checking water chemistry on a regular basis, you may find stains and scaling on the pool walls and floor due to poor water quality.
Need More Swimming Pool Care in Winter?
Hopefully, after reading our swimming pool care tips you can relax and enjoy the pool this winter. With less debris and fewer chemical checks, you should have more time for swimming and spend less time worrying.
Maybe you’re working too much or spend a considerable amount of time away from home during the winter months. That doesn’t mean you can’t look forward to a swim on the weekends.
With a pool cover, a freeze guard system, and routine checks for water chemical balance, your pool can give you hours of fun and relaxation year-round.
If you need more information about caring for your pool this winter, or if you’re ready for a new pool, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation.