EOnce Labor Day has passed, the weather begins to cool and the leaves start to fall, pool owners naturally begin to think about when they plan to close their pool for the winter season. There are many questions surrounding this process including when is the best time to close a pool, and what pool company should you trust with this important task.

To help us answer some of the most essential pool questions, Mark Murphy of Blue Diamond Pool Services (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) joins us to provide his expert input. Take a look!

Guide us through the basic process of closing a gunite swimming pool for the winter season.

Blue Diamond Pool Services: When we close a swimming pool at least two service technicians will arrive onsite. One technician will work pool side while the other focuses on the equipment pad. While working pool side we will clean the pool one final time and lower the water level approximately 3-4” below the tile band.

Throughout the process they will remove pool accessories (fittings, ladders, railing, etc.) and prepare the pool to be covered, which includes unrolling the cover, turning up anchors, and install cable systems. While this is happening, the second technician is winterizing pool equipment and clearing water from plumbing lines.

Finally some winter chemicals will be added and the pool will be covered by both technicians. While closing the pool, we are proactively giving the pool and filter system one final inspection for the year and making note of any issues. No one wants to have a “surprise” next spring!

How does this differ from closing other types of pools?

BDPS: Gunite pools generally offer more options in and around the pool. Things like waterfalls, water features, in-floor agitation systems, tile work, etc. all impact the number of plumbing lines to winterize, the amount of equipment to address on pad, where water level needs to be maintained, and how the cover is secured.

What is the ideal time frame to close a swimming pool and why?

BDPS: There is really no right or wrong answer. We will close our first pool in August and our last pool in December. Homeowners will keep pools open longer not to always use them, but to keep the aesthetic of their back yard. Your ever-changing life schedules will help to determine your pool closing, but in a lot of cases the biggest factor is the surroundings of the pool. Keeping up with leafs can be never ending, so finding a balance between enjoyment and hassle is what usually determines each pool owner’s “right” time.

What are the risks of trying a DIY approach to closing your own swimming pool?

BDPS: The type of pool and the variables mentioned above will greatly determine whether or not a homeowner should even think about tackling a pool closing on their own. Having the necessary equipment to complete the job, the attention/know-how to get every line blown and plugged, and the help to get the pool cover on and secure are all essential to a thorough pool closing. If a pool is not winterized properly the chance of pipes freezing and breaking is very real in Pennsylvania.

Without an established relationship with a service company getting issues corrected in the spring can sometimes be difficult with the seasonal workload. By using a reputable pool service company it ultimately should give the pool owner peace of mind and assurance that come next spring their pool will be ready when they need it to be.

And one last piece of advice…

BDPS: As the fall season creeps in on us, swimming pools can become an afterthought. It is important to maintain your pool until it is closed for the year. Leafs compacting in the skimmer and strainer baskets will restrict flow and function of filtration system. Letting water chemistry get away at the end of the season can lead to scaling and interior finish imperfections.

And remember…what you don’t do this year will potentially catch up with you next swim season!