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Closing Time: Preparing your pool for the winter season

While lowering the water level, the pool can be vacuumed, although, it is a good idea to run the garden hose into the skimmer to keep a watertight seal as the water drops below the skimmer.

The water level can be lowered by using a small submersible electric pump or by using the pool pump. First, set up your pool vacuum and turn the pump’s dial valve to ‘drain’ or ‘waste’ and lower the water level to approximately 45 cm (18 in.) below the top edge of the pool or 50 to 70 mm (2 to 3 in.) below the return fittings.

Plumbing lines must be blown and capped to remove water and it is important this is done in sequence to avoid water from being trapped along the way. Further, make sure all caps are tight so when the water level in the pool rises over the winter, water will not leak back into the lines.

While lowering the water level, the pool can be vacuumed, although, it is usually a good idea to run the garden hose into the skimmer to keep a watertight seal as the water drops below the skimmer. At this point, the pool light can be removed from its niche and lowered to the end of its cord into the pool.

Lights that sink can hang in the pool as long as the cord is long enough to let them settle on the bottom of the pool, which will be deeper than any ice. Underwater lights that float need to be removed from the pool and stored on the deck, generally in plastic bags or under the edge of the winter cover. Only a certified electrician should disconnect the pool lights and they must also be turned off at the electrical panel, as damage can occur if the pool light is turned on during the winter.

2. Ready the equipment
The pump, hoses, pipes, heater, and filter should then be completely drained to prevent damage from frozen water.

For the pump and filter, set the dial valve to the ‘winterize’ position. If the dial valve does not have a winterize position, simply set the dial pointer between any two positions. Remove and store the filter drain cap, the pressure gauge, and the sight glass and take out the drain plugs from the pump.

Shut down the pool heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions found on the inside of the unit. Remove the drain plugs and use compressed air or a wet/dry vac, set on ‘blow,’ to remove any remaining water from the heat exchanger. Before reinstalling the drain plugs, grease the threads and then disconnect the pressure switch from the siphon loop tubing.

A pool heater that is incorrectly prepared for winter can suffer extensive damage, so it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions outlined in your owner’s manual. If you cannot locate your manual, most can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

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