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Winterization and seasonal care

seasonal careIn areas where freezing temperatures occur, it is important to close a pool properly. This ranges greatly between above and below ground pools. By taking steps to properly secure your pool it lessens the likelihood that your pool will be damaged or compromised by freezing water.

In preparation for freezing temperatures and in-ground swimming pools pipes must be blown out. An above ground pool should also be closed so that ice does not drag down the pool wall collapsing its structure. The plumbing is sealed with air, typically, with rubber plugs, to prevent cracking from freezing water. The pool is typically covered to prevent leaves and other debris from falling in. The cover is attached to the pool, typically using a cable and ratchet system. The skimmer is closed off or a floating device is placed into it to prevent it from completely freezing and cracking. Drain plugs on the pool filter are removed after the filter has been cleaned. The pool pump motor is taken under cover and winter chemicals are added to keep the pool clean.

Covers
A pool cover can be either manually, semi-automatically or automatically operated. Manual covers can be folded and stored in a convenient location. Pool cover reels can also be used to helped manually roll up the pool cover. The reel, usually on wheels, can be rolled out of the way. Semi-automatic covers use a motor driven reel system. They use electrical power to roll and unroll the cover, but usually require someone to pull on the cover when unrolling or guide the cover onto the reel when rolling up. Semi-automatic covers can be built into the pool deck surrounding the pool or can use reels on carts. Automatic covers have permanently mounted reels that automatically cover and uncover the pool at the push of a button. They are the most expensive option, but are also the most convenient. Some covers fit into tracks along the sides of the pool. This prevents anything or anybody from getting into the pool. They even support the weight of several people. They can be run manually, semi-automatically or automatically. Safety covers may be required by inspectors for public pools.

Pool cover materials
There are three main materials used for pool covers: Vinyl, thermal bubble and debris.

Vinyl covers consist of a heavier material and have a longer life expectancy than bubble covers. Insulated vinyl covers are also available with a thin layer of flexible insulation placed between two layers of vinyl.

Thermal bubble covers are lightweight UV, stabilized, floating covers designed to minimize heat loss on heated swimming pools. Typically, they are only fitting in spring and fall when the temperature different between pool water and air temperture is greatest. They raise the water temperature of the pool by 20 degree after being on the pool for a week. Most heat is lost through evaporation.

Bubble covers are typically applied and removed by being rolled up on a device fitted to one side of the pool. Covers fall apart after four or five years due to sun rot and chlorine exposure. Bubble covers should be removed during super chlorination.

Debris covers are typicall attached all winter by hooked bungee chords or hooked springs connected to the pool deck and are usually made of black or green fine pvc mesh. They are designed to stop leaf debris from entering the pool. They also provide some safety for animals and small children, but should not be relied on. They are not popular in warmer climates due to the 5-10 minutes it takes to fit and remove making it inconvenient for repeated application and removal.


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