It’s another winter season in beautiful Central Florida! If you’re a native or semi-native of The Sunshine State, you’re most likely running the heater and bundling up when you venture outdoors. If you’re a recent arrival, you’re probably wearing shorts and marveling at the sunny days and warm afternoon temperatures!
Either way, if you’re fortunate enough to be a homeowner/pool owner, you may have some questions about pool maintenance during this time of year – especially if you’ve just installed a pool, or moved into a house with an existing pool. Never fear! Certified Leak Detection is here to answer them! Although we don’t perform pool maintenance, we want to share our knowledge so you can get the most enjoyment from your slice of Central Florida paradise.
Keep Your Pool Open
A common question from those who have moved here from “up north” is if you need to close your pool in winter. Fortunately, the answer is a resounding no – which doubtlessly makes you very happy! The main purpose of closing a pool is to protect it from damage caused by freezing water. Temperatures here never plunge low enough for a long enough period to do that, so there’s no need to go through what is a necessary annual ritual in harsher climates.
As the good people at SE Pool Supply & Chemical, Inc., explain, “Even if we get a cold snap, our Florida weather is not consistently cold enough to warrant closing your pool. The best news is that it is far less expensive to maintain your pool than it is to close it.”
Also keep in mind that you may be visited by family and friends from your frigid former home state, or who live in a country with harsh winters. You might consider it too cold to go swimming, but they might not! Be a good host, and keep your pool sparkling clean and welcoming for them.
Don’t Drain Your Pool
Ever! Not in winter, spring, summer or fall! Be it concrete, fiberglass, vinyl liner or above-ground – never drain your pool, for any reason! In Florida, draining the pool will do a great deal of harm, and no good whatsoever. Our blog post – “Why You Should Never Drain Your Pool Yourself” – covers the numerous reasons to not drain your swimming pool, which include the following:
- When too much pool water soaks into the ground, the resulting upward water pressure (hydrostatic pressure) could crack the bottom of your pool or cause it to float out of the ground.
- In the case of fiberglass pools, the floors can split altogether, necessitating repairs to the fiberglass shell, plumbing, side walls (which can bulge outwards or even pop as a result of the sudden lack of water pressure) and pool deck.
- For both inground and above-ground pools, the liner can shrink when the pool is drained, then tear when the pool is refilled. Refilling promptly and shifting the liner in the early stages of refilling can mitigate this. However, this is not a good idea with older liners.
- Excess ground water can cause pool liners to float away from the walls, causing wrinkles.
Your Swimming Pool Winter Maintenance Program
While you do get a break from having to close your pool, you still need to maintain it throughout winter to keep it clean and in top condition – even if you, your family, friends or dog aren’t swimming! The following steps for a winter maintenance program come from the experts at Pool Works and Pools by Bradley:
Continue your pool cleaning routine – Remove leaves and debris from the water, and clean the debris traps or skimmers. Old leaves can also cause stains on the sides and floor of your pool and promote algae growth. Run your pool filter and regularly vacuum the pool to remove debris. This will help you maintain a healthy water balance and keep it clean for spring.
Balance the chemicals in your pool – Continue to maintain the water balance throughout the season, even when you aren’t using the pool. Algae can thrive in pools during this time due to the fluctuating weather. Also, it will save you time and money in the spring, when you’re ready to use it regularly. However, you can decrease the amount of chlorine in the water, since it won’t have to kill contaminates from people using the pool. Test the pool water at least once a week during this time. If you have a salt chlorine generator, turn down the amount of chlorine it produces. This will increase your system’s lifespan, sparing it from unnecessary runtime.
Prevent algae buildup – As temperatures don’t get low enough to prevent algae growth, GPS Pools recommends keeping the water circulating at a rate that matches your environment’s needs. Colder water requires less circulation. Run your pool’s pump for one hour per 10 degrees of water temperature. So, if it’s 60 degrees outside, set your pump timer for a six-hour cycle.
Monitor the water level – Keep an eye on the water levels. Since Florida has less rainfall in the winter to replace evaporated water, the water level can drop one to two inches a week. If the water level falls below the skimmers, your pool could experience severe component damage. That’s why it’s important to monitor your pool’s water level and add water as needed to keep the water level above the skimmers. In addition, if you notice the water level dropping soon after adding water, a leak could be the cause. Should this happen, conduct the bucket test, and contact us if the test indicates a leak.
A Few More Thoughts About Winter Pool Use and Maintenance in Central Florida
If you want to get more use from your pool in winter and don’t want to wait for a favorable weather report, consider investing in a heater! Electric, gas and solar powered models are available, giving you numerous options. However, if you’re sure that your pool won’t be in demand during the season, consider investing in a pool cover. It will keep out leaves, dirt and other debris. Also, because the pool water isn’t exposed to sunlight, chlorine levels don’t need to be adjusted as often, and the water is much slower to evaporate. A solar cover will absorb heat on sunny days to warm the pool’s water naturally, so you can swim if you’d like.
Unfortunately, swimming pool leaks don’t take the winter off. The upside is that following a regular maintenance program will help you be better aware of changes and conditions that could indicate a leak, allowing you to catch it sooner rather than later, before further damage results. Some leaks are easy to find, but there are many that pool owners can’t detect without professional assistance. Certified Leak Detection uses technology and techniques we have developed over 20 years in business.
In addition to quick detection and repair of swimming pool leaks, we provide industry-leading leak detection and repair for spas, hot tubs and fountains. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call.
Contact us for quick, reliable service.