Tips on preparing your swimming pool for winter
A swimming pool is always a big selling point for a holiday home. On a hot summers day there is nothing better than cooling off in a private pool!
But what about in those winter months where your holiday home lays empty? How can you ensure your pool is left in the best condition? As a holiday home owner, there is a responsibility to make sure pools are safe for guests to use. Our handy tips suggest ways to get your pool prepared to help minimise risk, allow for continued safe usage and reduce the need to make a claim on your holiday home insurance.
Holiday home swimming pool maintenance and safety tips
- Check the PH balance, alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. This will help to prevent a build-up of scale or any corrosion occurring. Perform these tests at least 4 days before you plan on closing your pool.
- Administer what is known as a ‘chlorine shock’ to kill bacteria, algae and fungi. Mix in a strong chlorine solution to bring the pool’s chlorine levels to around 10-12ppm. It can be better to add these chemicals once the sun has set.
- Once it has returned to normal levels, add some extra strength winterizing algaecide to kill any remaining algae and prevent more from growing. Failure to do this can result in the water becoming discoloured, the pool will give off a bad odour and the filter clog, which could result in repairs and clean-up costs.
- Remove any accessories left in the pool like skimmer baskets, heaters, slides, wall fittings, ladders and handrails. Rinse anything you have removed with clean water and let it dry before storing it somewhere secure. Skim the water with a net to fish out any debris floating on the surface and give the sides and bottom of the pool a thorough scrub and vacuum.
- You can now lower the water level by partially draining the pool with a pump. It should be left lower than the skimmer and below the water returns. During the winter, the weight of water counteracts the upwards forces of the ground pressing up on the pool from below, reducing the chance of your pool cracking.
- Drain your pump, filter, heater and chlorinator, and ensure that no water is left inside the plumbing lines. Also remove any skimmer baskets you may have; if water is left inside any equipment freezers during winter, this can cause permanent damage. DE or cartridge filters need to be taken out and have their grids and cartridges cleaned before being stored.
- Take time to winterise the plumbing which prevents any pipes from freezing or cracking over in cold weather. You can use a shop vacuum to blow air into the skimmer pipe and through the equipment before using expansion plugs to secure the pipes at the returns and in the skimmer so no water enters them. Alternatively, swimming pool antifreeze can be used. It’s also wise to put a plastic bottle or chunk of Styrofoam in the skimmer to prevent it being damaged through freezing.
- A cover to protect the pool should be considered. A floating tarp cover is neither child nor pet proof and therefore poses a safety risk. Mesh covers must be strapped down, reinforced and tight fitting. A solid, robust cover is also good for keeping out any debris, minimizing the chances of algae growth. A leaf net is another good addition, particularly if your pool has trees around it which are prone to shedding leaves.
- Invest in a pool alarm and make sure the pool has appropriate signage and warnings on display because accidents can happen at any time of the year. To safeguard guests, users and anyone working near the pool, ensure you have adequate public and employee liability insurance coverage with your holiday home insurance provider. Without this, you could end up being liable for any accidents or injuries that may occur.
If you have a swimming pool at your holiday home, please make sure you tell our holiday home insurance team about it so you get the right amount of cover for you and your property. Give us a call now to find out more.
*Please note that this article gives only an overview of swimming pool maintenance in holiday homes. We suggest you take advice from a qualified professional before making any decisions in this area. You should always follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the manufacturer.