How To Clean A Pool After The Winter Season

Last Updated on October 19, 2021

After enduring those cold winter months without your swimming pool, it’s that time of the year to open it again. Most first-time pool owners ask the question, “how to clean a pool after the winter season end?”. It may sound difficult to do at first, but trust us when we say that it gets easier through repetition.

Once the temperature reaches 54° F in your area, you can start preparing to open your pool, and soon enough you and your family should be doing some fun water activities again.

If you’ve followed our tips on how to winterize a pool, it should not take long for you to reopen and clean your pool.

Whether you have an above ground pool or an inground pool, this step-by-step guide should help you in cleaning your pool once the winter season ends and ensure that your water is safe to swim in.

Guide On How To Clean A Pool After The Winter Season

1. Remove the pool winter cover

Assuming that you got one. It’s now time for you to carefully remove your pool’s winter cover. Sounds simple, right? It’s not.

Depending on your pool size, this might be the most difficult part of the whole cleaning process. You may need some assistance to avoid getting any debris on top of your pool cover into your swimming pool.

2. Clean and store the pool cover

Once the pool cover is off, you can start washing it with soap and water. Remove all the debris on your cover and make sure that’s it’s completely dry before you store it away in a secure and dry location.

3. Inspect the pool thoroughly

You need to take a good look at your pool once the cover is off. Look for any signs of damages including cracks, splits, tears, and stains. You should also inspect for any algae growth that may start due to the warming of your water temperature.

Do Not Drain The Pool

It’s not recommended to drain your pool completely, especially for those with an inground pool. Removing all the water in your pool to refresh the water can cause structural damage to your swimming pool. Without the weight of the water in your pool, there is a good chance that it might lift out of the ground. This may lead to a very expensive repair, but it can be avoided by learning how to properly clean a pool after winter.

Using a well-fitted pool cover should keep debris and dirt away during those cold winter months. Make sure you have that on your pool every time you close it, so it won’t be necessary for you to drain all your pool water when you decide to open it again.

4. Check the water level

It’s not unusual for your pool to lose some water during the winter season. You need to set it to the right water level before you start adding your pool chemicals.

The ideal water level is right in the middle of your pool’s skimmer opening. This must be done to ensure that you can efficiently circulate the water using your pool pump.

5. Prepare and clean the pool filter and pump

Since your pool was inactive for a very long time, you should take the time to inspect and clean your pool’s pump and filter system. You can easily run checks on your pool equipment by following the guidelines provided to you by the manufacturer.

Remove any dirt that may have accumulated over the winter. Also, be on the lookout for any damage, so you can address it right away.

For those pool owners using sand filters, run a backwash, and consider changing the sand in your filter if necessary.

For those using cartridge filters, check the O-rings and the elements around the cap, you can proceed in replacing it with a new filter cartridge if needed.

Remove the plugs on your pump and open all valves. Once you run your pump, check for any defects or leaks. Let your pump run for at least 8 hours to circulate your pool water.

The longer you let your pool pump run, the better, as it can work on removing any debris that got inside your pool during the winter.

6. Vacuum and scrub the pool

Once your pool and its equipment are all checked, you can start vacuuming and scrubbing your pool’s interior. Make sure you thoroughly clean the walls and floor of your pool.

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Use a pool brush to scrub the walls, steps, ladders, and those corners that your vacuum cannot reach.

Once done, let your pump filter the water for the next 24 hours.

7. Test the water in the pool

Now that the pump has run a full day, you can start testing your water chemistry. You can take a sample of your pool water to your local pool shop, or you can do it yourself using one of these testing kits from Amazon.

You should have an accurate measurement of the pH, chlorine, and minerals in your pool, so you’ll know how much pool chemicals you should be adding to your water.

8. Balance the water

Once the water test results are available, you can now determine if you need to rebalance your pool water or not.

A well-balanced pool water prevents skin and eye irritation and ensures that your pool is safe to use.

Here’s how you can balance your water chemistry.

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Your swimming pool’s pH level should be between 7.2 to 7.6. If it’s not within that range, you can either add a pH increaser or a soda ash to raise the pH level. And you can lower the water’s pH level using sodium bisulfate.


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For your chlorine level, the recommended level is between 1 to 3 ppm. If you have a high chlorine level, then you can wait for a day or two for it to lower down, or you can proceed with adding fresh water to your pool. If it’s too low, you may add more solid chlorine granules or liquid over the next few days.

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The total alkalinity level should be between 80 to 120 ppm. If it’s too low, you can increase it using baking soda or a pool chemical that can increase your pool’s total alkalinity like the Chlorox Pool Total Alkalinity Increaser.

Final Thoughts On Cleaning A Pool After Winter

Hopefully, this guide on how to clean a pool after the winter season was helpful to you.

The whole process might take up to a week to complete depending on your pool size. It could be a lot quicker if you have good water chemistry levels and if you’ve managed to cover your pool well during the winter that there’s minimal debris in your pool water.

Make sure to check out these guidelines on how to close your pool, so you can easily open and clean your pool the next time around.

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