Winter Watch Service

Pool-closing season is well under way, so now seems like a good time to talk about a Winter Watch Service for your pool and/or spa. Armond Pools, along with many other swimming pool companies, offers a monthly check-up on your pool’s condition.

The one-time chemical treatment administered at the time of closing is not always enough to prevent problems from occurring, especially when a pool is sitting dormant for six months or longer.  During each visit solid covers will be cleared off, the water level will be lowered on mesh-covered pools and cover pumps will be checked to ensure they are in working order.

Along with those items, a section of the cover will be pulled back and your pool water will be tested and balanced.  Your plaster will also be checked for the presence of scaling and/or calcium crystals.  The scaling process occurs mostly over the winter while the water is cold, there is no circulation and your PH and alkalinity levels drift up.  These conditions all combine to cause calcium to be drawn out of your plaster, resulting in the formation of scaling and crystals.   While we have seen this issue happen with both new and old pools, newer pools are especially vulnerable since the plaster is still curing, contributing to the rising PH level.  If scaling is detected during a visit, a small circulating pump will be placed in the pool for a few days along with the balancing of the water.

While no one-size-fits-all treatment has been found yet, the Winter Watch Service has been shown to greatly reduce the number of pools that experience these issues.  It also helps lower the chance of severe algae blooms in mesh-covered pools and can help reduce the Spring clean-up time once the pool is opened.

Scheduling the Opening of Your Pool

In our FAQ section, you will find our recommended time frame for opening your pool. We would like to expand on that information in order to help you make an informed choice for your opening date. We typically suggest a solid cover as they tend to do a better job protecting your pool finish and keeping the water clear. However, we routinely install both mesh and solid safety covers.

We always suggest giving 7-10 days before you plan on swimming. Many factors can affect how your pool sits over the winter, from the condition of the water at the time of closing to how mild (or severe) the Winter is along with any organic material that gets into the pool. And if you have any mechanical problems and the parts need to be ordered, that will also delay the opening process.

For mesh-covered pools, we suggest opening in the first half of April. The mesh is permeable, allowing rain, melting snow and even sunlight to get through. This will affect your water balance, and once it starts to warm up in early Spring you risk having an algae bloom in the pool. This can end up costing significantly more in chemicals at the time of opening, even more so if the pool needs to be drained and cleaned. Opening a mesh-covered pool in early April cannot guarantee you will not have algae, but it gives you a greater chance of pulling the cover back and revealing crystal-clear water.

For solid-covered pools, you can usually hold off until early May, but much longer than that and you are risking an algae bloom as well since the weather is usually getting quite warm by that point. The warmer it gets, the faster algae can grow.

Keep in mind that both mesh and solid safety pool covers are designed for just that – safety. Wind will lift the edges up from time to time, allowing debris and leaves to blow in over the course of the winter. Pool owners with both types of covers should expect to need the pool vacuumed at the time of opening.

While nothing can guarantee that your pool opens up crystal clear, there are steps you can take to try and keep everything in good shape, such as a monthly winter watch while the pool is closed. This means lowering the water level in mesh-covered pools, clearing debris off of solid covers, and balancing the water to ensure sure the PH does not get too high which can cause scaling and calcium crystals. Balancing the water once a month over the winter can also help prevent severe algae blooms, especially in mesh-covered pools. And if you have a mesh-covered pool and do not get a monthly winter watch performed, it is a good idea to at least balance the water one time, about a month before you plan on opening. This can also help prevent problems.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your pool!