As we start moving toward the fall and winter season, the temperatures start dropping. You may not be ready to close your pool just yet as there are some warm days still forecasted (look at the forecast this week - enjoy those last few pool days!). Nonetheless, you should start caring for your pool with the mind-set that winter is just around the corner.
What you’re up against here are the dark forces of low pH. Acidic water tends to look all sparkly and clear, but it can damage your pool and equipment, hitting you right in the wallet. Just ask all the people we see every spring with high copper (and green hair!) or terrible black staining and no heater element left. Low pH is highly corrosive and can eat away a heater element, weaken plumbing, destroy your pump and filter seals, and turn a liner brittle or damage your pool’s surface.
As Vancouverites, one of our biggest issues is the heavy winter rain, which brings pH down and down, and down some more! You might not want to balance your water all winter, but with nonstop acid rain, things can get out of hand. You can raise your pH to 7.8 as a pre-emptive measure, but that can only take you so far. Don’t forget that alkalinity and calcium directly impact pH. Any overflow caused by rain will lower chemical levels, which can also make your water corrosive – basically, rain sucks for your pool.
Now is really not the time to neglect your water balance. You should have your water tested near the end of fall to help you get through the winter without problems. Fall is an important time to add Stain Prevent. It will keep any debris from leaving surface stains as well as curbing scale formation. You should add a whole bottle now – especially if you haven’t been using it regularly already – and another bottle in spring.
The rule of thumb is to not to worry about algae once water temperatures fall below 16°C (60°F), but until you know for sure it won’t get any warmer, stay vigilant and keep your chlorine up. Even after the temperature falls, you need to maintain a chlorine residual. It’s important to make sure chlorine’s there for whenever the temperature creeps up again.
Add algaecide for an extra level of algae protection. Covered pools especially are likely to open to green without it.
Follow these simple steps to protect your pool and keep it right for spring.