One major advantage to living in Florida is the year-round warm weather. This almost endless summer provides us with the rare opportunity to keep our beautiful pools open all year and dive into crystal clear waters at our own leisure. However, with packed schedules and lower temperatures in winter, pools may see slightly less use during the season.
With warm weather preventing pool water from freezing, owners can expect the winterization process to operate differently in the Sunbelt Region. Pools are rarely closed, and this is seen as a time for proper upkeep so you can enjoy your pool the second your schedule opens up. Winter pool care ensures that you maintain water health during what’s considered an “off time” in many other states.
1. Clean Your Pool: Proper pool care begins with a thorough cleaning of any debris. Left unattended, leaves and other debris can stain walls, clog your drain and transform pools into unsanitary spaces. With a warm winter down here, you don’t want to be greeted by the sight of murky pool water when you feel like taking a dip.
To begin, use a hand skimmer to remove any floating leaves and twigs on the surface. You will then want to use a pool vacuum to remove any debris and sediment lying at the bottom of the water. We also recommend cleaning the skimmer basket as it may contain other unwanted contaminants. Finally, you should scrub down the pool walls as they can gather dirt over time. We recommend doing this once a week to ensure you stay on top of any debris finding its way into your clear waters.
2. Test Your Chemical Levels: One popular misconception in circulation is that because our mild winters produce far less rainfall, a pool’s chemical levels will not suffer any severe imbalances during the season. That is only half-true.
Rainwater is often the main culprit behind poor water chemistry, but other contaminants can be the root cause during our winters. Dust, debris and other animals that get into pools can disrupt the chemical balance. If you overwater any planters, the resulting runoff can also throw levels off. There are numerous ways the chemistry can be affected, so it is vital to test your chemical levels often and make adjustments when necessary.
3. Maintain Chlorine Levels: One common enemy all pools share is algae, a plant organism that contaminates clean water, harming a pool within a short period. While winters rob algae of the hot weather it needs to thrive, the cooler weather only slows it down. Algae never takes a season off, making it an ever-present threat for pool health.
Chlorine is the primary solution in this fight against algae and you need to keep a vigilant eye on the level. You need to carefully watch the amount of free chlorine – chlorine that can perform its cleaning job in your pool. Chlorine stops algae by combining with and deactivating it, creating what is commonly known as chloramine – chlorine that performed its duty and can no longer sanitize. The free chlorine level must stay between 1-3 ppm, so take action when it gets low.
To simplify chlorine maintenance and pool care, Waterscapes uses saltwater pools. While these pools are easy on users’ skin compared to other pools, their primary advantage is compatibility with saltwater generators. These machines transmute salt into a pure form of chlorine, keeping your pool clean while maintaining a consistent level in the water. This eliminates the costs of storebought chlorine and the hassle of manually adjusting the level. A saltwater pool also lacks the strong chlorine smell of a chlorinated pool, making your pool an enticing spot to unwind all day.
4. Run Your Pump: Another benefit of a mild winter is less concern for bacteria, which thrives in hot weather. However, that doesn’t mean these menaces aren’t on the offensive. This makes the heart of your pool, the pump, an invaluable asset since it can remove unwanted contaminants, circulate clean water and disperse chemicals throughout your entire pool. Debris can bring in a variety of harmful bacteria, and the pump needs to stay on to ensure your pool functions properly.
Depending on your pool’s specifications, we recommend running the pump about 6-7 hours a day. With pumps being used year-round, Waterscapes leverages variable speed pumps in our pools. These pumps control the rpm (revolutions per minute) of the motor and use three quarters the amount of water, allowing them to pump for longer periods while cutting down on the amount of energy used to keep water clean.
Remember, your pump is responsible for keeping your pool “alive”, ensuring it stays healthy all year long. While a pool may look clear, bacteria can be an unseen threat that needs to be stopped before contamination.
5. Check Your Heater: Thanks to Florida’s warm weather, you have the advantage of choosing of when you want to have your heater on, unlike northern regions. However, when it comes to the winter months, you might want to use a heater more often to maintain your ideal water temperature to fully enjoy time outside.
Before you start enjoying wintertime pool sessions, it pays to inspect your heater since it will see more use. Make sure you note any damage to your heater and work to repair it as soon as possible. Waterscapes recommends electric heat pumps, energy-efficient heaters that can quickly increase the water temperature, so it will not take long for you to enjoy your pool on a cooler day.
No matter what time of the year it is, pool care should always be at the forefront of your mind. By doing regular maintenance, you can stay on top of any issues your clear waters may face, even during times you may not use your pool as often. As one of Southwest Florida’s premier pool builders, we are dedicated to creating luxurious pools and arming owners with the knowledge to maintain them. If you want to know how we can bring your aquatic vision to life, contact Waterscapes today.