It comes at different times of year depending on what part of the country you live in, but pool closing is always sad. Unfortunately, it gets even sadder when you realize there’s a cost involved in winterizing your pool. That cost could be the price of hiring a pro to do it for you, or the expenditure of your precious time if you opt to do it yourself.
Either way, winterizing your inground swimming pool is critical, at least in places where the temperature regularly drops below freezing. As we all know, water expands when it freezes, potentially causing big-time damage to pool equipment if not properly drained. Also, as a matter of convenience, it just makes sense to put your pool in a lower-maintenance state while it’s not being used.
Whether you’re a new pool owner or an aspiring one, you should be aware of the costs associated with closing an inground pool. As usual, there’s lots of variation depending on your location and the particulars of your pool. But the following information is a good starting point.
Before you decide whether to do it yourself or hire a pool service company, you should have some understanding of what winterizing a pool is all about. While the exact steps may differ based on the condition and configuration of the pool, here are the main tasks in a nutshell:
- Thoroughly cleaning the pool
- Balancing the water chemistry
- Lowering the water level
- Adding winterizing chemicals
- Draining/blowing out pool equipment
- Attaching a winter pool cover
Again, that’s just a high-level overview. If you decide to winterize the pool yourself, make sure you follow detailed “how-to” instructions.
Winter Pool Covers
Regardless of whether you’re closing the pool yourself or hiring someone, you will need to have a winter pool cover. These are typically more heavy duty than safety covers, and are designed to keep your pool clean and safe during the offseason. They may be included with pool installation, or left to the pool owner to purchase at a later time.
The two main types of winter pool covers are solid vinyl and mesh. Solid pool covers do a better job of keeping the pool clean and algae-free until spring, but are more expensive and require a pump to keep standing water off of them. Mesh covers are cheaper and allow water to filter through, but also let in fine dirt particles and sunlight (bad for algae). Finally, you can also find hybrid pool covers that try to combine the best qualities of solid vinyl and mesh.
Prices for winter pool covers vary dramatically, but you can expect to pay at least a couple hundred dollars. Naturally, you’ll have to pay more if your pool is larger or irregularly shaped. And, lest we forget, you’ll need to replace your pool cover every so often as it deteriorates under the harsh conditions of winter.
Should You Hire a Service?
Many pool owners choose to winterize themselves, while others find that it’s well worth it to hire a service to do it for them. Because the job itself doesn’t require a professional, it really boils down to how much you value your time. You can generally expect to pay $200-300 for someone to close your pool, but that price can vary depending on where you live and how much you’re willing to shop around.
If you want to do it yourself, but are nervous about making a mistake, one suggestion is to hire a service for the first year or two. By observing what they do, you can get an idea of how to handle it in subsequent years. Of course, if you find a good service professional, you might just decide to stick with them.
Closing your pool properly might seem like a hassle and an extra expense you don’t need. Just remember that it will make your pool a nicer place to be when you open it up again – which is a pleasant thought indeed.