Winter Pool Closing Checklist

Massachusetts winters bring an abundance of snow and frigid temperatures. If you live in New England, or in another place where the temperature dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to winterize your swimming pool before the cold months.

The good news? We have put together an easy-to-follow checklist to help you close like a pro and set you up for an easy opening in the spring.

1. Perform Inspection & Repairs

☐ Is your equipment all functioning properly?
☐ Is your swimming pool structurally sound?
☐ Does your pool cover over have any rips or tears that need patching? Stop by our Retail Store for a safety cover patch if yours needs repair.
☐ Fix any issues prior to winterizing.

2. Clean it Like You Mean it

☐ Thoroughly vacuum and skim your pool to remove all debris, or run your robotic pool cleaner a few times prior to closing.
☐ Backwash or clean the pool filter to remove all dirt from the system.

3. Work on Your Water

☐ Check your water chemistry 5-7 days before closing.
☐ Test and balance your alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness.
☐ Shock your pool with chlorine a 2-3 days after balancing the water. We recommend a cold weather enzyme treatment like Natural Chemistry Pool Magic Spring and Fall.
☐ Add a winterizing algaecide right before covering your pool. Be sure you’ve waited the requisite 2-3 days after adding shock, when chlorine levels return to somewhere between 1-3 ppm.
☐ Water must be lowered for the closing. We recommend lowering the water 18-24” below the top of the pool. This allows for rain to replenish the level to at least 18” below the cover before the snow and ice accumulate.

  • Pools with tarp covers must have the water level 2-3″
    below the skimmer.
  • Be careful not to lower the water too much in vinyl pools, the liner can float and cause serious problems.
  • If your water level goes down further than 18″, your pool cover can stretch, rip or cause damage to cover springs and anchors.
  • Rain and snow will fill the pool over the winter.  Continue to monitor your pool water level, ensuring it is below the tile line but not more than 18” below the cover.
  • “Maintaining the proper water level in your pool is a key
    factor in supporting the weight of any debris (including snow and ice) that may collect on the pool cover. Water levels that fall below the recommended level may put excess stress on the cover, which might result in damage and voiding of the cover’s warranty. You can check the water levels by clearing any debris that has collected in the skimmer box. If the levels are low, be sure to add enough water to reach the
    recommended levels.” – LOOP-LOC

    • Guidelines for mesh and solid safety covers:
      • Mesh & Solid Pool Covers: 18″ below the top of the pool.

4. Protect Your Plumbing

☐ Drain all water from your plumbing lines including your pump, filter, heater, chlorinators and chemical feeders. Draining your lines completely (or blowing them out with a Shop-Vac) will ensure that your pipes won’t crack in freezing temperatures and cause major issues in the spring.
☐ “If you have an in-ground pool, you should blow out the lines from the skimmer, through the equipment and back to the pool, then plug the lines at the pool using expansion plugs. If you don’t blow the lines, add swimming pool antifreeze into the lines following manufacturer’s package directions. If you have an above-ground pool, you usually just need to disconnect the hoses to and from the pump and filter and plug the wall outlets.” – Hayward Pool Products

5. Remove the Extras

☐ Put away your ladders, toys, ropes, baskets, hoses, fittings, pumps, heaters, filters and any other equipment from your pool area. Rinse everything off, allow it to dry and consider storing it all in a waterproof container that animals cannot get into.
☐ Fully drain your robotic cleaner and remove the reusable filter bag. Neatly coil up the power cable and store your robotic pool cleaner and accessories in a warm,
dry location.
☐ Store the eyeball fittings, drain caps, plugs, and gauges in the skimmer basket so you know exactly where to find them in the spring.
☐ Store any equipment plugs in the pump basket so they don’t get lost.
☐ Keep everything clean, dry and organized to help you
prolong the life of your pool and equipment.

6. Cover Time

☐ Make sure you have an intact, properly fitting pool cover.

  • Covers that do not fit properly (you can see gaps) will leave your pool exposed to the elements.
  • Use a mesh or solid pool cover and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure proper installation.

The closing process varies for in-ground and above ground pools. For additional pool closing information, be sure to check out the links below for pool-specific tips from our friends at Swim University.

How to Close An In-Ground Pool in 6 Steps

How to Close An Above Ground Pool in 6 Steps

It is a bummer that pool season has come to an end, but when spring rolls around you will be happy to have taken the necessary steps in the fall for an easier opening in the spring.

 

Father’s Day Gift Giving Guide

 

Don’t forget Dad! Father’s Day is around the corner (Sunday, June 17th) and we want to help you find the perfect gift for the dads on your list.

Our knowledgeable and friendly retail store manager, Dennis, has combed through his favorite gifts and has come up with this helpful gift giving guide. Here are 10 gifts for your individually awesome father, including something for everyone at every budget.


1. “Ice chest full of beer on one side, beer in the holder on the other, and Dad in the middle of this Swimline Beer Mug Pool Float. This beer-themed inflatable pool float is made of heavy-duty and designed for one adult lounger. Collect five more to have a full six pack!” – Swimline


2. Order Dad’s favorite pie and deliver it to him on his new pizza float! Each Pizza Slice comes with two ball and bungee connectors on each side so that you can piece 8 slices together and form a whole pizza. Bring a smile to Dad’s face with the gift of a pizza crust headrest and dual drink holders.


3. The Intrigue Spinning Table Top Fire from The Outdoor Greatroom Company is the perfect addition to Dad’s outdoor entertainment area. Light up the patio with this beautiful gift he can enjoy with family and friends. Stop by our retail store to check it out  in person!


4. Is your dad a sports fanatic? Bring his love of sports to the pool with Swimline’s Pool Jam Combo, the perfect gift for the athletic dad to enjoy with his kids!


5. If you are thinking about getting Dad some of our new premium cleaning equipment for Father’s Day, be sure this gift comes with a few cleaning sessions from YOU!


6. Who doesn’t love music poolside to set the mood for your pool day? PoolTunes would make the perfect gift. Waterproof up to 3 feet under, this wireless speaker will broadcast up to 35 feet and has an LED light for night swimming fun.


7. Keep the party going with Dad as the bartender in his very own Tiki Bar from Swimline! This gift comes complete with 2 ice storage bins to keep his refreshments cold and accessible from the pool.


8. Give the gift that keeps on giving with the Polaris 9650iQ Sport. “The 9650iQ Sport is a 4WD robotic cleaner that provides premium cleaning performance with the convenience of iAquaLink Control. By connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network, the 9650iQ allows anytime, anywhere access to real-time scheduling programming, and troubleshooting from any smart device using the iAquaLink app.” – Polaris

Features
  • iAquaLink Control – Connect to home Wi-Fi for access anytime, anywhere
  • Intuitive Convenience at Your Fingertips – remote control, recurring cleaning schedules, Easy Lift System and more
  • Easy to Monitor Cleaner Status – with dirty canister indicator, countdown timer, and troubleshooting tips
  • Tangle-Reducing Swivel – low-torque watertight swivel keeps cable from tangling during operation, and is now available on all Polaris 4WD robotic cleaners
  • 4-Wheel Drive – climbs over obstacles and won’t get stuck

Don’t miss Polaris Days to save an extra 10% off during the pool cleaner sales event of the year! Make sure to stop by for the lowest prices anywhere on Polaris cleaners.


9. Whatever Dad’s favorite ballgame, we have the perfect float for him! Combine his love for the pool with his love for the game with any of these sports themed pool toys.


10. Give Dad’s pool patio a makeover with Plank & Hide Company’s gorgeous outdoor furniture! Shop your favorite look from their 2018 Collection Handbook and contact us to place your order.


Stop by our Retail Store today to pick the perfect gift for the
fathers on your list. Receive 10% off fun pool accessories
including toys and floats through Father’s Day in our Retail Store! We look forward to helping you put a smile on Dad’s face!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is around the corner (Sunday, May 13th) and no one deserves a pampered day at the pool more than Mom. Show her that you’re always thinking about her with a thoughtful gift for fun, relaxation or entertainment.

Our knowledgeable and friendly retail store manager Dennis, has combed through his favorite gifts and has come up with this helpful gift giving guide.

1. Give Mom’s pool patio a makeover with Plank & Hide Company’s gorgeous outdoor furniture! Shop your favorite look from their 2018 Collection Handbook and contact us to place your order.

2. Treat her to a day of relaxation in the sun with the Ultimate Floating Lounger or Ultimate Mattress by Swimline. These durable inflatable cushions offer comfortable nylon covers. The mattress comes equipped with a full-size pillow, while the lounger offers onboard drink storage.

3. The Intrigue Spinning Table Top Fire from The Outdoor Greatroom Company is the perfect centerpiece for Mom’s outdoor entertainment area. Light up the patio with this beautiful gift she can enjoy with family and friends. Stop by our retail store to check out the Intrigue Spinning Table Top Fire in person!

4. Who doesn’t love music poolside to set the mood for your pool day? PoolTunes would make the perfect gift. Waterproof to 3 feet under, this wireless speaker will broadcast up to 35 feet and has an LED light for night swimming fun.

5. If there is a little one in the house, Mom may enjoy the Me and You Baby Seat float for two. This float comes in assorted turtle or goldfish styles.

6. If you are thinking about getting Mom some of our new premium cleaning equipment for Mother’s Day, be sure to include a note in her card that this gift comes with a few cleaning sessions from YOU!

7. Give the gift that keeps on giving with the Polaris 9650iQ Sport. “The 9650iQ Sport is a 4WD robotic cleaner that provides premium cleaning performance with the convenience of iAquaLink Control. By connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network, the 9650iQ allows anytime, anywhere access to real-time scheduling programming, and troubleshooting from any smart device using the iAquaLink app.” – Polaris

Features
  • iAquaLink Control – Connect to home Wi-Fi for access anytime, anywhere
  • Intuitive Convenience at Your Fingertips – remote control, recurring cleaning schedules, Easy Lift System and more
  • Easy to Monitor Cleaner Status – with dirty canister indicator, countdown timer, and troubleshooting tips
  • Tangle-Reducing Swivel – low-torque watertight swivel keeps cable from tangling during operation, and is now available on all Polaris 4WD robotic cleaners
  • 4-Wheel Drive – climbs over obstacles and won’t get stuck

Don’t miss Polaris Days to save an extra 10% off during the pool cleaner sales event of the year! Make sure to stop by for the lowest prices anywhere on Polaris cleaners.

8. Share a float with your mom with Swimline’s Lotus Blossom for two. This float is fun, spacious and perfect for hanging poolside.


Stop by our retail store today to pick the perfect gift for the mothers on your list. Receive 10% off toys and floats and premium cleaning equipment May 11th – May 14th in our store. We look forward to helping you put a smile on Mom’s face!

Plank & Hide Co. Outdoor Furniture

Your backyard and pool patio has never looked so good with Plank & Hide Company’s outdoor furniture! Shop your favorite look today from their catalog and contact us to place your order.

 

The Outdoor Greatroom Company Fire Pit Tables

We are very excited to now be carrying The Outdoor Greatroom Fire Pit Tables! Stop by our Retail Store to check out the Kenwood Fire Table and Intrigue Table Top Lantern on display!

Meet our Retail Store Manager

We are very excited to introduce our new Retail Store Manager, Dennis Le-Rynne! Dennis joined the South Shore Pool Supply team in December, 2017. He is truly an exceptional find in the pool and spa industry and we are thrilled to welcome him to the SSPS team. We sat down with Dennis to ask him a few questions to get to know him better.

South Shore Pool Supply: “How and when did you get started in the pool industry? Tell us a little about yourself.”

Dennis: “I got my start in the pool business at age 20, after I came home from college. I was printing my resume at Staples and saw a help wanted sign in the window of the pool store next door. I went in to inquire about the position and the manager at that time happened to be an old childhood friend. I was offered an Assistant Manager position, which I accepted. I became Store Manager in 3 months and have been in the pool business since that day.”

South Shore Pool Supply: What do you enjoy most about working in the industry? What is your favorite part of the job?”

Dennis: I am a people person and enjoy working with customers, helping them fix issues with their pools and spas. I love that the job is never the same day to day. I enjoy guiding people towards a successful pool season and addressing the challenges that come with that.”

South Shore Pool Supply: “What are you looking forward to most about joining the South Shore Pool Supply team?”

Dennis: “I am very much looking forward to being part of the SSPS team. My team members are friendly, professional and very knowledgeable in the industry. I am looking forward to working with everyone and becoming part of an already stellar team.”

Be sure to join us in welcoming Dennis personally the next time you stop by our Retail Store!

Pool Chemistry: The Balancing Act

Whether you are new to pool ownership or are just looking for a refresher course, balancing your pool chemistry doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The key to a clean and clear swimming pool is to ensure your pool water is both balanced and sanitized.

Check out our quick guide, followed by a more detailed chemistry lesson on pool water balance and sanitation.

Quick Guide

  • Total Alkalinity:
    • 80 – 150 ppm (concrete and gunite pools)
    • 100 – 150 ppm (painted, vinyl & fiberglass pools)
  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Calcium Hardness:
    • 175 – 225 ppm
    • 225 – 275 ppm (plaster pools)
  • Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid:
    • 25 – 50 ppm
    • 50 – 80 ppm (pools using salt water Chlorine generators)
  • Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm

Water Balance

Total Alkalinity (TA)

Total alkalinity refers to the quantity of alkaline material in the water (bicarbonates, carbonates and hydroxides). Ideally your swimming pool should maintain proper total alkalinity levels between 100-150 parts per million.

“Alkalinity is a pH buffer, meaning it helps to keep the pH from drastically moving up and down the pH scale by absorbing major changes to the waters before affecting the pH.”
Swim University

Adjusting your pool’s alkalinity is the first step. Alkalinity is defined as the ability of the water to resist changes in pH. It acts as a buffer to pH and makes it more stable.

Add an alkalinity increaser if your TA is too low. Add sodium bisulfate to decrease alkalinity if your TA is too high.

2. pH

The pH refers to the relative acidity of the water. Maintaining water at a pH between 7.4 and 7.6 (a little above neutral on the pH scale) is key to balancing your pool water. This pH range is most suitable for swimming because it is less irritable to the eyes and generally more comfortable for swimmers. Chlorine is also most effective in this range. If your pH is too high or too low, the chlorine isn’t able to do it’s job.

Precipitation, swimmers, and pool debris can all change your pool’s pH. Low pH means your water is acidic. High pH means your water is basic. Keep your pH balanced to avoid equipment and structural damage.

The biggest change to pH comes from products used for sanitation, like chlorine tabs. Chlorine tabs have a very low pH, often requiring you to add a pH increaser. Pools using a salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) often have a higher pH level. For this reason, you will need to add more pH decreaser or muriatic acid to a SWCG pool than you would in a traditional chlorine pool.

It is wise to keep both a bottle of pH Increaser (sodium carbonate) and pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate) on hand to deal with pH fluctuations that can frequently occur.

3. Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness may not technically be part of balancing your water, but without paying attention to dissolved calcium levels, your water will pursue other avenues to find it. The proper calcium hardness level is between 175 – 225 ppm or 225 – 275 ppm for plaster pools.

Monitor the calcium levels in your pool to avoid damage to your pool walls and equipment. Protect your pool by adding calcium hardness to your water. Measure carefully, as too much calcium can lead to scaling (calcium carbonate depositing itself on surfaces) among other problems.

Use calcium chloride to raise the calcium hardness of your pool water. If you are experiencing high calcium hardness levels, the only remedy is to drain at least some of your pool water to dilute it with fresh water.

Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

Cyanuric acid (CYA) is a water stabilizer and should be in the range of 25-50 ppm or 50–80 ppm for salt pools. Cyanuric acid is sold as either a pool stabilizer or pool conditioner and helps prevent destruction of chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. It is especially important to add cyanuric acid if you are starting with fresh water and need a stabilizer base. Chlorine tabs already contain cyanuric acid, so CYA is replenished if you’re using tabs. With a salt water chlorine generator however, CYA will need to be added separately.

Our Retail Store in Cohasset, MA.

Sanitation

Sanitation is imperative to disinfecting your pool water to prevent disease spreading organisms, as well as bacteria and algae growth. Environmental pollution from humans, animals, cosmetics, leaves, pollen, dirt and other debris are constantly affecting your pool water. When it comes to pool sanitation, chlorine is the most commonly used ingredient.

Chlorine

Chlorine is used as a water sanitizer. It works by disinfecting your water to rid it of any bacteria, algae, ammonia, and other contaminates. Your chlorine levels should ideally stay between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.

Add Chlorine to your water with tablets or use a powdered or granular chlorine (we prefer tablets for ease of use). Tabs can be added to a chlorinator, floating dispenser, or skimmer basket(s) in your pool.

“When buying chlorine make sure you look for Trichloro or Dichloro as an active ingredient. These types of chlorine products are stabilized. UV rays from the sun eat up chlorine, but if it’s stabilized, it drastically slows down this process.”
Swim University

Alternatives to Chlorine

Bromine, biguanide and the minerals silver and copper are sanitizer alternatives to chlorine. While they each have their pros and cons, chlorine remains the most popular and least expensive option. Using a mineral solution still requires small amounts of chlorine for complete sanitation. Contrary to popular belief, a SWCG creates chlorine. People often assume a salt water pool is better because it doesn’t use chlorine, but this is a misconception!

Pool Shock

Super chlorination or “shocking” is also vital to maintaining a clean and healthy pool. When you shock your pool, you are essentially adding 3x the normal amount of chlorine you would regularly add. A shock treatment will burn organic materials out of the water and allow the sanitizer to work properly.

Shock your chlorine pool when any of the following occur:

  • Your pool is cloudy.
  • There is pool algae present.
  • The water temperature exceeds 84 degrees.
  • Your chlorine level is lower than 3 ppm.

Finishing Touches

When you have added all the necessary chemicals to your pool, let your pool pump run so your chemicals can circulate throughout. Balancing your pool water may seem tricky at first, but it will get easier with practice and patience.

Stop by our Retail Store for all of your pool chemicals needs and bring a sample of your pool water to receive a free professional water test!

Tracy’s Tips: Get the Most Out of Your Skimmer

Pantyhose for the Fine Details

Did you know that both your skimmer basket and skimmer net can can be improved to be more effective cleaners?

Remove fine debris in your pool by wrapping a pair of old (or new) pantyhose around your skimmer basket. This quick trick will remove smaller particles than with the skimmer basket alone, and your filter will not have to work as hard. You can also use old pantyhose over your skimmer net for the same effect.

If you don’t have pantyhose readily available, you can pick up a Filter Soc in our Retail Store.

So the next time you get a run in your stockings, repurpose them into an easy pool cleaning tool. Replace the pantyhose when they are full of debris and rinse out the skimmer basket before putting on a new pair.

Check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog!

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

Hassle Free Pool Care

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