Winter is coming and it’s time to go through the dreaded process of taking care of your pool. For many, this means a month or more worth of work that starts with draining all the water in order to make sure you’re protecting your equipment from damage from freezing. Not to mention, fixing leaks so you don’t have problems when filling up again come Springtime.
It’s a time-consuming process, but you are saving your pool from cracking and weathering of pipes, pool siding, and pumps. You know how much fun summer days by the pool can be. And just like winter mornings making their way into fall, we also must accept that spring will eventually give us warmer weather too… but leaving our pools behind to freeze is not an option if you wish to enjoy that warmer weather.
There is, however, one alternative that we’ve found to be an excellent solution for protecting your pool from the extremities without a lot of the extra hassle…
That’s right! This tiny little piece of plastic can save you hours of pesky pool maintenance tasks that are better spent on the golf course.
What is a Pool Pillow?
Simply put, it’s a little piece of inflatable geniusness that you place under your pool cover.
The lightweight, inflatable pool pillow is the most economical way to keep your cover in place. It’s an easy-to-use accessory that will automatically float between the water and winter cover, making it a breeze for you to secure everything up tight with no hassle at all.
Why Do I Need a Pool Pillow?
An above ground pool is a great investment for those who want to have the convenience of an at-home swimming option without all the hassle of prepping their pools for winter. Of course, it won’t eliminate ALL the work, but it certainly makes things easier and keeps you from having to drain all the water.
OK, so here’s how it works. If you were to simply place a cover on top of your pool for the winter, it would quickly accumulate rain, snow, and ice. All this would build up and drag your cover down.
Once that happens, the pool walls will start to pull, causing possible damage or the ice will expand outward, putting loads of pressure on them. This will inevitably cause damage both to the walls, the cover, and the liner.
But if you use a pool pillow, it will compensate for the ice and water buildup. When you place it under the cover, you’re essentially creating a void that makes the ice expand inward so it compensates for the added pressure.
Winterizing Your Pool with a Pool Air Pillow
While using an air pillow will make your winterizing process a little easier, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some other tasks you need to perform. If you want to open your pool in the spring with a bang, make sure everything is perfect before closing it. That way, when you come back next year, you can dive right in!
To do this, you can simply follow the steps below:
- When closing for winter make sure these levels are just how they should be: pH between 7.4 and 7.6; alkalinity 100-150 ppm: Calcium hardness between 140 and 400 ppm; Chlorine between 1 and 4 ppm (more info on what this means here).
- Ensure that your pool is as clean as possible before closing for the season. A thorough scrubbing will remove dirt, leaves, rocks or any other debris from around your pool while reducing tripping hazards—you don’t want anyone falling into an uncovered water source! You’ll also want to clean your pool cover to remove dirt and chemicals.
- Check your pool liner for leaks or tears. If you do have any issues, they’ll need to be addressed immediately before closing the pool up for the season. (Additionally, here are some great tips for pool liner repair and cleaning.)
- After you’ve cleaned your pool, it’s time to add the chemicals you’ll need to keep it nice and clean. Choose from a variety of kits that come with all-inclusive ingredients for closing up shop this season and not having to worry about stocking up on anything extra later on in the year; like chlorine.You can opt out of using chlorine if you’re looking at safety or health concerns. But keep in mind that other sanitizers may not be as effective. It also pays off when buying a kit because they often include an algaecide which is one less thing you’ll have to buy separately.
- If you don’t opt for a winterizing kit, you’ll have to make sure your pool has all its chemical necessities. This includes pool shock and algaecide. Follow the instructions on the back of your bottles and put them in with water that’s not too cold yet as it will activate the chemicals faster.It’s important to shock your pool before closing up your pool so there are no accidents when shocking during colder months – better safe than sorry!
- Let your filtration system run for at least one full cycle after adding the chemicals. This usually takes 4-6 hours.
- Winterize your pump. To winterize your pump, remove all your drain plugs and hoses and set them aside. It’s best to toss them in a basket or container so you don’t lose them. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for your specific pump.
- Next up is how to winterize that filter. How you go about doing this depends on which type of pool filter system/model you have.For sand filters, set the multiport valve to winterize, let it drain completely, and then backwash it.You can read our complete cleaning guide for all filter types here.
- Next, drain a little of the water to get the level to about 4-6 inches below the skimmer. It’s best to do this slowly and carefully so you don’t cause stress on your pool cover or liner which can lead them to wear out faster than they should.These things not only cost money in their replacement but also make it difficult for people who want a clean swimming pool.
- Clean up all your extra pool parts and accessories. Remember that you should remove any non-permanent items such as ladders, stairs, floats, or toys before taking care of these things. Use a garden hose and some bleach or vinegar for cleaning in order to keep bacteria away and get rid of debris from dirtied pieces. After they have dried completely, put them into storage to keep them clean.
- Follow the instructions in the next section for using a pool pillow to finish closing up your pool.
How Do I Use a Pool Pillow?
Your pool pillow should come with detailed instructions on how to use it, but it’s a very simple process.
First, you’ll inflate your air pillow to the desired percentage of capacity (usually 70-80%).
Next, you’ll tie a thin rope or whatever attachment material your product came with to both ends of the pillow.
Now place the pillow in the middle of the pool on top of the water and tie the strings to the edges of the pool to secure it in place.
Lastly, simply put the cover over the pool, being careful not to move the pillow out of place or dislodge the sting. Secure the cover and you’re done.
Winter isn’t the most fun time of year for avid swimmers and sun worshippers. But what would make it even worse is a pool you didn’t properly winterize. Imagine going outside to start your swim season to a pool that’s cracked, leaking, and covered in algae.
The best way to prevent this is to properly winterize your pool and protect it from damage with a pool pillow. This simple little hack can save you thousands of dollars in unneeded pool repair and make opening day a breeze.
Hi, I’m Matt Harper, the founder of poolcareguy.com, a site I started with one simple mission: to help people around the world clean and take care of their pools and hot tubs on their own, without the hassle.
I’m not a professional pool cleaner and don’t have any formal training, I’m just an average guy who loves hanging out by his pool and hot tub and taking care of it. After many years on the job, I’ve become quite good at it.
On this website I will be teaching you absolutely everything I know about pools and hot tubs.