Should I Close My Pool in the Off-season?
We are nearing the end of another swim season and many pool owners are facing the annual covering of the pool. In this blog, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of remaining open in the off-season vs closing.
First, let’s talk about cost. Assuming you don’t do all of the work yourself, you’ll pay $200 - $300 to have a professional winterize and cover your pool. Then there’s the cover. You can buy a cheap cover for less than $50 for some pools. But, it may fall in the pool if not weighted properly or in rough weather and probably won’t last but a couple of seasons. Safety covers are much nicer (and most importantly, safer) and more durable, but very expensive. They’ll last longer, but will ultimately need replacing too. Anyone who plans to winterize their pool and also has small children or anyone at risk of falling around the pool should invest in a safety cover. Basic covers are prone to collapse under very much weight and pose a major threat if anyone were to fall in on one.
The cost of running a pool through the winter and closing is likely very close in most cases. The main cost in the winter is electricity. However, you really only need to run the pump at night and on below freezing days. Algae and bacteria don’t like the cold, so the need for sanitizer is greatly reduced. Chlorine levels tend to remain high in the winter because of the lack of live organisms in the water, less sunlight, and no use by humans (perspiration, oils, etc.). In my opinion, with the costs being relatively equal, I’d rather skip the hassle of covering my pool. The choice is sparkling clear water vs a dirty, possibly unsafe cover.
Don’t forget the cost of opening in the following spring. Another $200 - $300 to have your pool reopened. Then, there’s the cost of getting the pool chemically correct. Assuming you don’t have algae, you still likely need bicarb, shock, tablets, algaecide, clarifier, etc. If you do have algae, depending on the severity you’ll spend at least an additional $20 - $50 or more getting rid of that. I’ve seen pools where the cover actually went into the pool and made for an extremely long and expensive cleanup. By keeping your pool open all year you can keep all chemical levels in check, have crystal clear water, and be ready to swim as soon as you’re ready.
Cleaning the pool in the Fall or in the freezing temperatures of Winter is no fun! Trust me, I’ve done it hundreds of times. Unless you hire a company (maybe Moore Outdoors) to clean your pool at least through the end of Fall (if you live in a wooded area, I don’t need to explain why) you’ll still want to net and vacuum your pool from time to time. The Fall can be a real challenge for many due to the heavy amount of debris from leaves and straw. In the Winter, your hands take a beating from the cold water. Plus, those pool decks can freeze quickly and be a major hazard. Understandably, many pool owners decide to opt out of this headache and cover the pool at the end of the season. One less thing to be concerned with.
What if you lose power for an extended period of time? With the pool winterized you have far less chance of having a pipe burst or any other damage to equipment. With a proper safety cover and having had your pool properly winterized, you can be fairly assured your pool will survive most blizzards.
To summarize, the cost of operating a pool through the Winter vs covering a pool through the off-season is relatively similar. The choice comes down to personal preference. For the cost of closing and opening, you can have pool service (even just every other week) and transition seamlessly from season to season. On the con side, there is the chore of continued cleaning if you don’t want to hire a pool service. You also have the small chance of a major power outage. My choice would be to remain open and not have the hassle of buying a cover and going through openings at closings. I’d want to swim on the first warm day and have a view of clear water all off-season. Once you decide where your preferences lie, call Moore Outdoors for your weekly maintenance, openings, closings, or anything else related to your pool!