Common Winter Pool Problems in Texas
Unless you’re a member of the Polar Bear Club, you probably use your pool less in winter than in other times of the year. Because of this, it’s sometimes easy to think the pool needs less care and attention.
Strangely enough, in some ways it’s actually the opposite. Every season presents its own unique set of challenges when it comes keep your pool leaking great and functioning well. For instance, during Fall all the leaves will clog your filter quickly, and you’ll need more frequent backwashes and filter cleans. The same is true during the Spring with the pollen falling. So what particular needs or areas of attention come up during the winter? There are, in fact, quite a few.
Pool Plumbing and Pool Filters
The crazy Texas weather is anything but friendly when it comes your pool equipment. With sometimes having lows in the 30s and highs in the 80s in the same day, there is no shortage of expansion and contraction within your pool’s PVC plumbing. Because of this, replumbs are the single most common winter pool repair. Along with them, fiber glass filter tanks can sometimes crack from the same exposure to the elements. Either of these problems allows air into your system and water to escape, which if severe enough can actually burn out your pump.
Polarises and other auto-cleaners are great, but at the end of the day they’re just plastic. When water temperatures are cold, you might notice your Polaris not working like it should. It may certainly need a tune-up or repair, but often it’s simply the plastic parts and rubber hose becoming stiff in the cold water.
While most pool builders never bother mentioning it, nearly every salt generation system on the market doesn’t generate chlorine if the water temperature is below about 60 degrees. Somehow the temperature interferes with the electrolysis and no chlorine is made.
Because of this, we actually supplement salt pools with chlorine throughout the winter to make sure the pool is properly sanitized. The chlorine burns off throughout the week and doesn’t affect the salt system in any way, so as soon as temperatures go back up it’ll be right back to only using salt. In the mean time, because the systems aren’t breaking the salt down to generate chlorine, adding salt would just cause it to continually accumulate in the pool (which would cause a high-salt problem in Spring when the water warms up and the system turns back on) so we only add salt sparingly during the winter.
The other note about salt systems throughout the winter is that often the electronic readings aren’t particularly trustworthy. In many models, a red light comes on indicating that chlorine isn’t being generated, but because there isn’t usually an extra light just for this purpose it’s usually one of the other lights (either the ‘low salt’ or ‘clean cell’ light). We manually test for salt levels periodically throughout the winter, but since they are effectively “hibernating”, the readings from the boards are all over the map. Rest assured that everything is being taken care of and that as soon as water temperatures rise everything with your salt system will return to normal.
As you can see, while it might seem like the time of year you can neglect your pool, there are a number of important items to be checked and fixed on a regular basis that if ignored will cause expensive problems.