Having a place in your own garden where you can take a dip is great and to ensure this feature stays in the best possible condition it is vital that come winter you ensure necessary swimming pool maintenance is carried out.
You could contact swimming pool companies for tips on how to go through this process or about any chemicals that are required, or you could hire an expert to carry out the job.
However, if you want to conduct the task yourself there are a few things you must endeavour to do to make sure the work is carried out correctly.
A good time to start closing down your pool is when regularly falling leaves start to herald the arrival of autumn. Once the temperature during the day dips to an average of between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius, it is a good time to start considering getting out the winter cover.
It is typically too cool at this time of year to go for a regular dip anyway, although you can choose to leave it until later if you wish.
However, many pool owners like to get started on the job early in the autumn before too many leaves fall into the water. Any tree matter that lands in the pool must be removed, as failure to do so could see the build up of algae increase, which means you are more likely to be greeted by a green swamp-like sight when you pull back the cover come spring.
You can get all of the leaves out either using a net or a vacuum – which you may be able to hire for the day from a specialist pool supplier.
Whether or not you drain any water from your pool before you close it down is up to you and can depend on what lining you have.
If you have ceramic tiles around the surface line for decorative purposes you may wish to drain the water, as in the cold the liquid could cause these to crack.
Another reason to take some of the water out of the feature is so that you can avoid plugging up all the pipes. However, many others prefer to let the water stay at a more regular level as this provides support from below when the cover is pummeled by rainwater and can help prevent sagging.
The most important step is to ensure that the filter system is thoroughly cleaned and drained. You need to be sure that all of the water and debris has been removed. You should have plugged the return jets and once you have cleaned out your pump you can leave it somewhere to drain.
Once the jet, skimmer and drain pipes are vacuumed you can cover up any exposed holes and pipes to stop water from getting in if you have decided not to empty some of your pool.
The reason you need to take such care with the pipes and filter system is that if water gets in there over the winter, once temperatures hit freezing it will turn into ice and expand, causing cracks and possibly a leak.
You should also take the time to give your filter the once-over before you store it away as it may need replacing – something you could consult a drainage specialist about.
Next you will need to put chemicals in if necessary, after removing any toys or inflatables that have been left in the water. However, you can consider adding some large Styrofoam floats if your pool is lined with vinyl as this can help to prevent the surface of the water freezing and causing damage.
Don't forget to remove any diving boards or slides before you pull the cover tightly over the hole to be sure that it is fully protected.
It is important it is kept taut as this can prevent the material from sagging, which may mean it needs replacing sooner than it was designed for.
Although your pool is now tucked up for the winter, it could still present a danger, particularly if an unsupervised child or pet is able to get under the cover and gets trapped – so make sure they are watched at all times when near it.
Now your pool is prepared for the cold snap, you can get on with your essential garden maintenance so that all your outdoor space will be looking its best when spring arrives.