How to Winterize Gunite Pools
Preparing a gunite pool for winter requires careful planning and an entire day's work. Gunite pools are constructed from a unique concrete compound. Because they're built from concrete, they can be troublesome for homeowners living in colder regions. Gunite pools in these climates must be constructed with special supports to protect them from cracking. In addition, special consideration must be given when preparing this type of pool for winter.
Thoroughly vacuum and skim your pool before starting the winterizing process.
Backwash your pool filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. Blow any excess water out of the multi-port valve using a shop vac or air compressor.
Unhook the pool pump and filter, and drain any remaining water.
Drain the heater by blowing water out with a shop vac or air compressor.
Take off all return jet fittings and the skimmer basket, and blow the water out of the jet return and skimmer pipes. You'll know the pipes are empty when air bubbles start to appear in the pool water. Put a plug in the fitting when the air bubbles appear.
Place a 20-oz. soda bottle in the skimmer basket to accommodate any expansion and contraction caused by freezing. Be sure the bottle is empty and closed.
If your pool has a main drain line, blow air into the end on the outside of the pool to remove water. Once you see bubbles coming out of the drain in the pool, plug the outside end.
Place duct tape over the openings of any open tubes. This will keep unwanted guests out during the winter.
Remove all ladders, diving boards, ropes and floats and store them for the winter along with the filter and pump.
Drain the water level. In a gunite pool, it's important to lower the water below the tile level. This will prevent the tiles from cracking and breaking. In addition, be sure the water level is below the skimmer line.
Test the pool water to determine the chemical level.
Add the appropriate amount of chemicals to reach a pH level between 7.2 and 7.6, and alkalinity between 100 and 150 parts per million (ppm). The chlorine level should be 3.0 ppm.
Cover the pool with your pool cover. If you have a solid cover, be sure the drain vents don't become clogged with leaves and debris over the winter months.