Maintaining Pools and Ponds During the Cold Months

Pond maintenance during the winter.

From an aerial view above cities like Las Vegas or Phoenix, it appears that just about every home comes equipped with a swimming pool.  That makes sense.  We’re not sure how anyone could survive the desert heat of Arizona or Nevada without one.  We’re starting to see a trend here in Utah, though, as well.  There is definitely an uptick in the number of pools and ponds going into Utah homes.  Especially in the West Jordan landscapes, we are seeing more and more water features being added.  That begs the question of the obvious, how do these homeowners maintain their pools and/or ponds during the cold months?  While the Salt Lake valley is a desert climate and we experience warm temperatures in the summer months, our winter months bring just as much cold.

Winterize Your Utah Swimming Pool

For typical procedures during a winterizing process of your pool, consider doing the following.  If you’re not feeling confident in these procedures, it may be a good idea for you to reach out to a landscaping company to handle this for you.

  • Remove any ladders, slides, or accessories from the pool.  This is important so that they do not freeze in the water during cold nights, which could cause them to break.  
  • Maintain the water chemicals.  Balance the pH level, the water hardness, and chemical levels in the pool.  This will keep unwanted bacteria from growing.
  • Lower the water level to below intake skimmers and return valves.  Again, you don’t want water freezing and expanding while in these, which would cause breakage.  You will want to cap off the skimmer with a winterizing plug.
  • Clean and vacuum your pool.  You don’t want any debris or anything festering over the winter.  Leaves or pine needles left in the pool can cause stains to the pool floor.
  • Turn off the heater.  Now, there is an argument that some people maintain a pool year-round.  This is possible; however, you’re going to pay a very hefty bill to keep the heater going around the clock, as well as all of the pumps and whatnot going—especially through those nights that everything freezes.
  • Shock the pool and add the algicide.  Again, this is going to protect your pool from growing unwanted algae or bacteria through the winter months.
  • Drain and clean your pump.  For the same reasons you don’t want water freezing and expanding in your filters and valves, you are going to want to drain, disconnect, and clean your pump and filter hoses.  Add plumbing antifreeze.
  • Blow out all water from pipes and lines, just as you would for your sprinklers.  Close off any return openings.
  • Fill and arrange water bags around the perimeter of the pool.  These will act as anchors.  You may want to also use air pillows, which will absorb the water in the event that the pool freezes and begins to expand, breaking the pool wall.  They’re not necessary, but they’re a good idea.
  • Last, cover your pool.

Winterize Your Utah Pond

This process is less invasive than a swimming pool; however, there are still some really important key elements to consider, when winterizing your Utah pond.

  • Remove any plants, so that you can see the bottom of the pond.  This also entails removing any debris like leaves, branches, or twigs.
  • Remove any algae.  Again, you do not want this staying in your pond through the winter months or building up over time.  Clean the bottom of your pump vault as well.  You will want to add an algaecide if you see build-up.
  • Disconnect all water lines, as well as the pump.  Think about it just like a sprinkler system.  You do not want water in there, and then, having it expand when a freeze happens.  This can result in cracking and breakage, which equates to expenses.
  • Remove and store your pump, so that it can be in the most pristine condition, as well as life preservation.

It’s completely possible to incorporate a Utah swimming pool or Utah pond in your landscape design.  With a little bit of work and an aptitude for attention to details, you can successfully maintain your swimming pool and/or pond through the winter months.

Cottonwood Landscapes is your source for premier landscaping in Utah.

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