Ask the General: How Do I Start Preparing to Close my Inground Fiberglass Pool?

Dear General;Preparing to close my inground fiberglass pool

Help! I looked out the window this morning and a single, orange maple leaf was floating in my pool. That has to mean that swim season is coming to an end, which is truly a bummer. However, I know that there’s still a little bit of swim time left, so I’m going to make the most of it! In the meantime, what should I be doing to start getting ready to close my pool? (Even if I’m in denial that I really have to do it.)

Signed; Wistful in Wisconsin


Dear Wistful;

I feel your pain. For those of us who live in a seasonal climate, there unfortunately comes a time when we have to winterize our pools for the year. I have always thought of fall as the time we start counting the days until we can open the pool again. We usually close our pool in mid-September and open it back up in mid-April. I’d like to keep it open longer, but my neighbor has a huge maple tree and it’s a lot easier to get the leaves and helicopters (as my kids used to call them) off the cover than it is to clean them out of the pool.

As the swim season here in the Midwest winds to a close, here’s a list of things you can do now to make sure your pool closing goes smoothly and you’re ready to make a splash as early as you can next year.

  1. Save the date. As soon as the season nears its end, schedule a closing date with your service company (and, as an extra tip, get your winter coat cleaned while you’re at it– you’ll thank me later.) Much like waiting until February 13th to order roses for your sweetie, if you wait until the week you want to close your pool to schedule a closing, you might be out of luck.
  2. Balance your H2O. Be sure to have your water chemistry balanced. All pool stores have winterization kits available, but if you’d rather leave it to the pros, have your pool service company come out and test your water prior to closing. Balanced water at the end of the season means a better chance of pulling off the cover to find clean water next year.
  3. Get your gear ready. Start now to round up all of the winter plugs, skimmers, maintenance equipment and other gizmos your pool service company will need to winterize your pool. Hopefully, you’ve stored them all in one location so you don’t have to tear the pool house apart to find them.
  4. Close it clean. It’s really important to close a clean pool. Vacuum up all the dirt and debris, clean the water line and backwash the filter prior to closing your pool. If you have a cartridge filter, your service tech will remove it.
  5. Cover it up. I strongly recommend automatic pool covers. They add a huge level of convenience in all seasons and give you the peace of mind that your pool will be tightly sealed, safe and clean. If you don’t have an automatic pool cover, consider getting one installed prior to closing the pool.
  6. Pick up your toys. As you deflate your rafts and gather all the other toys you have collected over the summer, give them a good cleaning and store them in an orderly fashion. While you’re at it, round up your lawn chairs, tables and umbrellas and give them a good cleaning too. Ask your pool store about advice on proper protection for diving boards, slides, handrails and ladders. My slide can’t be removed, so I wax it for protection over the winter. I do remove my diving board and I store it with the handrails, ladder, safety rope and all the other pool toys. Store all of your accessories is in a clean, dry spot in your pool house or garage.
  7. Keep chemicals safe. Leftover chemicals must be stored with with their lids tightly sealed in a well-ventilated space away from furnaces and other sources of heat. Certain chemicals must be stored away from other chemicals too, so consult your pool service professional to make sure you’ve got everything tucked away safely for next year.

preparing to close inground fiberglass poolIf your kids are like mine used to be, they’re looking forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter break, and Santa Claus right now. But come early March, they’ll be marking off the days on the calendar until swim season starts again. However, summer isn’t quite over yet, so stop reading this and go enjoy your pool while you can.

Until next time –

The General


Who is The General?

The man, the myth, the legend….we just call him The General. His organized, systematic approach to pool installations over the years had his crew members calling him “The General” and it stuck. The General has over 30 years’ experience in the pool and spa industry, working for one of Pool and Spa News’Top 50 Pool Builders.”

Over that time, he designed, sold, project-managed and installed over a thousand inground swimming pools. As a pool owner himself, he’s the perfect authority to give you the inside scoop, with amazing tips and tricks to make pool ownership a breeze!