It is a good idea to start preparing now for the fall and winter pool shutdown so that it can is an easy and successful process.
The first and most critical step in preparing your pool for the winter is to make sure the water is chemically balanced for a dormant period. Start out by removing any debris from your pool like leaves or grass that can swing your pool chemistry from one extreme to the other. Then test your pH, alkalinity, and calcium to make sure that they are at the following levels:
These are the generally accepted ranges. For more specific direction, it is always advisable to bring a sample of your water to a pool supply store that you can trust and ask them to give you a more precise reading and advice. Once you have these levels in order, shock the pool more aggressively than you would during the swimming season so that it holds enough chlorine to maintain the water throughout the fall and winter. At this point, it is not a bad idea to add a winter algaecide as insurance against the development of unwanted algae.
After the water is balanced, make sure to remove any other remaining debris and give the pool surfaces a thorough scrubbing to lift and remove any lingering scum, dirt, or algae. On the day that you are going to officially close the pool for the season, remove any skimmer baskets, ladders, or automatic cleaners from the pool and rinse and dry them with fresh water before storing. Drain the water from the pump and filter and drain the pool to just below the mouth of the skimmer inlet. This will ensure that no water makes it back into the pump and filter system. This is a critical step for those few nights over the winter that temperatures maintain below freezing and can turn the water inside your pool equipment to ice and cause it to break. If you use a pool cover, now would be the time to get it out of storage and install over the surface of your pool.
Just because a pool is closed for the season though does not mean you can forget about it all fall and winter. Remember to peek under the cover from time to time to make sure the water has not turned green or developed a bad case of algae. It is also a good idea to continue testing the water chemistry to make sure all levels stay in balance. Getting prepared now will make fall pool preparations go quickly and smoothly. As much as we all hate seeing the days of summer fun leave, if you take the above precautions you can rest assured there will be many more ahead to enjoy.