In Florida, particularly on the central west coast in Sarasota, freezing temperatures are rare, but do occur. While the region doesn't experience long freeze bouts, it only takes a night of frigid conditions to inflict substantial harm on a swimming pool, or more accurately, its systems. While the water itself might not turn into a block of ice, the damage done is much more subtle. You probably wouldn't notice until late March or early April that something in the balance is amiss.
In most instances, there's little to no damage done for such short cold bouts, but that still entails a lot of risk. Not being proactive could be a very costly bet as equipment is quite susceptible to harsh conditions and there is always a chance that a bit of leftover moisture, combined with near freezing temperatures, can wreak havoc. Since Sarasota is in a subtropical climate, there are a few options available to protect your swimming pool equipment when temperatures rapidly fall.
This brings up another point which cannot be ignored. Near the Gulf of Mexico, in the central portion of the west coast of the peninsula, cold snaps aren't uncommon during January and February. These brief weather conditions are called "cold snaps" for this very reason. In a matter of a day, even from morning, to afternoon, to evening, wild swings do occur yearly. That's a recipe for chaos, at least, to your equipment.
Winterizing a Pool in Florida
Because of the location, it's often enough not to have to go to the extents homeowners do to living in the northern and midwestern parts of the nation. That is to say, it's not a big project to winterize a pool in Florida. All that is necessary are a few simple preventative steps to protect your swimming pool through the cold months. Since we usually have ample time to prepare for near frozen to freezing conditions, there's enough opportunity to take a few preventative steps.
"Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts extreme pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor water faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas..." --Patch.com
You ought to reduce run time to just at, or just under, four hours a day, for everyday that's going to reach near freezing. In addition, you should reduce your pool's chemical consumption during the same period by adjusting the chlorinator or generator, whichever is applicable. Always take the precaution of running the solar system and/or pump overnight during freeze warnings to keep the equipment safe as temperatures dip. Finally, you should opt to cover your pool to trap heat underneath and prevent evaporation from occurring overnight.
These steps, though small, will go a long way in protecting the pH balance, keeping pipes and other parts of equipment from freezing, and be of less stress while transitioning back as temperatures rise again. Keep in mind, that temperature swings are quite severe to pool equipment, just as they are to you.
Steps to Protect a Swimming Pool During a Freeze
Cold weather isn't associated with our warm and balmy subtropical climate, but it happens practically every year during the winter months. January and February are the most active for near or below freezing conditions, both overnight and during the daylight hours. With the wind whipping off the waterfront, carry the salt air, corrosives are just a part of life. When frigid air is added to the mix, it poses a more serious threat.
When freezing temperatures are in the forecast, it's wise to take a few preventative steps to avoid cost repairs and expensive part replacement. Follow these steps prior to the mercury dropping to or below freeze temperatures during the day or overnight:
- Balance and shock the water. The first thing you should do to protect your pool during freezing temperature snaps is to reset the pH balance and shock the water. This will help the water to acclimate as the temperatures rise again.
- Remove everything from the water. Take everything out of the pool, including the skimmer basket(s), the wall fittings, and if applicable, any loose ladders. These can become brittle during such conditions and might crack or break apart.
- Drain all your equipment. Allow all system equipment to drain completely, including the pumping, filtering, and heating, as well as the chlorinating equipment.
- Add swimming pool anti-freeze the lines. Rather than let the pool run during the freezing hours, you can simply add swimming pool anti-freeze to the lines. This will cut down on water use, as well as protect the lines.
- Cover the pool. Before temperatures being to drop, cover your pool to trap heat and stop evaporation.