How to Care for Your Pool While It Snows

Freezing water could spell danger to your home swimming pool in more ways than one. Closing your pool properly during the winter can save you a lot of work when the time comes to open the swimming pool for the summer.

EditPreparing the pool for winter
Turn off the pool heater before you begin.

Remove all pool accessories. Take away the stairs, ladders, rafts, toys and other items and store them properly.

Winterize your pool pump and water lines. If you have an above-ground pool, you likely can thoroughly drain your pump and store it in a protected shelter. Remove the flexible water hoses and cap the water line openings to prevent drainage.

Chemically balance the pool water. Starting the winter with the proper chemicals helps to protect your pool from scale (hard water buildup) and corrosion. Test and adjust the pH, calcium hardness, chlorine and total alkalinity levels as necessary.

Shock the water. Add a shock product, following the product instructions to determine the proper amount according to the pool size. Shocking raises the chlorine levels.

Run the filter. Allow the pump and filter to run for several hours – a minimum of eight to 12 if possible.

Add winterizing chemicals if preferred. Specially packaged pool chemicals for winter closing make it simple to add the included items according to the pool size. Broadcast these chemicals from the deep end or by walking around the pool.

EditCleaning the pool and gear
Clean the pool. Wipe down or brush the sides first and then the pool floor to loosen dirt, algae and other contaminants. Skim the surface of the water and vacuum the floor to remove the debris. When left in your pool, algae and other contaminants can stain the surfaces and leave lasting damage.

Clean the pool equipment. Remove remaining chlorine from the chlorinator. Clean out the skimmer basket. Backwash or clean the filter to type: Both cartridge filters and D.E. grids – filters made with diatomaceous earth – can be flushed thoroughly with a garden hose fitted with a sprayer nozzle to create enough water pressure to remove contaminants. Sand filters, on the other hand, require backwashing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

EditDuring the snow season
Lower the water level. With above-ground pools, you must lower the water to allow you to remove the pump. Drain to below the return line, but never more than to prevent stress on the pool cover. To prevent structural damage, never completely empty your above-ground pool. It is important to keep about of water on top of the winter cover to prevent damages caused by wind. You can help secure your liner in place by using “quick clips”; as they are called; in order to hold your cover to the pool frame.

Keep snow weight to a minimum. Snow and ice, if allowed to weigh on the pool’s cover, will eventually damage it. As most pool covers are kept on by a cord that runs around the pool; excessive weight will cause the cover to stretch and the cord to tighten further. Don’t let the pool cover get heavy. Depending on whether your pool is above-ground or below-ground, the damage caused by winter ice and snow accumulating on the surface differs:
With an above ground swimming pool, the weight of snow or rain weighs down on the cover essentially pulling the walls of the pool in towards the center, potentially causing damage to the walls and / or top rails of your swimming pool.

If you have an in-ground swimming pool, heavy snow or an excessive amount of rainwater can cause the safety cover anchors to pop out or damage the pools coping.

Try your best to keep snow weight to a minimum. When it begins to accumulate, do either of the following:
Immediately remove excess water from the top of your pool cover with a small electric pool-cover pump. You can use a Frisbee to keep the pump from sucking up leaves and other junk. It is also a good idea to keep leaves and other debris from weighing down your cover further. Remove them whenever necessary.

If the accumulation of snow gets to a point where it might be too heavy for the cord to hold; simply cut the cord and let the cover fall. This is your last-step-scenario, of course. However, cleaning the pool from debris is easier than dealing with insurance companies.

Prevent untreated water from entering your pool. Pool damage will occur when weight is added and allowing this to happen can displace water, thereby mixing non-chemically treated water in your pool.

Take care to avoid water displacement. During the winter months, water displacement is a huge concern.
Double check on the water level; especially before heavy snow events.

Look under the cover and record the water level. If the level is lower than when you closed the pool then you will need to do some snow removal.

Do not add water to a frozen pool. Getting the snow off the top is the best thing that you can do to save your pool.

Let it be as much as possible. A frozen pool is better left alone. Unless it gets covered with a fresh layer of snow, in which case this is the best time to remove (see above). With the ice below, it should be easier to remove most of the snow. However, use utmost caution when getting snow off your pool.
Do not risk walking atop the ice.

To remove snow, gently use a long broom to push snow off the cover. Do not use anything with sharp edges such as a shovel, as this can cause damage to the winter pool cover.

Use a roof rake to pull the snow off the top. If the snow is lightweight, even a leaf blower will serve the purpose.

EditCaring for the pool’s drainage
Don’t forget the skimmer drain. Remove snow from inside and on top of the drain, to keep it from cracking.

Use pool antifreeze. For in-ground pools, either use pool antifreeze (not car antifreeze!) or blow out all valves and water lines with either a powerful reverse vacuum or an air compressor. You can also use both in combination, first blowing and then cycling antifreeze through the lines.
To add antifreeze: Add the product as instructed and circulate at least two minutes or as directed.

Plug all lines with special winterizing plugs.

Finally, blow out the drain underneath the pool from the opposite end before capping. When bubbles appear, immediately cap the drain line. The vapor lock caused will prevent the drain from gathering water and freezing in harsh climates.

Perform winter maintenance regularly and keep the cover free of all snow, water and debris that can and will cause damage to the cover and pool.When springtime comes and your pool water thaws you will be all set; knowing that your hard work and patience really paid off well.

EditThings You’ll Need
Suitable winter pool cover

Electric pool cover pump


Pool antifreeze

Long broom

Roof rake

EditRelated wikiHows
Prepare Your Spa for Winter

Close Your Swimming Pool for the Winter

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Today in History for 21st December 2018

Historical Events

1906 – British Parliament pass two important pieces of social legislation: The Trades Disputes Bill, legalizing peaceful picketing, and The Workingmen’s Compensation Act, broadening employers’ liability for accidents
1920 – Jerome Kern/BG DeSylva’s musical “Sally” premieres in NYC
1981 – Cincinnati beats Bradley 75-73 in 7 OTs (NCAA record)
1991 – Soviet Union formally dissolves as 11 of 12 republics sign treaty forming Commonwealth of Independent States
1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.
2012 – “Gangnam Style” by Psy becomes the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1874 – Juan Bautista Sacasa, President of Nicaragua (1932-36), born in León, Nicaragua
1926 – Pedro Gonzales-Gonzalez, American actor (Rio Bravo), born in Aguilares, Texas (d. 2006)
1931 – David Baker, American composer (Reflections) and educator, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2016)
1932 – Edward Hoagland, American essayist, born in New York City, New York
1955 – Kazuyuki Sekiguchi, Japanese musician, born in Agano, Niigata Prefecture
1957 – Lisa Gerritsen, American actress (Bess-The Mary Tyler Moore Show), born in Los Angeles, California

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1549 – Marguerite of Navarre, Queen of Navarre, wife of Henry II of Navarre, dies at 57
1674 – Rutger van Haersolte, viceroy of Overijsselse, dies at about 66
1907 – Oskar Lassar, German dermatologist (public baths), dies at 58
1948 – Seishiro Itagaki, Japanese General/min of War, hanged
1996 – Margaret E Rey, author of children’s books, dies at 90
2013 – Eli Beeding, American Air Force Captain and rocket test pilot, dies at 85

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Train Chickens to Return to Their Coop

Training your chickens to return to their coop is a great way to protect your chickens from predators. Chickens that have established the coop as their home will return to it naturally each evening. You can also train your chickens to return to the coop when you call them in case you spot a daytime predator or need to clean their area of the yard. Chickens do not learn as quickly or as easily as dogs do, but with a little patience you will find that training chickens to return to their coop is fairly easy to do.

EditCoop Training Your Chickens
Prepare your chicken coop. Before you can train your chickens to return to the coop in the evening, you need to ensure the coop is set up properly for your chickens. A basic chicken coop should provide at least twenty-four square feet of space and multiple places for chickens to perch.[1]
Make sure there is a plentiful supply of food and water inside the chicken coop.

Wood beams mounted horizontally can provide good perching space for chickens.

If you are raising chickens for egg production, make sure there are enough chicken nesting boxes for each hen (usually one box per four hens will suffice).

Check the temperature inside the coop. Coop training requires that you keep your chickens inside the coop for a prolonged period of time. It’s important that you make sure your chickens won’t be too hot or they could suffer from health issues.[2]
Your chicken coop should not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit during coop training.

Install fans to reduce the temperature of your coop if it is too hot.

You may want to consider relocating your chicken coop to a shadier area of your yard if high temperatures continue to be an issue.

Keep your chickens confined to the coop for a week. Chickens are often stressed by a transition from one coop or yard to another. Young chickens that are transitioning into living in a coop may take even longer to adjust. Forcing the chickens to remain inside the coop for a week will force them to roost in the coop and begin to consider it a home.[3]
Make sure your coop allows you to easily replace food and water dishes without allowing the chickens to escape the coop. Most coops have small doors designed specifically for this purpose.

The bedding at the bottom of the coop will be very messy after a week, so make sure to remove soiled bedding at the completion of the week.

Allow the chickens to leave the coop after a week. After a week, open the door to the coop and allow the chickens to wander out into your yard or the area you have fenced in for them. Try not to interfere with them and instead allow them to wander freely.[4]
If the chickens do not return to the coop at dusk, it means they have not properly adjusted to it.

You may have to confine the chickens to the coop for another week in order to ensure they accept it as their home and a safe area.

Once the chickens have adjusted to the coop as their new home, they will return to it naturally when they sense danger, want to rest, or at sundown each day.

EditTraining Your Chickens to Come When You Call
Choose one consistent sound as your call. Chickens are not as skilled at interpreting human sounds as dogs are, so it’s important that you choose one distinct sound as your chicken call. Using a consistent sound of any sort may work, but by using a tool instead of your voice, others can call the chickens for you if you aren’t present to call them.[5]
A whistle or bell are both excellent options to use as a chicken call. You could also try banging a bowl or cup on the side of the coop.

If you choose to use your voice, make sure it is a distinct sound that you do not make regularly when not calling your chickens.

Use treats to train your chickens. You will need to train your chickens to associate the sound of your chicken call with getting a treat in order to get them to come whenever you call. Choose a treat that your chickens do not normally eat otherwise they may grow tired of the treat.[6]
Bird seed mixed with meal worms serves as an excellent treat that you can spread around inside the coop each time you sound the chicken call.

Watermelon wedges also serve as good chicken treats, but because they are hard to scatter the less dominant chickens may not be able to get to the treats.

Let the chickens see you with the treats. As you train your chickens to respond to your chicken call, make sure they can see the bag or box of treats as you approach and make the sound. Your chickens do not necessarily need to see the treats for the training to work, but it will often go faster if they see the treats during the early stages of training.[7]
Let the chickens see you approach their coop with the treats as you prepare to sound your chicken call.

Chickens will come to associate your behavior with getting treats as well as the call itself.

Use your chicken call and toss treats into the coop. By scattering treats into the coop while you use your chicken call, you will help the chickens begin to associate the sound with both treats and returning to their coop.[8]
Repeat this process two to three times per day for about a week to establish the pattern in the chicken’s minds.

If your chickens aren’t interested in the treats you are using, try switching to bits of corn.

Be patient. Your chickens may not understand the process quickly. You may need to sound the chicken call and make sure they see you distributing the feed a number of times before they start to understand. Early on, the noise will not attract chickens, only the smell and sight of the treats will.[9]
Once one chicken figures out the process, it will begin to respond more quickly. Other chickens will follow suit soon after to ensure they get a share of the treats.

Chickens are less likely to respond to this training if they have eaten recently or have only left the coop a short time ago.

Start concealing the treats when you call your chickens. Once your chickens are starting to respond well to the chicken call, start approaching the coop without keeping the treats visible. Once you sound the call, remove the treats from where you’ve hidden them and distribute them like normal.[10]
Hiding the treats will help ensure the chickens respond to the call and not the visual que of the treats.

If your chickens become accustomed to coming without seeing treats, that is one step closer to simply coming when they’re called.

Continue to repeat this process until the chickens return to the coop reliably each time they are called.

EditRetraining Your Chickens After a Scare
Identify the source of the stressor in the coop. Sometimes chickens that have been coop trained will vacate their coop and refuse to re-enter it. This is often caused by a predator entering the coop or the conditions in the coop being unhealthy for the chickens.[11]
Look for any areas that a predator could have gained access to the coop and secure it.

Ensure the coop is relatively clean and the food and water are easy to access. Also check the temperature to make sure it is not exceeding 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The stressor that caused the chickens to leave must be identified and resolved prior to retraining your chickens to return to the coop.

Catch your chickens. Once you have made sure the coop is safe for your chickens, you will need to catch or corral them all back into the coop. If your chickens are able to walk around a large yard, it may be difficult to catch them all.
Try approaching sleeping chickens at night slowly with a flashlight. Don’t shine the light directly on the chickens as it may wake them. Once you’re close, gently pick each chicken up and return it to the coop.

Use food to distract a chicken during the day, then approach it slowly from behind. Once you are close enough, gently pick the chicken up and return it to its coop.

Confine your chickens to the coop for a week. Once all of the chickens are back in the coop, secure the coop and keep the chickens confined to it for a week. This will re-establish the coop as their safe haven and home in the minds of the chickens.[12]
Release the chickens again after a week. If they do not return to the coop that night, check the conditions of the coop again to make sure the water and food can be reached by all chickens and the temperature is below seventy degrees.

Secure the chickens for a second week if they do not begin returning to the coop at dusk and the coop is in good condition.

EditRelated wikiHows
Feed Chickens

Clean a Chicken Coop

Build a Chicken Coop

Build a Chicken Nesting Box

EditSources and Citations
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