Since the calendar has turned to October, cooler weather is right around the corner. It’s time to shift gears from summertime to cooler temperature activities, which means winterizing your backyard swimming pool. Here are some tips to get it ready for the off season.

• When the water temperature is cooler, your pool will require less chlorine to maintain its optimal chemical balance. You can probably use about one third fewer chlorine tablets throughout the winter months.

• Algae is less likely to grow during cooler weather and with less sunlight, so you can cut back on your algaecide chemicals. Just back this off slowly over the next several weeks.

• Your pumps can run for a shorter length of time, so reset your timers. A good rule of thumb is to start with the current water temperature and add one hour to the first digit. So, if your water temperature is 75 degrees, your pumps should run for 8.5 hours per day, for example.

• Clean your filters and flush the pumps to get rid of any debris. Fall and winter bring lots of falling leaves and wind gusts to deposit lawn debris in your water, so don’t forget to check your skimmers periodically throughout the winter months.

• Stay on top of your pool’s chemistry during winter to protect your plaster or gunite surface. This will help prolong the life of your pool in general.

• If temperatures get close to freezing, run your pumps continuously until it warms back up in order to prevent frozen pipes.

• Keep an eye on your water levels and add new water as needed to maintain optimal operating levels for your pumps.

• Continue to brush along the water line as this can be a breeding ground for bacteria even in cold weather. It will also help prevent stains.

• Perform scheduled maintenance on your heater (if you have one) so it will be ready when you want to spend a cool evening in your hot tub!