Hard to believe, but it's near time to winterize
By Marcelle Dibrell
Even as we wade through the dog days of summer, that hottest time of the year, it only takes flipping the page of the calendar to realize that the end of the 2016 swim season is fast approaching. And as the season draws to a close, we are also nearing one of the busiest times of the year for service professionals who specialize in winterizing.
If left unprotected, pools and equipment can suffer irreparable damage caused by freezing temperatures during the off season. Veteran service techs know that the time to protect these valuable assets comes before, not after, the first frost.
Battening down the hatches before the rough weather arrives can be a labor- intensive job, and as such, means big profits for many service firms.
According to data collected for the Service Industry News 2016 Industry Survey, service firms charge as much as $1,000 to close a pool down for the winter. However, the “average” charge in the Northeast, where 80 percent of those responding to the survey said they do winterizing, is $325.
Winterizing is also an important revenue source in the Southeast and Midwest. In those two regions, about 63 and 85 percent, respectively, reported performing winterizing chores. The “average” charge is $235 in the Southeast and $325 in the Midwest region.
Only 17 percent of respondents from the Southwest reported winterizing their customer’s pool. The “average” charge is $245 in this region.
Though in much smaller numbers, winter closings were also reported by service firms in California where the median price is $375.
Full winter shutdown emphasizes protection of the pool’s equipment and surfaces from severe weather, but most service professionals agree that the main goal during the process is to make sure that the job of opening the pool in the spring is made easier.
Many accomplish this by keeping records, using a checklist for plumbing lines that have been blown and plugged with notes about the water chemistry.
In addition to assuring that all closing tasks have been performed, a checklist also provides a convenient roadmap for the opening crew in the spring. See page 8 for your winterizing checklist.
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