Now is the time to start thinking about preparing your pool for the cooler months, according to the Northeast Spa and Pool Association.

Proper winterizing means more than just covering the pool, the association says. The pool must be cleaned, winter chemicals must be added, water chemistry must be balanced, and the water level should be lowered. Most importantly, winterizing is about freeze protection, and taking steps to protect the pool equipment and lines from being split apart by freezing water.

To prevent freeze damage, water must be drained or blown out of all pumping, filtering, heating and chlorinating equipment and other pool plumbing, the association says. This is not always a “do-it-yourself” project. Every pool is different, and each will require specific procedures and equipment to implement those procedures.

The right time to winterize varies by climate and individual preference. Many pool owners opt to close in late August or early September before leaves begin to fall. Others heat their water and enjoy swimming into the early autumn season. In general, pool closing and winterizing should be done before the first hard freeze in your area.

For more information about pool winterizing, visit www.nespapool.org.