Winterizing Above Ground Pool

Winterizing above ground pool - that time of year that most pool owners never want to see. The weather has cooled off and it's time to face the fact that summer is over. It might seem a bit overwhelming or confusing if it’s your first time closing your pool but this step by step guide will break it down and ensure you have a pool that is ready to go in the spring.

Proper closing or winterizing is important whether you have a salt water pool or a regualar chlorine pool. If you live in a climate that drops below freezing in the winter the main concern is removing water from any plumbing that will be exposed to freezing temperatures, and removing any parts like the filter or pump. If you don’t experience freezing temperatures during the winter months your goal will be to achieve a winter-ready chemical balance or drain the pool completely.

Follow the steps below to make winterizing above ground pools a breeze!


Winterizing Step by Step

Step 1  Final Balancing

A week or two prior to closing an above ground pool, ensure that you balance the water chemistry. This includes testing the following levels: alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness. If the levels are low, add the appropriate chemicals. These are the levels you should be aiming for:

  • pH: 7.2 – 7.6
  • Alkalinity: 80 – 120 parts per million
  • Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 parts per million


Step 2  Final Cleaning

Brush the sides and floor of your pool. Any residue left over the winter could potentially stain your vinyl. If you need to use a cleaner, there are excellent biodegradable pool cleaners available. A final vacuum will ensure you haven’t missed anything.


Step 3  Winter Chemicals

Add the winterizing chemicals; algaecide, sequestering agent and oxidizer. A pool closing kit is available that contains everyone you need to achieve this balance. Run your pool for at least a few hours to attain proper mixture.


Step 4  Lower Water Level

Drain your pool water level to approximately 6 inches below the skimmer line and return jets. When winterizing above ground pool you should never drain your pool completely. The pool can be damaged during the winter if drained.


Step 5  Hardware Preparation

Remove cartridges from swimming pool cartridge filters and de swimming pool filters, clean and store. If you are using a sand pool filter, run a backwash to clean out the filter.

Turn off electricity and disconnect plumbing from swimming pool pumps, filters and skimmers. Remove valves to allow for complete draining and leave open to allow for evaporation.

Ensure that all the plumbing and equipment are free of water, either by blowing with an industrial blower or vacuuming with a shop vacuum. Using forced air to blow any remaining water is necessary to eliminate any possibility of freezing and cracking over winter. This includes all lines to and from your pool.

All plumbing should be re-fastened after allowing for water to evaporate completely. Anywhere that is open to the elements should be plugged with an expandable rubber plug or similar. This will help prevent damage and also prevent anything from living in the openings over the winter. 


Step 6  Salt Cell Preparation

If you have a salt water swimming pool set the chlorine generator to the “winter” setting. If that isn’t available, set it to neutral. Most chlorine generators have a removable salt water pool cell that needs to be removed. Clean with a mild acidic wash and store over the winter at your leisure.


Step 7  Remove and Store Accessories

Remove all pool accessories; ladders, toys, etc. Clean and store.


Step 8  Air Pillow

When winterizing above ground pools, this step is most often forgotten or skipped but you should place an air pillow that floats on the water in the center of your pool. The air pillow distributes the stress caused by the freezing water which prevents damage to the structure of the pool. We recommend an air pillow to pool owners that experience freezing temperatures, and a necessity in areas that experience temperature below 14 F (-10c).


Step 9  Winter Cover

Above ground winter pool covers should be installed and tied down. A good quality cover is recommended for safety reasons and to prevent leaves, dirt and debris from entering your pool.


I hope this guide to winterizing above ground pool helps you achieve a clean, fully functioning pool in the spring. Always refer to the manual supplied with your equipment for detailed instructions.


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