How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

Closing your pool before the winter season starts is understandable. After all, the seemingly endless summer is almost over, and splashing around in your pool while temperatures steadily drop isn’t that appealing anymore. However, one thing that may be running across your mind is How you should winterize your above ground pool.

You probably understand that it’s summer’s end, and it’s unavoidable for some, regardless of how taxing the procedure is. Failure to winterize your above-ground pool properly may cause your pool to break down during the winter, necessitating you to make expensive repairs during the summer.

However, when done right, you can finish the entire winterization process in hours, enjoy some peace of mind, and wait for swimming sessions at the other end of the winter season. Let’s discuss why you need to winterize your above-ground pool before getting into the hows.

Why Should You Winterize Your Above Ground Pool?

If this is your first pool, or you have only lived in locations that experience mild winters, then you may not be aware of the benefits of winterizing your pool. However, if you live in locations that experience snow, frost, and deep cold, then you understand why you should winterize your pool and keep it in good working order.

During the summer, your pool is targeted by insects and littered with branches and leaves; however, this isn’t a huge deal since you perform regular maintenance. However, most people don’t usually use their pool during wintertime, and trying to clean it during that period isn’t so rewarding.

Inadequately preparing your pool for the winter means having to work extra hard to clean your pool come spring. It also increases the chances of your pool experiencing various types of damage that’ll have to be repaired before use. Additionally, you’ll have to rebalance the water and ensure everything works normally.

Winterizing your above-ground pool helps minimize the risk of contamination and damage to sensitive pool components due to freezing and thawing. Consequently, that’ll help you save money, time, and stress.

Why should you winterize your above ground pool?

When Should You Winterize Your Above Ground Pool?

Periods for winterizing your pool vary depending on your location. However, the general rule of thumb is to wait until the temperatures drop below 65˚F during the offseason. But why should you wait for the temperature to drop? Algae thrive in relatively warm temperatures, and cold temperatures help curb the infestation.

Additionally, giving yourself a time allowance provides plenty of time to test, clean, and balance the pool before closing. Suppose you live in locations where temperatures rise above 65˚F for a few days before winter helps you take advantage of the warm weather to test and balance your pool’s water chemistry. Doing this helps keep the water clean and clear during the winter.

How Do You Winterize Your Above Ground Pool?

Freezing temperatures and cold water can be bad for your pool. You can avoid all negative side effects and ensure the pool works perfectly and requires minimal repairs for years to come. However, the question remains: what procedures do you need to follow to ensure your pool is properly winterized.

Gather all the essentials

  • An alkaline booster, pH booster, algaecide, pool shock, calcium hardness booster, or winterizing chemical kit
  • Expansion plugs
  • Aboveground pool skimmer
  • Clarifying enzyme supplement (recommended but optional)
  • Above ground winter cover
  • Return line plugs
  • Cover clips
  • Cover cable and winch
  • Pool air pillow
  • Water bags (for owners that walk around the deck)
  • Swimming pool antifreeze (when necessary)
1.  Do one final cleaning.

1. Do one final cleaning.

  • Before winterizing it, you should clean your pool to prevent contamination and ease the process. You can do this by vacuuming the walls, brushing the walls, and skimming the surfaces.
  • Preparing your pool minimizes any potential surprises you may encounter later on when you open the pool next spring. Additionally, a clean pool helps you balance the water efficiently and ensures you don’t leave anything behind for algae to feed on and grow.

2. Test and tweak the water for winter

  • Knowing what happens with your water chemistry is critical to keeping the pool in top condition. Thus, you should take some time and test the water before closing the pool. You can test the water using a water testing kit or test strips. You can also take a sample to the closest pool store.
  • Your water’s pH should lie between 7.6 and 7.4, and alkalinity lies between 100ppm (parts per million) and 150ppm. 125ppm is the ideal range. The chlorine should be between 1 and 3 ppm. Ensure that your sanitizer has proper chemical levels or (preferably) be on the higher side since they’ll decrease over time.

3. Add winterizing chemicals

  • Chemicals added during closing help maintain your pool’s condition during winter. Balancing the water helps minimize damage to the pool liner and various components.

4. Use a winter closing kit

  • You should use a winter closing kit if you aren’t ready to mix the chemicals yourself. All you need to do is follow the instructions stated on the label, and you are good to go. Some chemicals require you to run the filter while adding them, while some don’t. Thus it would be a good idea to double-check the instructions.
Adjust the alkalinity

5. Adjust the alkalinity

NOTE: You should remember to adjust alkalinity before adjusting the pH.

6. Adjust the PH

  • Your pool’s pH measures how basic or acidic the water is. Low pH implies higher acidity, while high pH means your pool is more basic. Keep in mind that the ideal levels are between 7.6 and 7.4.

7. Calcium hardness

  • You should check and adjust your pool’s calcium levels since they tend to leave crusty calcium deposits that make your pool unsightly. However, your pool should also not have low calcium levels since it’ll try to balance it out by drawing calcium from the tiles covering your pool, which can damage them.
  • Whale plaster damage isn’t a huge concern for above-ground pools. Since they have vinyl liners, you should adjust the calcium levels to prevent metal damage. The preferred range should be between 175 to 225ppm or 200 ppm for people with plaster or concrete pools.

8. Shock the pool before closing

  • You should add pool shock to boost your sanitizer for the winter. You should follow the instructions to ensure that you are doing it correctly regarding the pool’s capacity. Before covering the pool, you can apply a dast-dissolving shock instead of a typical calcium hypochlorite variant that takes between 8 and 24 hours.
Shock the pool before closing

9. Add some winter algaecide.

  • You should add some winter algaecide to protect your pool from algae growth; however, it is optional. Follow the directions on the box and add clarifying enzyme treatment to reduce liner stains, algae growth, and contaminant buildup. It comes as a pill, bottle, or ball and can help keep your pool clean through the winter.

10. Clear and store lines

  • Even during mild winters, your pool lines can sustain damage because of ice expansion. Thus, removing, clearing, and storing them makes spring’s setup easier. You should disconnect the lines, pump out the water, let them dry, and store them in a dry place far from sunlight. Letting them dry prevents mold growth.

11. Protect your skimmer

  • You could remove the skimmer basket and place it somewhere dry and safe or choose to cover it for the season. You could use a winter skimmer cover, which prevents you from having to drain the pool below the skimmer line. However, if you choose not to cover the skimmer, you’ll expose it to an increased risk of damage.
  • You’ll have to inspect the skimmer and ensure that all water drains out if it rains. Don’t plug the skimmer’s bottom. Don’t lower the water if you plan on using a winter skimmer plate; however, you can lower it if you don’t. However, it would be best if you remembered that lowering the water can add some pressure to the pool cover in case of heavy snow or rain.

12. Clean and store the accessories

  • You’ll need to remove and store various accessories like toys, the pool ladder, etc., and protect them from damage. If left in the water, metal components may develop rust or puncture the lining. You’ll have to clean them using appropriate cleaning products and let them dry. Store them in a dry, clean place, away from direct sunlight.

13. Install the pool pillow

  • It would be best to place a pool air pillow to protect your pool by compensating for the pressure caused by ice and snow that accumulates on the cover. You can use the pool pillow whenever you want to close your pool, regardless of your location. Pump them to 50 or 60% of their capacity, place them in the middle of your pool, and secure them to the corners.

14. Install the pool cover

Install the pool cover
  • Lastly, you’ll need to install the pool’s winter cover and secure it using a cable and winch or a cable and winter cover clips. You could use both to ensure a snug fit and add water bags to secure the cover if your pool is designed with a walk-around deck. Keep an eye on the cover throughout winter, ensuring that it remains dry. Drain any water that may accumulate.

Conclusion: How To Winterize An Above Ground Pool

Nothing will make you happier than a clean pool filled with balanced water. Follow all the steps listed above to ensure that your product is safe, secure, and dry. Doing this will help keep your pool in great working condition for years to come.

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