How to Winterize an Inground Pool

Another fun season filled with sunny moments in the swimming pool has come and gone. Now, it’s time to prepare your swimming pool for the cold season. Knowing how to Winterize an inground pool can seem a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before; however, it’s quite simple when done right.

Winterizing your inground pool is vital for individuals living in locations where temperatures drop below 30˚ (cold enough to freeze the water and ground) for extended periods during the winter and fall months. Winterizing your inground pool protects the equipment from freeze damage and saves you money and time when opening it in the spring.

Winterizing your pool correctly protects the pipes and various equipment that may crack during the winter. Otherwise, it could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. You could hire professionals to do the job for you or choose to winterize the pool by yourself. Regardless, you’ll need detailed information outlining the best winterizing procedure.

Tools for the job

  • Swimming pool test kit or test strips
  • A winterizing pool kit or pool shock and algaecide
  • Heavy-duty shop vac or air compressor
  • Water hardness, alkalinity, and pH balancers
  • Winter plugs
  • Standard pool cover with water tubes or safety pool cover
  • Gizmos

How To Winterize Your Inground Pool

How to winterize your inground pool

Clean the pool

It’s good to begin the procedure by cleaning your pool. Remove any toys and accessories from the pool and skim its surface with a pool net. You should also brush down the walls, remove debris, and vacuum the pool.

You could also use a robotic pool cleaner for a couple of hours. Empty the pump and skimmer baskets. Remove any detachable attachments like diving boards, ladders, and stairs from the water and place them in storage.

Test and treat the water

You should test the water and adjust its calcium hardness levels, alkalinity, and pH accordingly about a week before you close your pool. Next, you should add shock directly into the skimmer while referring to your preferred product’s packaging for recommended amounts and handling instructions.

If you choose to use chlorine granules to shock your water, you should add it about 4 to seven days before covering your pool. This provides enough time for the chlorine levels to drop and prevents them from reacting with the pool cover or destroying the algaecides. You could also use non-chlorine shock methods closer to closing since they are less harmful.

You should add algaecide when the pool’s chlorine levels begin to normalize and let it circulate for about a day before closing. Most professionals recommend using winterizing kits containing algaecide, scale and stain treatments, and slow-release borate floaters. Using the kit isn’t a strict necessity; however, it’s a preferred all-in-one winterizing approach.

Pool stains and scale

Individuals that lack a pool closing kit can use an appropriate product to protect the pool against scaling and staining during the winter. They should add the chemicals to the pool water by pouring them around its perimeter. As mentioned before, ensure to read, understand, and use the product as instructed by the manufacturer.

Lower the water levels and clean the pool’s filter

Lower the water levels and clean the pool's filter

If you have a DE or sand filter, you can lower the pool water by setting its filter to backwash for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also do it until the water level reaches 6 inches below the tile border or skimmers.

The setting (backwash) runs the pool’s treated water through the filter while it drains, helping clean it. However, you should note that there are various ways of lowering your pool’s water level depending on the type of filter you have and you should still clean your filter before winter.

Disconnect fittings, drain the pump plus filter system

You’ll need to disconnect all fittings that are likely to crack during the freezing winter weather and drain all major equipment once the water levels reach an acceptable level. Begin by switching the valve to the “Filter” setting, shut down the filter, and let the water drain out of the filter through the filter drain.

Next, disconnect the filter and pump and drain all the water. Dump any debris collected inside the pump basket and take out any drain plugs. Lastly, you should remove:

  • The chlorinator
  • Filter pressure gauge
  • All return jet fillings
  • Any filter and pump system unions or fittings

It would be best to store all disassembled equipment in a dry and covered storage space.

Blow out the lines

This is the most critical step that you must never skip. The chances are that the pipes constituting your pool’s plumbing may crack underground, forcing you to make expensive repairs during your next pool season. Here are some directions you can use to perform this procedure properly.

Remember that you can use a powerful shop vac or an air compressor if you don’t have proper machinery. Use necessary adapters to ensure efficient functionality. Remember that contacting a reputable company to help you out with this step helps increase your pool’s longevity and reduce unprecedented expenses.

How do you blow out the lines?

  • Ensure you’ve turned the valves so that the main drain (if applicable) and skimmers are open.
  • Next, you should hook the air compressor to the pump by connecting the hose to the drain plug’s opening. (Use an adapter where applicable)
  • Run the air compressor and look out for any air bubbles coming from skimmers or/and return lines.
  • Go around the pool and ensure that you’ve plugged all return lines. No bubbles should be able to escape after plugging the return lines.
  • Use a gizmo to plug the hole at the skimmer’s bottom where bubbles form. The gizmo is designed to absorb any expansions resulting from freezing water over the winter. This helps prevent the plastic from cracking.
  • You should plug the pipe at your end if you have a main drain and notice bubbles.
  • You should remove any drain plugs from your heater (if you have one) and close all valves apart from the one leading to the heater. You should then run the compressor until there isn’t any water leaving the drains, turn it off, and replace all plugs.
  • If you have a waterfall, auto vac system, or slide, you’ll have to blow out their lines.

NOTE: Most professionals don’t recommend adding antifreeze products to the lines since it could cause a mess when opening your pool during spring. The antifreeze product gets sucked through your pool’s filters and deposited in the pool water. The best solution is to ensure that you’ve drained the pipes appropriately.

Cover your pool

Cover your pool

Covering your pool protects it from sunlight, precipitation, and debris. Different pool covers are available, including security, safety, and standard covers.

  • Standard winter covers
    • Standard winter covers are good for keeping out the lights and lighter forms of debris. They are made from a tarp-like material and can only last between one and three seasons before thy need to be replaced.
    • They hold very little weight compared to the other two variants. They also require a pump and your constant attention to ensure that water (or other forms of debris) doesnt build, causing it to cave in.
  • Security covers
    • They are better than standard covers and look like a trampoline. They have spring-loaded straps designed to hold them in place. They come in two designs: solid and meshed. Solid covers are made from solid vinyl material, and they don’t allow water to pass through, leaving your pool water looking clear in the spring. They can last for 6 to 10 years.
    • Mesh covers are designed to let water pass through, leaving the chance for your pool water to look dirty in the spring. The murky water can clean within two days of opening; however, it’ll need some work before you can get it back to normal.
  • Automatic covers
    • These come in many forms and have a broad price range. Their biggest benefits are that they are wonderful solar covers and provide constant protection from unwanted swimmers or guests. Like other pool covers, they keep debris out of the poll and cut the time spent cleaning and maintaining the pool.
    • They last for about five years and are prone to breaking down, which can be frustrating. Additionally, they aren’t “true” winter covers, although they have been stated to hold around 2000 pounds of snow load. Heavy snow loads can cause them to cave in. You should ensure that you use well-maintained safety covers, springs, straps, and anchoring hardware that can last through the cold season.

Conclusion On How To Winterize Your Inground Pool

Conclusion On How To Winterize Your Inground Pool

While winterizing your pool seems like a lot of work, not doing it is more expensive and time-consuming. If you are a new pool owner and arent DIY inclined, then you are better off hiring professionals for your pool winterization.

You should also take some time to check under the cover monthly. Inspect for scaling, staining, pool leaks, or color changes. Test the water each two to four weeks to ensure that it still has enough sanitizer. Don’t forget to research and rectify any issues you may notice with your pool.

If you have any questions on how to winterize an inground pool, feel free to ask, or ask a professional in your area.

Thank you

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