How to winterize an above ground pool to prevent weather damage
Now that summer is over, it’s time to start thinking about how to winterize an above ground pool to prevent damage from winter weather.
Sub-zero temperatures as well as frost and snow can affect the condition and equipment of your pool if not done properly. Because of this, it is important to know how to properly winterize your above ground pool to keep it in good condition. In addition, winterizing your pool reduces the risk of contamination from algae blooms and frost damage to the pool’s frame, liner, pipes and plumbing – all of which will save you time and money on expensive repairs in the long run.
Wintering is a lot more work than “closing your pool” with a simple cover over it. But while this process might seem like a complicated task, with the following steps, it’s not that hard at all. So if you want to be ready to swim for next summer, learn how to winterize your above ground pool.
1. Thoroughly clean the pool
First, Remove all buoyant objects in the pool before cleaning. Use a pool vacuum to remove floating leaves or dirt. Then, brush down the walls to remove traces of algae or mold that grows over the winter and skim with a skimmer net. A clean pool makes it easier to properly balance your water and get rid of unsightly stains.
2. Test and adjust the pool water levels
Next, Check the chemical levels in your pool water Use test strips or a water test kit like this WWD POOL Swimming Pool Spa Water Chemical Test Kit ($11 (opens in new tab), Amazon (opens in new tab)). Ideally, your pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6, alkalinity between 100ppm and 150ppm, calcium hardness between 175ppm to 225ppm and chlorine between 1ppm and 3ppm. Or, if you don’t want to adjust the levels yourself, Invest in a wintering chemical kit like this In The Swim Pool Winterizing and Closing Chemical Kit ($51 (opens in new tab), Amazon (opens in new tab)), for your above ground pool.
3. Shock the pool
Once you have leveled your water level, Add diluted granular chlorine or a non-chlorine pool shock to your pool water. This will remove any contaminants that could cause algae or stains or seaweed in winter. Typically, this is one treatment per bag (or pound) per 10,000 gallons of pool water for clear water. After that, take a brush to brush the floor and walls clean. Always remember to follow label directions before use.
4. Clean and store pool lines and skimmers
Then, Disconnect the pool lines so all the water can drain out. Allow them to air dry before storing them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. Pool lines can expand or mold from freezing conditions, so storing them in a dry location will also protect them.
Similar, Remove the skimmer basket and store in a dry place over the winter. Pool skimmers are built-in vents designed to draw in pool water, filter it, and then force the clean water back into the pool. During the winter months you can either cover your skimmer with a skimmer cover, eliminating the need to drain your pool below the skimmer line. Or you can simply monitor the skimmer in the winter to ensure the water is able to drain when it rains. Just make sure the bottom of the skimmer is free and clear.
5. Winterize the pump and filter
Prepare the pump backwash until the water runs clear from the nozzle. move the valve to the “flush” position and allow to run for 30 seconds before turning the valve to the “hibernation” position on the top mount valve. When you have completely drained all the water from the filter canister, Remove the drain plugs from the drain, pool pump, chlorinator and all hoses. After draining, pool pipes should be plugged at the pool to keep water out of the pipes and equipment in winter. Keep all the drain plugs together in the pump basket for easier finding before storing all the gear indoors.
Depending on the type of filter you have, there are several methods to winterize the filter. For a sand filter, winterize your multi-port valve, remove the drain plug at the bottom to allow it to drain completely, and store your filter indoors. If you have a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter, you will need to drain it, hose down the screens (or fingers) to remove excess DE, and leave the valves open. A cartridge filter must be emptied with a hose before rinsing. Then leave the valves open before storing the cartridge indoors for the winter season.
6. Clean all devices
it is important, that Remove all accessories from your pool, including above ground pool ladder. If you leave something in the pool during the winter, the pool can become damaged or even begin to corrode. In addition, corroded metal can contaminate your water and create more work next summer. Give Thoroughly clean accessories with a multi-purpose pool surface cleaner before placing in a dry location. Moving all equipment indoors extends its lifespan and protects it from damage.
7. Attach pool cushion and cover
For those living in harsh weather conditions, Place a pool cushion under the cover protects the sides of the cover and pool walls from weather damage and dirt. Essentially, pool cushions break up the sheets of ice that form under the cover after several days below freezing. Once the solid ice expands, it can cause damage to the pool walls and skimmer. Finally, Place the cover sheet over your pool and secure with the cable and winch. If you need extra support combine them with winter cover clips and a cable, and if your pool has a walk-out deck add water bags for extra security. Avoid using bricks, stones, or other sharp objects that could damage your liner if it were to fall into the pool.
When do I need to winterize my above ground pool?
Typically, the best time to winterize your above ground pool is around mid-October or whenever the pool water dips below 65°F and stays below that temperature. Try not to winterize the pool too early as winter protection chemicals are not as effective before the end of the season.
If you want to learn more about preparing your home for the colder months ahead, find out when you should stop mowing your lawn for the winter, How to winterize your sprinkler systemand How to insulate your windows for the winter.