Above ground pool with cover

Shutting Down For The Summer: How To Winterize An Above Ground Pool

If you’re lucky enough to own a pool, you should know how to take proper care of it. When you know how to winterize an above ground pool, you can save it from the damaging effect of cold air and other elements. Freezing can cause any pool to become useless by the time spring rolls around.

There are right ways and wrong ways to winterize an outdoor, above ground pool. Therefore, it’s important to follow a step-by-step procedure if you want a functioning pool at the end of winter. That’s not a task to rush through, or you might waste all your efforts.

There might be several misconceptions surrounding the concept of winterizing a pool, so you should be able to clear those up. You can then look at the correct procedure before getting started on your pool winterizing project.

Learning How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool Protects Your Property

So, what are the damages and dangers if you leave your pool exposed to the cold winter air? Knowing this will motivate you in learning how to winterize an above ground pool:

Clean water for protecting the pool

It’s a misconception that you need to drain the water from the pool completely. With no water inside, your tools and pipes won’t be likely to freeze, right? However, it’s now a fact that having clean water in your above ground pool is a better way to preserve its function.

Before we start with how to winterize a pool, you should know about the chemicals that go in the water first. These include chlorine shock, algaecide, and stain avoidance chemicals.

As the name suggests, algaecide prevents pool algae from growing and blooming. After you dissolve this in the pool water, you’ll use chlorine shock to help the algaecide along. That will improve water clarity and also speed up the destroying process of algae growth.

Finally, you may apply stain avoidance to do away with any stains that might spoil the appearance of the pool. It’s also necessary for maintaining hygiene, as the stains can harden and become permanent if you leave them for the winter.

All these chemicals are suitable for securing your above ground swimming pool during the winter season. They serve to stabilize the pool water, ensuring that the latter stays in a similar condition before you shut it down.

Knowing how much water to drain

You don’t have to drain all the water inside. The pipes system is among the most important components of any pool. If this system is frozen, you can face a lot of damage.

Naturally, you’d avoid paying for the expensive repairs come springtime. That’s why you should drain the pool to below the level of the skimmer or the filtration system.

Fortunately, most modern pool systems have a detachable pump and filtration system. That makes the steps in how to winterize an above ground pool much easier, as you may imagine. All you have to do is remove the skimmer and pump, make sure they’re dry, and store them separately.

Those who already know how to winterize an above ground pool will also be aware of the importance of air pillows. It’s an additional item that we place beneath the winter cover of our pool. The air pillow goes in the middle of the above ground pool. Its main function is to center any rain, ice, or snow pressure.

If these elements have too much pressure, they’d move towards the air pillow instead of damaging the pool. That way, even if you want to drain most of the pool water, a closely-fitting cover will still prevent most of the damage.

The maintenance of swimming pools

equipment for cleaning  a pool


A swimming pool of any kind is a great luxury, but this also means that you have to make a lot of effort on its maintenance. If you’re not aware of how to winterize an above ground pool properly, be prepared to pay through the nose.

Think of your swimming pool as an investment. It can give you a lot of return for the money you spent on construction and water. However, if you don’t want this investment to fail, knowing how to drain its pipes and secure it from damage is a must.

The cold weather can freeze up certain areas of the pool. Additionally, it can also attract twigs, leaves, and other forms of debris into the pool. If you don’t winterize properly, you could end up with a choked and dirty pool that’s unfit for immediate use.

Once you know how to winterize an above ground pool correctly, you likely won’t have to pay for repairing much damage in the warmer weather. Plus, you can reopen an undamaged pool more easily when the right season rolls around.

Storing the whole pool

Some above-ground pools are not necessarily installed inside the ground, but stand above it. This type of pool is more economical and easier to protect during the winter. All you have to do is pull off the detachable parts and store away the whole pool in a large indoor area. Make sure you follow the storage instructions on the package: don’t just wing it.


When Is the Right Time to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool?

The closing time of your above ground pool will vary according to the temperature in your area. If you want to cut it as close as possible, you should wait until the temperature goes below 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius.

The reasoning behind this is that algae need heat for growing, just like most plants. When the temperature is low, it’s more likely that your pool water is free of infestations.

That’s why we should leave the pool open until the cold season officially starts. An open pool will also give you time for cleaning, testing, and balancing the pool’s pH before closing it for the winter.

Some areas might see a rise in temperatures above 65 degrees during winter. If this happens in your locality, you can use the warm period to test the pool water chemistry. If it’s off, you can try balancing it again.

This testing and balancing will help to clean the water and keep it clear for the spring.


The Step-By-Step Process

We now come to the actual process of how to winterize an above ground pool. The following steps will make things easier to understand and follow:

Step 1: Remove some parts of the pool

First of all, you need to remove some parts of the pool. You can wrap them up and store them in a shed or any other sheltered place. It will ensure that they won’t rust during the winter season. The first two parts you need to screw off are the step ladder and the filtration system.

Next, remove the pipes. Wash these thoroughly, as they contain a lot of residue and gunk. Finally, dry off all these parts before securing them at a reasonable temperature.

Step 2: Make it hygienic by adjusting the contents

Next, you have to adjust the water inside the pool. That means balancing the levels of alkalinity, water pH, and calcium hardness. Every pool has different levels for these substances, though they're all necessary. You’ll have to increase or lower the levels as required.

The general rule of thumb here is that the calcium hardness should be between 180 and 220. The pH level should ideally be between 7.2 and 7.4. Alkalinity levels should be at least 80 ppm and 120 ppm at the maximum.

To prevent the growth of algae as much as possible, it’s essential to measure all these levels precisely. After this, cover the pool as neatly and tightly as you can. This will help to enhance the performance of these substances, which in turn will maintain the hygiene of your pool.

Step 3: Clean it up

dried leaves on a pool


The next step in the process is to clean up your pool. When in use during the warmer months, the pool would naturally have some debris inside it. These include large particles, such as leaves (both fresh and dry). You’ll have to remove these from the pool’s surface as they have organic particles.

After the leaves, try to remove any foreign objects from your above ground pool. That also includes the tiniest amount of algae.

Step 4: Reduce the water level

While you shouldn’t completely drain the pool, it’s necessary to reduce the water level. At the very least, the pool’s water level should be beneath the filtration system or skimmer line.

This precaution will ensure that there’s no water splashing into the skimmer’s mouth. If there is any water there during a freezing winter, you’ll probably find some frozen water damage in the system afterward.

Step 5: Cover the pool

With the water balanced out and below a certain level, it’s now safe to close up your above ground pool. Make sure the cover is tight and neat, or a winter wind could blow it out. Cover clips will come in handy for securing the cover to the pool sides.

You should also inspect your pool cover before putting it on. When in storage, covers like these can develop holes. If this is the case, you can use patches for avoiding any snowmelt or rain damage.

If the rips and tears are too much, you might have to invest in a new pool cover. This additional cost would still be lower than expensive repairs for your pool.

An air pillow is also a worthy investment here. It will help to centralize your cover and keep any snow, rain, or ice away from the pool. If the winter is cold enough to form ice, that air pillow will function as an ice equalizer.

Step 6: Remove the filters

The final step in winterizing your pool is to remove the filters or the pump and filter system. Take off these parts, hose them down properly, and leave them out to dry. It’s best if you can leave them like this overnight.

Once these parts dry out completely, you can put the system back together. Finally, store it away for the season in a dry, sheltered place.


Time to Take Care of Your Above Ground Pool

Now that you know how to winterize an above ground pool, you’ll be all set for the cold season! Proper winterizing will help to extend the life of your swimming pool and ensure that you’ll have many more seasons to cherish. Stay on your toes about winterizing and enjoy the fruits of your efforts when spring finally comes around.

Do you have any additional information for those learning how to winterize an above ground pool? Let us know in the comments section.


Featured Image: Public Domain, by Jonathan Hogue via Wikimedia Commons

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