How to Close or Winterize Your Above Ground Swimming Pool
A Step-by-Step Guide to Close your Above Ground Pool for the Winter
Before closing your above ground pool, make sure the water is clean, clear and chemically balanced. Adjust the chemical levels if necessary. Chemically balanced water protects the pool from corrosion or scale buildup that can occur while the pool is not in use. Your chemical levels should be as follows:
- pH: 7.2 – 7.6
- Alkalinity: 80 – 120 parts per million
- Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 parts per million
- Chlorine: 1 – 3 parts per million
Remove all deck equipment, including ladders, stairs, etc.
Brush down the sides and floor of your pool and then vacuum. This step prevents staining, which can occur if any dirt or debris is left to sit in the pool.
Add winterizing chemicals by broadcasting them into the deep end of the pool. These chemicals help protect water quality during the off season months.
Clean the filter, skimmer, and pump basket. Remove all unused chlorine product from the chlorinator. Cartridge filter elements and D.E. grids should be cleaned and stored. If you have a sand filter, backwash it.
Some people insert a skimmer guard into the skimmer and plug the return line. Others lower the water in the pool below the returns (where the water jets into the pool) and the skimmer. Either method is fine — the choice made is based on personal preference.
Important: Never completely drain an above ground pool. This can cause your pool to collapse.
If your pool is plumbed with detachable, flexible hoses, remove them and store for the winter. Remove all drain plugs from the pump, filter tank, and any other pool equipment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific pump, filter and other equipment. Basically you’ll need to drain them so there is no water in them that could freeze and damage the pump or filter. Place all drain plugs in the pump’s basket for storage and so you won’t loose them.
If your pool is hard plumbed, use an air compressor or shop vac (attached to the blower side of the vac) to blow water out of the system by forcing air down the skimmer and through the plumbing.
If you are using an air pillow, inflate it by using a shop vac. Tie the air pillow at two places and position it in the center of the pool. Tie strings to the pool wall so the pillow will not move during installation of the pool cover. Air pillows are commonly used, but not absolutely necessary. They are a good idea in colder climates in case the water freezes and expands. The water will freeze inwards on the pillow instead of outwards which can potentially damage the pool wall. Pillows are NOT used to create a dome-like effect to keep rain off of the cover. Rain water will always settle around the pillow.
Place an winter cover over the pool surface, black side down. Some homeowners who have children or pets and have a deck with at least 3 ft of deck space all the way around their pool may prefer to cover the pool with a safety cover over the winter.
If covering your pool with a winter cover, place the cover over the pool, then thread the cable through the loops or grommets. Use the winch provided with the cover to tighten the cable. The cover should rest directly on the water and go up and over wall and back down on the outside of pool.
If your above ground pool has a deck, place water tubes end to end around the edge of the pool. Fill the bags 3/4 full with water. Do not over-fill because the bags could burst when the water inside freezes. Never use bricks, concrete blocks, etc. to secure the cover because they can damage your pool cover or your pool.
Place a cover pump in the center of your pool cover to drain excess water accumulation. Too much water on top of the cover can cause the cover to rip, or it can pull the cover and wall bags into the pool. Either way, you’re in for a messy cleanup effort.
Now you are ready for the winter!