The end of swimming season is near, and it’s time to begin preparing for winterizing the above ground swimming pool. Here is a handy guide for preparing your pool for the winter season:
Before closing your pool, make sure the water is 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. NEVER COMPLETELY DRAIN A POOL! This can cause your above ground 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 equipment. Place all drain plugs in the pump basket for storage.
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.
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.
If your above ground pool has a deck, place wall bags 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.
Planning now for winterizing will help make the process go faster and easier once the time to winterize has arrived. Until then, though, enjoy the remaining days of summer warmth in the refreshing comfort of your above ground pool.