Common FAQs about Winterizing Pools and Pool Covers

Many pool owners have questions about how to manage their pools in the off season. Because there are such a number of questions that people have regarding this issue, we’ve decided to take the time to answer them and help give you a little clarity about the process of winterizing your pool and choosing the right cover. Keep reading to get the answers to the top FAQs on this issue and find out more about the process.

 Do I Need a Winter Pool Cover?

If you live in a climate where you close your pool for any period of time during the winter months, having a winter pool cover is a near must. Some warmer climates may allow for lighter covers or different styles of protection, but you need to make sure that your pool is covered when it is not in use. This will keep it from filling with debris and protect the liner and other equipment from the elements of weather while it is closed for the season. There are many different types of winter covers to choose from, so you will need to make sure that you explore your options and find the cover that suits your needs. The bottom line is that if you live in a region with an ‘off-season’, you need a different cover to protect your pool.

If you do cover your pool, please check your local “Laws” or “Code Enforcement” as we’ve found that many areas have special requirements about your pool when it is covered.

Skimmer Guards from Ice Damage

Skimmers Need Protection from Ice Expansion

What’s the Point of Winterizing?

Winterizing the pool includes draining the water from pump

/filter, protecting skimmers, adding chemicals, and then covering the pool. This entire process is designed to protect your pool and give you some peace of mind. During the winter months, the pool can be subject to a lot of debris and weather that it isn’t designed to handle. If you protect it properly, you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged along the way. Pools aren’t a cheap investment in the first place and you need to keep them in great shape by winterizing them during the off season, no matter what type of pool you have.

 How Do I Choose a Cover?

Choosing a cover is mostly a matter of personal opinion. You do need to make sure that your cover fits the pool and that it’s designed for the use that you have in mind. Beyond that, it will be up to you to read reviews and check out various products to find what you like best. Above ground and in ground pools have different covers to choose from. You can also choose from winter covers, safety covers, mesh or solid and other styles that are available. Your climate might affect the type of cover that you need, too. For example, in snowy states, a heavy duty cover might be necessary while milder climates might allow for a lighter cover that is less expensive. It’s all about taking the time to see what’s out there and get what you need.

 What about the Chemicals I Need?

Earlier, I mentioned winterizing chemicals for your pool. We have an assortment of pool winterizing products &  kits that include everything that you need for winterizing your pool. There are kits for chlorine pools and non-chlorine kits. They come with things like algaecide, rust protection, and shock treatment to ensure that your pool is protected all season long. We’ve even got different sizes of kits depending on how big your pool is, to make sure that you get all the chemicals that you need. There are different winterizing product needs for above ground pools.

 Do I Drain the Pool?

We get asked this question a bunch.      Quick answer:  NO!    Lowering may be recommended but do not drain.

When you are getting your pool ready for winter, you may need to lower the water level below the skimmer level and possible the returns, but you should NEVER completely drain your pool.

Above ground pools are designed the push inwards against the force of the water it holds.   Therefore they do not have a way to keep the walls in place when the water is drained.    Even a slight wind can make a crumpled mess of a drained above ground pool.

I Have an Above Ground Pool. How Do I Protect It?

Above ground pools need just as much protection as in ground pools. There are winter covers that you can buy that tie down over the top rails or stake down over the pool. You’ll still want to drain about half to two-thirds of the water from the pool before you cover it. Make sure that you remove ladders and other accessories, as well as the pump. Add the winterizing chemicals to the remaining water and clean the pool before you cover it. Choose an above ground pool cover that is appropriate for your needs, including your climate. Then, cover the pool as recommended by the covers manufacturer.


What is a Cover Pump for?

Cover pump on Above ground pools

Automatic Cover Pump Ready for Action.

A cover pump is a smaller powered pump that drains the water off of the top of the cover. Almost all pool covers have some water collection, and some have more than others. Throughout the off season, you’re going to want to drain the water from your cover so that it doesn’t create too much weight or cause the cover to come loose around the edges. Having a pump that you can put into the standing water and drain it will make it much easier for you to keep things in the best shape possible during the winter months. Make sure that you read up on different cover pumps and find one that suits your needs. They’re not complicated to buy and they’re definitely worth having around so that you can keep things protected during the winter months.

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About Trey Collier

Grew up as a Military Brat. (Thanks Dad. Hats off to my Mom too as it took a special person to be married to someone in the military) Was a competitive swimmer in high school and in college. 11 years a Red Cross Volunteer, teaching kids & adults how to swim. ARC Water Safety Instructor and WSI Trainer, CPR Instructor/Trainer and Advance First Aid Instructor. Proud Dad of two beautiful girls.

12 thoughts on “Common FAQs about Winterizing Pools and Pool Covers”

  1. jon

    Hi Trey, thanks for the article. You mention about making sure the pool cover doesn’t collect too much water over the winter – how do you know how much/when to drain off the cover? Should it be kept a certain height below the top of the pool? Once it gets a bit green, it’s not easy to see how deep the water is.

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      I’ve heard of pools owners running their pumps even when it has a winter or safety cover on their pool. If you have properly winterized your pool, there should be no need to run the pump.

  2. Sally

    We live in Michigan.. cover our inground pool with a safety cover that resembles a trampoline…many tiny holes. Water is always green/ black in the spring. Seems like winterizing chemicals are a waste of money. Your thoughts?

    1. Joe Gibson

      You have whats called a mesh cover I assume, those are primarily used in order to keep the leaves and debris out of your pools, it does not stop the intake of micron bacteria or water from other sources i.e(Rain, snow). they are simply not made to keep water clarity but rather safeguard the liner and inside of the pool itself.

  3. Andrew

    Thanks for an informative article, Trey Collier. An added benefit of covering your pool is it curbs water evaporation, saving you on your water bill, so it’s useful in summer too.

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  4. barkway

    What about closing a pool in SUMMER in S. Florida? Spouse has cancer. We have no money or time to maintain the pool and want it covered and closed. How do we go about it?

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