Automatic Pool Covering

How To Winterize Your Pool

Zina Kumok4-Minute Read
August 15, 2022

As winter approaches, opportunities arise to enjoy the crisp weather. Nothing beats a brisk walk in the morning air, a warm cup of hot cocoa or an afternoon spent winterizing your pool.

OK, that last one is probably a bit of a stretch.

It might not be very fun to winterize your pool, but it certainly is necessary – assuming you want to have a functioning pool when spring rolls around. Here's how to do it quickly, efficiently and effectively.

Why Do I Need To Winterize My Pool?

Winterizing your pool protects against damage caused by freezing temperatures. It also prevents bacteria and algae from infiltrating your pool. If you winterize your pool, it will be easier to open it up once summer rolls around.

Homeowners who hate winterizing can also convert their regular pool into a natural pool, which doesn't require chemicals or an extensive winterization process.

Winterizing An Inground Pool

Winterizing your pool properly is like raking your leaves in the fall. If you do the work now, everything will look better in the spring. If you take the time to winterize your pool, you can have epic pool parties in the summer.

1. Clean The Pool

Start by cleaning the pool. First, remove any trash, leaves or litter from the pool and the skimmer baskets. Use a long brush to clean the walls and pool floor. Run your pool vacuum on the walls and floor for a final deep clean.

2. Test And Balance The Pool Water Chemicals

It’s important to test your pool’s pH and alkalinity when closing for the season. The pH should fall between 7.4 – 7.6, and the alkalinity should be 100 – 150 ppm.

If your pool falls outside of this range, you can regulate the chemicals yourself if you have experience. You can also contact a local pool company.

3. Shock Your Pool

Adding chlorine to your pool will kill bacteria and mold. You should shock your pool with chlorine a few days before you close it. If you forget, at least shock it the night before you close things down for the winter.

4. Add Winterizing Chemicals

Special chemicals like algaecide, metal sequestrant and WinterPills will keep your pool clean during the winter months. You can buy these winterizing chemicals individually or purchase an all-encompassing winterizing kit.

5. Clean The Filter

During pool season, the filter will accumulate dirt and oil. Before closing the pool, you need to backwash the filter to remove all the waste.

6. Lower The Water Level

Even though you don’t have to empty the pool, you should still lower the water level to slightly below the skimmer line. This protects your pipes from icing over and cracking. Use the waste setting on the multiport valve to lower the water level.

7. Disassemble And Store Pool Accessories

Most homeowners have to remove pool ladders and railings to fit the cover properly. When you remove these, dry them off to prevent rust and store them inside your shed or garage.

If you have a D.E. or cartridge filter, keep it stored away from pool chemicals like chlorine. Sand filters can be kept outside if you remove the pump. If you leave the pump on your sand filter, you’ll want to store it inside.

8. Cover The Pool

A pool cover protects loose debris from falling into the pool, leading to algae and bacteria.

Owners who don’t use a pool cover should be vigilant about removing trash, cleaning the pool walls and treating the water. Covering the pool is much simpler and less time-consuming than leaving the cover off.

Winterizing An Above-Ground Pool

Homeowners with an above-ground pool have slightly different steps to follow than those with an inground pool.

1. Apply A Winter Skimmer Cover

A winter skimmer cover protects the skimmer from cracking when the water expands and contracts during the winter. The skimmer cover is made of waterproof foam that prevents water from reaching the skimmer.

It’s installed by placing it over the skimmer and screwing it into place.

2. Disassemble And Store The Pump

Disassembling the pump prevents water from getting inside the motor and damaging it. You can either remove just the motor or both the pump and the motor. Store it safely inside during the winter.

3. Do Not Drain The Pool Water

Pool owners don’t have to drain their pool completely, because an empty pool is more exposed to the elements. However, you should lower the water level to a few inches below the skimmer opening.

4. Install An Air Pillow

An air pillow sits on top of your pool under the cover and prevents large chunks of ice from forming and cracking your liner, cover or pool wall. Center the air pillow in the pool before installing the cover.

If the pillow deflates at some point, you'll have to remove the cover, inflate the pillow and place the cover back.

Bottom Line

Protecting your pool during the winter means it will be easier to open in the summer. Instead of replacing cracked or broken equipment, you’ll have time to spend designing and installing unique pool designs or perfecting your strawberry daiquiri recipe.

It’s also less expensive to properly winterize a pool than it is to take half-measures that lead to broken equipment. If you need some motivation, just think about how great it will be to open your pool back up in the spring with no hassle.

Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A Certified Financial Health Counselor and Student Loan Counselor, she also works as a money coach helping people one-on-one at Conscious Coins. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. She paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years.