When the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, it’s time to shut down the swimming pool for the season. To ensure your pool has a long life, you want to make sure you take the proper steps to winterize it. Here we’ll explain how to close your above ground pool for the winter.
Learning how to close your above ground pool for winter is extremely important. It needs to be done properly or you may damage the pool as well as its pumps and lines. Following the proper procedure and buying the proper items needed is part of pool ownership. Thankfully there’s a wide range of items specifically designed for winterizing above ground pools.
Table of Contents
How to close your above ground pool for winter
Balance the chemistry of the water
This step takes some pre-planning. The water needs to have the proper balance of chemicals that needs to be set a week before you actually close the pool. Use a test kit to make sure the levels of chemicals are in the range that is needed for closing. pH needs to be between 7.2-7.6, the alkalinity range is 80-120ppm (parts per million) and the calcium hardness should range between 180-220ppm.
Shock the pool
Once the pool water has the proper chemistry confirmed then it is time to add granular chlorine or non-chlorine to it. This is called pool shock. It is used several days ahead of closing to get rid of contaminants that might leave stains or start algae growing over the winter. Put in one bag which equals approximately one pound for every 10,000 gallons of water in the pool. You will need to double or triple this if your water already has a haze or is green. Once you have put in the shock, then brush the walls and floor to make sure all the contaminants are treated.
Clean the pool
Closing up means cleaning up. The day that you decide to close the pool, it needs to be vacuumed, brushed and skimmed. This should be done before the water is lowered and then again right before you cover the pool. This is to make sure nothing gets in at the last minute. Any type of debris left in the pool can cause stains and affect the water’s chemical balance.
Pack up accessories
Take out all accessories. Removing the skimmer basket, fittings, solar covers, ladders, and cleaners are important as they can get damaged over the winter. Dry them off and put them somewhere safe for the winter months.
Drain the water
Reduce the water level or drain your pool entirely. This needs to be done if you do not have a skimmer plug. Even with the plug you still need to drain the pipes and hose to the pump. If you do not use the plug, then the water needs to be drained to below the skimmer so frozen water will not harm it. 3” below should be fine. Clear all lines, the skimmer, and valves of water.
Make sure the pipes are drained and plugs are in. The return line needs to be plugged and the hose drained. If you have PVC pipes on your pool, use a shop vac to blow the water out of the pipes and then add pool antifreeze to protect them.
Drain all the equipment
Drain all the pool equipment. Any pump, filter, heater, or chlorinator needs to have all the water blown out of their lines. If you do not do this step, any leftover water can freeze and break the equipment. Once drained, put in plugs as needed.
Disconnect electricity and gas
Shut off any power or gas supply to your pool heater. This will ensure safety over the winter and save you money on your utility bill.
Lubricate as needed
Make sure to lubricate the O-rings or any other threaded pieces so they maintain their integrity over the winter and do not crack.
Add winterizing chemicals
Adding winterizing chemicals is the final step before putting the cover on. Using algaecide and a chemical floater will keep the water clean over the winter. This will leave you less of a mess when you open the pool back up in spring. You can buy a winterizing kit that will work with your pool size. It usually includes algaecide, shock, and other preventative chemicals.
Cover the pool
The final step on how to close your above ground pool for the winter is to put the winter cover on the pool. It needs to be tight to make sure that debris can not get in over the winter months. Buy a winter cover that is a good fit for your size pool. Closing the pool should also include items such as wall bags to make sure that the winter pool cover will stay on in high winds and bad weather.
Extras for closing an above ground pool
While you do not need to buy a bunch of extra items, some can make reopening the pool in the spring easier while also taking care of your pool over the cold months.
A leaf catcher on top of the cover is also helpful. They tend to be made of light yet tough mesh that will make sure you can pull off any debris easily before taking the cover off in the spring. Using this can save you hours of cleaning the swimming pool.
The final item you may find useful in your winter closing routine is a pool cover pump. This is a way to get rid of rainwater or melted snow if it builds up on the cover. It will take the weight of the water off, so the cover does not get moved off the pool itself.
Now that you understand how to close your above ground pool for winter, you can ensure it lasts for many years. However, maybe you’re set on using your above ground pool all year long. If so, read up on how to heat an above ground pool. While there are several options out there, solar-powered pool heaters are a good eco-friendly choice.
Ready to install an above ground pool?
Are you excited to get your own above ground pool? Check out out list of the best above ground pools to purchase right now. Once your above ground pool is installed, whether you DIY or hire a pro, you’ll want to equip it with the best above ground pool lights to make night swimming safer.
Learn about above ground pools
Make sure you do your research before investing in an above ground pool. You may be wondering if above ground pools can have different depths (spoiler: they can!) or if above ground pools can be converted to saltwater in lieu of using chlorine. You’ll also want to find out how to install an above ground pool liner and how much to fill an above ground pool as well as the best way to level an above ground pool. We hope you enjoy your new above ground pool!