Unfortunately, that time of year comes around every year when the weather gets colder and no one wants to swim anymore. This is about the same time you should start thinking about winterizing your above ground pool if you’re leaving it up or storing it if you’re taking it down.
Whether you leave your pool up and close it for the winter or take it down and store it will depend on the climate where you live and the type of pool you have.
If you’ve got a sturdy, solid wall above ground pool, you’ll probably be leaving it up wherever you live.
However, if you have an easy-set or snap-frame above ground swimming pool, the choice is up to you. While less expensive above ground pools that can be taken apart easily will last longer if they’re properly stored away in the winter, you can get away with leaving it up and winterizing it if you have more mild winters where you live.
How to Close and Winterize an Above Ground Pool
Closing your above ground pool is not rocket science! It really doesn’t even have to take all that long. These 10 easy steps will help you winterize your pool in no time.
- Test and balance your pool’s water chemistry before you begin the closing procedures.
- Alkalinity: 80 to 140 ppm.
- pH: 7.2 to 7.6.
- Calcium Hardness: 200 to 400 ppm.
- Chlorine: 1 to 3 ppm.
- Skim, clean, brush, and vacuum the pool.
- Shock the pool and add some algaecide.
- Add your winter chemicals kit.
- Check the kit to see how long you need to run the filter.
- Plug your hose fittings, skimmer hole, etc. with winter freeze plugs.
- Lower the water level to below the return fitting line.
- Remove, clean, and store your pump, hoses, filter, and skimmer.
- Remove, clean, and store any ladders, steps, or other pool equipment.
- Inflate your air/ice pillows and tie them off so they support the pool cover evenly.
- Install and secure the winter cover with straps and cover clips.
Throughout the winter, you can continue to protect your above ground pool by removing any water, snow, and debris that may accumulate on the cover. While the air pillows and secured covers should keep your pool safe, it doesn’t hurt to remove any excess weight.
After you remove your filter, pump, skimmer, etc. you’ll need to properly drain and clean them. Remove the drain plugs from the pump and store them inside the pump basket so you don’t lose them. Drain out your filter and clean it. Be sure to dry everything and then store it indoors where it won’t freeze.
Be sure to clean your ladder and other pool equipment before storing it somewhere warm and dry as well.
Following the steps above (plus any specific steps required by your pool and equipment manufacturer) will ensure your above ground pool will stay safe all winter long. Plus, a good winterization routine will make opening the pool in the spring really easy!
Why Winterize Your Swimming Pool?
Why go through the trouble of closing your above ground pool? Well, it’s simple really – if you want your pool to last for as long as it can AND you want to be able to start swimming again as soon as possible when the weather warms up, you should winterize your pool.
First, closing your pool properly will protect the liner, supports, and equipment from freezing. Frozen pumps and filters become easily broken. The extra weight and expansion of frozen water can cause uneven pressure on an improperly closed above ground pool – this can cause the pool’s supports to collapse on itself, resulting in holes in the liner or bent frames. No bueno.
If you’ve got an easy-set pool and live somewhere with mild winters, you should consider draining, cleaning, and storing it for the winter – especially if no one will be using the pool.
Closing an above ground pool is definitely one of the more depressing parts of pool maintenance, but doing so will keep your pool safe and strong for many swimming seasons to come. A little maintenance now prevents a whole lot of headaches down the line!
How to Drain an Above Ground Pool
If you don’t live somewhere that allows you to leave your pool up for the winter, you’ll need to drain it.
Draining your above ground pool has some benefits.
- It allows you to start with fresh, clean water next season.
- It gives you the opportunity to clean and scrub your liner really well.
- It allows you to thoroughly inspect your liner for any rips, holes, or tears.
- It allows you to store your above ground pool somewhere safe and away from potential damage from heavy snowfall, ice, or falling trees during the winter.
To drain your above ground pool properly, you’ll need to set up a system that will allow you to drain the water from the pool in a controlled fashion. If you try to tip your pool and pour the water out rapidly, you’ll probably damage your pool and your yard.
You can use a standard garden hose if your yard has a lower area below your pool to use gravity to drain it. Or you can use a pump or shop vac system to pump the water out.
After the water is drained, take the time to clean and wipe down the pool liner, filter, pump, and other pool components before you store them.