How to Winterize and Close Your Pool

Yes, it’s a sad day when you realize it’s getting too cold to use the pool and more for the season. When that time of year rolls around, you have two options. First, you can contact your local pool professional to take care of it. That’s fine if you have the money. Your other alternative is doing it on your own. If you don’t have any experience closing a pool, we’ll provide you a free guide on how to close a pool for the winter so you can rest easy for the winter months.

How to close a pool properly

The following steps will leave your pool in good shape when it’s time to open it back up next spring. This guide generally should work for both inground and above ground pools.

Step 1. 

Take care of the water level. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, you’ll want to lower your water level. Typically, 4-6 inches below the skimmer for vinyl lined pools or the tile line for plaster should do the trick. If you’re in an area where freezing doesn’t happen, you’ll want to fill your pool almost to the top.

Step 2. 

Get your water chemistry in order. Approximately one week before closing you’ll want all your standard chemical balances to fall within acceptable ranges before you move to any of the following steps. This means your water’s alkalinity, calcium hardness, and pH should all be within normal ranges when testing them.

Step 3. 

Pre-Spring cleaning. To inhibit algae growth, make sure you vacuum out dirt and debris and brush the bottoms and sides of the pool. Clean out the skimmer basket and skim the surface of the water to get things as clean as possible.

Step 4. 

Shock and algaecide. Follow the instructions on the package of your pool shock and aim to get the chlorine level to 1.0 – 3.0 parts per million (ppm) before adding algaecide. You’ll want to add your shock a couple days before the algaecide – NEVER add them at the same time.

Step 5.

Take care of your equipment. A few things to take care of here:

  • Remove and store critical equipment like your pool cleaner, ladders, blankets, wall fittings
  • Backwash and clean your filter and filter cartridges or grids.
  • Drain and blow out anything with water in it that can freeze and break. This would include things like your heater, pump, filter, and chlorinator.
  • Once blown out, plug all plumbing, and/or use pool antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions if you aren’t blowing out your lines. For above ground pools, you usually only need to disconnect the hoses from your pump and plug your wall outlet.
  • Lubricate your pump valves and o-rings.

Step 6. 

Add a pillow (for inground pools and) cover it up. If you have an inground pool, you’ll want to look into an inflatable air pillow to help manage the pressure that comes with water freezing and thawing.

As for pool covers, you have a number of options to choose from. Each have some pros and cons.

  • Winter covers are inexpensive and come in two options – solid and mesh. A mesh cover will let water easily pass through their mesh but will catch larger debris like acorns and leaves.A solid cover will block all water from passing through, which means the top of your pool cover can end up supporting a lot of weight. You can get a cover pump to remove some of the water and debris that piles up on top to alleviate this problem. If you don’t get severe winter weather, a leaf net can be a good option to help you catch and periodically remove and dispose of debris that piles up.
  • Safety covers are more expensive than winter covers and offer the additional benefit of safety. These covers have steel anchors to the pool deck and create a firmer barrier across the top of the pool that can stop pets and even people from falling into the pool. They also provide a stronger barrier to prevent larger debris from entering the pool.

Step 7. 

Keep tabs on your pool chemistry. A simple test kit will do the trick here. Test your water chemistry throughout the winter to make sure your pH levels and other chemistry stay in check and don’t cause any long-term damage through the colder months.

Winterizing your pool is one of the most important elements of pool maintenance. If this seems like too much for you, we definitely recommend hiring a pool professional to take care of this for you. When Spring rolls around and you’re ready to start enjoying your pool again, be sure to check out Global Pool Products and our selection of American made pool handrails, pool games, and swim-up bars to amp up your pool experience!

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