In most parts of the country, the inevitable end of summer’s warm weather will arrive. And unless you’re a polar bear, you’ll want to close your pool until the spring. Properly closing above ground pools protects them from debris and harsh winter weather. This helps reduce the time and money needed to open your pool in the spring. You’ll also eliminate additional electrical and chemical costs by closing the pool and avoid possible freeze damage to equipment and plumbing. Follow the steps below for winterizing your above ground pool.
Several days prior to closing an above ground pool, test the water for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine. Adjust levels if necessary. It is important to get the water balanced to protect the pool from corrosion or scale buildup that can occur while it's shut down. You should test for the following: pH 7.2 - 7.6; Alkalinity 80 - 120 ppm; Calcium Hardness 175 - 250 ppm; Chlorine 1 - 3 ppm.
Step 2 Above ground pools need to be cleaned before winterizing. Brush and vacuum the sides and floor. Use a clarifier to get water crystal clear. Lower water level while vacuuming (set filter to waste bypassing sand). Clean the tile line to remove oil and scum line so that it will not set on during winter months.
Winterizing chemical kits are available to help protect water quality during the winter months. This is a convenient way to get all of the necessary chemicals for closing your pool. Carefully follow the instructions on the product labels. Additional algaecide and shock can be purchased separately for larger size above ground pools.
Clean the filter, skimmer, and pump basket. Remove all unused chlorine product from the chlorinator. Cartridge filter elements and D.E. grids should be sprayed with cleaner and rinsed with a garden hose. Sand filters should be backwashed.
Lower the water level below the returns and skimmer. Never completely drain above ground pools - hydrostatic pressure can cause damage. Using an air compressor or shop vac (attached to the blower side of the vac), blow water out of system by forcing air down skimmer and through the plumbing. Add pool anti-freeze to plumbing and install threaded winter plugs to the return fittings to keep water out of lines. Pool anti-freeze is a non-toxic formula. DO NOT USE AUTOMOBILE ANTI-FREEZE IN YOUR POOL.
Remove all drain plugs from pump, filter tank and any other pool equipment. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for your specific equipment. Place all drain plugs in pump basket for storage so your can find them easily in the spring.
If you are using air pillows under your pool winter cover, inflate them with a leaf blower or shop vac. Tie off air pillow in the center of the pool; larger pools will require two or more air pillows. The air pillows will shed water toward the edge of pool for easier removal. They also allow forming ice to crack inward preventing damage to the shell or structure of the pool.
Place winter cover over pool surface, black side down, and secure it with the cable and winch under top ledge of pool. In very windy areas, we recommend using winter cover seal, a tough plastic wrap material which is wrapped around above ground pools to keep wind from getting up underneath the cover. An automatic or manual cover pump can be used to remove rain water and melted snow that collects on top of the cover.