How To Winterize Your In-Ground Pool


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There are several steps you should follow when you close down an in-ground pool for the winter. These include clearing the pool of any debris, blowing water out of the pipes and equipment. adding winter chemicals, and covering the pool to keep debris from collecting in the pool over the winter months. This guide shows you how to do these steps with the exception of blowing out the line. 

Step by Step


Step 1

Items you need to order ahead are: rubber plugs for each of your return valves and skimmer(s), a winter chemical kit, a pool cover, a set of water tubes, and a leaf net.

Please click here to view the winter plugs. 

Step 2

Tools you will need include a loops wrench, a 5 gallon bucket, screwdrivers (flat and phillips)

Step 3

Measure your pool to determine the proper size winter cover and leaf net for the pool. For standard rectangular pools, only the width and length are required.

Please click here to view swimming pool covers.

Step 4

After measuring your pool's length and width, determine how many water tubes you may need for your installation. make certain the number of tubes is enough to completely ring the circumference of your pool. Water Tubes 8' 10 pack part #: NW1022, 10' 10 pack part #: NW1222

Please click here to view the water tubes.  

Step 5

After receiving the cover and leaf net, lay out and measure the items to be certain you have received the correct size. If the cover size is incorrect, immediately contact the dealer your purchase item from for instructions.

Step 6

Remove all floats and toys from the pool.

Step 7

Clean any debris from the skimmer, pump basket and also skim your pool one last time before placing on the cover. Skimming the pool before installation will prevent any lingering debris from settling at the bottom of your pool for months. This will help you prevent a more tedious start up process when you open your pool in the spring.

Step 8

Any obstructions (i.e. railings, ladders or diving board) should be removed at this time. In this pool model we have a non-removable ladder and railing which we must accommodate. If the cover does not fit over these points then you may have to make points of entry as we have. Keep in mind this action of altering the cover in such a manner WILL void the warranty.

Step 9

This is the point of the pool closing where you will chemically treat your pool. This will fortify your water during its dormant season. Pool Shock item#: P12001DE-12, Halt Algaecide item #: NY136, Rust and Scale Remover item #: NY180

Please click here to view winterizing chemicals.  

Step 10

It may not prevent all growth of imbalances it will drastically help in opening your pool. Before adding Pool Shock to your pool, fill a bucket about 3/4 of the way full with water and stir it in.

Step 11

When properly mixed, pour the bucket's contents out as your walk around the pool to evenly disperse. Tip: for every 10,000 gallons of water you will need 1 pound of shock.

Step 12

Any scale remover or algaecide can be poured directly into the pool without premixing.

Step 13

With your chemical winterizing complete, now we can move onto installing the cover. Keep in mind we recommend that this is at least a two-person job.

Step 14

Layout the length of your cover at the poolside. With a person on opposite sides of the cover, grip the cover's edge and walk it over the surface of the pool. Be sure to minimize the amount of water on top of the cover when completing this step. Water could weigh down the cover and cause it to sink to the bottom.

Please click here to view air pillows

Step 15

We recommend completely securing your winter cover with a complete set of water tubes. This will provide a strong base for the cover while we install the net and prevent any wind from catching the cover.

Step 16

Slide an empty water tube through the loops of the winter cover. Each bag should fit through two to three of these loops, fill with water. Once full, slide the winter cover under the water tubes to prevent sliding or jostling of the winter cover.

Please click here to view the water tubes. 

Step 17

Now that we have the winter cover in place, the leaf net can now be placed on top of the cover. A leaf net would be necessary for any pool closing that has a fair amount of trees in the area. The leaf net can be removed after the majority of the leaves have fallen. This prevents the leaves from deteriorating on top of your winter cover which may cause undue decay to the material.

Step 18

To apply the leaf net, we will complete the same operation as the winter cover. Lay out the length of the leaf net at pool side. With a person on each side of the leaf net/pool, pull the net over the surface of the pool and winter cover.

Step 19

You may need to do some readjustments of the leaf net to ensure it is evenly distributed over the surface of the pool.

Step 20

With net and cover in place - take a lap around the circumference of the pool. Tie an extra knot in each of the loops to make up the slack. Check that both net and cover are tucked under the tubes.

Please click here to view pool covers. 

Step 21

If your pool has any obstructions (i.e. ladders or rails) that could not be removed you may have to alter your leaf net in a fashion to accommodate. This can be done by using bungee cord or rope to secure it to a loop on the cover

Step 22

Complete an all-points inspection of your winter cover installation. Check the cover to be sure it is evenly covering the pool surface. Inspect and adjust water tubes so that they are tied to and sitting on top of both covers. Also if you have any obstructions that were non-removable and the net and/or cover is being secured with cord or rope, double-check to make sure the knot is tight.


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Anonymous  Posted: 10/6/2021 

For winter In an above ground salt pool , is it ok to put chlorine tabs in skimmer to maintain water without altering water level, leaving all equipment as is, with pool covered? Was told to do this for several years then recently was told this is bad. ??

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/6/2021 

Using chlorine tablets is not bad, but putting them in the skimmer is. I would get a chlorine float instead because it is cheaper, and you won't ruin every skimmer basket you buy. Also, chlorine is super corrosive, so when you put it in the skimmer, you are pushing that freshly chlorinated water throughout all of your pool equipment. It will make internal components of your system weaker and brittle. That is why the chlorinator is always that last piece of equipment before the water goes back to the retu

 Posted: 10/30/2019 

We live in the very mild temperatures of Southern California. We don't use the pool during the fall-early spring, but we do use the jacuzzi. It is filtered into the pool. Is there some type of cover that we can use to decrease evaporation, but still run the pump? Would you just leave a solar cover on? Or would you use a winter cover and remove it for regular cleanings and run the pump with it on?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/31/2019 

A solar cover would be the best option; it will prevent evaporation while also allowing the pump to run. A winter cover is going to be labor-intensive to install and remove just for cleanings. Winters covers are meant for prolonged installation (Fall to Spring.)

 Posted: 9/11/2018 

Hello MattS - The only way to get anti-freeze into your cleared main drain is to plug the main drain immediately after blowing it out. It would probably require some scuba gear. The overwhelming majority of pool owners do not add anti-freeze to the main drain lines.

 Posted: 9/10/2018 

Hi there - when it comes to blowing out the main drain, it is my understanding that blowing the line for a minute or so and closing the valve is sufficient to prevent water from coming back into the line. I would love to add some anti-freeze into the main drain line but i don't see how that's possible without adding it with the valve open which would allow water back into the pvc line. Any tips on how to do it correctly would be appreciated!

 Posted: 11/2/2017 

sharron - When you winterize your pool, you generally disable and drain or remove the pump to keep it from freezing, so you don't have the option of running the pump. The pool sits dormant for the season.

 Posted: 10/28/2017 

How often do you run the pump with the cover on ?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/2/2015 

Rob - Yes. We recommend lowering your pool's water level below the skimmer in areas that experience below freezing temperatures. See our guide on "How To Winterize Your Swimming Pool" for more information on below freezing preparations.

 Posted: 11/1/2015 

Is it necessary to reduce the water level below the skimmers in climates that experience below freezing (teens to below zero) temps before installing the pool cover?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/29/2014 

PoolOwner - The pool cover does not have to sit on top of the water, but you may have to use your cover pump frequently and significant snow will be a problem.

 Posted: 9/28/2014 

It looks like the pool cover needs to sit on top of the water surface. For winterizing, I bring the water surface to below the skimmer and blower levels. Will this winter cover still work even if the pool is half empty of water?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/30/2013 

urfriend - You need the pump to make sure the chemicals are diluted and evenly distributed. If undiluted chemicals sit on the bottom for a period of time, they could damage the pool surface. Also, if they are not evenly distributed, they will not be as effective as required.

 Posted: 10/29/2013 

Can I still add the chemicals to winterize the pool without a pump

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/10/2013 

frankie - It may help a little, but any time you leave your pool unattended for a period of time, it's going to turn some shade of green.

 Posted: 7/8/2013 

I have a Davinci safety cover,open up green ever year.Can I put a plastic cover over the mesh to keep the sun out .also cut a square hole in the middle of plastic to allow water to flow.? Do you think it will work???