Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

If you need to know how to winterize your above-ground pool, look no further! It’s important to properly winterize your swimming pool to ensure it is safe and doesn’t sustain damage over the winter months. This article will provide you with recommendations to winterize your pool yourself.

Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

Steps to Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

There are six steps to winterizing your pool:

  1. Water protection and balance
  2. Vacuuming, cleaning, and lowering the water level
  3. Removing your pool deck and accessories
  4. Winterizing your equipment
  5. Winterizing your above-ground plumbing
  6. Installing your winter cover and leaf cover

You should always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your above-ground pool regarding winterizing procedures. In addition, some manufacturers recommend doing these steps in a different order.

Let’s go over each one of these steps in more detail.

1. Water Protection and Balance

One week before you close your pool for winter:

Test your water for chemical levels one week before closing it. Any chemicals that are out of balance should be adjusted at this time before you add winterizing chemicals to the water.

For example, pH and total alkalinity must be in perfect balance before winterization, and your chlorine or bromine level should be between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million. If you need to make adjustments, make sure to re-test your water before closing your pool.

The reason for ensuring your water is properly balanced is that water becomes corrosive as the temperature drops. Improperly balanced water can result in the formation of wrinkles in your liner or your liner becoming brittle over the winter.

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 180-220 ppm

Three days before closing your pool:

  • Add a clarifier to your water to help move any debris into the filter. You can distribute it evenly throughout the pool or add it directly to your pool skimmer.
  • Add a stain and scale prevention chemical to coat all the metals and minerals in your pool water and prevent stains from forming. Then, dilute according to the manufacturer’s directions and distribute throughout the water.

One day before closing your pool:

Add a non-chlorine shock treatment to your water. Then add algaecide to kill and prevent algae growth.

2. Vacuuming, Cleaning and Lowering the Water Level

Thoroughly vacuum all your pool’s surfaces and backwash the filter system once you have completed vacuuming.

Some pool owners prefer to backwash the filter and perform a vacuum on the drain position. The result of this is that you can vacuum and lower the water levels simultaneously.

Use a filter rinse product to flush out your filter system before performing the final backwash.

Now you will need to lower your water level to winterizing level. For above-ground pools, this is about four inches below the mouth of the skimmer.

Use a vinyl liner cleaner to clean the ‘ring’ off your pool liner from the previous water level and prevent premature fading of your liner.

3. Removing Your Pool Deck and Accessories

Assuming you have a cover for your pool, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean before putting it on for the winter. If you have a solar blanket that you’re storing for the winter, also make sure it is rinsed clean from any chemical residue and allow it to dry completely before folding it up for storage.

Remove and store any drop-in steps or deck ladders for your pool.

4. Winterizing Your Equipment

Please note that you should always follow your manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing your equipment. In addition, you must turn off all power to your pool equipment to complete the following winterization procedures.

Pump and Filter

Unplug and remove your pool pump. Turn it upside down to drain out the water and store it indoors. If you are unable to remove the pump, you will need to winterize in place.

Remove any drain plugs and drain out the water. Ideally, you want your pump sheltered from any elements, but don’t use plastic as it will trap moisture.

  • Cartridge filters and diatomaceous earth filters need to be brought indoors whenever possible.
  • Sand filters are usually too heavy to move and can be left in place. Then, remove the drain plug to allow all water to drain out of the filter.
  • Chlorinator canisters must be drained and emptied.

Caps and Plugs

  • Pumps – 1 or 2 drain plugs
  • Filters – 1 cap or plug
  • Gas heaters – drain plugs on each side
  • Solar pool heaters – one drain cap, or you can blow air through the solar panels to remove water
  • Chlorinators or water purifiers – 1 drain plug


Now is also a good time to lubricate the O-rings and threaded metal parts on your pool.

5. Winterizing Your Above-Ground Plumbing

Disconnect any hoses and pipes. Next, remove your skimmer contents and leave the skimmer open. The most important part of this process is to make sure anything above-ground filled with water is drained. Once you’ve drained all the water, leave taps open and drain plugs out, so moisture doesn’t freeze and brake piping.

6. Installing Your Winter Cover and Leaf Cover

Make sure your cover completely covers the surface of your pool and is appropriately secured down on all sides. You can install a mesh leaf cover over the top of your winter cover to prolong the life of your winter cover.

Over the winter, you will also need a way to remove rainwater or snow from the top of your cover. You can buy a cover pump to serve this purpose.


That’s it! Six easy steps to winterizing your above-ground pool. All above-ground pools are slightly different. Consult a professional or your local pool maintenance provider for more detailed instructions.

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