Step-By-Step Pool Winterizing Guide for In-Ground and Above Ground Pools

Pool closing season leaves every pool enthusiast with a bittersweet taste. It means school and work responsibilities are back in full force. If you went to outdoor pools, or to your neighbor’s house this summer, you are worry-free. But if you own a pool, you know you have the added responsibility of winterizing it.

Winterizing when and why

Pool winterizing is done to help maintain both the structural integrity and the water quality. Since you don’t use the pool during winter, there’s room for all kinds of debris to conquer your pool, and if in your area water tends to freeze during winter, you’re looking at all types of cracks in the equipment.

Generally, swimming pools need to be winterized when temperatures start dropping below 18°C (65°F). The reason for this is that any bacteria or algae spores that might be in the pool water love heat. Without high heat, they die and you don’t risk an over-winter tragedy when you pull off the cover. The lower you can wait for the temperature to drop, the better.

But even without heat, there’s a small chance of complications, and the best robotic pool cleaner you can buy will also be a huge help with stubborn, stain-making nuisances.

So, unless you want to buy all new everything, just follow the steps below.

Pool closing essentials:

  • Treating and winterizing chemicals: increasers or decreasers (ph, alkalinity, calcium), pool shock, metal sequestrant, algaecide, anti-freeze, enzymes, stain & scale treatment– if you buy winterizing kits, go for the chlorine-free ones

  • Pool cleaning equipment

  • Valve lubricant

  • Plugs (for expansion, for return line)

  • Air compressor

  • Pool cover: mesh or solid – in case of solid, you might also need a rainwater pump

  • Cover cable, winch, and clips

In-ground VS Above ground

Although you might think that a pool is a pool and they’re all the same when it comes to maintenance, that’s not entirely true.

While there is mostly common ground, there are some small steps that make a difference between in-ground and above ground pools.

For example, while draining the water is a personal choice, for in-ground pools it helps with avoiding freeze-related damage, while with above ground pools the risk is completely drying out the vinyl lining and cutting down on its lifespan.

Steps for a proper winterizing

Common ground steps:

  • Accessory removal:

First, to ensure nothing is forgotten inside or around the pool, there needs to be proper removal, clean-up, and storing of any extra accessories. Ladder, slide, railing, trampoline, etc.

  • Clean-up:

Skimming, brushing, vacuuming, every little nook and cranny needs to be left spotless, considering how long the pool will be left alone during the cold season.

  • Test and treat water:

For an easy uncovering next time around, just test and treat the water now, to not have an exaggerated amount of anything showing on your first hot summer day.

  • Protect the skimmer:

This step includes properly drying and storing the basket and placing a winter cover on the skimmer line.

  • Add winterizing chemicals:

Add the pool shock, metal sequestrant, stain & scale treatment, anti-freeze, and anything else your pool needs according to the instruction labels. Leave the chemicals to be filtered for a day to maximize their efficiency.

  • Lower water level:

While this is a step that can be sometimes skipped if you choose to do it keep in mind that you might need air pillows or a rainwater pump to keep from damaging the pool cover.

If you use air pillows, a tip is to inflate them only halfway, or just a little bit over half. This way you can avoid popped pillows.

  • Disconnect everything:

Everything from the heating system to the pumps, and to lights should be disconnected to avoid malfunctions during cold temperatures.

If you don’t (or can’t) drain your water during winter, you can have your pumps up and running to keep it from freezing.

  • Drain and plug equipment:

Drain the pumps, filters, heater, and chlorinator and remove them to keep them safe. Plug every outlet and line to make sure they remain rust-free.

  • Cover pool:

This is the final step to closing your pool. After everything is in place below, cover the surface and use your cable and winch to secure. Add clips for extra security.

In-ground pool extra steps:

  • Blow out every line in the pool with the air compressor and plug them. If you use anti-freeze, you can skip this step.

  • Lubricate any valves and o-rings or plug them to avoid rust.

Ready for hibernation

After this whole exhausting process, you can lay your head on your pillow, knowing full well that you won’t have to worry about your pool for the rest of time. Or really, until next summer.

Give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.

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