One of the best things about summer is enjoying fun in the sun, especially if you have a swimming pool in your backyard. However, when it comes to the end of summer, most people dread the process of closing their above-ground pool for the winter.
The steps for closing up your pool include removing accessories, cleaning and testing the pool, draining pumps and filters, and covering the pool. If you don’t have a skimmer cover for your pool, you will additionally need to take the time to lower your pool water level before covering it.
Knowing how to close out your above-ground swimming pool and getting it ready for winter will ensure that you can enjoy it again the following summer. Let’s look at some of the steps you need to take to close out your pool and get it ready for the winter season.
Why Do You Need to Winterize a Pool?
While many people live in areas where the winter season does not bring in frigid temperatures, others deal with harsh winters year after year. Whether you live in a mild or harsh winter climate, it is important to ensure that your pool is kept in its best condition all year round.
Keep in mind that during the summer months, your pool is most likely used regularly. This means that you are also likely cleaning and maintaining it both daily and weekly to keep it working properly.
In most cases, you also likely leave your swimming pool uncovered throughout the summer season for the convenience of jumping right in whenever you want. However, in the winter, leaving a pool uncovered can wreak havoc on the pool itself.
When left unattended during the winter months, and especially if you do not cover the pool, there is a risk of certain contaminants making their way into the pool. This is because you are likely not cleaning it as regularly as you would if it were being used often.
Winterizing your pool is important to ensure not only that insects and debris stay out but also that your chemicals will maintain the integrity of the water. If left untreated, you will find yourself having to rebalance your swimming pool when summer comes around again.
Additionally, leaving your pool uncovered and not winterized can cause damage to the parts of the pool. This is because ice can cause damage when freezing temperatures are in your area for prolonged periods.
Supplies You’ll Need
Before you begin the process of closing your above-ground pool for the winter, there are certain supplies you’ll need on hand. These supplies will help you ensure that you have taken all the necessary precautions to keep your pool in the best condition through the winter season.
Here is a list of supplies that will make winterizing your swimming pool much easier:
- Kit for winterizing a swimming pool(on Amazon), which includes: pH and alkalinity increasers, pool shock treatments, and algaecide)
- Enzyme supplements for clarification of the water
- Winter Skimmer Cover(on Amazon)
- Return plug
- Winter freeze plug(on Amazon)
- Winterized Cover for pool
- Clips, cable, or winch for the cover
- Air pillow(on Amazon)
- Water bags (only if you also have a deck)
While these are the most common supplies you will need to winterize your swimming pool, there may be additional supplies needed depending on your situation. Keep in mind that it is better to have your materials ready than to have to run back and forth to the store.
Step 1: Remove All Pool Accessories
The first step you should take when you are closing your above-ground pool for the winter is to remove all the accessories. This includes any pool toys, ladders, slides, and any other items you have in or around your swimming pool.
It is important to keep in mind that you should not leave any of these accessories in or around your pool since doing so can cause them to become damaged. In addition, leaving anything in your pool can keep your pool cover from going on as securely as it should.
Step 2: Clean the Pool and Filters
Before you close up your above-ground pool for the winter, you should ensure that you have cleaned it thoroughly one last time. This will ensure that your pool is in the best condition possible and can help you avoid any surprises when you reopen your pool for warmer weather.
When closing your pool for the winter season, it is important that you not only clean the debris off the surface of your pool but go a step further. These steps should include taking a scrub brush to thoroughly clean the sides of the pool to remove any grime left behind.
Another suggestion by pool experts is to vacuum out your pool one last time before closing it up to ensure that you have removed any debris and grime from the entire pool. Doing so takes the cleanup to the next level and will ensure that your pool is left in pristine condition.
One additional step you should take in cleaning your pool is to backwash your filter to make sure that any bacteria, debris, and grime are removed. Taking this extra step will ensure that harmful bacteria do not enter your pool and continue to grow throughout the winter months.
Step 3: Test Water and Add Appropriate Chemicals
Another important thing to do before you close your swimming pool up for the winter season is to test the water one last time. This will ensure that you are leaving the chemical balance in the water in the best condition possible.
When testing the water in your swimming pool, like you likely have during the summer, you can either use test strips or a liquid testing kit(on Amazon). Keep in mind that the liquid testing kit will provide you with a more accurate measurement of the chemical makeup.
If the results of your tests come back with low levels of pH or alkalinity, you will want to ensure that you adjust them before closing up. Most pool experts recommend that you leave the levels slightly higher than you normally would throughout the winter since the levels will reduce some naturally.
Additionally, you will need to add winterizing chemicals to your pool to make sure that it stays in the best condition throughout the winter season. This means that you can either choose to purchase a chemical kit or buy the chemicals individually.
Purchasing a chemical kit will typically give you everything you need to winterize your swimming pool. These chemicals include algaecide, pool shock, stain prevention, floaters, and more which will keep your pool in the best condition overall.
If you are using a kit, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adding the chemicals to your pool. If you have chosen to add the chemicals individually, you will need to make sure that you are following the advice of a pool expert.
Step 4: Drain Pumps, Filters, and Heaters
Once you have cleaned, tested, and treated the water in your swimming pool one last time, it is time to take care of the pumps, filters, and heaters. Winterizing these parts of the pool is a crucial step to make sure they are not damaged during the harsh winter temperatures.
You must drain all of the water from the pump of the pool before closing it up for the winter. This means that you should not only empty the pump but also use a shop vac to make sure there is no water left behind.
Additionally, it is a great time to remove all filters and give them a good cleaning before you close up the pool. Once they are clean, you should ensure that they are also dried completely to avoid freezing if the temperatures drop.
If you have a heater attached to your above-ground swimming pool, you will need to remove it and store it in a safe and warm place during the winter months. This will ensure that it stays in the best condition for use when you open your pool up again.
Step 5: Lower the Water Level If Needed
Lowering your water level is another important step in making sure that your above-ground pool is ready for the winter season. Keep in mind that this step is only necessary if you do not plan to use a skimmer cover and worry about freezing temperatures.
However, if you use a skimmer cover, it is recommended that you do not drain any of the water from your pool. This is because keeping the level as it normally prevents any damage to the winter cover you install.
Step 6: Store Accessories and Cover Your Pool
To ensure that your pool accessories and parts stay in the best condition for your next swimming season, you should store them in a warm, dry place. Doing so will protect them from harsh temperatures that can cause irreparable damage.
One of the last steps you need to take when closing your above-ground pool for the winter is to cover your pool with a solid winterized cover. It is also recommended that once the cover is in place, you also install the air pool pillow to prevent freezing temperatures from damaging the cover and the pool.
Once you have placed your cover over the entire pool, you will need to secure the cover to keep cold air from entering. This can be done by either using secure cover clips or using a cable and winch mechanism for tighter security.
Final Thoughts on Closing Your Above-Ground Pool for the Winter
The bottom line when it comes to closing your above-ground pool for the winter is that taking these steps will ensure that your pool is ready for the summer months ahead. These steps will also prevent you from having to do damage control once you are ready to reopen your swimming pool.