How to winterize an above-ground pool: 12 steps to close an above-ground pool for winter

How to winterize an above ground pool

Your pool gets so much use during the warmer months. But as those days start to cool down you might be starting to think about winterizing your above-ground pool so it’s protected, and ready to go for the next swim season.

Today we’ll be going over the steps, and equipment you need to close down your above-ground pool for winter.

Why should i winterize my above-ground pool?

If you want to protect and increase the lifespan of your above-ground pool, then winterising should be an important part of your pool care routine.

When you winterize an above-ground pool not only are you protecting the parts of the pool that are sensitive to the frost like the pipes and pool liner, you’re also protecting it from contamination too. In return this will not only save you time, but money as well. This is because if you close down your pool correctly you won’t have to buy a new pool next season, or remove difficult algae and bacteria before reopening it the next time you use it.

When should i winterize my above-ground pool?

Getting the timing right for closing your pool may be more important than you think. It’s essential that you do not close your above-ground pool before the temperature of the water drops below 65°F (18°C). This helps to make sure there’s a less likely chance that any algae or bacteria will bloom during the off season, and ensures that your winterizing pool chemicals are working effectively.

If you live in an area where the temperature barely fluctuates from season to season, then you may not even need to winterize your pool at all.

Tools & Equipment for winterizing a pool

winterizing a pool

Ensuring you have the right tools and equipment before you begin winterizing your above-ground pool is important for ensuring the process is done as effectively, and efficiently as possible. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • A good quality pool cover (make sure it’s the right size)
  • Ratchet & cable (Keeps the cover on tight)
  • Pool air pillow (prevents the cover from caving in)
  • Rope ( used to tie the pillow to the edges of the pool)
  • Return plug
  • Skimmer
  • Pool shock
  • Algae preventer
  • Winterizing kit
  • Chemical testing kit

Steps for closing an Above ground pool

Here we will go over the step by step guide for winterizing your above-ground pool so you can have it ready in time for winter.

1. remove any Unnecessary Items from your pool

The first thing you’re going to want to do is remove any unwanted items from your pool. This includes things like ladders, toys, floating equipment, and solar covers. You’ll want to leave your skimmer, filter and all hoses for the time being though.

2. Balance your pools water chemistry

How to close a pool for winter

Next you’re going to want to balance your pools chemistry levels. This includes balancing your Alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness. It’s highly important that you get all of these spot on to the correct levels to ensure your water is in optimal condition before covering it. This will prevent any nasty surprises later on.

3. Clean your pool one last time

Giving your pool one last clean before putting the cover on will help give to the best results. When doing this make sure you vacuum the entire pool. Thoroughly brush down the floor, and walls of the pool, and skim the entire surface. This is best done after you have drained your above-ground pool to the appropriate level.

4. shock your pool

Adding a shock to your pool before you close it will give your pools sanitiser an extra boost for winter. Before shocking your pool make sure you thoroughly read the back of the product to ensure you’re adding the correct amount.

5. Add an algae preventative

Adding some algae preventer before you close down your pool can give you an extra line of defence against bacteria and algae over the winter period. Just like adding shock to your pool, make sure you carefully read the label so you’re adding the correct amount. Once you’ve added the algae preventative you’ll want to run your pump for roughly 2 hours.

6. Add a winterizing kit

Next you’re going to want to add a winterizing kit. This is a powerful combination of chemicals which helps prevent the production of algae and other unwanted bacteria. It also helps eliminate minerals and metals which cause liner stains and build up.

7. remove the return fitting

Next up you’re going to head over to the return (which is the outlet that shoots the water back into your pool), and you’re going to want to remove the return fitting. This consists of 3 parts, the retainer ring, the eyeball, and the fitting itself which screws into the wall. Once you’ve removed the return fitting you’ll want to make sure the whole piece has been removed properly so you can replace it with your threaded plug.

8. Insert a skimmer Guard

Now we can move on to the skimmer. What you’re going to do is remove the skimmer basket and screw the skimmer guard into the centre of the skimmer. This allows for expansion so the skimmer doesn’t crack when the water freezes. Instead the water freezes inwards crushing the skimmer guard. To ensure you get a tight seal around the base of the guard you can wrap some teflon tape around the bottom of it so no water leaks out.

9. Remove the hose from the skimmer

Now that you’ve got the return, and the skimmer blocked you can move on to removing the hoses from both these areas. Once you’ve completed that your pool will be completely plugged, and disconnected from the system.

10. Winterize your filter system.

How to winterize above ground pool

Next you’re going to move on to winterizing your filter system. To do this you need to go to the systems pump and unscrew the water release plug at the bottom of the unit, this will remove any water that could potentially freeze. Some pumps like the Pentair have a drain plug in the front and the back so do keep this in mind.

This next step is optional. What you can do is remove the pump lid, and put the drain plugs and any other fittings into the basket. This way you know where they are when it comes time to get your above-ground pool up and running again.

Now you can remove the hose from the pump. After that you will need to go to the tank and remove the pressure gauge and the site-glass as these will also get damaged by the frost. These too can go into the pump basket if you like.

Next you’re going to move the function lever to the winter setting. This will lift the multi-port converter up and allow you to drain the water from the filter. Once you’ve done that simply unscrew the plug at the bottom of the tank and drain out any remaining water.

Now that you’ve winterised all the equipment you can move on to the the last steps for closing down your above-ground pool.

11. install the pool pillow

Now it’s time to inflate your pool pillow which will keep your pool cover propped up. Once that’s done, place it in the pool as close to the centre as possible, and tie it off to the corners of the pool. This will ensure it stays in the same position over the winter period.

12. Install the pool cover

Hooray you’re on to the final step! Now all that’s left to do is chuck the cover over the top of your pool, and secure it tightly with the cable and ratchet.

So there you have it. I hope this has given you the knowledge you need so you can be best prepared when it comes time to winterize your above-ground pool.

If you need any tips on draining an above-ground pool, or some above-ground pool deck ideas on a budget, then take a look at our other guides.

Happy swimming.

The Morris's

The Morris's

Hey, we're Lana and Cam the creators of this site. We love to spend time together as a family, and time in our pool. We're here to bring you the best info on pool care, pool cleaners, and other great pool related products.

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