Winterize Your Above-Ground Pool

When autumn approaches near Labor Day in the States, it’s time for pool owners to start thinking about winterization. Usually the pool is kept up and running through the holiday, but afterwards, it is time to close up shop. If you own an above-ground pool, there are some important steps to keep it clean and fresh from the long winter, and also to keep corrosion from setting in. The steps I will provide will also help with the expansion as the water freezes. Let’s get started. The first thing you want to do is make sure that your chemical has all been used in the chemical feeder. If not, refer to the owner’s manual on how to remove chemical that has not been used. It’s much easier to let it drain through use, but this cannot always be done.

The chemical levels must be adjusted properly for the winter. This will protect the pool from corrosion and the build-up of scales. The pH level should be in the range of 7.2-7.4. Alkalinity should be from 80-120 parts/million. Calcium Hardness 175-250 parts/million and Chlorine 1-3 parts/million according to .

Once the chemical balance is correct, you should add a winterizing agent. These are sold as a winter chemical kits and can be bought from any pool supply store.

All extraneous equipment should be removed from the pool. This includes ladders, decks, rails, and anything except the sidewalls of the pool itself.

Remove the filter, skimmer, pump, motor, and any flexible hoses. The pump should be opened and cleaned before storing for the winter. Now, drain the filter tank of all water and make sure all water is also drained from the hoses. The cartridge filter will also need to be cleaned and because it may not dry completely, it should be stored indoors. If your pool setup uses a sand filter, then throw out the sand and replace it in the spring when you open the pool back up.

If your pool has hard plumbing, make sure you mechanically blow the air out of the system with an air compressor or shop vac blower. Any water left in the plumbing will freeze and permanently damage the system.

The water should now be drained from your pool to just below the skimmer and jets (returns) and an air pillow inflated and set in the pool. The air pillow must be tied down on all sides so it remains in the center of the pool. If it is not tied down, it will float to the sides and this could damage your walls when the water freezes. There are two reasons for the air pillow, one is that debris will not settle into the center of the cover and make it sag into the water. The other is that when the water freezes, it will expand toward the pillow and squeeze it instead of toward the sidewalls putting unnecessary strain on them.

Once the air pillow is secured, it is time to cover the pool. If the pool cover has a dark side, it should be placed down toward the bottom of the pool. Secure the cover with the cable and make sure it is tight. Use a winch if possible.

By following these steps, your above ground pool will be safe, protected from the winter elements, and ready to go in the spring.

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