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Guide to Winterizing an Above Ground Pool

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Guide to winterizing an above ground pool

The days are getting shorter and cooler. The leaves on the trees are beginning to change color. Yep, it’s that time of year. Time to close up the pool for the season. Winterizing an above ground pool is one of the most important parts of maintaining the pool. Done wrong, it could delay the opening of your pool next summer at best and at worst, could cost you some serious cash. Follow these steps though, and you will have a pool that is ready next season with little effort and minimal expense.

The key to getting the water ready for the winter is to replicate conditions you would have if you were swimming in it. So, the very first step in winterizing the pool is to clean it thoroughly. Scrub the pool liner wall with a pool brush. Even if you don’t see anything on the pool wall, scrub it anyway to remove small, unseen particles. Let the pool run for a day after scrubbing to allow removed particles to either collect on the pool floor or be filtered out.

The next day, vacuum the pool. Make sure to remove all debris from the floor of the pool. You will also want to remove any debris that is floating on the surface or suspended in the water. Basically, you want the pool to be as clean as you can possibly get it. You will be adding chemicals in the next step and you don’t want loose organic materials in the water, as it will throw off you chemical balance during the winter.

If you don’t already have one, I recommend you buy a pool water test kit. You can get these at the local pool supply or at major retailers like Walmart or Target. Test your water for pH and alkalinity levels. Adjust, if needed, to normal swimming season levels. Typically, alkalinity should be around 100 ppm and pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6.

Once proper chemical levels are reached, the next step is to give your pool a “Shock” treatment. Measure the amount of Shock to use based on the size of your pool, and then dissolve it in a bucket of water. Pour this around the edge of the pool. Finally, give the pool an algaecide treatment. Treat the pool with the algaecide based on the maker’s instructions and the size of your above ground pool.

Now that the water has been treated and is now ready for winter, you need to drain some of it off. The above ground pool should be drained to about 6 inches below the return lines and the skimmer. Draining further will decrease the amount of pressure against the pool walls and could lead to the wall partially collapsing. Obviously, the pump and filter system should be turned off at this point.

With the pool now drained below the skimmer and return lines, the pump and filter system can be drained. The filter will have a plug at the bottom that can be removed for draining. After the pump has drained completely, disconnect the lines on the filter coming from the pump and going to the pool. With the filter now free of the lines, it can be removed and should be stored indoors.

The pump will likely still have some water in it. First, disconnect it from its power supply. Now, open the pump or remove the drain plug, depending on your pump type. Make sure all of the water has been drained and remove the pump. It also should be stored indoors. Now remove all of the lines from the pool. For most pools, this will consist of the line from the skimmer to the pump, the line from the pump to the filter and the line from the filter to the pool. Only remove the lines, not the fitting or skimmer that are attached to the pool. Store these indoor’s as well.

The last step in winterizing your above ground pool is covering it. Now, here is where any number of options are available. There are a variety of above ground pool covers available, each of which serves a different purpose. I use 2 covers for my above ground pool. The first is a cover I made myself. It is made of thin vinyl sheets I glued together with vinyl glue to form a giant square. I then cut the square into a circle 18 inches bigger than my pool. I then installed eyelets using a kit I bought from the hardware store. I then drilled a hole in each of the wall supports (drilling parallel to the pool not towards it). Now, when I lay the vinyl cover over the pool, I use bungee cords hooked in the hole of the wall support and the eyelet of the cover.

The second cover is a mesh netting cover. I put this on to catch debris that falls through the winter. It’s not necessary, but I find that by removing this cover with the debris, I don’t get foreign debris falling into the pool when I remove the actual pool cover.

And there you have it, your above ground pool is winterized. Next spring, you will need only remove the cover(s), reconnect your pump and filter system and add some water. You will probably need to make some minor adjustments on the chemical levels, but it will take a few days for the water to warm up anyway.

Above Ground Pool Closing Tip:

To help prevent your pool cover from sagging or collecting water, place a large inflatable beach ball in the center of the pool under the cover. You can also use several inflatables placed evenly across the pool surface under the cover.


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Ron Warner

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