15 Easy Steps to Prepare Your Pool for Winter: A Comprehensive Guide




Why Winterizing Your Pool is Crucial

Winterizing your pool is a crucial step in maintaining its longevity and ensuring it remains in good condition for years to come.

As temperatures drop, the risk of damage caused by freezing water increases significantly, which can lead to costly repairs. Therefore, it’s essential to take the necessary precautions and prepare your pool for the winter season.

Failing to winterize your pool can result in damage to the pool’s structure, equipment, and plumbing.

Frozen water expands, which can cause cracks in the pool’s shell or damage to the pool’s circulation system. When spring arrives, and you’re ready to open your pool again, you may find that you’re faced with expensive repairs or even the need for a complete replacement.

Additionally, neglecting proper pool winterization can lead to unbalanced water chemistry and the growth of algae.

As outdoor temperatures drop, algae are less likely to thrive; however, inadequate winterization can still provide an ideal environment for algae growth. This can make it more challenging to restore the water’s balance and cleanliness in time for the next swimming season.

In the following sections, we will provide you with 15 easy steps to prepare a pool for winter. By taking the time to adequately winterize your pool, you will save yourself time, money, and frustration, ultimately protecting your investment and ensuring many enjoyable swimming seasons to come.

how to prepare a pool for winter

Steps to Prepare Your Pool For Winter

Balance the Water Chemistry

Before winterizing your pool, ensure you balance the water chemistry. Test and adjust the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels.

This helps protect your pool surfaces and equipment from damage, and makes it easier to reopen your pool in the spring.

Clean Your Pool Thoroughly

A clean pool environment minimizes algae growth during the winter months. So carry out the following:

  • Use a pool skimmer net to clean the pool surface
  • Use a brush to clean the walls and steps
  • Vacuum the bottom of the pool to remove debris
  • Empty the skimmer baskets.

Thoroughly Clean and Backwash the Filter System

Clean your filter system to remove any accumulated dirt and debris. Backwash the sand or DE filter, or remove and clean the cartridges if you have a cartridge filter system.

Lower the Water Level

Lower the water level in your pool below the skimmer and return lines, typically 4-6 inches. This helps prevent damage to the plumbing system due to freezing water.

Read: How to drain and inground pool below the skimmer

Winterize Pool Equipment

Turn off and unplug the pool equipment. If your pool has a heater, make sure to drain the water from it to prevent freezing damage.

Also, protect your pump and filter with a protective cover to prevent damage from the elements if it is not in a covered housing.

Remove and Store Pool Accessories

Take out ladders, diving boards, solar pool cover and any other removable pool equipment. Clean and store them in a safe, dry place to prevent damage.

Clean and Store Skimmer Baskets

Remove skimmer baskets, clean them thoroughly, and store them away for winter.

Prepare Pool Plumbing

Blow out the water lines to prevent damage from freezing water. Seal the return lines and skimmer with plugs. Use a shop vac or air compressor to remove water from the plumbing system.

Add Winter Pool Chemicals

Many pool owners ask are pool winterizing chemicals necessary? If you don’t wan a swamp when you open in the spring then they are. You will need to add algaecide, chlorine, and other winterizing chemicals to maintain water quality during the winter months and prevent algae growth.

You may find using a Winter Pill makes this easier.

AquaPill WinterPill Pool Winterizer Pill, Large, up to 30,000 Gallons by SeaKlear

Cover Your Pool

Place a winter pool cover over your pool securely. This helps keep debris, leaves, and other contaminants out while preventing water and chemicals from evaporating.

Make sure to also use a cover pump to remove any accumulated water or snow from the cover.

Blue Wave BWC752 Bronze 8-Year 20-ft x 40-ft Rectangular In Ground Pool Winter Cover,Dark Navy Blue

Use Air Pillow for Above Ground Pools

For above ground pools, place an air pillow in the center of the pool underneath the cover. This helps distribute ice pressure and prevents damage to your pool walls.

You can buy air pillows cheaply on Amazon.

Winter Block Above Ground Pool Winter Air Pillow, Cover Float Premium Pillow for Winterizing Closing Aboveground Pools, Heavy Duty, Thick and Durable, 4’x4’

Secure Pool Area for Winter Season

Remove any furniture, toys, and equipment around the pool area, and store them safely. Ensure the pool fence and gate are secure to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitor and Maintain Pool During Winter

Regularly inspect your pool cover, check water levels, and test the water chemistry. Adjust the chemicals and remove debris from the cover as necessary.

Proper maintenance during winter helps make reopening in spring easier.

You may want to invest in a pool cover pump, such as the one below, which will automatically pump any water off of the cover that may accumulate there.

Once your pool is closed you may want to consider buying an inflatable hot tub so you can continue your soaking fun until next spring.

Little Giant APCP-1700 115-Volt, 1/3 HP, 1745 GPH, Automatic, Submersible, Swimming Pool Cover Pump with 25-Ft. Cord, Light Blue, 577301

Prepare for Spring Opening

Keep track of the steps taken to winterize your pool. This will help when it’s time to open your pool again in spring. Reinstall your pool equipment safely, clean and treat the water, and enjoy another pool season!

Read: Opening a Pool in Spring and When to open a pool

Pool Care Handbook and Video Course

When I bought my house with a swimming pool, I knew absolutely nothing about pool care. I just winged it for a while, making many mistakes along the way.

Fortunately, I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and Video Course. I bought it and it was an absolute game-changer.

It was the best money I spent that year. I learned everything from basic cleaning to advanced troubleshooting. Swim University offers a no-quibble refund policy too so what do you have to lose?


When should I start winterizing my pool?

Typically, you should start winterizing your pool when the temperature consistently drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because algae growth is slowed significantly at this temperature, making it easier to keep your pool clean over the winter months.

What chemicals do I need to winterize my pool?

The primary chemicals you’ll need are a winterizing pool chemical kit, which generally includes an algaecide, a winter chlorine or non-chlorine shock, and a stain & scale prevention chemical. It may also include a floatation device that slowly releases sanitizer into the pool during the winter.

Do I need to completely drain my pool for winter?

No, you should not completely drain your pool for winter. The water in the pool helps provide support to the pool walls. However, you should lower the water level below the skimmer to prevent water from freezing in the pipes, which could cause damage.

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