How to Winterize an Above Ground Swimming Pool

by Pool Builders on 10-01-2013 in Articles

The main purpose in winterizing a swimming pool is to protect it from freezing weather during the winter months. Winterizing will also minimize the amount of work required to bring the pool back to swimming condition when the weather is warm enough next spring or summer.

The first step to winterizing a pool is to first make sure the water chemistry is balanced. The pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness must be balanced. Chemical balancing will protect the surface of the water from staining or etching the top part of the swimming pool liner. It may be necessary to add a winterizing chemical kit to the swimming pool water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for adding the winterizing kit. Also do not leave your chlorine or bromine floater in your swimming pool for the winter. This has a high potential to stain the liner of your swimming pool. Also, do not drop chlorine or bromine tablets directly into the swimming pool. This will damage the liner of your swimming pool. Dropping chlorine or bromine tablets may even cause holes to burn into your swimming pool liner.

Freezing water will expand approximately 9% from its original volume. This can cause damage to your above ground pool, filter system, and pool plumbing system. For this reason it's important to take precautions against damage from freezing water. Regardless of where you live, winter weather freezing your pool is always a possibility. In order to combat freezing expanding water the first thing we recommend you do is to first lower the level of water below the mouth of the skimmer. This will remove the water from the throat of the skimmer. You can also put an Aquador over the mouth of the skimmer. This is a plastic dam which will hold water out of the skimmer and allow you to keep water out of the filter system. After this step is complete, the next step is to drain all of the water out of the filter system, and hoses.

In order to drain the filter system and hoses, you may start by capping off the skimmer system, and capping the return line in the pool. Now, disconnect the skimmer and return hoses and drain them. Most filters and pumps have caps on the bottom that will allow them to drain. Simply remove the caps and allow the filter, and pump to drain completely. With the pump and filter drained, it may be necessary to drain the water from the veins of the impellor on the pump. Simply turn the pump on for one or two seconds. Do not let it run for any longer than two seconds at the most. The reason is that most pool pumps require water to lubricate and cool the motor. Running without water can easily burn the pump out. If it is possible, the best choice for the pump and filter is to take them inside for the winter where it won't be exposed to freezing conditions. If the pump and filter must remain outside, do not place the caps back into them. If any water collects during the winter it will be unable to drain and may damage the pump and filter during a freeze. Simply take them inside and place them in a safe location until next spring.

If your swimming pool is equipped with an inline chemical feeder, you need to remove all of the chlorine or bromine tablets from the feeder. Next, it is necessary to cap the feeder off and drain it completely. We also recommend removing it if possible and taking it inside.

The final step in winterizing a swimming pool is to cover it in order to keep out dirt, debris, and sunlight for the duration of the winter. One final suggestion is to place air pillows underneath the cover. This will hold the cover up like a dome and allow water and debris to fall off of the cover rather than forming puddles on the top.

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