How To Winterize An Above-Ground Pool

Beginner Info, Pool

how to winterize an above ground pool
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So, how to winterize your above-ground pool?

Well, in this post, I would be walking you through various aspects of winterizing above-ground pools in a hassle-free manner.

Moreover, almost all the steps that we’re gonna discuss in a while are newbie-friendly, and even though you’re expediting the winterization of your above-ground pool for the very first time still you can do it on your own without the need for professional help.

Does it make sense?

I know many of you would be inquisitive to know about the things that we’re gonna learn in this comprehensive and exclusive guide on how to winterize your above-ground pool quickly, right?

Frankly speaking, I’ll try to the best of my capabilities to discuss in and out of winterization of the above-ground pool.

So, who am I?

Well, I own a couple of personal and professional pools and have been a consultant by profession for over a decade now.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin…

How to Winterize Your Above-Ground Pool | Beginner’s Guide

For the longevity as well as good health of your pool, it’s REALLY important that you close the pool for winter as well as freezing temperatures in the best possible manner that you could.

Well, if you’re winterizing your above-ground pool for the very first time then definitely, you should be very careful as there is a long list of things that you need to consider, and the possibility of error is huge.

Let’s understand it with an example.

Well, if you’re covering your pool for the winter in spite of the presence of minute algae spores then you might find full algae blooms when you’ll open it the next spring.

Trust me, things can become so pathetic that you might need a couple of weeks to make your pool ready for swimming.

I’ve discussed just one of the many scenarios, in fact, the pool can even turn totally cloudy and green in the worst scenario.

On the other hand, if you’ve left your above-ground pool completely uncovered then you’ll have to expedite a hell of a lot of work which will not only be time-consuming but also would cost you a hefty amount.

Well, enough of talking, let’s get into the action.

Important Gears That You Need To Get Started

Even before you start winterizing your pool, it is equally important that you’ve all the gears handy to prevent any last-hour mishap.

Well, we’ve prepared the list for you.

  • Pool cover
  • Pool Vacuum
  • Pool brush
  • Pool chemicals
  • Water bags or clips
  • Cover winch and cable

So, once you’ve all the tools in place you can start the process.

Moreover, I invite you to have an in-depth discussion on closing your above-ground pool for winter.

Removal of Equipment and Accessories

The very first step in the winterization of your above-ground pool is the removal of equipment and accessories.

If I’m not wrong then you might be using a lot of pool accessories including ladders, floaties, return fittings, solar blankets, pool alarms, pool cleaners, and diving boards, right?

Even though you’re just using a couple of pool accessories and equipment still you need to detach each one of them.

You need to clean all the equipment and accessories by either brushing them off or hosing them down.

Before we move to the next step, it is imperative that you store this detached and cleaned equipment in a safe place.

Balance Your Pool Chemistry

Before you winterize your above-ground pool, it is imperative that you test your pool chemistry to figure out which all chemicals are balanced and which all are NOT.

While you’re testing your pool chemistry, it is highly recommended that you keep a close eye on the parameters such as pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

Most of you would be aware of the fact that water pool chemistry needs to be balanced in order for the other pool chemicals to work efficiently.

Furthermore, the pool liner gets less damaged in case the pool chemicals are in a balanced state.

Let’s have a quick look at the normal levels.


The pH can be measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with the former being the most acidic and the latter being the most alkaline.

In other words, a lower pH level, anything less than 7.0 would encourage corrosion.

On the other hand, a higher level of pH would reduce the effectiveness of chlorine and thus, can even lead to scaling.

Scaling would encourage deposits that could clog your filter and cause cloudy water.

Make sure that the pH falls in the range of 7.2 and 7.6.


Unlike acidity, alkalinity is the measure of the alkaline substance in the water.

Moreover, alkalinity and pH are closely related and can influence one another as well.

It is imperative that both are measured at the same time to achieve an optimum result.

Raising and lowering alkalinity is simple and easy, but at the same time, it’s a time-consuming process, indeed!

To raise the alkalinity of your pool water, you need to add sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.

On the contrary, sodium bisulfate is added for lowering its level.

For the best result, alkalinity should fall in the range of 80 and 120 parts per million.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness is used to measure the hardness and the softness of the water.

A high level of calcium in your pool water can cause calcium build-ups and lead to a cloudy pool.

Scrubbing and vacuuming can help you to get rid of high calcium hardness.

At the same time, you also need to switch on the pump so that excess deposits can be easily filtered out.

In the worst case, you can even take the help of a flocculant to restore the calcium hardness level.

The calcium hardness level should fall in the range of 180 and 220 parts per million.

Clean Your Pool

Cleaning your pool is definitely an important step when you’re expediting the winterizing process of your above-ground pool.

Moreover, you can take the help of a net for removing debris from your pool.

For cleaning your pool surface and bottom, you can take the help of a pool brush.

Once you’re done with the brushing of your pool surface the next thing that you need to do is to vacuum it well so that the loose debris and algae spores present at the bottom of the pool are also well taken care of.

Shock Your Pool

Shocking your pool is an important step that you can’t ignore when you’re planning to prepare your pool for the winter.

Shocking a pool is a term used for super-chlorinating or oxidizing your pool.

Furthermore, shocking your pool is very helpful when it comes to killing off bacteria, algae, and whatever that the regular chlorine couldn’t do in a proper way.

Shocking the pool plays a crucial role when it comes to balancing the pool chemistry, controlling algae growth, etc.

So, it is highly imperative that you shock your pool before closing it for the winter.

By doing so, you would be able to save a good amount of work that you otherwise would’ve to perform after opening the pool for spring.

Depending upon your requirement, you can select either from a chlorinated shock or a non-chlorine shock.

At the same time, you must be aware of the fact that chlorine shock is harsher than the non-chlorine counterpart.

And, the chlorine shock is also better at controlling the algae growth as compared to the non-chlorine shock.

However, if you own a vinyl pool, then the preferred shock could be non-chlorine.

The reason why a non-chlorine shock is preferred for a vinyl pool is that neither it damages the pool liner nor leaves a residue.

So, once you’ve finalized the shock that you want to go with, the next thing that you need to do is to pre-dilute your shock in a five-gallon bucket of water.

After dilution, pour the solution around the edge of your pool.

For reaching out to the correct amount, you can take the help of the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’re planning for a chlorine shock then the best time to go for it is night or early morning, that is, in the absence of sunlight.

As we all know, UV rays present in the sunlight can eat away the chlorine very fast making it less effective.

And, you should shock your pool using a chlorine shock a few days before you’re planning to put the cover on.

On the contrary, if you’re using a non-chlorine shock then you can cover your pool just after 8 hours.

Use a Winter Chemical Kit

It is quite common that once you’ll tuck your pool with cover, free movement of pool water would decrease drastically.

And, solely, for this reason, it is really important that all the pool chemicals are well in balance and also, your pool is free from foreign matter.

To be honest, I know the pain of opening the pool in the spring and then finding it full of algae, bacteria, dust, and debris.

Trust me, it can’t be worst than this.

So, for effective testing of your pool chemicals, you either need a winter chemical kit or you can go ahead and buy these chemicals separately.

When it comes to buying a winterized chemical kit, you can purchase the kit with both chlorine and non-chlorine products.

Lots of my clients prefer non-chlorine products over their chlorine counterparts as the former is known to prevent the common bleaching and fading of the pool surface.

Almost, all the kits comprise of a winterized, shock, a stain-preventer, and a floater.

All you need to buy is a good algaecide.

So, after you’ve shocked your pool, the next thing that you need to do is to add a stain-preventer that you get with your winter chemical kit.

Once you’ve added stain-preventer to your pool water, you don’t have to worry at all about the deposition of minerals and metals on your pool surface.

Moving further, you can also add algaecide as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

By doing so, you’ll mitigate the chance of algae growth in your pool.

Drain and Plug Your Lines

In case, you’re a resident of a cold region then one of the biggest threats to your pool could be the expansion of ice in the winter season.

And, the side-effect of ice expansion could be damage to pool lines.

So, let’s have a quick look at the options that we’ve with us.

Frankly speaking, we don’t have tens of options rather we need to select from the two options that we would be discussing in a while.

  • First and foremost, you need to blow the water from out of the lines with the help of a wet/dry vac. Once done, you need to plug the lines with expansion plugs
  • The next option that you’ve is a swimming pool antifreeze in the lines, and I highly recommend you to follow the manufacturer’s instruction while expediting this step

Furthermore, for return lines, you need to seal them with a winter pool plug.

Filter and Pump, Cleaning and Storing

The thing that I really like about the above-ground pool is that most of them can be easily disintegrated and stored without any hassle.

From the aforementioned statement, what I mean is, most of the above-ground pool pumps and filters can be removed and cleaned for storage.

All you need to do is to disconnect all the hoses and unplug the wall outlets.

Once done, simply store the drain plugs in the pump basket.

Lastly, store the pump, filters, and hoses along with other pool accessories in a safe and clean place for future use.

Lower the Water Level

Yes, you heard it RIGHT!

You need to lower the water level but at the same time, refrain from draining an above-ground pool.

To tackle the expansion of pool water in an effective way, lowering the water level could be a great option.

Excessive expansion of water can be a threat to the skimmer and in the worst case, can lead to even cracking.

But, if you’re fully draining the pool water then in the winter season your pool might have to bear unnecessary strain on the cover, liner, and pool wall after the collection of snow and rainwater on the top.

Drain Plugs Removal

Once you’ve expedited the aforementioned steps, the next thing that you need to do is to remove drain plugs.

Sand filters are hard to move indoors because of the weight of the sand.

So, what you need to do is to remove the drain plugs and let it drain completely.

And, as a result, a filter tank can be prevented from cracking due to the freezing water that builds up inside it.

Air Pillows Installation

Air pillow installation would definitely help you in achieving an optimum result.

The benefit of using an air pillow is that it keeps the pressure off the sides of the pool in case of a freeze by preventing the ice from expanding the sides and causing damage.

To start with, place the air pillows in the center of the pool in such a way that they are inflated and the pool is thoroughly covered.

To keep them in place, it is highly recommended that you tie some pillows to the sides in order to keep them in place.

However, even though you aren’t able to prevent them from moving here and there still it will serve the purpose.

In order to prevent air pillows from popping early in the season, you need to refrain from overinflating them.

I’m attaching a self-explanatory video for your perusal.

Winter Cover Installation

So, here we come to the last step wherein you need to install the winter cover for your pool.

But, before that, you need to know what a winter cover actually means and why is it so important for your pool.

The benefit of using a water cover for your pool is that it will protect the pool water when it is NOT in use.

However, as a newbie, you might find it difficult to expedite the cover installation process on your own so I highly recommend you should take the help of a professional.

Lay the cover out over the pool, making sure there is overlap on all sides.

Well, get it as even as possible all the way around.

Moving further, you’ll need to thread the cable through all the grommets in the cover.

In case, you’re not well versed with attaching the cable to the winch, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Moreover, if your pool is in an area that experiences extra wind or storms, then you’ll also need to use water bags or cover clips to hold the cover down.

Always use a good pool cover pump for removing excess water.

It’s A Wrap

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for reading the post, on how to winterize your above-ground pool thoroughly.

Secondly, it would be great if you could rate us on a scale of 1 to 5 with the latter being the best.

Trust me, by following all the aforementioned steps, you would be able to winterize your above-ground pool in an efficient way without any hassle.

I’ve been following these aforementioned steps for winterizing my above-ground pool for quite a few years now, and I’ve never faced any serious problems once I open the pool the next spring for swimming.

Last but not least, share this piece of information with the ones who are in need of it.

So, did you get a satisfactory answer to the question, of how to winterize your above-ground pool?

Well, if you still have a doubt or query related to how to winterize your above-ground pool then please reach out to us via the contact form, and our core team would be more than happy to assist you.

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