The Complete Guide to Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

July 19, 2023


In this article, we will discuss winterizing your above ground pool, or maybe in another term how to winterize your above ground pool?

If you’re like me, you love your above ground pool. But when winter comes around, we need to take steps to protect our investments. That’s where winterizing comes in. This guide will arm you with everything you need to know to keep your pool in top shape through the chilliest months.

Understanding the Need to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

So, why should we bother winterizing? Well, I learned the hard way that if you don’t winterize your pool, you could be looking at some serious damage come spring. Not to mention, winterizing saves us money in the long run and extends the lifespan of our pools.

I’ve detailed the pros and cons of owning an above ground pool in this article, and it’s clear that proper care, including winterization, can help tilt the balance towards more pros than cons.

In general above ground pools are simply easier to maintain. Well, sort off, but to winterize is not as difficult as in ground pools. Ok we are biased…but here we go!

The Best Time to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool

Knowing when to winterize is crucial. Start too early, and you risk algae growth. Start too late, and freezing temperatures might get to your pool first. For us, in most climates, we should aim to winterize when daytime temperatures consistently fall below 60 degrees.

Comprehensive List of Supplies Needed for Winterization

Just like when you prepare your pool for summer, there’s a checklist of things you need for winterizing. You’ll need cleaning supplies, water testing kits, winterizing chemicals, a pool cover, and a few other bits and bobs. I’ve talked about some of these in my article about pool maintenance, which might be a good place to start.

So here is a detailed list of the supplies you might need to winterize your above ground pool:

  1. Pool Cover: To protect the pool from debris, snow, and ice. Look for a cover specifically designed for winter use and for above-ground pools.
  2. Winterizing Chemicals: These often come in kits and may include a winterizing algaecide and shock, scale and stain preventer, water tubes (for in-ground pools) and a winter sorb (to soak up oil and lotion).
  3. Air Pillow: This goes under the cover in the middle of the pool to help alleviate pressure from water, ice, or snow potentially damaging the walls of the pool.
  4. Pool Antifreeze: This is not the same as car antifreeze, never use car antifreeze in your pool. Pool antifreeze is non-toxic and is used in your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing and cracking.
  5. Winterizing Plug: To plug returns and drains after lowering the water level and adding antifreeze.
  6. Pool Cover Pump: This is to remove accumulated water from the top of the pool cover.
  7. Skimmer Winterizing Plate: This is to protect the skimmer from freezing.
  8. Winterizing Ball Valve: This is to control the flow of water in your plumbing when winterizing and isolating your equipment from the rest of your plumbing.
  9. Gizzmo: This is to protect the skimmer from ice expansion.
  10. Pool Brush and Vacuum: To clean the pool thoroughly before closing.

Remember that the exact supplies you need can vary based on your specific pool and location. Always consult with a pool professional if you’re unsure about what supplies are necessary for your pool.

And if you need a great pool cover then look no further than PoolSplash, click here for their premium covers and so much more.

Step-by-Step Guide to Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

Alright, here’s the meat and potatoes of winterizing. Let me walk you through it step by step. Remember when we discussed how far you should drain your pool for winter? Well, that’s just one of the steps.

  1. Clean the Pool: You know the drill. Scrub those walls, vacuum the bottom, and make sure it’s pristine.
  2. Balance the Water: Test your water and adjust your pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. You want everything to be in the optimal range.
  3. Add Winterizing Chemicals: These chemicals help keep the water clear and prevent algae growth during the off-season.
  4. Lower the Water Level: This prevents damage from freezing water. But remember, you don’t need to empty the pool completely!
  5. Winterize the Pool Equipment: Your pump, filter, and heater all need to be drained and protected.
  6. Cover the Pool: Secure your winter cover to protect it from debris and snow.

By following these steps, you’re ensuring the longevity and health of your above ground pool through the winter months. From giving your pool a good scrub, balancing your water chemistry, adding those all-important winterizing chemicals, to lowering the water level and winterizing your pool equipment, every step is crucial in this process. The final touch of securing the winter cover adds an extra layer of protection against those harsh winter elements.

Remember, each of these steps plays a pivotal role in making sure that when summer rolls around again, your pool is ready to provide endless fun without any major hitches or costly repairs. Now that everything is taken care of, you can enjoy the winter months with peace of mind, knowing your pool is tucked in and ready for the colder weather. So, sit back, relax and dream of those warmer days knowing your pool will be ready and waiting for you when the seasons change. Happy Winterizing!

PS: Of course if you need any of the equipment and accessories to winterize your above ground pool then head over to Amazon with great deals at the time of writing!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

Even seasoned pool owners can slip up when winterizing. I know I’ve made a few blunders in my time. Let’s go through some common mistakes to avoid, like forgetting to balance the water or neglecting to properly secure the pool cover.

Let’s dive into some common mistakes to avoid when winterizing your above ground pool. Believe me if I knew this the first time I winterized my pool it would have been so much easier!

  1. Neglecting Water Balance: It’s easy to assume that because you’re not swimming in it, your pool’s water doesn’t need to be balanced during winter. However, unbalanced water can lead to corrosion and scaling. Before you close up your pool for the winter, ensure that your pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels are all within the optimal range.
  2. Forgetting to Clean Thoroughly: Some may think that they can skimp on cleaning because the pool is about to be shut down. However, algae and bacteria can continue to grow even during the off-season. A thorough cleaning before winterizing can save you a lot of trouble when it’s time to open the pool again.
  3. Improper Use of Winterizing Chemicals: Not all pool chemicals are created equal. Using regular pool chemicals instead of those specifically designed for winterizing can lead to an algae nightmare come spring. Winterizing chemicals are formulated to withstand colder temperatures and last throughout the off-season.
  4. Not Lowering the Water Level Correctly: Lowering the water level too much or too little can cause significant problems. If the water level is too low, it can lead to damage from air getting into the skimmer and other parts. Conversely, if the water level is too high, freezing water can cause the skimmer to crack.
  5. Ignoring Pool Equipment: Your pool pump, heater, and filter all need to be drained and protected from the elements to prevent them from freezing and cracking during the winter months.
  6. Not Securing the Pool Cover Properly: A loose or improperly fitted pool cover can lead to debris getting into the pool, water contamination, and damage from the elements. It’s important to make sure the cover is secure and properly fitted to your pool.
  7. Not Planning Ahead: Weather can be unpredictable, and waiting until the last minute to winterize can lead to a rushed job or, worse, damage to your pool if an unexpected freeze happens. It’s best to plan and schedule your pool closing well in advance of the first frost.

Avoiding these common mistakes can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches when it comes time to open your pool again in the spring.

Tips for Dealing with Above Ground Pool During Winter

Don’t just forget about your pool in winter! Keep an eye on the cover, make sure it’s secure and free from debris or excessive snow.

While winterizing your pool is the first big step towards protecting your investment, it’s crucial to remember that maintaining your above ground pool during the winter months is equally important. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Check the Pool Cover Regularly: Throughout winter, check the pool cover to ensure it remains secure. Wind, snow, and even wildlife can knock it loose, allowing debris and other contaminants to enter your pool. Keep it clean, and if you notice any rips or damage, take care of them as soon as possible.
  2. Remove Excess Snow and Debris: Heavy snow or ice can cause your pool cover to sag or even tear, so it’s important to remove it after every significant snowfall. Use a soft broom or a roof rake to carefully brush the snow off without damaging the cover. Likewise, keep your cover clear of leaves and other debris.
  3. Keep an Eye on Water Levels: If your pool is losing water at a rapid pace, this could indicate a leak. It’s important to monitor the water levels throughout winter and add water as needed.
  4. Monitor the Weather: Extreme cold can lead to frozen pipes or damage to your pool equipment. If a particularly harsh cold spell is expected, it might be worth taking additional steps, like using a pool heater or heat pump to keep the water temperature above freezing.
  5. Inspect Pool Equipment: Regularly inspect your pool equipment for any signs of damage caused by the winter weather. This includes your pool filter, pump, and any heaters you have installed.
  6. Don’t Let the Pool Go Green: Even during winter, algae can grow if the chemical balance isn’t right. If you notice a green tinge to the water or on the sides of the pool, it might be time for some extra algaecide.

Remember, while your pool might be out of sight during the winter months, it shouldn’t be out of mind. By taking these steps and regularly monitoring your pool, you can help ensure it’s in great shape when you’re ready to open it again come spring.

Here are some more tips on managing your pool through winter.

Unveiling the Pool After Winter: What to Expect and What to Do

Opening your above ground pool for the new swim season after a long winter can be an exciting time! However, it’s important to be aware of what to expect and what steps you’ll need to take to ensure your pool is ready for the summer months. Let’s go through it step by step:

  1. Remove and Clean the Pool Cover: Start by carefully removing the pool cover. Clean it thoroughly to get rid of any debris or algae that may have accumulated during winter. Allow it to dry completely before storing it to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  2. Inspect the Pool: Take a close look at your pool’s structure. Check for any damage that may have occurred during the winter, such as cracks or tears. This is also a good time to ensure that all the fittings and seals are still intact.
  3. Check Water Levels: If your water levels have significantly dropped over the winter, it may indicate a leak in your pool. Be sure to investigate and repair any leaks before you proceed with the rest of the opening process.
  4. Restart Pool Equipment: Refill your pool to its normal level, then restart your pool’s pump and filtration system – if you have one, if not clean the pool to the best of your ability. Inspect your equipment for any signs of damage and make sure everything is working as it should. PS: I did not own a pool pump for my above ground pool for the first year. Believe me it is WORTH EVERY PENNY of your investment check out my review here of the system I have.
  5. Test and Balance Your Pool Water: Use a testing kit to check the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels. Adjust as necessary to reach the ideal balance. You may also need to shock your pool to kill any lingering bacteria or algae.
  6. Clean the Pool: Give your pool a thorough cleaning. Brush the sides, vacuum the bottom, and skim off any debris from the surface.
  7. Let the Pump Run: Run the pump and filtration system continuously for at least 24 hours. This will help circulate the chemicals and filter out any remaining contaminants. Revisit number 4 if you do not have a above ground pool pump
  8. Warm Up the Water: If your water is still too cold for swimming, consider using a pool heater to raise the temperature to a comfortable level.

Remember, opening your pool is a process that requires patience and a little bit of elbow grease. However, with careful preparation and a well-executed plan, you’ll have your pool summer-ready in no time. So, here’s to a great swimming season!


Winterizing isn’t just a chore, it’s an investment in your pool’s longevity. With proper care, your above ground pool can be a source of joy for many years to come. So here’s to a successful winterizing season!

Why is it essential to winterize your above ground pool?

Answer: Hello there, fellow pool owner! As someone who also loves their above ground pool, I understand the importance of taking steps to protect our investments when winter comes around. That’s where winterizing comes in. Winterizing your pool can help prevent severe damage from the freeze-thaw cycle, which can cause the pool walls to warp, crack, or even break. Not only does winterizing protect the pool, but it also helps keep the water clean during the off-season, reducing the amount of work and chemicals needed to reopen the pool in the spring. So, winterizing not only saves our pool from potential damage but also saves us time, effort, and money. This guide is meant to arm you with everything you need to know to keep your pool in top shape through the chilliest months.

About Us

We're Wynand and Len and we're both passionate about our small above ground pools. This website is as much for us learning new things and sharing our findings and experiments.

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