As much as we love our early morning swims and our after work pool parties, there comes a time every year where it’s just too dang cold to go for a dip.

If you want your pool to be ready come summer, you’ll need to winterize it during the colder months. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with repair bills and lots of cleaning to do.

So just how do you winterize your pool?

  1. Clean the Pool

You should be doing this pretty regularly anyway but you’ll need to give the pool a full clean before you close it up for winter.

Your winter clean should aim to remove any debris, algae, and gunk from the pool, the walls, and the filter.

pool fountain

You will need:

  • Net and pole.
  • Pool brush.
  • Waterline cleaning gel.
  • Shock treatment.
  • Pool flocculants.
  • Pool vacuum.

The first thing you need to do is get rid of any debris in the water. Use your net and pole to scoop all the bits and pieces out. You might find that there’s more debris than normal as the leaves begin to fall.

Once the debris is out you’ll need to brush the walls and floor of the pool. Use a quality brush with flexible bristles to get into all the grooves.

If, when brushing, you notice algae spores, you are going to have to shock and flocc treat the pool. If you leave it till spring you’ll find a green lake beneath the cover.

The next step is to clean the waterline. It might not be super dirty right now, but again, if you leave it till spring you’ll find it a lot harder to clean. Use a waterline cleaning gel or paste to remove all the discoloration and dirt.

The next step is to thoroughly vacuum your pool. The vacuum gets rid of all the smaller particles and contaminants in the water.

Finally, backwash and rinse out your filter. This should be fairly routine as you should be backwashing the filter every week or so.

  1. Chemical Balancing

You may not be using the pool over winter but you still need to get the chemical balance right. If the pool water is imbalanced then algae and bacteria will form and spread.

The first thing you need to do is get a sample to your local pool store. They will be able to test the water for pH levels, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

You should get a sample from about 18 inches below the water level. This is a more accurate representation of the pool water. To do this, take a closed water bottle below the water and open it at the right depth.

Once you get your results you can use your normal chemicals to adjust the levels to the following ranges:

  • pH – 7.2 – 7.6
  • Total alkalinity – 80 – 140ppm
  • Calcium hardness – 180-220ppm

Once you’ve got the water into the ideal ranges, you’ll need to give it a big chlorine shock treatment. You’ll want to raise the chlorine levels to 10ppm with the shock granules.

You need to let the chlorine level drop to 3ppm before adding your winterizer. You can get winterizing kits from most pool retailers. There will be different directions given by each manufacturer.

Generally, a winterizer kit has a liquid you add to the water and a flotation kit that gets left in the pool.

Follow the directions on your kit and then turn off the filtration system.

  1. Draining the Equipment

You’ll want to make sure that all the water is out of the pipes, filter, and skimmer before winter hits. If the water freezes it could cause damage. This is because water expands when it freezes.

house pool

Remove all the durian plugs from the filter, pump, heater, and chlorinator. Make sure to store these safely together. You don’t want to be hunting for plugs come spring!

  1. Reducing the Water Level

You’ll need to do this according to the pool manufacturer’s guidelines, so dig out the manual.

Reducing the water level stops water from entering the filtration and skimmer system. It also allows some space for winter rain.

Generally, you lower the water level to about 6 inches below the skimmer level.  Once lowered, use a blower to remove any lingering water and then plug the lines.

  1. Remove Fittings

You need to remove any fittings like ladders, diving boards, handrails, skimmer baskets, and flotation dispensers.

Give all the hardware a good clean and put it somewhere safe, clean, and dry. Solar covers in particular need to be cleaned properly. You should also make sure they are stored somewhere safe from rodent teeth! 

It’s really important to remove floating dispensers as there isn’t enough movement in the pool during the winter. If they stay in, they will just float in one place and bleach whatever is nearby.

  1. Pool Covers

After all the hard work you’ve done to prep your pool for winter, you’ll want to protect it from the elements!

A good quality pool cover is essential for keeping your pool clean, healthy, and safe during winter.

Pool cover

Before installing your cover, check it for wear and tear. The last thing you need is to be fighting with a pool cover on a stormy January evening. Make sure yours will last through the winter!

When installing your cover, follow the manufacturer’s instructins carefully. It needs to be secured well to survive storms and snowfall.

If you need to get a new cover, check out this guide from All About Pools.

Final Thoughts

Nobody said owning a pool was easy! There’s a lot of prop and maintenance that needs to happen for you to enjoy your little slice of paradise.

The more you can do in winter, the easier it will be, come spring, to open the pool up again.

I don’t know about you, but anything that gets me into the pool quicker is alright by me!