12 steps to winterize your pool like a pro

July 29, 2015

To ensure many happy summers by the pool, it's essential to protect it from freeze damage, unnecessary wear and water contamination during the off-season. Here are twelve things you should do to help winterize your pool properly.

12 steps to winterize your pool like a pro

[Image Credit: iStock.com/wanderluster]

1. Lower the water level

Drain the water to the proper level for your pool, typically eight to 15 centimetres (three to six inches) below tile level for solid covers and 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) for mesh covers.

  • For pools with a tile deck in freezing climates, it's especially important to keep the water from infiltrating the tile bed, where it can freeze, popping or cracking the tiles.

2. Backwash the filters

Backwash to clean or replace the filter according to the maker's directions.

  • Drain DE (diatomaceous earth) filter tanks and leave the backwash valve open.
  • Unplug the drain on sand filters.

3. Disconnect the pump

Disconnect the pump and turn it upside down to make sure it is drained of all water.

4. Disassemble and remove key pieces

Remove and store baskets, fittings, plugs, automatic cleaners, gauges, hoses and filters.

  • Store small parts in the pump basket so you can find them easily come spring.

5. Create a vacuum in the system

Use an air compressor or powerful shop vacuum to blow water from below-ground plumbing.

  • Plug lines with rubber expansion plugs or Gizzmo plugs to create a vacuum, thereby preventing the re-entry of water. Don't use antifreeze, which can be a mess to clean up in the spring.

6. Remove water from the system

Use your air compressor or shop vacuum to blow water from the plumbing of above-ground equipment, such as heaters, filters, auto vacs and slides.

7. Scrub the pool thoroughly

Thoroughly clean your pool with a vacuum, skimmer and brush.

  • The pool should be clear and free of algae, or else it will start growing again.

8. Prepare and add winterizing chemicals

Mix winterizing chemicals and water in a large container, such as a drywall bucket, prior to adding them to the pool.

  • If improperly mixed, some granules are likely to fall to the pool floor and cause staining.

9. Adjust the pH

Use a test kit to determine any necessary adjustments you should make to the water's pH level.

  • The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6.

Adjust alkalinity and chlorine levels as well.

  • They should be 100 to 150 parts per million for alkalinity and 3.0 for chlorine. (These levels are for winter only.)

10. Secure the pool cover tightly

Secure your cover carefully to prevent animals or debris from getting in.

  • Remove accessories, such as ladders and handrails, if they're in the way of the cover.

11. Keep algae at bay

Prevent stains by adding chlorine or algaecide every month during the off-season, or as needed to keep water fresh and free of algae.

12. Clean the pool cover

During the winter season, you can increase the life of your pool cover by regularly clearing it of debris.

  • Pump puddles off of solid covers. It's also a good idea to check water levels regularly and add or remove water as necessary, so the cover doesn't sag or bulge.
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