How to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool

The days have started growing colder. The kids are getting ready to go back to school. The leaves have turned to brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds – with a few of them dotting your yard. These are the signs of the seasons changing. It’s also a sign that it is time to begin winterizing your swimming pool.

Knowing how to winterize your above ground pool will provide you with three specific advantages.

  • You will be able to protect all of your equipment from receiving ice damage.
  • The water of your swimming pool will be kept clean and sanitary.
  • You will be able to save time and money when the warmer months come back again.

It might seem like a complicated process when you are winterizing a pool for the first time, but if you take the steps in this guide, you’ll be able to take care of it all without much difficulty. Here’s what you are going to do.

  1. Prepare your water. About 1 week before you plan to close up your above ground pool for the winter, add in a water chemistry solution that will help to keep the water from building up organics. There are many kits available for this process and your home pool chemistry solutions will also work. For the winterization process, however, we like to use a product from Natural Chemistry called Pool Perfect Plus.

You can find it here on Amazon.

  1. Give the swimming pool a good cleaning. Your swimming pool will need to have a thorough cleaning to have all organics and debris removed. Double-check to make sure you’ve taken out any dirt or leaves that may have fallen into the water since they will wreak havoc on the quality of your water and could reduce the integrity of your pool’s exterior. Give the interior of your pool a good brushing and then use one of the best vacuums for above ground pools for best results.
  2. Some may need to prevent metal stains. Depending on what type of above ground swimming pool you have, there may be a need to prevent staining on your metal components over the winter months. Your anti-scale chemicals from your home care kit will take care of part of this issue. You’ll also need to have a product that will reduce the impact the water has on the metal itself.

Natural Chemistry also makes a product for this called Metal Free. It’s definitely worth a look, but only needed if your water contains trace metals which need to be deactivated over the winter months.

You can find it here on Amazon.

  1. Get your pH balanced for the winter. When you are winterizing your above ground swimming pool, the pH of the water should be between 7.4-7.6 for best results. Use your home chemistry kit to either raise or lower the pH if necessary so you can get the results that are needed. Remember to mix any pH chemicals in a large bucket of water that came from the pool before introducing it to prevent unintended damage to the vinyl liner.
  2. Adjust your total alkalinity levels for the winter. This is where many above ground pool owners make a mistake without realizing it. For in-ground pools, the total alkalinity should be in the 80-110 range for the winter. In an above ground pool with a vinyl liner, however, the total alkalinity should be between 120-140 for best results. Use your home chemistry kit to raise or lower alkalinity levels to reach the recommended levels.
  3. Do you have a calcium problem with your water? There are some homes that deal with inappropriate calcium levels in their water. Your ideal range for an above ground pool is between 200-400ppm. Without calcium, your water will become too corrosive over the winter. With too much calcium, you’ll have stains, a ring around the pool, and water quality issues in the spring. This may mean increasing calcium hardness or reducing it based on what your home testing kit shows for results.

If you need a calcium hardness increaser, we recommend this product: Natural Chemistry Metal Free.

If you need a calcium hardness reducer, then we recommend this product: Robelle Mineral Out Stain Remover.

  1. Humid climates may also need to consider algae control. If you receive a lot of precipitation over the winter from lake effect snows or monsoon rains, then algae control must also be part of the winterization process. A simple concentrated algaecide will take care of this problem, but you’ll want to use one that doesn’t create foaming action within the pool.

We recommend this 60% concentrated algaecide for your winterization needs.

  1. Shock your pool. Use your standard pool shock at this point. Chlorine levels should be at 1.5-3.0 ppm.
  2. Let your pumps run for a full cycle. Once you’ve added all of the chemicals to the water, you’ll need to let your pump run for a minimum of one full cycle. Depending on the size of your pool, two or three cycles may be better. This means you can step away from your above ground swimming pool for 4-24 hours, depending on the length of your cycle and the number of cycles you use.
  3. Take your final steps. Once the cycles have been run, you’ll need to insert a winterizing plug into your inlet fitting. Then lower the water of your pool to about 6 inches below the skimmer. Remove the drain plugs from your strainer basket housing, the filter tank, and pump volute. Disconnect filter hoses and then place in a warm location in your home. Remove any accessories, including steps. Inflate air pillows (2 or 3 of them) and tie them together to a stationary object in the pool. Then place a winterizing pool cover over the top of the pool – you’re done.

It’s usually a good idea to test the quality of your water every 14 days, even during the winter months, to make sure its integrity is being maintained. If not, make the necessary balance adjustments and recover.

That’s all it takes to winterize an above ground pool. Use these steps as a guide to help protect your investment when summer comes to an end.

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