Winter Freeze - A How To When Responding to Freezing Weather Conditions

Pool Protection Winter Freeze
Winter brings snow days, sled riding and snow angels. Unfortunately, it also brings a pool owner's worst nightmare: freezing temperatures! Freezing conditions can cause damage to pool equipment and plumbing. Freezing water expands and can burst the pipes, causing thousands of dollars in damage to the plumbing and decking. The most important thing to prevent damage to your pool is to keep your pump running.

Important: These instructions are for pool owners who live in areas of the country where freezing conditions only occur occasionally during winter months. For pool owners in those areas that experience frequent and continuous freezing conditions, it is recommended that you close your pool for the winter. Talk with one of our Leslie’s team members about how to close your pool or call 1-800-LESLIES. Also, be sure to check out our Pool Winter Closing page for the best products to protect your pool.

Protect Your Pool

Water Chemistry

  • Maintain proper water levels (to the middle of the skimmer). If necessary, add water with a garden hose to maintain water level.
  • Balance your water and maintain the following levels:
    pH 7.2-7.6
    Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm
    Calcium Hardness 200-400 ppm
    Chlorine 2.0-4.0 ppm
  • If you have a salt pool, maintain the appropriate salt level as recommended in the owner’s manual.
  • If your pool has an automatic pool cleaner, remove it from the water, drain the water from the cleaner, and store it.

Circulation and Filtration

  • Prior to the freezing temperatures, clean or backwash your filter to ensure proper water flow during the cold weather.
  • During freezing conditions, run your pool pump and filter continuously. Moving water freezes more slowly.
  • If you have a variable speed pump, do not run it at the lowest speed. Adjust the speed up to ensure proper water flow.
  • Listen to your pump motor. If it makes a loud noise during operation, there may be trouble with bearings. As soon as the temperatures get above freezing, have the motor serviced by a professional.
  • Insulate plumbing lines with blankets or towels to prevent freezing. Even pool noodles can serve as good insulation around pipes.
  • Open all lines to ensure proper water flow. If a valve is shut off, no water will be flowing through that pipe and there is the danger of freezing damage.
  • Connect your pump to a Freeze Defender, which senses freezing temperatures and turns the pool pump on automatically.
  • Warning: Do not use any type of electric heaters, electric blankets, portable gas heaters, or heat lamps on or near your pool pump and filter as they can damage equipment or cause a fire.

Power Loss or Damage

Circulation and Filtration

  • Turn the breaker to your pool equipment off. This will ensure the pool pump doesn’t attempt to run without water flow.
  • Remove the drain plugs from your pump, filter, and heater (if applicable). Once the water has drained from the plumbing lines, insert winterizing plugs into the return lines and skimmer lines.
  • Remove the strainer lid from the pump.
  • Open the air relief valve on your pool’s filter.
  • For those pools that have a multi-port valve, depress the handle and turn it in between two settings on the valve.
  • Insulate plumbing lines with blankets or towels to prevent freezing. Even pool noodles can serve as good insulation around pipes.
  • Add swimming pool anti-freeze directly into your pool lines. Add one gallon of anti-freeze for every 10 feet of plumbing.
  • Warning: Never use automotive anti-freeze in a pool. Automotive anti-freeze is toxic for swimmers and can cause serious damage to pool equipment, plumbing lines, and pool surfaces.

IMPORTANT: If any of your pool’s major equipment, such as the pump, filter, or plumbing, is damaged by freezing weather, call 1.800.LESLIES to schedule an appointment with one of Leslie’s trained, professional Service Technicians. We repair and install all types of major pool equipment and can get your pool up and running quickly. For more information, check out our Installation and Repair Service details HERE.