Blog Header Image

Winterizing an Above-Ground Pool for Freezing Conditions

above ground pool winter cover

How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

As the summer winds down, it is time to start getting your pool ready for the cold winter months. Properly winterizing your pool will protect your equipment from ice damage, keep your water clean, and will help save you time and money when opening your pool in the spring. Winterizing your pool may seem complicated, but with a little preparation, it can be a very simple and pain-free process. Leslie's has compiled a set of step-by-step instructions to help you safely and effectively winterize your pool.

If you live in a climate that will see long periods of freezing temperatures, and you own an above-ground pool, these easy-to-follow instructions will help you close your pool at the end of the season.

1. Maintain phosphate level
One week prior to closing your pool, add 14 fluid ounces of  Pool Magic + PHOSfree directly into the skimmer for every 10,000 gallons of water.

2. Brush the pool surfaces
Brush and vacuum the pool thoroughly to remove all dirt, leaves, and debris.

3. Prevent stains and scaling
To prevent metal stains, add  MetalFree  and  Leslie's Stain and Scale Remove. For every 20,000 gallons, add one liter of MetalFree and one quart (32 ounces) of Leslies Stain and Scale 2 by pouring it around the perimeter of your pool.

4. Balance the pH level
Adjust the pH to the proper level. For all pools, the pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6.  Leslie's Soda Ash  quickly raises a pool's pH. Just 6 ounces raises the pH level of 10,000 gallons by 0.2. For plaster pools, broadcast it around perimeter of your pool. For vinyl-lined pools, mix it with water in a large bucket before adding it to your pool.

5. Adjust the Total Alkalinity level
Adjust the Total Alkalinity to the proper level. Total Alkalinity should be in the 80 - 120 ppm range for plaster pools and the 120-140 range for vinyl-lined pools. To easily adjust Total Alkalinity, use  Leslie's Alkalinity Up  by broadcasting around the perimeter of the pool. Just one pound of Leslie's Alkalinity Up will increase the Total Alkalinity of 10,000 gallons of water by 10 ppm.

6. Adjust the Calcium Hardness
To help protect your pool, adjust the Calcium Hardness to 200-400 ppm using  Leslie's Hardness Plus. Adding 1 1/4 pounds of Leslie's Hardness Plus for every 10,000 gallons of water will increase the Calcium Hardness by 10 ppm

7. Prevent algae growth
Add one quart (32 ounces) of  Leslie's Algae Control  per 25,000 gallons by mixing it with water in a large bucket and pouring it around the perimeter of your pool. Wait one hour before following the next step.

8. Shock the pool
Shock the pool with  Leslie's Fresh 'N Clear  at the rate of two pounds per 10,000 gallons by broadcasting the product around the perimeter of your pool.

9. Raise chlorine level
Bring the chlorine to an appropriate level - between 1.5-3.0 ppm.

10. Run the pool pump
Let the pump run for at least one complete cycle after adding chemicals. This is usually 4-8 hours. Backwash or manually clean the filter.

11. Remove inlet fittings
Remove the inlet (directional or eyeball) fitting, which is located on the inside pool wall, usually 6" to 12" below the water line. Insert a winterizing plug into the inlet.

12. Lower the pool water level
Lower the water level to between 4" to 6" below the skimmer.

13. Remove drain plugs
Remove the drain plugs from the pump strainer basket housing, the pump volute, the filter tank, and the heater. Keep the drain plugs handy, they will be used in Step 17.

14. Disconnect filter hoses
Disconnect the filter hoses from the skimmer fitting and the pool return fitting.

15. Drain Automatic Chlorine Feeder
Drain the automatic chlorinator , if you use one.

16. Store removable pool equipment
Move all the equipment you removed to a safe and non-freezing location, such as your basement.

17. Use strainer basket as storage for drain plugs
Place all the drain plugs in the strainer basket of the pump and replace the strainer cover.

18. Remove non-permanent fixtures
Remove all non-permanent articles such as ladders, hoses, over-the-top skimmers, etc. If you have an automatic pool cleaner, remove it and drain it completely. Lay the hoses out straight in a non-freezing location.

19. Inflate Air Pillow
Inflate and tie  Air Pillows  to a stationary object. An average-sized pool, 18' x 18', typically requires 2-3 air pillows. If you are using multiple pillows, tie them together using the grommets located on the pillow's corners.

20. Apply pool winter cover
Cover the pool using a  Pool Safety Cover  or  Winter Cover  and  Leaf Net. This may require the use of a cable and winch.

21. Attach water bags
If necessary, use  Above-Ground Wall Bags  to secure the cover.

22. Periodically check chemical balance
During the winter season, check the chemical balance every two weeks using a test kit and inspect the pool water by pulling back the cover slightly. If staining or scaling is beginning to develop, bring a sample of your water into your  nearest Leslie's location.

For more winter pool closing tips, be sure to check out:
A How-To When Responding to Freezing Weather Conditions