How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool in 2 Hours

We love our DIY above ground pool all summer long but how do you prep a pool for freezing weather? Read the 10 steps of how to winterize an above ground pool without draining the water, so it’s ready to enjoy again next summer.

See how we installed our 24-foot above-ground pool ourselves, and read here for more tips and a checklist for winterizing your home.

The latest on Youtube:

How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool FAQs

Here in central Utah, our large above ground pool in the backyard is our favorite place to be from about May until September. Totally worth our investment and DIY work!

When the weather heads toward freezing, though, it’s time to winterize the pool. We prep our pool for winter in just a few steps — and *without* draining the water. Watch the video above and read more tips below to see how to easily winterize an above ground pool.

Below are also a few of the main questions that people have about winterizing their pool.

When to winterize your above ground pool?

Before the night temperatures drop below freezing is the best time to winterize your pool. I end up winterizing mine around mid October before all the leaves start to fall. Having leaves in the pool is not good for the pH of the water so if you can cover the pool before they start falling it will save you a lot of time and headache.

It’s best to winterize it in warmer conditions, because then the water is not so cold to the touch while cleaning it.

Do I need to take all water out of above ground pool for winter?

No! You can leave water in the pool to help protect the liner and pool and not have to waste water each year by having to refill it in the spring. I have been leaving the water in all year for the past two years without having to drain the pool entirely.

I would however double check with your pool manufacturer to see if it’s ok to leave in water year round. It could depend on the pool and on your local climate.

How far down do you drain your pool for winter?

If you are in an area that freezes, lower the water 4″ to 6″ below the skimmer and inlet hole. This will keep water from freezing around your fittings and reduce the risk of ice damage to the skimmer and inlet fittings.

Clean Pool

How long does it take to winterize an above ground pool?

For our 24-foot pool (15,000 gallons) with a vinyl liner, it took me about 2 hours to do all the winterization steps myself.

How much does it cost to winterize a pool?

The cost to winterize the pool is just your time and a few supplies. Below are the chemicals that I used to winterize my pool.

Total winterizing cost: ~$50

Winterizing Pool Chemicals

10 Steps to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your pool specifications.

Cleaning The Pool Debris

1. Clean out all the debris with the skimmer.

I used the same long telescoping pool pole and a leaf rake attachment skimmer that we use all summer long to skim the pool and clean out any leaves, large debris, toys, etc.

After skimming the large debris I setup the pool vacuum for a while to clean up the rest of the little debris.

It’s als0 a good idea to remove all noticeable algae with a pool brush to clean it off all surfaces before adding the algaecide.

2. Remove the ladder(s), pool accessories and toys.

Both the ladder that came with the pool and the extra ladder we bought are easy to remove. I disconnected mine completely from the pool and deck and stored it under the deck for the winter.

I also disconnected the pool light that was installed at the edge of the pool. Last year I left it in and the ice damaged the screws that hold the light in place. It’s just best to remove all the pool accessories that you don’t need during the winter months.

Winterizing Pool Chemicals

3. Treat the water with pool chemicals for the right water chemistry.

I use both swimming pool shock (chlorine granules) and an additional algaecide as listed above to raise the chlorine levels (increase the pH level of the water) and make sure that no bacteria or algae will grow while the pool is covered during the winter and spring. You could also go to any pool supply store and pickup a winterizing chemical kit and a test kit for the best chemicals for your area.

These winterizing chemicals are just an extra dose of our regular pool cleaners, basically, to keep the pH and alkalinity up while it’s not in use.

  • The pool water pH needs to be between 7.4 and 7.8.
  • Alkalinity needs to be between 100 parts per million (ppm) and 150 ppm, with right in the middle of 125 ppm being the ideal number.
  • The chlorine levels need to be between 1 and 3 ppm.
  • Calcium hardness between 200 ppm and 350 ppm.

For testing the water I like to use AquaChek Pool and Spa test strips. This will test the calcium hardness of the water, chlorine, alkalinity and pH.

You can also add a mineral magnet if you’d like for more water clarity.

Solar Panel Over Pool

4. Put on the solar pool cover.

I like to place the solar pool cover on the pool before the heavy duty winter pool cover. Personal preference, and it makes for easy storage!

Winterized Sand Filter

5. Turn off and backwash/rinse the filter.

Switch the sand and water filter multiport valve to “backwash” until all the water is running clear through the filter. Then I turn it to “rinse” for a few seconds, and then “close”.

Skimmer Cap

6. Cap the outlet and remove inlet .

For winterizing the skimmer I added a rectangular skimmer plug. It is easy to install. I also removed the adjustable outlet jet.

7. Disconnect and drain hoses.

Loosen the hose clamps and disconnect all the hoses from the pump and sand filter.

All this draining water is part of why we decided to landscape around the pool instead of only a paver hardscape!

I choose to leave the outlet drain pipe (as shown at 2:45 in the video) so that any extra water from rain or snow melt can drain off, to maintain the water level.

8. Disconnect and remove the pump.

Unplug the pump from the power source and disconnect it from the filter. Clean out the pump filter and drain it and store it in the shed for extra protection.

Our pump easily removes from the base with a few plastic pins, which I store inside the pump.

Draining Sand Filter

9. Drain the sand filter and set to winterize.

On our sand filter, I just open the valve(s) at the bottom and let it drain. I don’t always cover ours, but it’s good added protection to protect the multiport valve on top from ice damage.

Pool Cover Ratchet

10. Lock down the final winter cover.

Add the winter cover and ratchet it on tight using the attached cable and winch so the wind and winter weather can’t bother it.

The cover does fill up with water from rain/snow, so I just keep an eye on it and pump the water off when it’s accumulated enough.

I did try to use a air pillow in the middle under the cover one year, but the pillow popped just a few weeks into winter and I never replaced it. Everything seemed to be just fine at the end of the season so this year I didn’t add the air pillow at all.

Winter Pool Cover

10 Steps to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

Here's how to easily winterize your above ground pool without draining all the water. Amounts shown are what I used for my 15,000 gallon 24-foot pool.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 lb Swimming Pool Shock (chlorine granules) to kill bacteria/algae
  • 20 oz Algaecide to really kill any potential algae
  • Mineral Magnet optional, to keep the pool water extra clear

Instructions

Clean out all the debris.

  • I used the same long telescoping pool pole and a leaf rake attachment that we use all summer long to skim the pool and clean out any leaves, etc.

Remove the ladder(s), toys, and accessories.

  • Both the ladder that came with the pool and the extra ladder we bought are easy to remove. I also remove the pool light that mounts to the side of the pool to avoid damage from ice.

Treat the water.

  • I use both swimming pool shock (chlorine granules) and an additional algaecide as listed aboveto raise the chlorine levels and make sure that no bacteria or algae will grow while the pool is covered during the winter and spring.
  • The pool water pH needs to be between 7.4 and 7.8.
  • Alkalinity needs to be between 100 parts per million (ppm) and 150 ppm, with right in the middle of 125 ppm being the ideal number.
  • The chlorine levels need to be between 1 and 3 ppm.
  • Calcium hardness between 200 ppm and 350 ppm.
  • For testing the water I like to use AuqaChek Pool and Spa test strips. This will test the calcium hardness of the water, chlorine, alkalinity and pH.

Put on the solar pool cover.

  • I like to place the  solar pool cover on the pool before the heavy duty winter pool cover. Personal preference, and it makes for easy storage!

Turn off and backwash/rinse the filter.

  • Switch the sand and water filter to “backwash” until all the water is drained from the filter. Then I turn it to “rinse” for a few seconds, and then to “winterize” then “close”.

Cap the outlet and remove inlet.

  • Our pool kit came with a pool outlet cap, which is easy to put in place, and the inlet cap just twists off.

Disconnect and drain hoses.

  • Loosen the hose clamps and disconnect all the hoses from the filter.
  • I choose to leave the outlet drain pipe (as shown at 2:45 in the video) so that any extra water from rain or snow melt can drain off, to maintain the water level.
  • Each filter will be a little different, but the process is generally the same.

Disconnect and remove the pump.

  • Unplug the pump from the power source and disconnect it from the filter. I drain ours and store it in the shed for extra protection.
  • Our pump easily removes from the base with a few plastic pins, which I store inside the pump.

Drain the filter and set to winterize.

  • On our filter, I just open the cap and let it drain. I don’t always cover ours, but it’s good added protection.

Lock down the final winter cover.

  • Add the winter cover and ratchet it on tight so the wind and winter weather can’t bother it.
  • The cover does fill up with water from rain/snow, so I just keep an eye on it and pump the water off when it’s accumulated enough.

More tips for winterizing your home and yard

How To Winterize An Above Ground Pool Without Draining All The Water, Remodelaholic
Remodelaholic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Please see our full disclosure here.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating