How to Close a Pool for the Winter

Learn how to winterize and close a pool with these simple tips

Learn how to winterize and close a pool with these simple tips

Nothing beats the convenience of having a private pool in your own backyard. A pool that is thoroughly cleaned with properly balanced water is much quicker and easier to open the following summer than one that is improperly closed. Whether you’re looking for instructions on how to winterize an above ground pool or how to close an in-ground pool, follow the maintenance steps below.

Tip: Wait until you’re sure it’s the end of swimming season before closing the pool – around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and continuing lower.

What You Need

Test and Balance
Test and Balance

• Test your water using test strips or an at-home testing kit, and balance your water based on test results. This helps protect your pool from any surface damage that may occur during the off-season.
• Start with balancing alkalinity, then pH, then total hardness. Ideal levels for each parameter are as follows: 

Total Alkalinity: 80 to 150 ppm. If total alkalinity is low, add a total alkalinity increaser.
pH: 7.2 to 7.6. If the pH levels are not balanced, add an increaser or reducer as needed.
Total Hardness: 175 to 275 ppm. If total hardness is low, add a hardness increaser.

Clean the Pool and Filter
Clean Pool and Filter

• Clean the water with a pool skimmer and remove any floating debris.
• Brush the surface thoroughly and vacuum the pool floor. Make sure to empty the skimmer baskets.
• Backwash the filter thoroughly and chemically clean the filter media or elements using a filter cleaner.

Shock and Circulate
Shock and Circulate

• Shock your pool according to manufacturer's dosing guidelines to remove contaminants and increase chlorine residual.
• Use a quality pool shock that will not increase water’s calcium hardness or pH to help protect against surface scale during the off-season.
• Circulate your water for at least four hours to allow the product to disperse throughout the pool.

Prevent Algae and Run Pump
Prevent Algae and Run Pump

• Add a dose of an algaecide according to label directions for pool closing to protect your pool from algae growth during the off-season.
• Choose one that will not cause surface staining.
• Let the pump run for 24 hours so the product fully circulates throughout the water.

Turn Off and Winterize Equipment
Turn Off and Winterize Equipment

• Turn off all pool equipment per the manufacturer’s directions.
• If needed, partially drain your pool to lower the water level below the skimmer and return lines.
• Remove all drain plugs to completely drain the equipment, then remove the pool pump, chlorinator, and hoses.
• Bring all equipment indoors for storage over the winter.
• If you have a sand filter, set the multiplier valve to winterize. If there is no winter setting, set it between two positions and remove the plug at the bottom, letting the filter drain out.
• If you have a cartridge filter, drain it, rinse off the cartridge with hose or tap water, and store it indoors.
DE filters should be drained, the DE grids or fingers cleaned, and the filter reassembled.

Plug and Cover
Plug and Cover

• Remove the eyeball fitting on your return line and plug it with a rubber plug and wing nut.
• Drain the pool about four to six inches below the skimmer then add a skimmer cover.
• Blow up the air pillow and place it in the middle of your pool.
• Put on the pool cover and secure with winter cover clips.
• Remove the ladder and other deck equipment.
• Properly store any unused pool chemicals as directed on product labels and dispose of any products that will lose their potency over the winter.
Tip: A mid-winter shock may be necessary for pools in warmer climates.