Above-ground pools offer many benefits, but their nature means that they need extra protection from winter’s cold. Here are some steps you should take to properly winterize your pool:
Get the Right Levels
The first step to winterization is to make sure the water has the right levels of chemicals, minerals, and acidity. The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6, the calcium level should be between 175 and 250 ppm, the chlorine between one and three ppm, and the alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm.
Clear Off, Clean Out!
The next step is to take everything off of the deck and out of the pool. Ladders, railings, ropes and other such equipment all need to be taken away and stored. The same goes for detachable plumbing and drain plugs.
Clean all debris from the pool. This will typically include leaves, dead bugs and other natural materials. If they are left in the water, the pool can become stained.
Clean everything that is meant to stay in the pool. The skimmer, filter elements, pump basket and other such accessories all need to be cleared of dirt and debris. Sand filters require backwashing. Make sure to empty the chlorinator of all product as well.
Consider using a skimmer guard, or Gizmo, to protect the skimmer. If you do, be sure to plug the return line. Alternatively, lower the pool water below the skimmer or returns. Never empty an above ground pool all the way or it could collapse.
Use a Cover
If you live in a climate where freezes occur, use an air pillow under the cover to cause the frozen water to expand upward rather than outward. This will prevent damage to the pool’s sides. Attach a hose to a Shop Vac’s blower opening to quickly inflate the big pillow.
Cover the pool. Place the black side down when installing. If your pool has a deck, use wall bags to secure the cover. Make sure to leave enough room in the bags for the water to expand in freezing weather.
To keep rainwater and snow melt from accumulating on the cover, put a cover pump in the center. Note that an air pillow will not stop this accumulation – the water will still need to be actively pumped off. Pumping will prevent the cover from tearing or falling into the pool water, possibly taking the water hoses in with it.
These are the basic steps for winterizing an above ground pool. Remember to keep it safe and secure so you can enjoy it in the warm months to come!