We’ve gone into detail on the blog previously about the potential perils of pools and winter weather. A lot of focus has been trained on maintaining inground pools and preparing them for cold weather. But today, we want to talk about what to do with an above ground pool in the winter.
We’ve been calling for justice for the above ground pool for a while now. We feel it’s time to celebrate the convenience and affordability of above ground pools. After all, not everyone can afford to spend a huge chunk of change on an inground swimming pool. You can actively prepare an inground pool for winter without draining it. But what do you do with an above ground pool in the winter?
Let’s talk about the easy steps you can take to winterize your above ground swimming pool, and make sure that it survives to see another summer season. Here are all of our favorite above ground swimming pool winterizing tips!
Clean Your Above Ground Pool
Before you add chemicals, adjust the water level, or do anything technical, you’re going to want to get your pool as clean as you possibly can. Cleaning a pool is a process in itself, and has multiple steps, especially when closing down an above ground pool for the winter season. To properly clean your above ground pool before winter, note the following steps.
Remove Toys, Ladders, or Ramps
This starts with the task of removing all of the pool toys, floats, and ladders. Check filters and pool floor for any small plastic pool toys or water balls. Pool steps, ladders, or ramps should be removed for winter storage. Be sure to hose off any metal pool equipment well and dry thoroughly before storing in a dry place.
Add Stain and Scale Remover
Two weeks before your cover and close down your above ground pool for good, begin to add the proper cleaning chemicals. This starts with a good stain and scale remover. Stain and scale remover is added directly to pool water. For use in an above ground pool, ensure your pool pump is turned on. Then, add the remover as directed on the product’s packaging. Different products may indicate different ratios, and amounts will differ by volume of your above ground pool.
It is important that phosphate levels in your pool are controlled going into the winter season. For this reason, we recommend that you take the time to monitor your phosphate levels as your pool season comes to a close. This can be done in congruence with checking the temperature of your pool.
If phosphate treatment is needed, make sure your pool’s skimmer is running. Add the treatment according to the instructions on the packaging. Phosphate levels should be normal before closing an above ground pool for the season.
Skim Your Pool
Skimming your pool is critical before closing it for the season. A great pool skimmer will allow you to remove the remaining dirt and debris from the surface of your pool. Skimmer nets, extension skimmers, and leaf rakes are all great tools to help you clean the debris from all parts of your pool.
Take your time with this step. The cleaner your pool is now, the better it will fare into the winter season, and the less leg work you will need to do to get it ready for the next swim season.
Vacuum and Brush
The last step of cleaning your above ground pool is vacuuming and brushing it. Use a pool brush to brush the sides and various structures of your pool. Pay careful attention to the inner walls, freeing any lingering debris.
Once you brush your pool well, move on to vacuuming. Using a pool vacuum, vacuum the bottom of your inground pool to remove any of the additional leaves, dirt, and debris that has been freed and removed during the brushing process.
Once your above ground pool has been thoroughly cleaned, you can begin the chemical treatments necessary to help it survive the winter. Only perform chemical treatments after the swimming season is completely over. Some chemicalsare harsh or harmful to skin. Contact with freshly treated pool water is not recommended.
pH, Calcium, and Alkalinity
The first three items you want to address and balance are your swimming pool’s pH, calcium hardness, and the water alkalinity. Alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm, pH should fall between 7.4 and 7.6, and calcium hardness should sit at 200 and 400 ppm.
If tests reveal that your above ground pool’s water is outside of these ranges, raise or lower them accordingly.
Address Algae & Shock The Pool
The last thing you want to see in the spring when you rip open your pool’s cover is a bright green algae bloom. This is why treating your pool for algae control before winter is important. For every 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of pool water, you will need 4 ounces of liquid algae control. To add, mix separately and then add slowly, distributing evenly around the perimeter. Turn your pool’s filter on for this process, and for a few hours after treatment. This ensures the algae control is properly dispersed.
With your filter pump running, you can take this opportunity to shock your pool. To shock a pool, spread shock treatment in amounts directed by the product packaging. Make sure to evenly distribute the treatment. Then, allow the pool filter to run continuously.
Chlorine and Winterizing “Pill”
The final steps in chemically preparing an above ground pool winter is to address chlorine levels and add a winterizing pill to the water. Chlorine levels in your pool should be higher during the winter than they would be during a standard swim season. Chlorine levels should be adjusted to about 3 ppm. After chlorine treatments, allow your pool filter to run for four to six hours. Then, drop your winterizing pill into your pool water.
Prepare Pool Parts Equipment
After cleaning and chemical treatment has been completed, it is time to prepare the pool structure and equipment themselves. These steps are among the most important in maintaining an above ground pool in the winter. Failing to prepare pool equipment properly can lead to damage or destruction over the winter season.
Remove Filter and Lower Water Levels
The first steps in preparing your pool surfaces and equipment are to remove the filter and lower the water levels in your above ground pool. First, remove the filter pump and clean it thoroughly. Store in a clean, dry place.
Once the filter is removed and cleaned, lower the water levels. This is essential. Water levels that are too high run the risk of freezing and damaging essential pool equipment. The water in your pool should sit no higher than 4 inches below the surface of your skimmer.
Plugs and Hoses
Before moving to covering your pool, make sure you remove your pool’s internal inlet and replace it with a plug for winter. We’ve talked before about the danger of freezing hoses. Pool hoses are no different. Care for your pool’s drain hoses by removing them and making sure they are free from water.
Cover Your Pool
Finally, the time has come to cover your pool. To properly cover your above ground pool in the winter, make sure that you select a cover that will snugly attach the pool frame. Prevent the cover from touching and freezing to the surface of the water by adding floating supports if necessary.
Power Down & Store
With your pool cleaned, chemically treated, and covered, you can finally power down your equipment and feel confident that you are ready for the winter weather. Make sure all electricity running to the pool is turned off. Check to see that your outdoor water is shut off, and take care to store any remaining equipment in a dry place, leaving it readily available come spring time.
When to Prepare Your Above Ground Pool for Winter
This answer depends on your climate. Some regions get cold much faster than others. But a good rule of thumb to watch for is not the temperature of the air, but of the pool water itself. Regularly take the temperature of your above ground pool’s water. When these temperatures consistently begin to read at or below 65 degrees, you will know it’s time to begin to winterize your above ground pool.
For some regions, this marker happens in mid October. For others, it may be earlier or later in the season. It is important that you do not jump the gun on preparing your above ground pool for winter. Winter-proofing chemicals need to be potent to work, and if you add them too early, they may lose effectiveness before the end of the season.
All in all, winterizing an above ground pool in the winter is very similar to the process of preparing a standard inground pool. By following the above steps, you can make sure that your above ground pool not only survives the winter in good condition, but is ready to go when spring rolls around next year.