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Winterizing Your Pool: Doing It Right So You Don’t Pay The Price

010217-05-winter-outdoor-poolWinterizing a pool is an important step to ensuring your investment & its equipment stay in great shape in the off season. Having problems in the cold months can cause big issues when it’s time to get ready for swimming. If you are a first time pool owner, if this is your first time to close in the off-season or if you’ve had issues with winterizing your pool in the past, PLEASE consult a pool professional. Some of the smallest details are a BIG deal if not taken care of properly. We STRONGLY suggest letting professionals close your pool the first time, and you be present to take notes. Most pool companies are happy to answer your questions. What you spend to have someone else close your pool will be worth what you’ll save in worry, future difficulties and possible huge expenses if your equipment becomes compromised.

Pre-closing Balance & Clean-up

The first thing to get straight before closing your pool for the winter is your water balance. To get the best results, always have a water sample analyzed by professionals before winterizing. There are certain parameters that may be left a bit high or low & may also vary due to your sanitizer.  Advice from water specialists can make your job a LOT easier. Closing a dirty or unbalanced pool can negatively affect your liner, equipment and next year’s opening.

Aside from having balanced water, you want to put the cover on when your pool is looking its best. Any leftover debris can stain your liner, plaster, etc., as well as possibly causing you to open to an algae ridden pool. You can always skim floating debris and vacuum the floor. If needed, you could shock one evening near closing, brush down your walls and floors, then vacuum to WASTE the next day. Wasting water allows you to bypass your filtering system. The day you close, make sure to backwash your pump thoroughly. With sand filters, you want to get your sand as clean as possible for next year. D.E. filters require you change the filter media yearly and thoroughly cleaning the filter before storing. Make sure you know the proper procedure for your specific equipment.

Equipment Removal/Storage

Getting ready for winter means removing equipment that matters only when the pool is up & running. You want to remove your skimmer baskets, wall fittings (jets), any pool cleaners, handrails & ladders and any other pool cleaning equipment (brushes, cleaners). Be careful not to store your vacuum hoses coiled too tightly. You want to store all equipment in a safe, weather-protected area so it’s easy to find and in good shape when opening. Most leftover chemicals will be good to use the next year if stored properly. All liquids should be put up where they will not freeze. When removing things like your ladder & jets, you may want some professional advice regarding tools, methods, etc.

If you have a salt chlorinated pool, if you’re salt cell is NOT plumbed in, you will want to remove that as well. Many above ground pool owners remove and store all equipment, including the pump and filter system.

*Tip: Closing is a good time to lubricate your O-rings on your equipment!


If you are using a lithium based shock to close, you can add that & your algaecide anytime, even after all equipment is shut down. If you are using any other type of shock to winterize, it’s best to do so while the pump is still running to avoid any undissolved product from settling on your liner. ALWAYS predissolve your shock. The algaecide can go in right before the cover is put on- add it while walking around the edge of the pool.

The last step to closing is making sure your pump,  filter and lines are cleared of water. Any water leftover will eventually freeze and crack your plumbing & equipment. Remove all plugs on your filter to drain it. You can use a shop vac to blow water through the skimmer, the equipment and then back into the pool through your jets. You can also use some swimming pool antifreeze in the skimmer before plugging it up to help ensure any residual water won’t freeze. You want to use expansion plugs (or plugs specific to your jets) to close your lines at the pool. Use a Gizzmo to plug off your skimmer(s).

Covering the Pool

There are several options when it comes to covering an in-ground pool. Consult a pool professional to check on all options and pricing (for above ground pools as well). Ideally, you will have a safety cover on your pool. Mesh covers will keep the large debris out, but will still allow any rain, melted snow or tiny debris through. However, you will need a cover pump if using a solid cover. You want your cover to be taught. If you’re in need of a cover, measuring and/or installing, we can do that for you!

*Note- Your cover MUST meet specific guidelines to be considered a “safety” cover. For more details, you can contact us anytime.

In the end, from company to company, and situation to situation, the details and processes of pool closing may vary. The content of this blog post is compiled from several articles whose links are provided. Some trade secrets will remain that way, so the above article is an attempt to cover all the basics with help from Hayward and other sources. Once again, consulting a professional is never a bad idea. This article is merely a stepping off point.  We’re all here to help and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Author: Lauren, Staff  at Conway Gardens & Pools


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