How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

The Easy Way to Close or Winterize Your Pool

Above ground pools are awesome ways to have some fun during the summer, but they need to be winterized to protect them from freezing temperatures and the elements.

We will teach you how to winterize an above ground pool, the simple way.


Necessary Items for Winterizing Your Pool

There are many different items you’ll need for this process. First of all, you’ll need a quality pool cover to help protect your pool. Take a look at our reviews of the best above ground pool covers here.

The rest of the supplies needed are listed here:

  • Chemical Kit for Winter
  • Skimmer Cover
  • Return Plugs
  • Air Pillow
  • Cover Clips
  • Cable & Winch
  • Winter Pill

Cleaning The Water

Skim the pool to remove all leaves and debris. If you have a pool vacuum, run that as well. We advise that you also take the extra time to scrub the walls of the pool to get it as clean as possible. Scrubbing the walls isn’t absolutely necessary but is recommended if you believe it’s needed. A clean pool is crucial because dirty water can lead to algae and even fungus later on.

Next, be sure to test the water to ensure it is properly balanced. A pool with water too high in alkalinity or acidity will wear away at the interior and even the cover. Use a testing kit to gauge the acidity and pH level of the water.

The pH level of the pool should be between 7.2 and 7.6 with the alkalinity level between 100 and 150. Add the proper chemicals to restore the balance before cleaning the water of all gunk and debris.

Add Winter Chemicals

Winter chemicals in a pool will shock any bacteria that may be growing inside and make it safe to store for an extended period of time. These winter kits include chlorine and algaecide chemicals. Make sure to add these according to the instructions, which are typically as simple as “pour bottle into the pool and stir it fully.”

Running the filter during this process will help propel these chemicals through the water more fully. While it is running, it’s not a bad idea to add an item known as a winter pill to the water. When this absorbs, it will make the water even more bacteria-free than it was before. This isn’t completely necessary like the other chemicals but many pool owners say it really helps.

Seal The Pool

Now it is time to remove any basket from the skimmer and to remove the drain plugs and the pump. Wash these items off and dry them fully to keep them in good shape. Everything should be stored indoors to keep it from winter damage. This is especially true of the pump and hoses. All filters should be cleaned with a hose and left open for the winter.

You will also want to remove the eyeball from your return fitting and plug it up using the Return Plug.  This is as easy step but important because it prevents water from getting inside and causing damage from freezing.

Also, make sure to use the Skimmer Cover to protect the skimmer and prevent any water from getting into the skimmer body. This also helps prevent freezing damage.

Draining The Water

Do you need to completely drain all the water to winterize above ground pool items properly? There’s a big debate on this. You should at the very least, drain some of the water and place your air pillow inside the pool on top of the remaining water. This helps keep the pool from damage caused by weather changes and other problems. Don’t drain all the water, just drain enough to get the water right below the return line.

Make sure to secure the pillow by ropes and other items to keep it centered. If it moves slightly, that’s not a major problem. However, you should try to keep it in one position as much as possible. Failure to do so could cause some minor damage.

Covering the Pool

The final step is to put the cover on the pool over the air pillow and secure it using the cover clips and the cable and winch.

The cover clips along with the cable and winch are a perfect combination to ensure your pool cover will be perfectly secure and not come loose.

Once the clips are attached around the pool cover, string the cable through the grommet holes of the cover and use the winch to tighten it up.

Make sure to check on the cover once in a while throughout the winter to make sure it’s still tight and secure.

To help you even further on how to winterize an above ground pool, here is a very informative video explaining the process in detailed steps:

Finishing Up

By now, you’ve more-or-less finished the process needed to winterize an above ground pool properly. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to enjoy your new pool as it sits out in the cold. That said, you can get it ready for Summer later and enjoy it when the weather warms up.

There’s nothing quite like the first dip in a well-protected pool that was properly winterized. We hope this article on how to winterize your above ground pool has been helpful to you. So please don’t hesitate to contact us today if you need additional help with this process.

Have a pool which you want to close temporarily? Is it time to winterize an above ground pool? Winterizing your swimming pool saves you much hassle when summer arrives, and it is time to swim again. It is important to winterize your swimming pool in order to protect it from harm due to freezing water.

I know a lot of people who don’t do it and end up with a pool that isn’t fit for swimming when winter is over. So, it is always preferred to be safe rather than sorry. There’s no need for you to feel hesitant about winterizing an above ground pool because it is very easy. In this article, you will be able to learn how to winterize an above ground pool in 9 easy steps!

What you need?

  • A pool cover if you have a round or an oval pool

  • Cover clips

  • Water bags, if your pool also has a walk around deck.

  • An air pillow which is a must for all above ground pools.

  • Return plugs; either plastic or rubber.

  • Winter chemical kit.

  • Winter skimmer cover.

  • Winter pill which helps in keeping the pool clear throughout winter. This is not really required for winterizing but it is highly recommended.

With all these things ready, let’s start with the process to winterize an above ground pool.

1. Checking the water chemistry:

You need to ensure that the total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and pH are all balanced in the pool’s water. This helps in protecting the surface of your pool from etching and staining. That is why before you decide to close your pool you need to test the water.

You can either go to a local pool store, or you can buy test strips and perform the test on your own. The ideal pH of the water should range from 7.4 to 7.6 while the ideal alkalinity levels should range from 100ppm to 150ppm. When it comes to closing the pool, being on the higher spectrum of these ranges is much better.

2. Add winter chemicals:

Before you add the winter chemicals, make sure that your above ground pool is clean. This means that before you add the chemicals, vacuum the pool, skim the surface, and brush down the walls. In such a case where you have a chemical kit, just follow the instructions given on the kit.

However, in the event where you don’t have a kit, you should use chlorine shock along with winter algaecide. The amount of winter algaecide that you should add to your pool depends on the size of your pool and can be found on the back of the algaecide bottle.

Instead of going for the calcium hypochlorite shock for closing your pool and getting it ready for winter, you should use the 15-minute fast dissolving shock since calcium takes about 8 hours before you can cover your pool. You can also use a WinterPill which ensures that you get a clear pool when you re-open it. Just puncture a hole in the pill and drop it in the water.

Take Note!

There are a few chemical kits that don’t need you to filter the pool before you add them. Therefore, it is first important to read the directions written on the kit you have. If you have a kit that doesn’t need you to run the filter and the pump, then you can skip the next step and directly cover your pool.

3. Plug the pool:

From your return line, remove the eyeball fitting and plug it with the help of a wingnut. Meanwhile, on the skimmer, remove the basket and store it for the winters.

Here, you have the option of using winter skimmer covers which are plates that are meant to cover the skimmer. This saves you from draining the pool underneath the skimmer. If you don’t have a winter skimmer cover, you can use a solid cover. Also, make sure that you don’t plug the skimmer’s bottom.

Take Note!

If you are using a solid cover, then draining the water below the return lines can put additional pressure on the cover. That is why you will have to keep draining water off the cover by using a siphon or a winter cover pump in order to protect it.

If water fills the empty skimmer in the winter and freezes it, then it can cause the skimmer to crack. Also remember that if an obscene amount of water or snow fills the skimmer, the weight of it all is very damaging for your skimmer.

4. Winterize the filter:

The right method of winterizing a filter depends on the kind of filter that you have. So, first, you need to make sure about the kind of filter that you have.

If your filter is a sand one, then you need to set the multiport valve to winterize. Then, remove the plug at the bottom, allowing the filter to drain out thoroughly. If your valve comes with a sight glass and a bleeder valve, remove them and store them in a pump basket.

When it comes to a D.E. filter, first you’ll need to drain it, proceed to rinse the grids using a hose to get rid of the excess D.E., and then leave the valves open.

For a cartridge filter, drain it and then rinse the cartridge using a hose. The cartridge is to be stored indoors throughout winter, and the valves are to be left open.

5. Winterize the pump:

Remove all of the drain plugs completely. If you have a chlorinator, remove it along with the pump and the hoses. Remember to store all of the drain plugs, even those from the filter inside the pump basket so that you don’t lose them. It is highly recommended to keep the hoses, the chlorinator, and the pump indoors because this prolongs their life.

Once you have drained the pump, you can switch it on just for a brief moment so that all of the water comes out from the veins of the impeller. However, remember that you should not switch on the pump for more than two seconds since there is a chance that you can burn the seal.

If you happen to have a chemical feeder, you need to allow the chemicals to run out of the feeder. Leaving chemicals in the feeder throughout winter can cause damage to it.

Check the short guide in this video:

6. Store the equipment:

Once you have disconnected the pump system and the filter, you need to store all of the equipment indoors. This includes the chlorinator, the heater, the pump, the filter, and any equipment that you possess.

If you have a sand filter, storing it inside can be a problem because the weight of the sand makes it difficult to move the piece indoors. If you opt for leaving the sand filter outside, then make sure that all of the drain plugs have been removed.

Doing this ensures that even if condensation or water builds up within the tank and freezes, the filter tank won’t crack. Meanwhile, the other filters like the cartridge and the D.E. filters are light enough to store easily indoors. It is also the right time to take out the pool ladder and other equipment that you might have inside the pool.

7. Addition of the air pillow:

Blow the air pillow and put it in the center of the pool. In order to ensure that the air pillow stays in the middle, you can make use of a thin rope and secure it to either side of the pool.

Alternatively, you can go for a pool pillow pal. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether the pillow remains at the center or not throughout winter.

It is common for people who own an above ground pool to only use the air pillow in order to prevent the sides from bearing the excess pressure exerted on them when the water freezes and expands. The bottom line is that the air pillow is not needed which means that you can skip this step, but it is highly recommended.

8. Put on the cover:

Place the pool cover on top of the pool, including the air pillow. Secure the cover with the help of water bags, cable, winch, or with a combination of a cable and winter cover clips.

If your pool also has a walk around deck, then the most recommended equipment for doing this step is a combination of cable, winch and winter cover clips.

9. Take precautions:

We are taught in school that water expands when frozen and you need to keep that in mind. Due to this phenomenon the pool plumbing, the filter system, and the pool in general experiences great damage.

If you have decided to winterize an above ground pool, then you need to make sure that you take the necessary precautions in order to protect your pool from experiencing damage due to frozen (expanded) water.


Remember, winterizing an above ground pool is beneficial in a number of ways; you get a clean pool for summers, and your equipment stays safe. Was this tutorial helpful for you? If it was, then don’t forget to share it with your friends so that they also know the right way of winterizing their above ground pool!

Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions, and your feedback in the comment section below. Make sure that you read each and every step carefully before you decide to winterize your pool so that you don’t damage it or any related equipment.