Closing your aboveground pool can be simple, with little expense to the pool owner. You may be able to hire a service company to close your pool, however this can be very expensive. Here's a step-by-step scenario on how to close an aboveground pool. After the first time, you will be a pro at winterizing any aboveground pool.
CLEAN THE POOL: First, before you close your pool, you want to make sure the floors and walls are all very clean. If you have leaves or any kind of debris, spend some time to have them cleaned up. The pool should be as clean as possible before adding chemicals and putting on the pool cover.
ALGAE: If you have any algae in the pool, we want to shock the pool and scrub the floors and walls. You can then vacuum and filter the water to get it clear again - before closing the pool. If you have a lot of leaves, in addition to algae, remove these before you shock the pool. Leaves will use up your shock, as it bleaches the leaves until they look like little "skeleton leaves".
BALANCE THE WATER: Now that we have the water nice and clear, we want to balance the water chemistry. Test and adjust levels for Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity and pH. Good water balance will protect your pool liner and pool cover, in addition to helping prevent algae or bacteria from growing during the off season. It allows your pool sanitizer to work more effectively.
LOWER THE WATER: Lower the water Level down 3” below the skimmer bottom. This can be accomplished with the use of your pool cover pump, or by draining from the return hose, by disconnecting the hose from the filter. Lowering the water keeps pool water out of the skimmer and places a waterline frozen ice sheet lower on the pool wall.
If you don't want to lower the water level, you can install the Aquador system to keep water out of your aboveground pool skimmer. You have to replace the faceplate, but it's included. After screwing it on the wall, the Aquador skimmer cover snaps over the frame, keeping water out.
PLUG THE LINES: Plug the return lines at the wall, as shown, and use a Winter Plugs or a Gizmo to plug up the bottom hole in your skimmer. If you have an exposed skimmer, and you can easily disconnect the hose from the bottom, there is no need to plug it. Same with the pool return. Hard pipe or rigid hosed skimmer and return lines will need to be plugged. First, however, they will need to have the water blown out with air, and/or pool antifreeze added to the pipes to keep the water from freezing.
DRAIN THE EQUIPMENT: Drain the pool water from the plumbing, pump, filter system, heater, chlorinator, etc. Clean your DE filter grids or filter cartridges very thoroughly and store them in the empty tank. Remove and drain the pool filter hoses (skimmer and return hoses) and store them indoors, straight if possible. Make sure all the water is drained from all of your equipment, and - has no way to possibly fill up again. If your filter system is small and/or mounted on a skid, I recommend putting it in a shed, garage or basement, just out of the winter elements.
ADD WINTER CHEMICALS: Once the water is balanced you want to put in your closing chemicals. The easiest and cheapest way is to buy a chemical closing kit. Everything that you need to close the pool should come in the kit. Good winter pool chemical kits should include:
- Chlorine-free shock
- Winter non-chlorine Floater
- Winter Pool Algaecide
- Stain Prevention liquid
Other kits include a Winter Sorb, or may include enzymes or phosphate removers. These are typically all you need to add to the pool at closing time. After checking your pH, add the Shock. Brush the pool for about 10 minutes, so that the shock activates well with all of the water. Wait for an hour or so to allow the shock time to work, then you can walk around the perimeter of the pool adding the algaecide and the stain away. Brush the pool again to ensure the chemicals are well mixed.
FLOATERS: can go into the water at this point. Just punch the indents in to make little holes on both sides. Submerge the floater, letting it fill up with water. Do not throw the pool floater into the pool, place it gently. You can tie off your floater with twine crossing the pool. Especially important for chlorine floaters, which can bleach your vinyl liner.
COVER THE POOL: If you live in an area where the water does not freeze, you can now put your cover on the pool. You are officially not closed for the season. To place the cover, use two people to center it over the pool. Then run the vinyl coated cable thru the grommets and winch it tightly.
For added wind protection, which can rip a cover if the wind gets up underneath it, use one of the many products developed for high wind areas. Cover Clips, Cover Seal and Wall Bags help to keep the wind from getting up underneath the cover. Air pillows and having a little bit of water on your cover (but not too much!), helps keep the aboveground pool cover in place during winter. Aboveground pool cover accessories like these can be found on our website.
If you live in a climate where the water freezes, you will want to add an air pillow to the pool. If you live in the Blue areas of the map, you should probably invest in, and use an air pillow when you winterize. If you're in the gray parts shown, you probably experience only rare temperatures in the low 30's, and may not need an air pillow to close your pool.
AIR PILLOWS: are used in snowbelt regions, where water freezes, putting pressure on your walls and your pool liner. If the pressure becomes to much, the liner can rip or the pool walls can bow. To avoid such problems, use an air pillow for pools. Air pillows are an insurance policy for your pool walls. They also help reduce "wind whip" damage to pool covers from high winds.
AIR PILLOW TIPS: The air pillow should be blown up about 75% full, never blow it up to its max. Leave room in the air pillow so that when the ice expands the air pillow can absorb it. I like to attach a rope to two sides of my air pillow and tie the other sides to the railings of the pool, centering the pillow as best I can. That works pretty well. Once you have your air pillow in position, you are ready to put the cover on.
Your pool is now officially closed, and for a lot less than what you would have paid a service to do.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Basically, if you close your pool while it is nice and clear and balanced, the only thing you will need to buy is the closing kit and possibly an air pillow or some wind protection, depending on where you live. Your pool cover, if taken care of properly, should last for many years. One note on winter closing kits, you will need to know how many gallons are in your pool. If you are not sure, just call us with some dimensions of the pool, we will be more than happy to help you out.
SPP Pool Enthusiast