How to Winterize a Pool in 6 Steps

A pool cover next to a pool.
  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 400-900
What You'll Need
Pool chemicals
pH strips
Pool cover
Garden hose
Shop vac or air compressor
Freeze plugs or expansion plugs

Winter is quickly headed our way. While the upcoming season demands a lot out of us—chopping firewood, shoveling snow, and deicing our driveway—it also means that we have to do some work now to prepare ourselves and our home for what’s to come. One thing that requires this level of preparation is our swimming pools. Follow the steps below to winterize your swimming pool so that it’s ready for summer fun once the warm weather rolls back around.

Step 1 - Drain the Water

An above-ground pool, in particular, should be partially drained to lower the water level during the winter. After the water is partially drained, clean the pool well and take a sample of the water to be analyzed by professionals, who will then supply you with the correct chemicals for winterizing. Add the chemicals to the water according to their directions.

Step 2 - Cover the Pool

Whether your pool is above or in the ground, a high-quality cover is necessary to protect the area from debris and to prevent stains that lead to rotting. Pool owners should also promptly clear debris including rainwater, snow, and leaves from collecting atop the cover throughout the season.

Step 3 - Clean the Filter

Pool filters should be thoroughly cleaned before the winter hits. For a DE filter, remove the assembly from the filter’s tank, using a hose to clean off all of the DE powder. If any powder is left and ends up drying on the filter’s grids, it can cause clogging and lead to eventual filtration problems. If you instead have a cartridge filter, you’ll need to clean it the same way. The cartridge should then be replaced after blowing out the lines. A subject we’ll cover in the next step.

Step 4 - Blow out the Lines

Blowing out the lines is the most important step in relation to winterizing your pool. This is the part of the process that ensures there is no water left within the equipment that could freeze and cause damage. You can use either a shop vac or an air compressor to blow out the lines. Either way, it’s entirely up to you. If you opt to use an air compressor, connect its hose to the threaded drain plug hole on the pump, utilizing the valves to direct the air. First, air should be pumped back through the suction lines so that it's done in relation to the skimmer lines. After these are plugged, switch the pumping air through the actual pump, filter, heater, and chlorinator. Next, air should be blown through the pool return lines.

Step 5 - Plug the Lines

Once you’re certain that all of the lines are devoid of any water that could freeze during the winter, plug them up. To do this, use freeze plugs or expansion plugs for skimmers, returns, and cleaner lines, being careful to get them all. Leave no stone unturned.

Step 6 - Disconnect the Mechanics

Finally, you’ll want to detach and disconnect the pump, filter, and hoses during the winter, storing them in a safe and dry area for the season. While you may want to cover a heater, covering the remainder of the equipment should be avoided, especially if you plan on using anything made of plastic. This could trap moisture, which would lead to the creation of rust, which is not something anyone wants on their pool equipment when it comes out of its winter hibernation.

The process is as simple as that. While it has a range of steps to it, they are all pretty easy to carry out, and it’s well worth it to preserve your pool and ensure its longevity and continued use. Make your pool one less thing to worry about this winter by taking care of winterizing yours now. Once the cold weather is upon us, you’ll be glad that you put in the effort ahead of time.