Gone Outdoors

How to Winterize Your Above Ground Swimming Pool

by eHow Contributor

The kids are back in school and you felt the first chilly night of late summer. Sounds like it's time to close the pool. Closing your above ground pool is a lot easier than opening it. Just remember, that what you do now will pay you big dividends in the spring when you go to open it back up.

1. Vacuum your pool and remove all debris. Once clean, test your water and balance your chemicals.

2. Drain the water to a level just below your skimmer cut-out and return inlet. Switch your filter system to waste and let it drain to the appropriate level. Once enough water has been drained, disconnect your pump and filter system. If you want to avoid the draining ritual every year, you can get a special faceplate for your skimmer that comes with a thick plastic lid. When it's time to close the pool, just snap the lid over the special skimmer faceplate, replace your return inlet eyeball with a solid screw-in plug and leave the water level right where it is.

3. Add the appropriate-sized winterizing kit for your pool. A chlorine pool uses a kit that contains 1 lb. of non-chlorine shock, which lasts better and longer in the pool water, a 30 percent algaecide and a small bottle of scale and metal out to prevent any buildup of crusty deposits called scale. Pour the liquid chemicals around the inside perimeter of the pool. Broadcast the granules across the surface. Some people like to dissolve the non-chlorine shock in a bucket of pool water and then add it to the perimeter.

4. Add air pillows. Use an air compressor if you have one to inflate several air pillows designed to go under a winter cover. As an extra precaution, add criss-crossed pieces of duct tape to the dry surface of the inflatable to further secure the closure area.

5. Place your winter cover on top of the air pillows and fasten the cable through all of the covers' eyelets. Tighten the cover until it is secure.

6. Drain your pump and filter system. You might want to dump out any old sand or D.E. powder now rather than in the spring. Rinse the sand canister and store everything somewhere warm. Any water left inside the filtering system can freeze and break the plastic if left in a cold storage area.

7. Consider getting a siphon pump to remove any standing water on your winter cover, as the winter drags on. The more water you can keep off of the cover, the better chance you will have of a crystal clear pool when the cover comes off. Remove any snow you can before it melts and keep checking to make sure there isn't too much water building up on the cover.

Items you will need
  • Winter cover
  • Air pillows
  • Closing hhemicals
  • Plastic plug
  • Skimmer faceplate
  • Duct tape


  • If you use anything besides chlorine to sanitize your pool, then you need to follow the manufacturers' suggestions for winterization using their products.


  • Don't use truck inner tubes to act as your inflatables. When you open the pool there may be a black ring around the perimeter that's tough to get off.
  • Some people use gallon milk jugs tied together to act as their inflatables. Wash the jugs out with soap and water. Make sure that all caps are as secure as possible. Most important, peel all of the labels off or your pool water will do it for you.
  • Don't let your cat walk around on top of the winter cover or it will look like swiss cheese.
  • Tying weighted milk jugs on the outside of the pool to hold the cable down is not a good idea. The increased pressure on your inflatables as the cover tries to submerge them might be all they need to pop their seals and deflate.