How Do I Winterize my Inground Pool?

Right, swimming season is over, and there’s an icy winter looming. If you do not want your pool equipment damaged or destroyed, then you need to winterize your pool.

To winterize your pool, you need to remove all water out of your pool equipment. First, back-wash your pool filter, and drain the pool until the water line is a few inches below the skimmer. Use a shop vacuum and air compressor, remove all water from your pump, skimmer, pipes, valves, and filter.

When winter is in full swing, water inside any equipment will start to freeze. As most of us know, this ice then expands and can cause an unbelievable amount of damage to swimming pool equipment. So, I highly recommend that you read on as I discuss in more detail how to winterize your pool.

Why Should I Winterize my Pool?

You should always winterize your pool when you are not going to be using it for a long period of time. Winterizing, or closing your pool, will protect it from the harsh effects of expanding ice.

If you don’t winterize your pool, water trapped in the pump, for example, will freeze and expand, and because it is trapped inside the pump with nowhere to go, it could pop open airtight compartments in your pump, damaging it beyond repair.

The same thing happens to other pool equipment such as pipes, jets, skimmer, and pool cleaner.

How to winterize your pool, step by step with some pro tips

What you will need to winterize your pool.

1. Test and clean the pool water. The first thing you need to do, is to make sure the pool is absolutely spotless. If you have any aglea, follow the steps in this article “How Do You Clear a Green Pool Overnight?” and the come back to this article to finish winterizing your pool.

2. Make sure you remove all leaves and debris out of the pool. Don’t forget the skimmer and skimmer basket. Remove any dirt from the pool surface by vigorous brushing, then vacuuming. Check the basket in the pool pump too. Make sure the pool pump is switched off when removing the pump cover.

3. Test the pH and Alkalinity, and make sure that it balances. If you find that it is out of balance, read my article “How do I raise or lower the pH and Alkalinity in my Pool?” to fix that. then come back here to finish winterizing your pool.

4. Backwash, and drain the pool 2 inches below the skimmer. Fist turn off the pump, set your filter to backwash, and the valve to the main drain. Let the pool backwash for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the backwash water turns clear.

5. Now shut off the pump and turn the multiport valve waste, and turn the pump back on. Let your pool drain until the waterline is at least 2 inches below the skimmer opening. The water line does not need to be below the return jets, we will plug those up later.

6. Remove water from the lines and equipment. Remove all attachments such a return jet fittings, skimmer lid and basket, pool cleaner, and hoses from the pool.

7. Drain the pool pump. There are two plugs in the pump, one in the front near the inlet, and another at the back where the impeller is. Store the pump drain plugs in the pump basket so you don’t lose them.

8. Empty your filter by removing the drain plug from the bottom of the housing and be sure to set the multiport valve to backwash so that it is open and can drain.

If you have an automatic chlorine feeder, open that up and remove any chlorine tablets from it. You should also make sure that any other valves should be in the open position.

9. Connect the air compressor to the pump. Thread the 1/4 inch brass hose fitting that you bought into drain opening on your pump. Attach the air compressor and set your multiport valve to recirculate. Set the pump valve to your skimmer line.

10. Use the air compressor and the shop vacuum to blow out all the lines, removing the water. Now turn on the air compressor. This will pump air through your pump and skimmer line, forcing any water in there out of the skimmer opening.

Use the shop vacuum and suck all that water out of the skimmer until it is empty and dry. Now you can plug up the skimmer using one of the Rubber Winterizing Expansion Plugs you bought.

You will notice air coming out of the return lines or jets. Plug those up while the air compressor is still running to prevent water from running back into those lines.

Now, with the air compressor still attached to the pump drain, change the pump valve to the main drain. You will notice air bubbles coming from your main drain at the bottom of the pool. Let that run for a few minutes. Now you can turn the pump valve back to the skimmer, creating an airlock in the main drain line, and then turn off the air compressor.

Your pool lines and equipment should now be free of all water. As added insurance, in case any water gets back into your skimmer, pour some RV antifreeze in there. Do NOT use car antifreeze, only use RV or marine antifreeze because it is non-toxic.

10. Turn off the power. Be sure to turn off the pump power supply at the electrical distribution board so that the pump cannot run by accident. Running your pump dry like this can seriously damage it.

11. Add winter chemicals. I recommend the PoolStyle Delux Dual Action Winter Kit. The kit contains all the treatments you need to prep your pool for winter. It includes winter stain & scale control, Non-chlorinating shock, winterizing powder which is also a pH buffer.

12. Cover your swimming pool. This is good for safety, and it will also protect the chlorine in the pool from getting destroyed by the sun’s UV rays. It will also keep your water slightly warmer, delaying the freezing. The cover will also help to reduce water loss due to evaporation.

When Do I NOT Need To Winterise My Pool?

There are certain situations when winterizing your pool is not necessary, and certain situations when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. If your area is subject to freezing temperatures, then you must winterize your pool. Here are a few examples where you do not need to winterize your pool.

  • When the temperature stays warm enough to swim all year round. As long as the water can’t freeze in the lines, then it’s not necessary to winterize. However, if you don’t winterize, you will have to make sure you continue your pool maintenance routine as you usually would.
  • When you have a heated pool. I am hesitant though to recommend not winterizing your pool because it is heated. Sure, the water can’t freeze while the water is kept warm, but if the heating system fails, and the water starts to freeze, you’re in for an expensive repair bill after winter. If you insist on running your heated pool through winter, make sure that the heating and pump are ALWAYS in working order.
  • If you have a temperature-controlled indoor pool. This is quite obvious, if the water can be kept warm, then it cant freeze and therefore there is no need to winterize your indoor pool.

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