There is no absolute method for closing a swimming pool. Because swimming pools vary across the country, there is not one method exclusively used. With the varieties of swimming pools and their locations, we can't pinpoint a certain method for closing your swimming pool for the winter, but we can make a generic list of necessary steps for the majority of pool owners to follow.
Should I close my pool? In climates where this is no risk of freezing, closing down the pool for the winter is not so important. If you have freezing temperatures however, you will need to close the pool. In-Ground pools will need the pipes emptied, above-ground pools need to be closed too so ice does not drag down the wall and cause the pool to collapse.
Your pool should be covered to prevent leaves and other debris from falling in. They can be covered by Winter Covers, Safety Covers and Leaf Nets.
>> Step 1 - Preparation
Prior to closing, ensure the pool water is balanced using your test kit or by taking the water to a local store for testing. Adjust the chemical levels as necessary; this is an important step to protect the pool from corrosion and scale buildup that may occur when the pool is closed down for the winter months. Many of the Pool Chemical Closing Kits will include everything you need to winterize your pool and include free closing instructions.
>> Step 2 - Remove Equipment
Remove all deck equipment such as ladders, rails, etc.
>> Step 3 - One Final Cleaning
Give the pool one final cleaning; brush down the walls, floors and vacuum. This will help eliminate staining.
>> Step 4 - Add Your Closing Chemicals
Add the winterizing chemicals to help maintain water quality during the off-season.
>> Step 5 - Clean and Close Your Filter
Clean the filter, skimmer and basket. If you have a chlorinator, remove all unused chlorine product. Cartridge elements and DE grids should be cleaned and stored. Sand should simply be backwashed.
>> Step 6 - Lower Your Pool Water
In-Ground Pools: Lower your pool water below the return lines and skimmer. Use an air compressor or shop vac to blow the water out of the lines by forcing air down the skimmer and out through the plumbing line.
Above-Ground Pools: Lower your pool water below the return lines and skimmer or you can use winter plugs to close off the lines.
>> Step 7 - Close Off the Pool Lines
In-Ground Pools: Cap off return lines by using threaded or expandable rubber winter plugs. Add pool antifreeze by pouring it through the skimmer (you should use 1 gallon per 10' of distance from the pump to the pool). Remove all drain plugs from the pool equipment (pump, filter tank, etc.). Keep them stored in the pump basket so you do not lose them.
Above-Ground Pools: If you use a flexible hose, these should be removed and stored for the winter. Remove all drain plugs from the pool equipment (pump, filter tank, etc.). Keep them stored in the pump basket so you do not lose them.
>> Step 8 - Pillow Time
No, it's not time for a nap. If you are using an air pillow, you will need to inflate the pillow and place in the center of the pool. You can keep them in place by using the grommets and string. You can also use other floating objects such as life rings or basketballs. Air pillows are a good idea for areas with colder climates in case the water freezes. The water will freeze inward on the pillow instead of outward which may damage the pool wall. Pillows are NOT used to create a dome-like effect to keep the rain off of your winter cover.
>> Step 9 - Time to Apply the Cover
In-Ground Pools: Place the winter or safety cover over the pool surface, black side down.
Winter Cover Installation - place water tubes end to end around the edge of the pool, fill them 3/4 full of water. Be careful not to overfill as they will burst if the water freezes and expands. You should never use bricks or concrete blocks as they can damage both the cover and pool.
Safety Cover Installation - this will vary depending on the type of anchors used with your pool. See the cover installation instructions that were provided with your cover.
Above-Ground Pools: Place the winter cover over the pool surface, black side down.
Pools with no deck thread the cable through the grommets and use the winch provided to tighten the cable, securing the cover around the pool.
Pools with a deck can normally place water tubes around the edge of the pool. You should never use bricks or concrete blocks as they can damage both the cover and pool.
>> Step 10 - Add a Cover Pump if Needed
In-Ground Pools: Place a cover pump in the center of the pool to drain off excess water accumulated on the cover. This is a very important step as it may cause cover to rip or pull the cover into the pool. This is normally a step for solid covers only.
Above-Ground Pools: Some covers require a cover pump be placed in the center of the pool to drain off excess water accumulated on the cover. This is a very important step as it may cause cover to rip or pull the cover into the pool.
Well...The hard parts are now over and before you know it, you will be enjoying your swimming pool in the spring.
Reminder: If you use a Leaf Net to make spring removal a little less messy, don't forget to remove the leaf net before the first snow.