How To Winterize an Above Ground Pool for Winter

Every fall is the time to close the pool. It is best to wait until the water temperature is below 12 degrees Celsius or 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool water will retain its properties and algae will not be able to grow. In addition, it will be easier to reopen your pool in the spring.

Several steps are necessary to close an above-ground pool. Remember: the water will not freeze completely inside the pool. Without proper precautions, you could damage the pool and related equipment.

Here are the steps to close an above ground pool.

  • Stop the pump.
  • Move the 3-position valve valve so as to close the skimmer and leave only the bottom drain open.
  • Put the filter in the drain or waste position.
  • If necessary, unroll the filter drain hose into the garden.
  • Start the pump.
  • Lower the water level in the pool to 18 inches below the skimmer line.
  • Stop the pump
  • Move the 3-position valve so as to close the pump inlet and leave the skimmer and the bottom drain open.
  • Remove the jet from its location and store it.
  • Gently remove all the external pipes (between the pump and the 3-position valve, between the pump and the filter and between the filter and the jet.
  • Store the pipes.
  • Remove and store the pump caps and rotate it in all directions to remove any remaining water.
  • Clean the pump basket.
  • Store the pump.
  • Remove and store the basket and the skimmer valve.
  • Remove and store the filter cap.
  • Remove and store the pressure gauge from the filter.
  • Remove the glass eye of the filter with the sealing rubber.
  • Put the filter handle in the ” winterization ” position or between two positions.
  • Store the filter drain hose and blow air through it so that no water remains.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the skimmer.
  • Add a gallon of antifreeze to the skimmer.
  • Add and securely fix a gray expansion rod of approximately 24inches in the skimmer pipe.
  • Add a set of 2-parts above-ground skimmer foam to the skimmer
  • Don’t forget to put a wooden stick to hold the 2 foam blocks
  • Place the skimmer cover in a plastic bag and replace it.
  • Add a set of sealing chemicals to the pool water.
  • Winterize the water heater if necessary.
  • For an electric water heater or heat pump
  • – If necessary remove the drainage plug.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Tilt the water heater a little forward.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a gas water heater
  • – If necessary remove the drain plug under the water inlet and outlet or on the sides.
  • – Remove and store the pressure switch or pressure valve.
  • – Blow air inside to purge it entirely of water.
  • – Shut off the gas supply on the main cylinder or on the outlet near the main inlet.
  • – Shut off the gas supply near the water heater.
  • – Set the intensity indicator to the ” off ” position.
  • – Put the pilot indicator in the ” off ” position.
  • – Put a sheet over the water heater to prevent dirt and snow from getting inside.
  • For a solar water heater
  • – Remove as many stoppers as possible from the line leading to the panel.
  • – Blow air through to be sure that no water remains.
  • – Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the automatic actuator.
  • – Reinstall the caps.
  • Other Equipment
  • Store the steps or ladder.
  • Store the lights.
  • Store all small parts inside the pump basket so as not to lose them.
  • Store the chlorinator and drain the water inside.
  • Dispose of the contents inside of the chlorinator.
  • Install the winter cover or net on the pool if available.
  • Put boat grease on the bolts which might rust during the winter.
  • Secure the pool area to avoid any risk of injury or drowning.
  • Safely store the pool chemicals in a dry place.


  • Clean your pool before closing.
  • Keep your pool free of algae and make sure the water quality is good before closing.
  • Put a leaf net or liner over the pool to reduce the number of leaves in the pool. In addition, the pool will be safer.
  • Switch off the electricity supply to swimming pool equipment ( pump, water heater, salt system).
  • Store the pump and the salt system indoors or under cover if possible.
  • Clean your pool equipment before storing them (ladder, step, light).
  • Secure the entrance to the pool so that no one has access to it.
  • Never break the ice in or on the pool.
  • Do not walk on the pool during winter.
  • In spring, as soon as the ice in the pool has melted, open the pool.

Common Mistakes

It is important to look after your pool. Homeowners often forget a few steps which, if not done, will damage equipment.

The most common errors are:

  • Forgetting to close the drain valve. Result: the pool empties;
  • Forgetting to add antifreeze, which leads in particular to broken pipes;
  • Storing the pump outdoors, causing premature wear.

If done correctly, the closing of the pool has an advantage. In the spring, it will be easier for you to reopen the pool and benefit from it during the first hot days. You will also save money due to less faulty or broken equipment.