How To Close 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.

How To Detect Swimming Pool leaks

The water level in a pool fluctuates constantly due to a completely normal phenomenon called: evaporation. But how do you tell the difference between evaporation or a leak? How to detect a leak? What are the places to check first? What to do to stop the leak before calling a pool specialist.

How To Detect If You Have A Leak In Your Pool

The logical first step is an observation: Look around the pool carefully for any wet, or sunken down areas. Look in the pool to see if there are any cracks.

There are two things you can do to make sure you don’t have a water leak.

1) Use adhesive tape: place a strip of tape above the water level on the wall of the pool, and wait 24 hours. If the water level has dropped more than one centimeter, you have a leak.

2)Use a transparent container: Fill a container with a few pebbles (so the container does not float) and water. Place it on the steps or where both levels can be at the same height. Leave it for 24 hours and again if you notice that the level of the pool water has dropped more than one centimeter in contrast to the level of the bucket, you have a leak. Well, you have a leak, now what?

Now you have to detect where the leak comes from.

These two areas are where the water leak will normally come from.

1)Pipes and parts that are supposed to be sealed (skimmer, inlet pipes to filter and pump, drains and outlet pipes from the pump)
2)Swimming Pool Coating (liner, tiles, concrete/fiberglass structure)

How to spot a leak in a swimming pool

The filtration system is the first to be blamed when there is a leaking pool problem. The problem may be due to the wear of a seal or a leak at the connections. Before focusing on the pool itself, it is advisable to carefully check all the plumbing joints of the pump and filter. The leak can also come from microcracks in the filters tank.

If the problem does not come from the filtration system, the second step is to stop the pump and then close all the valves, to let the pool water level stabilize for 24 hours. The water level will stabilize just below the leak. If, for example, the water stabilizes below the skimmers, it means that the leak comes from there. If it stabilizes under an outlet nozzle, then the leak is there.

A simple trick is then to put a colored die in the water by the skimmer or outlet nozzle. Whichever one you think could be responsible for the leak If the colored water is sucked out of the pool, there is a leak.

That said, the leak can also be from the drain itself, or from the pool lining. It is therefore advisable to carefully check the coating of the pool, all around the pool, where the water has stabilized. In the case of microcracks in the coating, it will be necessary to call in a professional.

Remember to also check the soil around your pool. If you notice that the ground is muddy/damp in a particular area, then there is a leak in the buried pipes. Again, it is advisable to call a professional.

Is there special equipment to find a leak in a swimming pool?

There are detectors that can help find a leak in your pool.

Pressurization pump. It makes it possible to inject air or water under pressure into the pipe and then to control the pressure inside the pipes with a manometer. Constant pressure = no leakage.Pressure drop = leak.

Ultrasonic Detector. An ultra-sensitive floor microphone detects the sounds generated by the water escaping from the pipe.

Tracer gas. Gas is injected under pressure into the pipeline to exit vertically at the surface where the leak is located. A probe is used to locate the gas particles on the surface.

Infrared Thermograph. An infrared camera visualizes and measures the temperature differences between the ambient air and the water coming out of the pipe.

Endoscopic Camera. A flexible pipe fitted with a camera allows the interior of the pipes to be explored to identify a possible water leak. Thanks to a display screen and a locator, it is possible to determine the location of the leak.

Good to know. Considering the expensive price of this equipment, it is advisable to call a professional who is already equipped with it. The price of the intervention will be lower than the purchase of any leak detector kit.

How To Repair A Leak On A Swimming Pool

Leak at the filtration pump. If the seals are worn, just buy new ones and change them. This procedure is relatively simple and can be done without the help of a professional.

Leak at parts that are sealed. If the leak comes from the seals, it is possible to replace them yourself but if the part is incorrectly installed, it is better to call a specialist who can give you the benefit of his know-how.

A leak from underground pipes. This type of leak is the most delicate of all because it is difficult to gain access to the buried pipes. Fortunately, there are repair techniques that can help stop leaks from the inside of the pipe.

A leak in the liner. If you find a microcrack in the liner, it can be repaired with a special repair kit. To use underwater, it avoids you to empty your pool. If the tear is too great, it is better to replace the entire liner with a new one.

This is a product that you pour into your pool skimmer, with the pump on to seal the underground or internal pipe leaks. If the leak is small it will be sealed. How these products work is that when this solution that is in the pool water comes into contact with oxygen it hardens and stops the leak. If the leak is too big, it will not seal. then you will have to call a professional.

I hope that this article will help you in finding the leak in your pool.