How to Winterize An Above Ground Pool

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

How to Winterize An Above Ground Pool

In this post, I'll teach you How to Winterize An Above Ground Pool in the easiest way I know!

Once the weather starts to cool down it's time to prep your pool for winter. This will help prevent damage from unexpected winter storms, protect your pool cover and get you ready for next spring.

How to Winterize An Above Ground Pool

Below are some useful tips that can help prepare your above-ground pool for the upcoming cold-weather season.

If you're looking to winterize your inground pool, see our article here: How To Winterize A Pool

1) Prepare Your Pool For Winter Lay-up

If you live in an area where temperatures reach below 45 degrees, you will want to drain all of the water out of your above ground pool.

This is so that when freezing temperatures arrive inside your closed-up pool - no cracks or leaks are formed around the fittings, pumps, or skimmer areas.

It may be a good idea to remove excess debris on top of your pool cover, in addition to any above-ground pool toys that may be left outside.

2) Next, it's time to drain your pool.

To do this, simply remove the drain plug on the bottom of your pool, and position a hose to begin draining.

Note: Be sure that your water pump is turned off while draining the pool. If you leave it on, all of the debris from the inside of your pool will get sucked into your water pump or filter system - which will be a huge headache when spring rolls around again.

Important: NEVER DRAIN YOUR ABOVE GROUND POOL ALL THE WAY, this could cause it to collapse.  

If you have an above-ground pool with a vinyl pool liner, drain the pool to about 1 inch below the bottom of the skimmer mouth.

3) Clean & Brush Your Pool

Once you have drained your pool it's time to start winterizing.

Using a ladder and a long-handled brush, clean the walls and floor of your pool thoroughly removing any dirt or debris.

Be sure to wipe down the side of the pool facing in towards the water as well as around all fittings and return jets.

When this is done, add small amounts of non-toxic winterizing chemicals into the water until dissolved. This will help prevent freezing overnight temperatures from damaging your pool when you close it up for winter.

4) Test & Clean The Skimmer Valve

One important thing to do before closing up your pool for the season is to make sure the water level inside the skimmer valve box is set correctly - since this determines the amount of water that is drawn into the pump.

You should also clean your skimmer and pump basket so it's free of any leaves or other debris before closing up the pool for the season.

5) Remove The Filter Cartridge and Deep Clean The Pump

Another thing you will want to do before placing your winter cover over your pool is to remove the filter cartridge from your vacuum suction side of the pool filter pump - this way when freezing temperatures arrive inside, no cracks or leaks can be formed around the fittings where the filter was once hooked up.

In addition, take a look under your cartridge for any sign of growth or algae build-up.

If there are signs of algae, use an algaecide product to ensure it doesn't return next season.

You may also want to check the impeller (the rubber wheel inside the pool pump) and make sure its clean - if it's not, replace it with a new one.

6) Cover Your Above Ground Pool For Winter

A winter safety cover is a must for every above-ground pool owner - it will help prevent leaves and debris from falling into your pool during the cold months of winter.

It's also an extra layer of protection against sudden frost/freezing temperatures or potential snowstorms you may experience.  There are some great above ground pool covers on amazon, here.

7) Inspect The Pool Liner For Any Damage

Another thing you will want to do before placing your winter cover over your above ground pool is to inspect the vinyl liner for any damage or leaks that may have occurred throughout the summer months.

If there are signs of damage, now is the time to treat any rips or tears in your pool liner so they don't get larger while you're away for winter break.

It should be noted that during colder months, the water pressure inside an above ground pool can slowly pull the sidewalls of the pool inwards. For this reason, it can be a good idea to take down your above ground pool ladder before winter arrives (or during the fall months) so that when freezing temperatures arrive inside - no cracks or leaks are formed around the fittings where the ladder was once hooked up.

And lastly, make sure you place your winter cover over your above ground pool at least 24 hours or more before any snow or frost begins to form on top of it.

This will help prevent any ice damage from occurring, while also protecting your pool cover from any sudden snow/frost storms you may experience throughout the cold months of winter break.

8) Bonus Tip

A final tip is to check all inflation valves every other week during the cold season to ensure they are still inflated properly.

For every three days that elapses, an inflation valve can lose air equivalent to a large bubble!

Be sure to take a look at the owner's manual of your pool for more information on how to properly winterize your above-ground pool.

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Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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