All good things, including weekends and vacations, come to an end. Even seemingly endless summers conclude. Unless you can swim year-round (lucky you!), closing your pool for the colder months is essential. This article guides you through on why, when, and how to do this properly. Doing so will set you up for an easier start next season, saving time and money.

Why We Need to Close and Winterize Inground Pools

Closing your pool correctly for winter prevents unsightly debris, algae, and potential damage to your skimmer. Proper closure means a more manageable and cheaper reopening in spring. Moreover, by closing your pool, you save current effort and expenses on cleaning, chemicals, and running the pump, even with cost-effective equipment.

When Should We Close Our Pools

Take notice when temperatures consistently hover around 65 degrees, and close your pool when temps drop below this threshold. This allows you to maintain your pool use for as long as possible until winter sets in while helping to prevent algae formation during the colder months.

Preparing to Close an Inground Pool

Be sure to have all the supplies needed to close your pool.

  • Winterized pool/pump covers
  • Pool brush/vacuum
  • Plugs for return jets and skimmer plug
  • Shop-Vac, ladder, etc.
  • WinterPill
  • Water test strips
  • Pool chemicals: chlorine, shock, algaecide, metal sequestrant, enzymes, and pool antifreeze
  • pH increaser/pH decreaser
  • Alkalinity increaser/ calcium hardness increaser

Ten Steps to Close Your Pool

Mastering this ten-step process will become easier over time and will make your opening season much more relaxed. Remember, pool maintenance is a long-term commitment, but your efforts now will pay off in the spring.

Step 1: Thoroughly Clean Your Pool

Brush the pool’s bottom and sides, focusing on areas prone to algae. This removes potential algae spores and preps the pool for shock treatment. After brushing, vacuum the floor to collect any remaining sediment, ensuring it doesn’t reattach during winter.

Step 2: Balance Your Pool Water

Maintaining balanced water is crucial, even while you’re closing the pool for the season. With the pool covered and the pump inactive, your efforts now will keep the water in better condition through winter. Ensuring the correct balance of sanitizer and chemicals protects against corrosion, excessive cloudiness, and potentially expensive repairs. Balanced water sets the stage for the upcoming steps.

Step 3: Add Winterizing Chemicals

While balancing chemicals prevent swampy waters, winterizing goes beyond regular maintenance. For pools prone to algae, apply one or two doses of algaecide. If there’s a risk of metal stains due to high metal levels or excessive algaecide, introduce a dose of metal sequestrant. Enhance algaecide efficiency with pool enzymes, which combat organic contaminants. Consider using the WinterPill, a chlorine and clarifier combo that releases over months. If freezing is a concern, add pool-grade antifreeze — avoid automotive antifreeze as it’s toxic.

Step 4: Give Your Pool a Shock Treatment

For outdoor pools, it’s crucial to shock the pool, but do this at dusk or nighttime to prevent the sun from negating the effect. After shocking at sunset, run the pump for eight hours, and prepare for the subsequent steps the next day. If you’ve recently removed algae, adjust the shock amount based on its intensity. Always ensure you use the correct shock amount for your pool’s size.

Step 5: Adjust Your Pool’s Water Level

For those in colder climates, you will need to lower the pool’s water level to prevent damage from freezing. When draining, ensure the chemically treated water is disposed of appropriately per local guidelines.

Regarding how much water to lower:

  • For vinyl liners, reduce by an inch.
  • For plaster or non-vinyl liners:
  • Decrease by six inches for solid covers.
  • Eighteen to twenty-four inches for mesh covers.
  • For automatic covers, drain to the bottom of the skimmer.

Always consult with your liner’s manufacturer for specific recommendations.

Step 6: Refresh Your Filter Pump

Ensure your filter is clean so it doesn’t contaminate your pool next season with lingering debris.

  • For cartridge filters: Remove the cartridge, soak it in a pool filter cleaner, rinse, dry, and replace.
  • For sand and DE filters: Backwash is needed. After backwashing, switch the valve back to “filter” and drain all water from the pump, filter, and heater (if you have one).

Step 7: Empty Your System to Prevent Freezing

For those in freezing climates, removing all water from your plumbing is essential to avoid pipe damage. While antifreeze helps, it’s not a complete solution. Use an air compressor or a ShopVac to blow out and ensure the lines are completely dry.

Step 8: Remove and Store Pool Accessories

Remove pool ladders, rails, and other accessories to protect your pool and prevent corrosion. Clean, dry, and store them safely. Store all electronics indoors. In warmer climates, even if lines aren’t blown out, remove return fittings from jets and the line for automatic cleaners. Clean and remove skimmer baskets. For saltwater pools, remove, drain, and store the chlorine generator and turn off all power and gas.

Step 9: Secure Your Pool with a Winter Cover

A winterized cover protects the pool from debris and ensure chemicals stay balanced. The cover will prevent contaminants and rain, snow, etc. from affecting the pool. Ensure there are no gaps. While covers typically rest on the pool’s water and may accumulate rainwater, regularly check and avoid letting it sink. You can prevent this by using a reliable cover pump to remove accumulated water and keep the cover in place.

Step 10: Anticipate the Next Season!

As summer wraps up and our swimsuits retreat and floaties deflate, remember there’s excitement ahead. By responsibly closing your pool, next season’s start will be hassle-free. Meanwhile, savor the fall and winter seasons and minimal pool upkeep.


Pound Pool Plastering services residential and commercial pools in applying a wide variety of pool plaster finishes and complete renovations. We offer Diamond Brite, Sunstone, Hydrazzo, and Marcite – and a great selection of tile choices and coping stones. Owner Dale Pound personally oversees each pool project to ensure the highest quality is delivered. Call or email us for a free estimate.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

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