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How to Winterize Your Pool in 4 Steps

Do you know what to do with your swimming pool once the temperatures drop? Learn how to get your pool ready for winter, so it'll be in tip-top shape next summer.

Pool cover for winter

While a few lucky homeowners may enjoy swimming, splashing and wading in their back yards during the summer months, all good things must eventually come to an end — pool season included. Even before you can feel the autumn crispness in the air, it's important that you begin making preparations to ensure your pool will remain in tip-top shape for next summer. That means exercising care and learning how to winterize a pool.

Why Winterizing A Pool Matters

According to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), making your pool winter-ready accomplishes three important goals. First, by learning how to winterize your pool, you will be able to preserve its water quality year-round. Secondly, winterizing your pool helps to keep your equipment both secure and in good working condition. Finally, winterizing your pool is essential to protecting your pool's structural integrity, including surfaces and finishes (for example, your pool's tile work), and preventing the kind of damage that can result in costly repairs. 

How To Winterize A Pool

The winterization process depends on the type of pool you own (above ground or in-ground), the type of water your pool contains (salt or chlorine) and the type of equipment you use to keep your pool clean and operational. The degree to which you will need to winterize will also vary depending on what part of the country you call home. If winter doesn't bring with it many days and nights of sub-freezing temperatures where you live, your preparations will likely be more straightforward.

The first step of the winterization process is to check all pool-related manufacturer's instructions and recommendations. You'll want to follow them along the way. Once you've written out your specific checklist, you can begin to winterize. 

Clean Your Pool

First, remove any debris with a skimmer and/or net, and remove any pool toys or temporary accessories like ladders or diving boards. This is also the time to scrub down your pool walls and clean its filtration system.

Check Your Water Chemistry

Next, it’s time to make sure the pool water's chemicals are properly balanced.

  • Your pool water's pH balance should measure between 7.2 and 7.6.
  • Your should set your pool water's calcium levels between 175 and 225 parts per million.
  • Your pool water's alkalinity should fall between 125 and 150 parts per million unless your pool is constructed from gunite or plaster. If so, alkalinity should measure between 80 and 125 parts per million. 
  • If yours is a chlorine pool, ensure its levels are stable.

With these adjustments made, now it’s time to add preventative chemicals like granular chlorine and algaecide to prevent the algae growth.

Drain Your Pool

To prepare for winter, you'll need to lower the water level in your pool as well. Remove enough water from the pool to make sure its water line now rests at least six inches below the skimmer opening. This number will vary depending on pool type and manufacturer's guidelines.

Switch Off

Finally, turn off the filter pump to the pool. Drain and store all equipment as directed. If you live in a cooler client, you also might want to add pool anti-freeze to the water before covering it.

While it might seem like a lot of work to prepare your pool for winter, its an investment worth protecting. Consider further protecting that investment with an American Home Shield® Home Warranty. That way, if you find your pool unusable or malfunctioning any time of the year, we can help you be prepared for a breakdown and help protect your budget.

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