How to Winterize An Above Ground Pool in 11 Steps

We’ve all been there. One day, you’re splashing around in your above ground pool, enjoying a seemingly endless summer. The next, you’re looking at an inbox full of back-to-school emails. Temperatures drop. Your weird neighbor, Rupert, starts wearing his “good” sweatpants on his morning run. There’s no doubt about it—summer’s coming to a close. And if you live somewhere with cold winters (or just want to close your pool for the season), you’re already thinking about how to winterize your above ground pool.

Sure, it’s a bummer when summer draws to a close. And nobody’s lining up for extra chores. But if you know how to properly close your above ground pool, you can get it done in a matter of hours and enjoy peace of mind while you wait for swim season on the other side of the thaw.

Why You Need to Know How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool

If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere with mild winters, you might not have considered what a pool needs to weather a frigid off season, and you might not close it at all. But if you live in a climate where winter comes to call with frost, snow, and deep cold, winterizing your pool—preparing it for and protecting it against winter’s ravages—is essential to keeping your pool in good working order.

During the sunny days of summer, your pool is wide open and a tempting target for insects, leaves, branches, and the occasional lost critter. That’s no big deal during swim season, because you’re performing regular maintenance.

But in the winter, your pool is unused, and it’s not so rewarding to grab a skimmer and head out in the blizzard to hunt for debris.

If you leave your pool uncovered, you’ll have serious work ahead of you come spring. In addition to having to clean out your pool, you’ll need to rebalance the water, and maybe even deal with freeze damage.

Winterizing your pool minimizes your risk of contamination and cold damage to sensitive components. You’ll save time, money, and frustration. Really, what more incentive do you need?

When to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool

Depending on where you live, your closing times will vary. But as a rule, if temperatures typically drop, and stay, below 65°F (18°C) during the off season, wait until the temperature falls below that point to close.

Why? Algae, like orchids or William Faulkner novels, need heat to thrive, and cold temps help keep your water clear of infestation. Plus, leaving your pool open until the mercury drops gives you plenty of time to clean, test, and balance your pool before closing.

If you live in an area where the temperatures occasionally rise above 65°F (18°C) for a few days during the winter, you can take advantage of the warm spell to test and balance the water chemistry. These tweaks will help you keep your water clean and clear until spring returns.

How to Do It: Just 11 Steps to Winterization

Frigid winters can be hard on just about any kind of swimming pool. With the right gear and preparation, you can soften the blow and make sure your above ground pool is ready to rock for years to come.

1. Gather Your Pool Closing Essentials

Before you winterize your above ground pool, make sure you’ve got the necessary supplies: