Pool winterizing chemical tips
Tips on winterizing your pool... for the Snowbelt and Sunbelt!
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pool winterizing chemical tips
Tips: Winterizing the Pool for
the off season…
Balance the water chemistry:
Approximately 3 - 7 days prior to closing the pool,
adjust your water balance within the ranges below:
pH: 7.2 - 7.6
Alkalinity: 80 - 120 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 180 - 220 ppm
Then, shock the pool with a Chlorine Shock or a
Non-Chlorine Shock, at least 1lb per 10,000 gallons
(follow package directions). Allow the chlorine level
to return to 1.0 - 3.0 ppm before adding any winter
algaecide and your pool cover. Chlorine tends to
break down both algaecides and [floating] pool
Remove skimmer baskets, wall fittings, cleaners,
solar blankets, ladders from the pool.
Put these in a safe location during the winter. Don't
coil pool cleaners hoses tight.
Lower water level in pool.
Using the filter pump, or a submersible pump, lower
the level 12" - 18" below the skimmer for mesh
covers, and 3" - 6" below the tile for solid, floating
covers. If you are using an Equator skimmer cover
on aboveground or in ground pools for some vinyl
lined pools, the water level will not need to be
Drain all pumping, filtering, heating and
Every pump, filter, heater and chlorinator has drain
plugs to allow water to drain out. All water must be
drained or blown out or it will freeze and crack.
After draining, D.E. filter grids or Cartridge filters
should be removed and cleaned thoroughly. If the
filter and pump is small enough to remove it and
store it indoors, this may be desirable. If not, using a
small amount of air from a shop vacuum,
compressor or Mighty Vac is good to blow out any
water that may still be in the equipment.
Fall closing of the pool is a good time to lubricate
the pump lid O-ring O-rings with Magic Lube. If you
have a push-pull valve (also known as a slide valve)
on the filter, lubricate it's O-rings as well. If you have
a gas heater with cast iron plugs, lubricate these
threads or leave the plugs in after draining to
Skim pool, vacuum pool, brush pool. Leaf rake (bag)
types skim nets are best. Also useful for scooping
large amounts of leaves/debris from pool floor. If
pool is especially silty or has lots of algae, Vacuum
Pool to Waste. This means to bypass the filter, and
vacuum dirt from floors/walls out the backwash
line. This prevents constant clogging/cleaning of
filter. Place the multiport filter valve on drain to
waste position (usually 2pm, if viewed as a clock
face) If you have a push-pull filter valve, or a
cartridge type filter there is no easy way to vacuum
to waste, except for cutting the pipe coming out of
the pump and then reconnecting afterwards. Brush
the pool thoroughly. The pool should be as clean
and clear as possible before covering.
Winterize the plumbing to and from the pool
If you have an in ground pool, you should blow out
the lines using a Mighty Vac to blow air from the
skimmer, through the equipment, and back to the
pool. Then plug the lines at the pool using
expansion plugs. If you don't blow the lines, add
Swimming Pool Antifreeze into the line (follow
package directions). Above ground pools usually just
need to disconnect the hoses to and from the pump
and filter, and plug the wall outlets.
Add winterizing algaecide and other floaters.
Remember not to add algaecide and shock at the
same time. This tends to result in the chlorine
breaking down the algaecide. High chlorine levels
can also be harsh to floating solid pool covers. For
winter chemical kits,
If you'd rather not worry about the pool this winter, and save 4-5 months of pump electricity and
chemical expense - you can do a partial pool winterization. For many of those in the white
portions of the map, a partial pool closing can be preferable to maintaining an unused pool all
1. Balance your water chemistry
You know - pH, Alkalinity and Calcium
Hardness levels. Use a quality test kit and
adjust to correct levels. After balancing, shock
the pool with either chlorine or non-chlorine
based pool shock.
2. Vacuum, Brush and Skim your pool
In that order. Even if your pool cleaner keeps
your pool very clean, a good brushing of the
pool surfaces, with a good pool brush is
important before shutting down for the winter.
3. Lower the water level below the skimmer
If you have a separate main drain, close the
skimmers and continue backwashing or
draining water to 1-2" below the skimmer
opening for a solid cover, or 6-8" for a mesh
cover. You can usually "suck the skimmers
dry", after the water level has dropped below
the opening to the skimmer. Do this by opening
the skimmer valve slowly, while it's running full
steam on the main drain only. You may be able
to hear the skimmer sucking air, just before the
air gets sucked into the pump. Just as the air
from the skimmer line reaches the pump, close
the valve quickly, to resume pumping from the
main drain only. Using this method, you will
remove most of the water from the skimmer.
4. Cover the Pool
Options for covering the pool include safety
pool covers, solid pool covers and leaf
nets. Safety pool covers can be either mesh or
solid, and are made to fit the exact shape of
your pool (plus one foot all around). These
covers anchor into the deck for safety, they
look great, and can last over 12 years. Solid
covers are laminated polypropylene tarps that
float on the water, and are held in place with
water bags placed around the edge. A small
cover pump, attached to a garden hose, is
needed to pump off rain water.
Leaf nets are not really meant to be used as a
winter cover, but would be better than having
none at all. Leaf nets will block some of the sun,
but not nearly as much as a solid cover or a
Blocking the sun is a big part of what winter
pool covers do, in addition to keeping debris
and dust out of the pool. This will help to ensure
that your unfiltered water will stay fresh and
clean. Without a winter cover, most stagnant
pools will grow algae when water temps are
above 60 degrees.
5. Drain the Equipment
If your pool equipment is below the level of the
pool water, draining the equipment is difficult,
and different steps would be involved. But,
assuming that your pump and filter is at or
above water level, you can simply remove the
drain plugs on all your pumping, filtering,
heating and sanitizing equipment. Move all of
your valves, including the backwash valve, to
make sure no water is left standing inside or up
against a closed valve.
What about the underground plumbing
lines? For most sunbelt pools, these need not
be drained or blown out, as they are for
Snowbelt pools. For the water to freeze in
underground pipes, a freeze of 1-2 weeks
duration is usually necessary. If you want to add
some insurance, you can pour some pool
antifreeze into the skimmer lines, and use a
hose to pour some into your return lines. An
extra step for skimmers is to plug the lines with
And that's how you can winterize a sunbelt pool. It's
everything a northern pool would do, with the
exception of blowing out the lines. The benefits to
this type of partial winterization for sunbelt pool
•Reduce pool maintenance for 4-6 months.
•Reduce wear and tear on your pool equipment.
•Reduce electrical and chemical consumption.
•Increase pool safety, when a safety cover is used.
Cover the pool.
A tight fit of your pool cover is essential. Your cover should not have holes or gaps where leaves and
debris may enter the pool. A mesh safety cover provides the highest protection and safety. Solid
pool covers are not safe and will require a cover pump or siphon to remove rain water and snow
melt. Water Bags or AquaBloks are used to secure an in ground solid pool cover. Above ground pool
covers use a cable/winch device to secure the cover around the pool. Air Pillows are used in above
ground pools to absorb the expansion of ice inside the pool. In areas of high wind, an above ground
pool owner will find wall bags or cover seal useful products. A leaf net is very useful if you have a lot
of trees surrounding your pool.