How to close your above-ground swimming pool hassle free
With cooler temperatures settling in, your above-ground pool doesn’t seem quite as appealing. You’ll need to think about closing your pool for the winter. Here are 6 easy steps to reduce the risk of damage to your pool during our rigorous Canadian winters. You’ll thank us for it in the spring!
Step 1: Choose the right moment
Experts recommend that you put off closing your pool as long as possible. You can even postpone it until mid-November.
Until then, check your thermometer. As soon as the water temperature drops to 10°C (50°F), you can close your pool. That way, you can be sure that the water and chemical balance is maintained before you close it. You’ll also prevent algae from forming and your pool will be easier to re-open in the spring.
Step 2: Perform a deep clean of your pool
If you don’t want your pool looking like a swamp in the spring, clean the pool one last time. Microorganisms and algae could also damage your pool liner.
Cleaning the pool
A week before closing the pool, get a head start by cleaning the sand or cartridge filter.
The day before or the day you close the pool:
- Remove all accessories, including the solar cover, ladder and thermometer.
- Vacuum the bottom of the pool and use the leaf eater on the surface.
- Do a backwash according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Balance the water’s pH levels. Adjust the water’s alkalinity level to between 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm) and pool pH between 7.2 and 7.6. If you don’t hit these levels, apply the required treatments.
- Do one last treatment by increasing the quantity of chlorine. Do the same with a saltwater pool.
Clean the portion of your liner not submerged in the water. If a ring has formed near the edge of your pool, simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. You should note, however, that the use of a cleaning product could change the water’s chemical balance.
To clean your solar cover, lay it on the ground and hose it down gently. Let it dry and then store it away from the sun and elements.
Step 3: Draining your pool
Now that everything is spic 'n span, you can drain your pool. The first step is to lower the water level. This is important because since the water freezes over, it expands and can damage your liner. Here’s how to do it:
- Turn off the pump.
- Use the Drain or Waste function to lower the water level to about 50 cm below the skimmer. Be careful not to drain the pool in Backwash mode. Otherwise, you could have serious damage on your hands. The level should be at about 50 cm below the backwash.
- Using the 3-way bypass valve knob, close the flow inlet of the skimmer completely.
- Restart the pump. The pool will then empty through the bottom drain.
- If your pool does not have a bottom drain, set to Drain or Waste and turn on the filter. Turn off the pump when the water reaches the desired level.
- Remove the water return heads.
- Pour the products from your winterizing closing kit, which are used to maintain the water’s chemical balance during the winter.
- Disconnect the hoses to drain them. You can let the laws of gravity do the rest. That's what’s so appealing about above-ground pools!
Step 4: Replacing parts and accessories
Protect your pool's essential parts, such as the pump, filter, heater and pipes. To prevent damage from freezing, drain them completely.
- Unscrew the hose that connects the filter to the pump, the pressure gauge and the filter barrel. Store them in a dry place.
- Be sure to remove the tank cap.
- Set the filter to Winterize. If you can’t find this mode on your filter, set it between two positions.
- Cover the filter lid to protect it.
- Turn off the circuit breaker.
- Disconnect the pump and drain the water.
- Clean the basket.
- Unscrew the drain plugs under the pump.
- Drain the water.
- Clean and dry the pump.
- Store it in a dry and frost-free place.
- Remove the drain plug, if there’s one, and drain the water from the unit.
- Cover the heat pump with a protective canvass.
- If you have a gas heater, turn off the power to the main cylinder, then install the liner.
Step 5: Pouring in the antifreeze
To avoid costly damage to your pipes, use antifreeze. It will protect your pool's bottom drain during the winter. Here’s how to do it:
- First, remove the door and skimmer basket.
- Pour the antifreeze directly into the pipe secured to the pool ledge. If your above-ground pool is 21 feet or less, one gallon should be more than enough. If it's larger, double the dose.
- Wait until the antifreeze in the skimmer appears in the bottom drain.
- Insert coiled insulating foam (etafoam) inside the pipe from the skimmer to the drain and another in the pipe from the valve to the pump motor.
- Fold the ends of the foam to make sure they stay firmly in place.
- Install the Styrofoam skimmer guards. Place the first protective guard at the bottom of the skimmer and the second one inside the skimmer through the opening from inside the pool.
- Secure both ends together with a wooden rod.
Step 6: Installing the winter canvas
The only thing left to do is to install the winter canvas. It prevents debris from falling into the water and protects it from UV rays.
- To install the cover on your above-ground pool, use cables and steel wire tensioners. They will secure the cover around the pool.
- Check the tension of the cables a few times during the winter. The weight of snow and ice can sometimes increase the tension, putting pressure on the pool structure and may cause damage. Loosen the cables as needed.
Wait for the first snowfall with peace of mind
Now that you've closed the pool, your job is done. You won't need to maintain your pool or shovel snow from the driveway and car for a few glorious weeks!