With the Labor Day holiday over, pool season will be ending in many areas of the country. If you live in an area with a seasonal climate, you’ll probably be closing your pool in the next few weeks. Here are 10 steps to follow when winterizing your pool.


  1. 1.  Consider your timing. While you may be ready to close your pool by mid-September, the ideal time is when daytime temperatures begin to range in the low 70’s to 60’s—closer to mid-October. Once the water temperature is lower, there is less chlorine demand, meaning it will last longer over the winter.  Also, winterizing chemicals last about four months so it’s best to close the pool in the fall to prevent algae blooms come springtime.


  1. 2.  Do a visual inspection. Make sure the pool structure and all equipment are in good working order. Replace broken equipment and repair any structural defects before closing your pool to prevent further damage over the winter.


  1. 3.  Test chemical levels the week before. Approximately three (3) to seven (7) days before closing the pool, make sure the water is chemically balanced and adjust levels if necessary. Imbalanced water can corrode the pool surface and cause scale to build up. Chemical levels should be as follows:


        pH: 7.2 – 7.6
        Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
        Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm
        Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm

    Not familiar with these terms? View our Water Care Glossary>>


  1. 4.  Add winterizing chemicals. Mix any granular winterizing chemicals in a bucket to make sure they are totally dissolved before adding them to the pool. Undissolved granules can settle on the pool floor and stain the liner. Allow the chemicals to circulate in the pool so they are evenly dispersed.


  1. 5.  Drain the water to recommended level. Drain the pump and drop the water level down 12 to 18 inches below the return lines so that any water in the plumbing lines can drain back into the pool. Then plug the jet and skimmer holes to prevent water from getting in, which can freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack.


  1. 6.  Shut off equipment and timers. A pump can be damaged if it runs without proper water flow. With the water level drained for winterization, it’s important to make sure any timers are disabled so that the pump does not accidentally start.


  1. 7.  Put on the pool cover and secure it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation of your pool cover. Edges should be sealed tight so that wind cannot get under the cover and allow debris and leaves to enter the pool.


  1. 8.  Store chemicals properly. Keep pool products in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from other products such as paint, fertilizers, gasoline, and any flammable materials. Make sure products are tightly sealed in their original containers and inaccessible to children and pets. Contact the product’s manufacturer or your local hazardous waste facility to learn the proper disposal of pool chemicals.


  1. 9.  Prevent access to the pool. A swimming pool is less likely to be supervised during the winter months, so it’s important to have several layers of protection in place to keep children and pets safe.


  1. 10.  Practice off-season care. Make sure rain and snow has not caused the water level in the pool to rise or put too much pressure on the cover. Use a pool cover pump to drain off excess water so that the cover does not stretch out or sink. Also remove any heavy debris or fallen twigs that could damage the cover. Do a couple quick inspections in the late fall and early spring to make sure the winterizing chemicals are still working.

  2. Visit our Pool Covers Buyers’ Guide for a list of pool cover companies and resources.