When summer/swimming season comes to an end, it makes both the pool owners and users of the pool extra sad to see it go. Now, you can’t help but think of how difficult it will be to close and winterize your pool for the colder months. Don’t worry about that. Read on to find out the easiest and quickest ways to keep your pool in top shape for next year.

Below you’ll find instructions for closing your swimming pool based on pool type and latitude.

Continue reading for winterization instructions and proper pool maintenance:

  1. Water Chemistry. Repeat the chemical mantra: Check your pH levels, calcium levels, and your TA (total alkalinity) levels to protect the surface of your pool from unnecessary stains and scratches. You might want to consider adding our value winterizing kit directly to the water to keep it crystal clear for next year. Please read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly on how to complete this process. Your optimum pool chemical levels for closing are:
    • pH: 7.2 - 7.6
    • Alkalinity: 80 - 120ppm
    • Calcium Hardness: 180 - 220ppm
  2. No Floaters. It is ill-advised to use a strong oxidizer floater such as chlorine or bromine to close your pool. This will actually cause you more problems because it might stick to your pool walls. If you have a vinyl liner, it could possibly stain or bleach them.
  3. Freezing Water. As the temperatures drop in colder months, and you opt not to drain the pool directly- water will expand when frozen. Depending on where you are located, no one can predict if the temps will drop below 0° any given day. It is necessary to prep for this in the meantime.
  4. Lower Water Levels. We recommend lowering the water levels below the mouth of the skimmer. This will prevent the water from freezing and trapping debris where it shouldn’t be. Obviously circulating frozen water is out of the question, so this is your next best bet. ***DO NOT COMPLETELY DRAIN YOUR POOL***
  5. Aquador. Consider purchasing an aquador to place over the mouth of the skimmer. This small plastic dam will keep water away from it, giving you full control of the water level during the winter.
  6. Drainage. Drain all of the water left over in your pool filter, pump, and hoses. Please follow these steps to proceed:
    • Place a plug in the return fitting (this is where the water returns to the above ground pool).
    • Disconnect the hoses from the pump and filter system. This will allow proper drainage.
    • Your pool filter should have a plug toward the bottom that will allow the water to drain. Place the multiport valve in the closed or ‘winterized’ position and remove the pressure gauge.
    • Drain the pump after you remove the drain plugs. You may/may not have 2 plugs to contend with depending on the design. Once the pump is clear of water, turn it on for a moment to be sure there is no additional leftover moisture. However, if you run the pump for too long, you might burn it out. Keep it on for 1 - 2 seconds maximum. Take the pump inside to protect it from the winter cold.
    • Remove all chemicals such as chlorine and bromine tablets out of the feeder. If you happen to leave them in over the winter months, it can actually damage your other pool equipment. Once this is finished, you can drain the chemical feeder.
    • It is a good idea to place the plugs directly in the pump basket to keep track of their location for next year.
    • Place your pressure gauge inside a warm, enclosed area to keep it dry and free of moisture. You do not want to risk water freezing and breaking the gauge.
    • Do not place the plugs back on the equipment. If any type of moisture is caught in the plugs, they will not be able to drain properly.
  7. Pool Cover. The last and most crucial step to close/winterize your pool is to cover it completely. This will prevent debris, dirt, and other annoying substances from harming your pool over the winter season. You can choose from any of our specialized winter covers to do this. You also might want to consider purchasing air pillows. They will hold the cover up like a dome to keep the water and debris off the top.

Check out our winterizing kits:

How to Use a Pool Winter Kit to Winterize Your Pool

First things first: make sure your pool water is properly balanced using winterizing chemicals and is clear of all algae, dirt and leaves before winterizing your pool. Doheny's has the water test strips and water test kits, pool vacuums and cleaners, and leaf skimmers you need! You can find Doheny's Winter Closing Kits in the right size for your pool here.

Follow these steps for a successful pool closing and easier spring opening!

  1. Stop chlorination 24 hours prior to winterization.
  2. Pour an entire bottle of Doheny's Winter Guard into your pool, making sure the product is evenly distributed around the entire pool.
  3. Pour an entire bottle of Doheny's Metal Out into your pool, also making sure the product is evenly distributed.
  4. Wait 15 minutes, then slowly broadcast all packages of Doheny's Oxidizing Shock around the perimeter of the pool.
  5. If possible, allow the pump to circulate for at least one hour to ensure all chemicals disperse evenly.
  6. Lower water level and drain lines, pump, filter, and heater of all water according to manufacturer's instructions. If you use pool antifreeze, add it to your plumbing at this time.
  7. Punch holes in nine dimple locations on the floating dispenser. You can use a screwdriver to punch the holes. Slide the foam collar on the bottom of the floating dispenser. Place the floating dispenser in the pool (do not throw), smallest diameter (bottom) down. This allows water to flow through the perforated dimples.
  8. Cover pool with a winter cover. Doheny's offers quality Solid and Mesh type winter covers. Note: if spring is unusually warm, lift up one end of the cover and look for signs of algae growth. If detected, an additional dose of Doheny's algaecide should be added.
  9. In spring, remove water and debris from the winter cover using a siphon or submersible pump. Then remove the cover, reconnect all plumbing, raise water, and discard the winterizing floating dispenser.
  10. Add Doheny's Start-Up Kit, following directions, to your pool. Start your swimming season with sparkling, clean water!

How to Protect Your Pool Cover From Heavy Snow

For those who live in areas with heavy snow falls during the winter months, additional precautions need to be taken with winter pool covers. No matter what type of pool you are closing (inground or above ground), it is important to consistently observe the condition of your cover and prevent unnecessary and costly damage from taking place. To be sure this doesn’t happen, read on to find out some pool pro tips on protecting not only your cover, but your pool as well.

Doheny's Recommends:

  1. Maintain a reasonable water level

    To make sure your pool cover doesn’t collapse into the pool during winter, maintain a reasonable water level. Double check it to make sure the cover rests approximately halfway up the skimmer box. This creates equilibrium between the water pressure in the pool and the weight of the snow on top of the pool cover. If the water level is too low, then you risk pool floor and liner damage should the cover fall in.

  2. Remove water with a pool cover pump

    Consider purchasing a pool cover pump to help remove excess water from the top of the winter cover. If you notice a thin layer of water on the pool cover, retrieve your cover pump and remove the water quickly. When freezing temperatures start in your area, the water will freeze and cause the cover to fall through instead. All you need to do is observe the cover on a daily basis and make sure too much water isn’t collecting on top. If you notice a large amount of water collecting, removing it with the pool cover pump as soon as possible is key.

  3. Use caution when removing snow from pool covers

    If you have an inground pool, the weight of the snow may cause your cover to stretch and as this continues, it will create small tears and holes over time. If you own an above ground pool, then the snow on top of your cover will begin to pull and stretch your pool walls towards the middle. This particular type of damage is rather expensive, because you now have to worry about the pool wall, pool liner and pool fence all breaking under the pressure.

Whether you have a cheap pool cover or a more expensive cover, you need to remove the snow gently. Use a regular broom to gently brush the snow off the cover. Do not push or move the snow in a rough manner as this may result in damage in the long run. We do not recommend using a shovel or any object with sharp edges. If a sharp object pushes against the cover, you risk tearing it all the way through.

By following these helpful tips, you can get the most out of your pool cover all winter long, even if you live in an area that experiences heavy snows. The keys to remember are to start with a high quality pool cover and to regularly inspect the area all winter long for signs of damage. Doing so will make it much easier to open your pool for next year’s swimming season and will help to protect your pool from damage.

Doheny's Recommends: