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How to Winterize an Above-Ground Pool

When summer draws to a close, close up your pool properly to ensure you'll have poolside fun next year.


  • Step 1: Remove all of your deck equipment, including ladders, rails, and slides, and store them for the winter.
  • Step 2: Add chemicals to make sure your pool is chemically balanced for winter. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6, the alkalinity should be between 100 to 150 parts per million, and the chlorine should be at least three parts per million.
  • Step 3: Secure the cover on the pool, making sure your air pillow stays in the middle of the pool. Make sure the cover cable is tight so that the cover can't blow off or fall into the pool. Now go inside and spend the winter dreaming about relaxing by the pool next year.
  • FACT: The New York City Parks Department converted an 82-foot-long barge into a floating swimming pool called the Floating Pool Lady.
  • TIP: If you don't have an air pillow, you can put any air-filled, floating objects into the pool to protect against ice expansion.
  • Step 4: Inflate your air pillow, tie it at two places, and center it in the pool. Secure the other ends of the lines to the pool walls to keep the pillow in place while you put the cover on.
  • TIP: The multiport valve may also be known as a Vari-Flo valve, backwash valve, or filter control valve.
  • Step 5: Remove the hoses, plug the return pipe, and screw an expansion pipe into the skimmer. If your pool is plumbed with permanent pipes rather than flexible, detachable hoses, use the air compressor to blow air down the skimmer and through the plumbing to force out any water.
  • TIP: You can lower the water level to below the returns and the skimmer instead of plugging them, but never drain your pool, which can cause it to collapse.
  • Step 6: Disconnect the pump and filter, making sure that any water is completely drained from the pump. Remove any drain plugs from the pump and filter tank and store them in the pump basket in a shed or garage.
  • Step 7: Backwash the filter to clean it out and clean the skimmer and pump basket. Drain and clean the DE filter, leaving the backwash valve open. If you have a sand filter, take out the plug and backwash it, leaving the plug off. Use an air compressor to blow any water out of the multiport valve.

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