How to Winterize an In-Ground Pool

Learn the right way to winterize your in-ground pool so that you can swim in it year after year.


  • Step 1: Add pool 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 and 150 parts per million, and the chlorine should be between at least three parts per million.
  • Step 2: Wrap duct tape around all exposed pipes to prevent anything from getting into them. Remove any rope and floats, diving boards, slides, and ladders from the pool and store them with the rest of your pool equipment in the garage.
  • Step 3: Drain enough water from the pool to lower the waterline to just below decorative ceramic tiles, if your pool has any. Don't drain too much water, though, or you risk drying out the liner and putting unnecessary stress on the pool cover.
  • Step 4: Place rags over any sharp points that extend into the pool, such as steps, and secure the cover in place. If you use water tubes, place them through the loops on your cover. Fill the tubes with water to 85 percent and tightly seal them. Finally, place a cover pump in the center of the cover to drain excess water accumulation so your cover and tubes don't end up in the pool. Now sit back and relax, knowing that your pool will be in tip-top shape for next summer.
  • FACT: An Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 253,125 gallons of water.
  • TIP: Wrap the screw-end of the expansion plug with Teflon tape to ensure a watertight seal.
  • Step 5: Use the compressor to blow out the skimmer pipes. Plug the skimmer with an expansion plug to absorb any expansion caused by freezing water. Next, blow out the main drain and, when you see bubbles coming out of the drain, plug the pipe or close the gate valve, creating an air lock and preventing water from getting in through the pool side.
  • Step 6: Disconnect the pump and filter, making sure that all 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 your shed or garage. Then remove any quick disconnect fittings or unions at your pump and filter system.
  • TIP: A multiport valve is also called a Vari-Flo valve, backwash valve, or filter control valve.
  • Step 7: Drain the heater and remove any plugs. Blow it out with the air compressor to make sure no standing water remains. It is not necessary to remove the heater tray.
  • Step 8: Remove all of the jet fittings and skimmer baskets. Store all fittings and other small parts in a skimmer basket in your shed or garage to avoid losing parts.
  • Step 9: Connect the air compressor to the return lines at the filter and blow out all of the return jet pipes. Blow air through the pipes until you see air bubbles coming out of the return jets in the pool. When nothing but air is coming out of the jets, plug the fittings under the water.
  • Step 10: Backwash the filter to clean it out and then clean the skimmer and the 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 your air compressor to blow any residual water out of the multiport valve.

Popular Categories