Comprehensive Guide: Winterizing Your Inground Pool Step-by-Step

As the summer season winds down, you may be thinking about closing your inground pool. It’s a task that many dread, but with the right knowledge and tools, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. This article will guide you through the process, ensuring you’re well-equipped to protect your pool from the harsh winter months.

Closing an inground pool isn’t just about putting on a cover and calling it a day. It’s a meticulous process that involves balancing chemicals, lowering water levels, and protecting your equipment. Dive into this article to understand the step-by-step process and keep your pool in top shape for the next swimming season.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper Preparation: Ensure you have all necessary supplies for closing your inground pool, ranging from pool chemicals to covers and pump timers. Identify the right time to close the pool, ideally when water temperatures are consistently below 65°F.
  • Cleaning the Pool: Begin by removing all debris from your pool, which includes skimming the water surface, vacuuming the pool floor, and brushing the pool walls. Strike a balance in your pool water chemistry, maintaining ideal pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels.
  • Lowering the Water Level: Draining the water should be done cautiously, typically 4-6 inches below the pool skimmer. Be careful to avoid potential structural damage to the pool during this process.
  • Winterizing Pool Equipment: Disable and clean the pool pump and filter thoroughly to ensure no water is trapped within that could freeze and damage them. Take precautions with other pool equipment like heaters, automatic cleaning systems, and chlorinators as well.
  • Covering Your Pool: Choose a pool cover that best matches your need in terms of size, material, and type. Secure the cover correctly to protect your pool effectively throughout the winter months.

Preparing to Close Your Inground Pool

Effective preparation continues to play a crucial role when closing an inground pool. From assessing necessary supplies to planning your timing, proper anticipation ensures a smooth process. Discern specific areas to focus on and set the stage for a well-maintained pool during the off-season.

Assessing Necessary Supplies

Look into your pool closet first. Identify different supplies on hand before making any additional purchases. Often used items include pool chemicals, covers, pump timers, and plug kits for skimmers and returns. Complement this list with any unique pool accessories, such as water bags for securing the pool cover. Using a checklist ensures you don’t miss crucial supplies, fostering a comprehensive pool-closing operation.

Plan Your Timing

The scheduling of your pool closing is critical. Aim to close the pool once the water temperatures consistently hover below 65°F. Do be mindful, though, that too early could lead to the development of algae, while too late puts your pool at risk of freeze damage. Proper timing makes a substantial difference, helping to maintain pool integrity throughout the offseason. Reach out to local pool professionals or refer to regional weather patterns if you’re uncertain of the best timing. Keep an eye on the weather forecast while finalizing your plans, as a dry, calm day is optimal for closing a pool. This way you ensure that your pool’s closure aligns with local weather conditions.

Cleaning the Pool

In this section, we’ll delve into the specifics of cleaning your pool before shutting it down for the season. The two main aspects we’ll focus on are removing debris and adjusting the water’s chemistry to optimal levels.

Removing Debris

Initial and foremost, removing all debris from your pool proves essential. It involves skimming the water surface, vacuuming the pool floor, and brushing the pool walls. Skimming operates best for floating debris like leaves and twigs. For this task, arm yourself with a long-handled skimmer. Vacuuming, meanwhile, keeps the floor of the pool clean. It’s a good practice to remove any dirt, sand, or small debris that might have sunk to the bottom.

Use a pool brush to clean the pool walls, focusing on areas that are prone to algae growth. Remember, a clean pool has less chance of developing problematic algae blooms during the off-season.

Balancing the Water Chemistry

After eliminating the debris, it’s time to adjust your pool water chemistry. The three primary factors you should monitor are pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Ideally, pH should stand between 7.2 and 7.6, with total alkalinity ranging from 80 to 120 ppm, while chlorine should fall just between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm, unless different numbers are recommended by the pool manufacturer.

To adjust these levels, use appropriate pool chemicals. Add them in the evening when the pool’s not in use to let them distribute evenly. If you’re uncertain of the process, seek advice from a pool professional or use a professional pool testing kit. Balancing the water chemistry not only prevents scale formation and corrosion but also optimizes the effectiveness of your sanitizer.

By maintaining diligent cleaning and optimal water chemistry, you are setting a firm foundation for the next steps in the pool closing process.

Lowering the Water Level

Having established a clean and chemically balanced pool base, the next step involves manipulating water levels. Lowering the water level is a critical process that ensures safety during freezing temperatures.

How Much Water to Drain

Draining excess water demands precision. You needn’t drain it entirely; instead, 4-6 inches below the pool skimmer, or plumbing line, typically suffices. However, if a pool cover isn’t available and you’re anticipating heavy rainfall, aim for 1-2 inches below the skimmer. This level permits an optimal balance, preventing potential pump damage while protecting against overflow.

Tips for Avoiding Pool Structure Damage

Remember, extreme drainage can wreak havoc on the pool structure. You might expose it to possible pressure disparities from groundwater. A few guidelines can offset this danger:

  • Drain in Stages: Let the pool to equilibrate to the changing pressure. Draining it slowly, about 1/3 daily, affords the structure this necessary adjustment period.
  • Monitor the Pool’s Walls: Keep an eye on the pool structure. Any signs of bulging or distress call for immediate stoppage of the drainage process.

Lowering water levels requires caution and attention to detail. A measured approach defends your pool against the cold grasp of winter, ensuring your tranquil oasis remains unscathed for the coming summer.

Winterizing the Pool Equipment

Taking Care of the Pump and Filter

Start by dealing with the pump and filter before winter sets in. It’s crucial to disable your pool pump, as it prevents possible damage from freezing water. First, disconnect the pump, followed by its housing. Make sure you’ve removed all the water trapped within. Clean the filter thoroughly, removing any lingering debris and detritus.

Use air compressor or shop vac to blow water out of the lines, starting from the pump basket and moving towards the skimmers and returns. Remember to cap the lines to avoid water from re-entering the system. Store your pump and filter indoors, in a frost-free room, guaranteeing their longevity.

Handling Heaters and Other Accessories

After taking care of the pump and filter, turn to the pool heater. Much like the pump and the filter, the heater can sustain substantial damage if water freezes within it. To avoid this, use an air compressor to blow any remaining water out of the pipe work.

In addition to the pump, filter, and heater, you’ll also need to consider other equipment like automatic cleaning systems, water features, and chlorinators. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for winterization advice. Often, you’ll disconnect and store these items indoors to prevent damage from harsh weather conditions.

Remember, each piece of hardware has specific needs, and not addressing them correctly can lead to costly repairs in the spring. Pay attention to detail, and do not rush this process. Proper winterization not only preserves your pool equipment but also makes reopening the pool much easier come spring.

Covering Your Pool

After winterizing your pool equipment, it’s time to focus on covering your pool. A pool cover plays a pivotal role in protecting your pool, blocking debris, and minimizing evaporation. Let’s delve into selecting the ideal pool cover and ensuring it’s properly secured.

Choosing the Right Pool Cover

When it comes to shielding your pool, not all covers are created equal. Size, material, and type matter when selecting a pool cover. In terms of size, ensure the cover is larger than your pool. An oversized cover gets trimmed to fit, providing comprehensive coverage. Pool cover materials range in resilience; mesh covers are lightweight yet robust, while solid vinyl covers provide a barrier against sunlight, preventing algae growth. For type, winter covers, safety covers, and automatic pool covers each serve distinct purposes, offering different levels of protection. Carefully consider your specific needs before making a choice.

Securing the Cover Properly

Correctly securing your pool cover is equally crucial as choosing the correct one. Each cover type has specific securing methods – winter covers utilize water bags or weights to anchor the cover, safety covers incorporate straps that latch onto deck anchors, and automatic pool covers slide onto tracks installed around the pool’s perimeter. Confirm you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions closely to secure your cover effectively. With your pool suitably covered, you can be confident that your pool remains protected throughout the cold months.


So, you’ve got the lowdown on shutting down your inground pool for winter. It’s not just about slapping on a cover and calling it a day. It’s a process that starts with preparation, assessing your supplies, and planning the optimal timing. You’ve learned about the importance of maintaining your pool during the off-season, cleaning out debris, and keeping the water chemistry balanced. You’ve seen how crucial it is to lower the water level and protect your pool equipment from freezing damage. And you now know how to choose and secure the right pool cover for your needs. Remember, a properly winterized pool not only prevents equipment damage but also makes your life easier when spring rolls around. So, here’s to a stress-free pool closing and an even smoother reopening when the warm weather returns.

Winterizing your inground pool is crucial to prevent damage from freezing temperatures and to ensure a smooth reopening in the spring. Start by thoroughly cleaning the pool, including brushing surfaces, vacuuming, and removing all debris to avoid stains and algae growth over the winter, according to Leslie’s Pool Supplies. After cleaning, test and balance the water chemistry, ensuring the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels are within the recommended ranges to protect your pool surfaces and equipment, as noted by This Old House.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of this article?

This article serves as a thorough guide on how to close an inground pool. It focuses on how to prepare for the winter season, outlining crucial steps like assessing supplies, cleaning debris, balancing water chemistry, lowering the water level, and winterizing pool equipment.

What is meant by ‘winterizing pool equipment’?

‘Winterizing pool equipment’ means protecting the pump, filter, heater, and other pool accessories from damage that freezing water can cause in the winter. The article provides advice on the proper handling of these components during the off-season.

What’s the importance of selecting and securing the right pool cover?

Selecting and securing the right pool cover ensures the pool remains protected throughout the harsh winter months. If the cover’s size, material, and type are correct, it will also make pool reopening in the spring much easier.

Why do we need to balance water chemistry during pool winterization?

Balancing the water chemistry of the pool during winterization can prevent potential damage to the pool’s surfaces and equipment. It also keeps the water clean and clear, which will be beneficial when reopening the pool in the spring.

How does lowering the water level prevent damage during freezing temperatures?

Lowering the water level protects the pool’s sidewalls and skimmer, which can be damaged if water freezes inside. It’s a crucial step in preventing costly structural issues during the winter months.