Winterizing your above ground pool
For many people, winterizing an above ground pool can seem like a daunting task. In reality, winterizing is probably one of the easiest tasks that you must perform on your pool yearly, depending where you live.
A properly winterized pool will not only ensure you have an easy opening in the spring, but will also help protect and prolong the life of your pool. Following the steps below will help you close your pool correctly and avoid damage in case of a bad winter.
Vacuum and remove all debris from your pool. Remember, the cleaner the pool is when you close, the cleaner it will be when you open.
Balance your PH to between 7.2 and 7.6. Having a balanced PH level when adding your winterizing chemicals allows those chemicals to work to their fullest potential.
Add your winterizing chemicals per the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to circulate the chemicals for at least 2 hours after adding them.
Install your skimmer and return plugs as per the manufacturer's instructions. Note: If you are using the Aquador brand plug for the first time, you must lower your water level 2 inches below the skimmer to install the new face plate. Once the new face plate is installed and the lid attached you may raise your water level back up to 2 inches below the bottom of the skimmer. The stainless steel plate does not require your water to be lowered.
Disconnect your filter hoses from your skimmer and return fittings. Clean the skimmer and be sure it is free from obstructions that may cause water accumulation over the winter.
Drain and clean your pool filter. If you have a DE or Cartridge filter you can soak your cartridge or fingers in a mixture of 1lb PH decrease to 5 gallons of water. This will give your elements what is called an acid bath and will dissolve any small particles that general cleaning may not remove.
Inflate your Ice Equalization Pillow. Most people use either a shop vac or air compressor to do this. Do not inflate to capacity! Only inflate 2/3 full. You should be able to press your hand into the pillow about half way down. Once inflated, secure the pillow to the center of the pool using a nylon (not cotton) rope. Leave some slack to allow the pillow to move slightly if it needs to.
Look over the top of the pool for any sharp or protruding surfaces that may damage your cover. If you find any, cover them with cardboard or styrofoam to prevent puncturing your cover.
Install your winter cover per the manufacturer's instructions. At least 2 people are recommended to complete this task. If you are using the cable and winch method (most common method) make sure your cable is around the top of your skimmer, not underneath. Also, be sure the cable is through the grommets properly. The cable should be outside the cover between the grommets that are farthest apart and inside the cover where they are closest together.
Over the course of the winter, it is ideal to leave a barrier of 1 to 2 inches of water on top of the cover to prevent wind from blowing the cover up. Any water accumulation more than this should be removed using a winter cover drainer or pump.
If you follow all of the above steps your pool will be properly closed for the winter. Please note that the above steps are the only proper way to close your pool. Many shortcuts that other people use such as gallon jugs, bungee cords, etc are not recommended and may void both the cover and pool's warranty.