How to Winterize Your Pool

how to winterize your pool

A Complete Guide to Winterizing a Pool

If you own a backyard pool in the Ottawa region, winterizing your pool at the end of each season is a must.

Winterizing, or closing, your pool before the extended cold weather kicks in is essential to protect it from freezing and causing damage to the pool and its components. This helps keep your pool as clean as possible so that it’s ready for next summer. Let’s take a look at how to winterize your pool.

Why Do I Need to Winterize My Pool?

Winterizing your pool is important because once the temperature drops below zero, pool water may freeze, which can cause damage to the pool liner and mechanical parts.

In addition, water that isn’t prepared for the winter season can become very dirty and unhealthy, filled with algae spores and decomposing matter, both of which will take a lot of work and money to remove come summer.

You can prevent this risk of damage by carrying out a pool winterizing maintenance routine that includes using chemicals and products.

To learn how to winterize a pool, read this guide that takes you through the steps and products you need to know.

Winterizing a Pool: What You Need to Know

Before you begin the pool closing process, make sure you have all the tools, equipment and chemicals you need. It’s always a good idea to check your pool cover for any damage before you start too.

These are the 6 key steps to winterizing a pool:


1. Remove all the Pool Accessories

Give your pool a blank slate before winterizing it. Clear it of any floaters or accessories you may have used over the summer. The blog In the Swim even recommends removing the ladder, handrails and diving boards and storing them in a safe place till you can open your pool again.


2. Clean the Pool

The next step is to ensure your pool is clean of debris. Start by skimming floating environmental debris like leaves from the surface of the water. Then scrub the sides of the pool with a pool brush. Then use a pool vacuum to get all the dirt and waste off the pool bottom.

Turn off and clean your pump and filter tank and systems thoroughly. Remove your pump and store it in a dry place over the winter.

3. Balance Your Pool’s Water Chemistry

Before you put your pool to bed for the winter, it is important to balance the chemicals in the water. This gives the water the best chance of staying clean, clear of bacteria and safe for the next season.

You should have all the equipment and chemicals you need for winterizing as they are the same as you use for regular maintenance.  When closing your pool, aim for the following chemical balance in your pool water:

  • pH: 7.4–7.6 ppm
  • Total Alkalinity: 80–120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200–400 ppm
  • Chlorine: 2.0–4.0 ppm

4. Lower the Water Levels

When winterizing, it is important to remove some water from your pool to prevent water from getting into the pipes and freezing.

Generally, it is recommended to lower water levels to 6-12 inches below the bottom of the tile edging. Some pool covers have specific water level requirements to help support the cover. Make sure you check your pool cover manufacturer’s guide before you begin lowering your water.

Tip: remember to check with your municipality how you should safely dispose of pool water.

5. Use Closing Chemicals

Although you have already balanced your water at step 3, additional closing chemicals are needed to winterize your pool correctly. This step is integral to ensuring your water won’t freeze over and damage your in-ground pool during the winter months, especially if it’s expected to reach below-freezing temperatures where you live. 

Here are some products you can expect to use:

Chlorine-Free Pool Shock: Pool experts like Family Handyman recommend using a chlorine-free shock treatment to balance the water and ensure it’s ready to sit all winter. It is recommended you carry out the shock treatment prior to lowering the water, so then the pump can be run overnight to ensure the chemicals fully circulate through the water.


Stain & Scale Treatment: In the event of bad water chemistry, which may occur if your pool isn’t used for an extended period, metal elements can build up which may cause rusting or staining. A stain and scale treatment is recommended while the pool water sits stagnant over the winter. 

Winter Algaecide: Although algae growth isn’t as common during colder months, it can take hold quickly if there are milder temperature days. In the Swim recommends using long-lasting winter algaecide to prevent algae accumulation over an extended period. Algae growth is the main cause of green and cloudy water in your swimming pool. Regulating your use of algaecide will make your pool water stay clear and shiny. 

6. Cover Your Pool

Different types of pool covers have different installation methods. Here is how you should ensure your inground pool is covered as the final step towards adequately winterizing your pool.

  • Inspect it: Spread the cover over the pool and inspect it closely for tears or rips. If there are problem areas, move them to the deck or close to the edge.
  • Mend as needed: It may be possible to patch holes up with mesh or solid winter patches.
  • Secure the cover: Some covers require the use of water bags to keep the cover in place over winter. Straps and anchors may also be required for safety covers.
  • Skim the pool again: Do one last final skim to ensure the swimming pool is as clean as possible and clean off the pool cover to prevent bringing dirt and debris into your freshly cleaned pool. 

Get Pool Winterizing Help from the Pros

Winterizing a pool involves lots of steps and some confidence in handling the chemicals required. If done incorrectly, you may open the cover to a green, algae-filled pool next spring.

To avoid the risk of a poorly winterized pool ensure you seek advice and help from experts such as the team at Jordco Pools.

Jordco Pools has been installing in-ground pools in the Ottawa area since 1995 and we are experts in preparing your backyard pool for a cold winter season. We offer pool closing and opening services to allow you to focus on the fun part – enjoying your pool.

Contact us today to schedule a winterize pool service.


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