How to Maintain Your Pool in Winter: Essential Tips

As the chill of winter sets in, pool owners might think it’s time to say goodbye to their swimming pools until spring. However, winter doesn’t mean your pool should be neglected. Proper winter maintenance is crucial to ensure your pool remains in good condition and is ready to use when the warm weather returns. Neglecting this duty can lead to significant issues, including damage from freezing temperatures and algae growth. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps to winterize your pool effectively, maintaining its integrity and longevity through the colder months.

1. Balance the Water Chemistry

Before closing your pool for the winter, it’s vital to balance the water chemistry. This includes adjusting the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness to appropriate levels. Ideal pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6, alkalinity between 80 and 120 parts per million, and calcium hardness between 180 and 220 ppm. Proper water balance prevents corrosion or scaling on your pool equipment and surfaces.

How to Do It:

  • Use a water testing kit to measure the current levels.
  • Add the necessary chemicals to adjust the water to the desired balance.
  • Allow the pool to run for another 24-48 hours to circulate the chemicals thoroughly.

2. Shock the Pool

Shocking the pool involves adding a large dose of chlorine or a non-chlorine substitute to the water to eliminate bacteria, contaminants, and algae. This process is crucial before covering the pool as it ensures that the water is as clean as possible, reducing the risk of algae and other problems over the winter.

How to Do It:

  • Choose a day to shock the pool when you won’t be using it for at least 24 hours.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the amount of shock to use per gallons of pool water.
  • Run the pool’s filtration system overnight to help distribute the shock treatment evenly.

3. Clean the Pool Thoroughly

Removing leaves, dirt, and debris from the pool and the filtration system is crucial before closing it for the winter. Debris left in the pool can cause stains, algae growth, and can deteriorate the water quality during the off-season.

How to Do It:

  • Skim the pool’s surface and vacuum the bottom.
  • Clean out the skimmer baskets and the pump basket.
  • Brush the walls and tile line to ensure all algae, dirt, and debris are removed.
  • Backwash the filter system to ensure it’s clean for the next season.

4. Lower the Water Level

In areas where freezing temperatures are common, lowering the water level can prevent water from freezing and expanding in the skimmer box and plumbing lines, which can cause damage.

How to Do It:

  • Reduce the water level below the skimmer line for plaster-lined pools.
  • For vinyl-lined pools, lower the water slightly below the return lines.

5. Add Winterizing Chemicals

Winterizing chemicals help keep the pool water clear and free from algae and bacteria during the winter months. These typically include an algaecide and a winter floater that releases a slow-dissolving sanitizer into the pool.

How to Do It:

  • Add the recommended dose of winter algaecide according to the pool size.
  • Place a winter chemical floater in the pool if recommended in your area.

6. Cover the Pool Properly

A quality winter cover is essential to keep out debris and light, which can contribute to algae growth. Ensure the cover fits securely and is designed to withstand the elements, particularly if your area experiences heavy snowfall.

How to Do It:

  • Choose a cover that fits the dimensions of your pool.
  • Secure the cover with water bags or clips designed for your pool type.
  • Check the cover periodically throughout the winter to ensure it’s secure and free of damage.

7. Protect Against Freezing

For those in colder climates, further steps might be needed to protect the pool from freezing temperatures.

How to Do It:

  • Use an air compressor or shop vac to blow water out of the pool’s plumbing.
  • Add swimming pool antifreeze to the lines to prevent any remaining water from freezing.
  • Insulate any exposed plumbing.


Winter pool maintenance is a crucial aspect of pool ownership that should not be overlooked. By following these essential steps, you can ensure that your pool remains in excellent condition throughout the winter and is ready to go when spring arrives. Regular checks during the winter are also advisable to make sure the cover is secure and to look for any signs of trouble. With the right care, your pool will continue to be a source of joy and relaxation for many years to come. At Presidential Pools and Spas, we’re here to help you with all your pool maintenance needs, ensuring every season is as enjoyable as the summer.

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