How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool With a Bottom Drain

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In a single day, the pool, that incredibly valuable addition to your backyard, could become a costly maintenance repair. Cold weather strikes without much warning and often with more force than we expect. By learning how to properly winterize your above ground pool and bottom drain, you can help maintain that expensive backyard feature and save yourself a big financial headache.

Things You'll Need

  • Skimmer insert
  • Pool plugs
  • Pool cover
  • 1 bottle rust-proof paint or nail polish
  • Winterizing chemicals
  • 10 to 12 sand-filled plastic bottles
  • Clean and chlorinate your above ground pool. Before the onset of the cold season, remove any debris from the pool and bring the chlorine level to 5 ppm. The pH reading should fall somewhere between 7.2 to 7.8.

  • Winterize the skimmer. The pool skimmer is an integral part of any above ground pool, and you want to pay special attention to this device during the winterizing process. Preparing the skimmer for winter is achieved by keeping the device from filling with water, which turns to ice and expands in cold weather. Stuff the skimmer with a special plate, a foam insert or even a plastic bottle to block water. Any item that will keep water out can be used to winterize the skimmer on your above ground pool.

  • Disconnected the above-ground pool equipment. All hoses, pumps and filters should be disconnected when you winterize your swimming pool. Plug any holes that are created once these items have been unhooked. Thoroughly clean and drain all pumps and filters before putting them away. You also want to remove the pool ladder, if possible, and any other attachments which can be taken off and stored away for the winter.

  • Seal up any cracks and other imperfections with rust-proof paint or even fingernail polish.Examine the exterior of the pool carefully and make sure everything is sealed, especially around plugs and drains.

  • Add winterizing chemicals. Swimming pool retailers offer chemical mixtures designed to aid in the winterizing process. Add these chemicals to your above ground pool before closing it for the winter. In some cases, you may add the mixture again during the season.

  • Drain and cover the above-ground pool. If the walls of your pool extend less than 1 foot into the ground, you will want to drain off some of the water inside to complete the winterizing process. If the walls of your pool extend more than 1 foot into the ground, do not lower the water level--doing so could cause the walls to collapse in severe weather conditions. If draining is on the agenda, lower the water to a point slightly below the skimmer. Cover the water with the pool cover completely and weigh down the edges of the cover with sand-filled plastic bottles, to keep it in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the pool cover free of debris to avoid damage to cover and to the above-ground pool.
  • Check pH and chlorine levels regularly to maintain your above-ground pool even through the winter.

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