To properly winterize a swimming pool, the owner should begin by making sure that the pool water is clean of debris. Leaves, bugs, pine needles and other similar items should be vacuumed or removed from the pool by use of the filter, or by using an extension pole and net to skim the water. A good time to begin the winterizing process is in the fall, just as the colors change, but before the leaves have a chance to fall into your pool.
A chemical treatment to your pool is essential. A mixture of winter chlorine, winter alkalizer, and winter powder will ensure that your pool stays clean over the winter and is ready for use in the late spring when the warmer weather arrives. Many manufacturers supply ready-made, winterizing kits that contain the chemicals mentioned above. Each manufacturer has different directions so make sure you follow the exact directions on your winterizing kit. Essentially, these chemicals will put extremely high levels of chlorine, alkaline, and algaecide in the water to prepare for the winter months ahead. Some of these chemicals mandate that the pool filter be turned on while the chemicals are added. Make certain you follow this direction. The failure to do so may result in stains to your liner.
Once the chemicals have been added, the pool water is ready for a slight draining to appropriate levels, if required by your pool manufacturer. Once the water is several inches below the level of the skimmer and output holes, you can cease draining and remove the filter hoses attached to the skimmer and output hole. If draining is not required, then cover the filter skimmer and output hole with the appropriate covers. This cover will prevent water from leaking and ice from forcing its way out. With the covers in place, remove the filter hoses. Open the drain at the bottom of the filter to let any water in the filter outlet. Store the filter and hoses in a garage or basement for the duration of the winter. Leaving a filter outside over the winter will lead to serious damage, especially if you fail to drain the filter.
The last item needed for a proper winterizing is a pool cover. However, before stretching the cover across the pool, you should install a floatation device in the center of the pool. This device can be a car or truck inner-tube or a large inflatable winter pillow sold by pool suppliers for this very purpose. The float serves two functions. First, it balances the rainwater and ice sure to form on your pool's cover over the winter. Secondly, The area around the float will not freeze over the winter and will allow the ice to push inward toward the float, rather than outward towards the pool wall. This will ease the tension on the pool walls, a condition that can lead to support problems later.
Finally, stretch the cover across the pool and over the float using two or three others for help. Once the cover is in place, you should run a sturdy wire through the holes that run along the outer seam of the cover. Pull the wire tight using a hand wench or similar tool so that the cover fits snugly around the pool. Failure to properly secure the cover will result in the pool cover coming off during high winds or heavy rains. Your pool is now ready to battle the winter elements, and will be ready for a sparkling clean opening come spring.