How to Winterize Your Above-Ground Pool Plumbing

Have you ever wondered why above-ground pools are so popular? They’re just so flexible! If you move house, you can take them with you. Need to empty your pool? No problem at all. Unlike in-ground pools, above-ground models do not exist as a pop-up. Even if you decide that you don’t like the position of the pool in your yard, it’s easy to move it. There is nothing you can’t do with an above-ground pool!

There are some considerations you will have to make for your above-ground pool, however, and these are largely dependent on the climate where you live. If you have an Intex or inflatable pool, for example, winter weather will require you to make some adjustments. If you decide to leave your pool outside during winter, I would suggest that you make prior adjustments to your plumbing. This could mean either storing it away or clearing your lines easily and effectively. You’ve got this!

So, do you need to prepare your pool for the winter weather?
This is probably the most important question you may ask if you own an above-ground pool. Having your pool open for the warmer seasons is a no-brainer, but the onset of winter raises the question of whether or not it is viable to keep it open. Some of the factors to consider are your type of pool and the climate where you live. But don’t despair, there are several ways to maintain the upkeep of your pool during winter.

If you live in a milder climate that does not drop below freezing temperatures, you can simply cover your pool and continue to keep up with maintenance as usual. You won’t need to drain water from your lines or make adjustments to your filter to prepare for winter.

For those of you who live in a climate that drops below freezing, even sporadically, you will need to prepare your filter and plumber for winter. Let’s look at how you can do this.

For an Intex or inflatable above-ground pool, you’ll need to take down your pool by pulling the walls of the pool down. It may sound like hard work, but you’ll be happy that you did this when spring comes around and you still have your pool to swim in.

So you’ve decided not to take your pool down for winter. Be aware that snow and debris might accumulate on your pool cover and the excess weight could force it to fall into your pool. Using a durable pool cover pump can alleviate some of the impacts by keeping your pool cover-free and protected from the elements.

How to prepare your above-ground pool plumbing for winter.

Two options for preparing your pool for winter.
Pool owners have many choices and it is no surprise that it can get confusing. Preparing your pool’s plumbing for winter isn’t difficult though. Here are two ways that you can do it.

Put it away.
This is my preferred option, and one I would suggest for all pool owners to do. This is especially true if your pool is relatively easy to take down. Winter is a very bleak, windy, and frosty season. It’s precarious to leave your pump and filter at the mercy of the elements. I suggest storing them in a safe place indoors. Preparing your pool equipment for winter is a preventative measure that ensures that it’s protected. Storing it in a safe place also protects it from unnecessary cracks. Blowing out your lines can create a much bigger problem.

Blowing out your pool lines.
Your above-ground pool setup will determine if this is an option. It can be troublesome but also needed at times. Having glued lines rather than a threaded pipe could prove difficult to take down for winter. If you find this to be the case for your pool, simply make changes to how your blow out the lines in your in-ground pool; the plumbing is permanent unlike that of an above-ground pool. Compared to in-ground pools, above-ground pool owners have the luxury of their lines being above ground and therefore, are much easier to remove. Apologies if this is not what you wanted to hear, my friends!

Three simple steps for taking it down.
Ok, so you can’t avoid the freezing temperatures in winter, and you’re a part of the proud above-ground pool owner’s club. If you’re able to remove your plumbing and store it for winter, you’re one of the lucky ones. This will only take you about ten minutes to complete, along with some time to allow it to dry and then store. The best part about this is that once it is finished, you won’t need to worry about checking on it for the duration of the winter. The alternative is regularly checking your equipment for cracks that may have arisen from the fierce winter temperatures. Once you’ve decided on a method, we can get started!

1. Where will you store your equipment?
For Intex or inflatable pools, you will require a large space. Particularly for these types of pools, it is a good idea to take down the pool walls to ensure that they are not damaged by the winter elements. The pump, filter, and plumbing aren’t something that you can compact easily either, so you will need to clear out a dry area for your equipment before taking it down. This will ensure that it is stored safely. If you live in an area that experiences extreme, freezing temperatures, you will want to make sure that the storage space has some form of heating. Otherwise, your equipment will crack regardless of whether it is stored in a ‘safe’ space or not.

2. Those lines need to be taken down.
It doesn’t matter what climate you live in, if you take down your lines and store them for winter, putting them back up in spring will be a lot easier and cleaner and there’ll be far less slime, so to speak. And the best part about taking your lines down is that you just need to disconnect them (if this is something that proves too difficult, please ignore the next step). Above-ground lines normally connect to your equipment (such as your pump to your pool via a pipe) and can be easily twisted off. Make sure you detach your lines on both ends, and you won’t have to worry about doing anything further.

3. Be sure to dry them out and store them appropriately.
Ok, so you’ve disconnected the lines from your equipment and pool, the next step is to place them on their sides to ensure that they dry out completely. While there won’t be a lot of water left coming out of the pipes, I would not suggest draining them out on your favorite fruit tree as there are a lot of chemical residues in the water.

Once all the water has been drained from your pipes, the best option is to place them outside and allow them to dry out completely. Even the smallest amount of moisture could cause mold to gather for months, which is something you don’t want when you set up your pool again. Once they are completely dry, you are ready to store them. My suggestion would be to make sure that you don’t do this while your circulation system is still running or connected to electricity.

Planning for the future when pool closing season begins means finding an effective pump. This will ultimately save you a lot of time and money. The Copper Force Above Ground Pool Pump is a product that I have found to be very efficient. It has a start capacitor and several horsepower options for you to choose from. Another customer, Doug Parr, also endorsed it – “The pump is very quiet and has good pressure. I would recommend”.

How to prepare your above-ground pool plumbing for winter.

Clean out your lines in three easy steps.
If you have PVC pipes, they can be difficult to remove. Not a problem, as these things can happen. For those of you who have milder winters, this section isn’t for you. You should be outdoors enjoying a stroll in the sunny weather! Unfortunately for the rest of us, we’re just going to have to clear those lines. Your pipes will be exposed to the ferocity of a harsh winter, so we need to ensure that they are completely dry. Even the smallest amount of water will turn into ice, which will expand and crack your pipes. Having to patch up or replace lines only adds to the frustration of removing your plumbing.

1. Get your equipment organized.
When preparing your above-ground pool for the winter season, you will normally need an air-blower or a ShopVac. If you don’t have one of these, ask a friend. As soon as you have it, you are ready to begin. When doing this, make sure your water is below that of your skimmer and return jet(s), and also ensure that your circulation system is turned off. It’s important that you check, recheck, and triple-check this. So what’s next?

2. Get every last drop of water out – it needs to be completely dry.
Connect your ShopVac or air-blower to a power source and make sure it blows air directly into your skimmer and that it goes through your plumbing. A ShopVac is also particularly useful for eliminating water from your skimmer, especially if you don’t have long lines. This ensures that they will be safe and secure throughout winter. For more difficult systems, try blowing air through the return lines after you have detached the return jet inlets from the wall of your pool.

3. Put some antifreeze in your skimmer.
If you’ve decided to leave your lines up, your skimmer will benefit from having a pool-grade antifreeze added directly into it. Just add some water when you mix it, and although you’ve just drained the water from your system, adding antifreeze means that the remaining water is covered in a chemical that will ensure that it does not freeze in your pipes. One gallon of antifreeze for every 10 feet of a 1.5-inch pipe is the manufacturer’s recommendation. Please don’t buy anti-freeze for cars, you’ll find the antifreeze for pools much less toxic.

4. Make sure your pool is plugged up (remove the hoses).
Now that there is very little water remaining in your plumbing and your pipes have been protected with antifreeze, ensure that there is no chance of more water getting into your pipes. At this stage, remove the return jets and put the threaded plugs in their place. Follow this up by installing a winter freeze plate on your skimmer. Make sure you unplug all of the hoses; underneath the skimmer and also the one attached to your return fitting. These are ready to be stored for winter. Your job is done!

In the blink of an eye, it will be pool season once again so planning is key to prolonging the lifespan of your pool and equipment. The Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner is the one I found to be the best in stopping debris and gunk from interfering with the chemical balance of your pool. The product is highly recommended as it also works independently from your pool filter, thus reducing energy costs – you simply plug it into a power socket. It is also covered by a lifetime warranty.

Put that in your pipe (but please don’t smoke it!).
Like all good things in life, pool season will inevitably come to an end. Fortunately for you, however, the challenge of preparing your pool for winter is complete. Well done, for you have mastered both taking your lines down and cleaning them out. Once the sun starts shining and you feel like venturing outside again (rid yourself of those layers of clothing!), your pool will be open for business. But for now, sit back, relax, and have fun.

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