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How to Winterize an In-Ground Pool

It's important to winterize your in-ground pool for the colder months, especially if temperatures in your area drop near or below freezing. Winterization includes cleaning your pool, blowing out the lines, adding the right winter chemicals and more. We'll take you through the important steps.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Make Sure You Have a Pool Covergg-foto/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Make Sure You Have a Pool Cover

Properly protecting an in-ground pool requires a pool cover for both safety and protection, so choose a durable version. An in-ground pool cover should be ordered early if you don't have one.  This is because it may need to be custom-made depending on your pool shape and size. Mesh covers are lighter and more affordable, but offer less protection than full covers. It's best to choose a cover that's made for over-winter use. Check out these amazing backyard swimming pools.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Balance pH Levelsvvoe/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Balance pH Levels

When it's time to winterize your pool, check your pH levels one last time for the season and add more chemicals if necessary, to help keep your pool safe. And it's good to have your in-ground pool balanced when working on winterization steps.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Scrub the Pool WallsBuddit Nidsornkul/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Scrub the Pool Walls

Even trace amounts of algae can spread over the winter and cause problems. A pool brush can help you scrub the walls and floor of the in-ground pool. But it's also important to be thorough, even if the walls look clear. This is also the time to make repairs to any cracks or damage. And if you have extra pool noodles store them in a 5-gallon bucket.

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How to Close an In-Ground Pool: Clean Out the PoolZouZouBaBy/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-Ground Pool: Clean Out the Pool

Use a leaf net or hand skimmer to remove any obvious debris when you winterize your pool. And run the pool so the filter gets a chance to clean out smaller particles. It's important that the remaining water is as clean as possible. Because that debris can cause a lot of problems if it is trapped over winter. And chemical cleaners can only do so much. If you have an automated in-ground pool cleaner, run it and then remove and store it for next season. Need a place to store pool equipment, learn how to build a storage shed.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Partially Drain Out In-Ground Pool WaterSatakorn/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Partially Drain Out In-Ground Pool Water

Check your pool cover instructions to see if they specify how low the water should be when winterizing. And mesh covers tend to require an in-ground pool level around one foot below the waterline tile. Thicker covers designed to float usually need the water level lowered 3 to 5 inches. Learn about other Handy Household Tips for Weathering the Winter.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Remove and Clean the Pool FilterDF1/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Remove and Clean the Pool Filter

Diatomaceous earth filters need special attention when winterizing a pool. Remove the filter and clean up any "dust" leftover in the pump – you don't want it staying around over winter. Cartridge filters are a bit easier, but you still need to remove the cartridge and its connector hoses for storage. This is also the time to drain booster pumps, chlorinators and other components your in-ground pool may use. Also, check out How to Winterize a Sprinkler System.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Add Winterization ChemicalsDavizro Photography/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Add Winterization Chemicals

There are "closing" or winterization chemical kits that you can easily find online. These kits use preparation chemicals and slow-release floaters to keep the water protected and the pool walls clean over winter. Make sure you use a kit rated for your in-ground pool filtration type. And read instructions carefully to avoid making any mistakes. After you shut down your pool for the winter check out these 9 Home Energy Conservation Tips for the Winter.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Blow Out Your Pool Lines If NecessaryJosep Curto/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Blow Out Your Pool Lines If Necessary

When winterizing a pool, blowing out pool lines is a good idea, since standing water in the lines can stagnate or even freeze if temperatures drop low enough. You can blow out your own pool lines with an air compressor or a wet-rated, powerful shop vacuum if you have the right components. But it's important to be thorough. And blow out pump components, heaters and filter components (this is a good time to clean skimmer filters). Start with the suction side and move to the pressure side. Once your in-ground pool is winterized, tackle 10 Things Every Homeowner Should Do Before Winter.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Remove Drain Plugskaewgorn/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Remove Drain Plugs

Remove all drain plugs in your pool. And don't just go for the drain plugs that you see. Check your manuals and make sure that all drain plugs in all components are removed. This may take a little patience the first time. But it's easy to learn what the plugs look like and where to search for them. Also as you close down your outdoor area, here are some Grill Storage Tips for Winter.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Insert Expansion Plugssirirak kaewgorn/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Insert Expansion Plugs

Expansion or winterizing plugs are designed to help prevent damage caused by freezing water. If temperatures get low in your area, you should you these plugs. The protect skimmer lines (which may require skimmer guards), return lines, and cleaner lines. For particularly cold weather, you may also want to add in-ground pool antifreeze to the lines. Don't forget to prep your house for winter with 15 Things You Should Insulate Before Winter.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Shock Your Pool If NecessaryoneSHUTTER oneMEMORY/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Shock Your Pool If Necessary

Read your winterization kit instructions to see if it suggests shocking your pool with a burst of chemicals right before cover-up. And the kits may also include shock packs as part of the process. If advised, this should be one of your last steps. As winter approaches, make sure you know How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing.

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How to Close an In-ground Pool: Clear Your Timer and Shut Down Powerpixinoo/Shutterstock

How to Close an In-ground Pool: Clear Your Timer and Shut Down Power

Shut down power to the in-ground pool by switching off your pool breaker or any equivalent shut-down process. It's also a good idea to clear your pool timer fully. So that if power is restored, your pool won't try running again. The pool will be damaged if it runs when winterized.