How To Winterize Your In Ground Pool

IMPORTANT:  These instructions are designed for in ground pools built by Aegean Pools, Inc. and for use in our geographical area.  Pools outside of our geographical area may require more extensive winterizing because of  colder environments.  Aegean Pools, Inc. has taken great efforts to make sure the instructions are accurate, however we offer no warranties with these instructions as we are unable to control mother nature or the actual winterizing of the pool.


If you have a mesh safety cover or you aren’t going to cover the pool, ask for our special Mesh Safety Winterization Program Sheet before winterizing, or not winterizing.  Read all these instructions completely before beginning.

  1. Brush and vacuum the pool. Be sure to clean the water line with BioGuard Off The Wall vinyl cleaner available at Aegean Pools. If you have a leak in the pool it MUST be repaired before winterizing the pool.
  1. Have the pool water professionally analyzed at Aegean Pools, Inc. and balance the water.   Have this done at least 2 to 3 days before winterizing the pool.  There is no charge for Aegean Pools to analyze your pool water.
  1. The day before draining the pool backwash according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  DO NOT RECHARGE A D.E. FILTER WITH NEW D.E. Chemically treat the filter to remove scale and oils with BioGuard’s Kleen It available at Aegean Pools.  To add Kleen It: turn the pump off.  Close the main drain valve.  Put the backwash valve in the closed position.  Open the strainer lid and remove enough water to allow you to put the quart of Kleen It into the strainer of the pump.  Close the lid.  Put the backwash valve in the backwash position and turn the pump on for approximately twenty seconds or until the yellow color is gone from the strainer, whichever comes first.  After the color is gone turn the pump off rotate the valve to the recirculate position and turn the pump on.  Open the main drain valve.
  1. Add winterizing chemicals. If you are using our On Guard or Safety Zone Winter Kit follow these directions (If you are using another manufactures kit follow the directions on the specific kit.).  Add all liquids directly to the pool.  There are two types of Floaters for the pool NEITHER TYPE OF FLOATER CONTAINS ANY CHLORINE.  For floater with an oval top; punch out 4 holes where there are indentations at the bottom of the cylinder.  For the floater that has a foam collar punch out 2 holes on each side and 4 holes on the bottom of the cylinder.  Then place the foam collar on the floater from the bottom of the cylinder.  Then place, DO NOT THROW, the floater into the pool placing the narrow end of the floater into the water first.  Ionizers should use POOL MAGIC SPRING & FALL available at Aegean Pools; add this directly to the pool water.
  1. Circulate with the valve in the re-circulate position for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
  1. Drain the pool to the bottom of the mouth of the skimmer.  If you have a spill over spa, DO NOT DRAIN ANY WATER FROM THE SPA.  Use non-toxic anti-freeze (available at Aegean Pools) in the spa to lower the freeze point and make sure you use a Super Gizzmo in the skimmer (if you have a skimmer). You may use an optional AquaDor, available at Aegean Pools, to block the water from entering the skimmer.  This does not eliminate the need to use a Super Gizzmo (long green cylinder like device with threads on one end.).  Keeping the pool at this level requires extreme diligence, if you let the water get to high the water will get behind the liner, if you let it get to low the liner may float with heavy rains.  Our recommendation to help avoid this problem if you have a mesh safety cover or no pool cover is to install an automatic cover pump on the top step of your pool, for solid safety covers or solid water bag covers we recommend an automatic cover pump on top of the pool cover.  To drain the pool:  Turn the pump off.  Make sure the main drain valve is in the open position (handle will be parallel with pipe).  Put the backwash valve in the backwash position.  Backwash filter until the water is clear in the sight glass.  Turn the pump off and rotate the valve to waste.  When the skimmer starts to draw air turn the pump off, you have finished draining the pool.   Do not drain the pool below the bottom of the mouth of the skimmer.
  1. Blow out plumbing lines using a large horsepower wet/dry vac.   To blow the skimmer lines: disconnect the blue flexible backwash hose.  Place the backwash valve in the waste position and connect the shop vac to the backwash adapter on the backwash valve.  Make sure the strainer lid is secure on the pump. Close the main drain valve.  Connect the vacuum to blow air.  Connect the wet/dry vac hose to the backwash hose adapter with duct tape.   Turn the vacuum on, as skimmer lines blow out, plug the holes with the Super Gizzmo in the hole furthest from the pool.  If the wet/dry vac does not purge the water, the vacuum may not be strong enough.  To clear the skimmer lines, in this event, go over to the skimmer with the wet/dry vac and use it as a vacuum to draw, as much water as possible from the lines.  Follow these next steps to blow out the return lines.  There are two different processes here one if you have a salt generator and one if you don’t have a salt generator.  If you have a salt generator: Set the wet/dry vac to the “blow” position.  Remove the cell and connect the blower to the pipe closest to the pool and turn the blower on this will blow the line, plug each line as the air starts blowing out of the return jet.  Next blow out the Automatic pool cleaner line by reversing the blower to opposite fitting for the cell.  Then put the Backwash valve in the closed position.  Turn the blower on and then turn the booster pump on for just a second air should begin coming out of the automatic pool cleaner line, when this happens plug the line.  If you don’t have a salt generator:  Turn the vacuum off and rotate the backwash valve so that the handle is between positions.  Make sure the drain plugs are in place, the air -vent is closed on the filter, and the skimmer(s) is/are plugged with the Super Gizzmo(s).   Set the wet/dry vac to the “blow” position the shop vac should still be attached to the backwash hose adapter, if not reconnect the shop vac.  Put the return line valve in the closed position (not all pools have this valve). Start the wet/dry vac, the step jets will blow out first (not all pools have step jets); as air comes out of the jets, turn them off by grabbing the outside ring of the jet and turn it to the right (Not all jets will do this.  On some jets you turn the nozzle itself to turn the jet off.) or remove the jet and plug the opening with an expansion plug.  If you have step jets, after closing off each jet open the air vent at the top of the step to allow any water to escape.  Once clear close the air vent.  When these jets are blown out open the return valve you had closed off.  Allow the return lines to blow out.  The line closest to the equipment will blow out first when air starts coming out plug the line.  Repeat this step for any other return fittings you have.  Once all the returns are blow out the automatic pool cleaner liner should blow out (if you have one).  Once air comes out of the line plug it.  If these steps don’t work then call us.
  1. Winterize the system by removing the drain plugs from the pump (usually two).   Remove the plugs or cap from the bottom of the filter.  Remove plug from the chlorinator (if you have one).  Remove lid and leave off.  DO NOT LEAVE CHLORINE TABLETS IN THE CHLORINATOR DURING THE WINTER. If you have some tablets left over in the chlorinator, get three zip lock bags then place the chlorine tables inside a bag then place that bag inside bag number two and then that bag inside bag number 3.  DO NOT PLACE THIS BAG INSIDE THE BUCKET AND DO NOT PLACE THIS BAG INSIDE AN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER (If you store them in an air tight container, the tablets will continue to break down into a chlorine gas, and at some point the container will explode). Open the main drain valve.  Remove cell from line (if you have a CLORMATIC or LECTRANTOR/AUTOPILOT© or other type of salt generating device for making chlorine in your pool.).  For Clormatic remove flow sensor from the line and wrap a plastic bag around it and twist tie it shut.   For Aqua Rite© salt generators remove cell from the line and cell cord from control unit.  Store salt generating cells indoors where the temperatures will remain above freezing.  For the open pipes where the cell was removed you may place a plastic baggie over it securing it with a rubber band or twist tie, if you have a non-working cell or a blank you can put that in-line for the winter.  Place plugs in the strainer basket of the pump so you’ll know where they are next spring.  Remove the pressure gauge from the filter.  Store the pressure gauge inside where the temperatures do not drop below freezing.  Open-air vent at the top of the filter (if you have one). If you have a heater, winterize the heater by opening the drain vents or remove the drain plug.  DO NOT RE-INSTALL DRAIN PLUGS UNTIL THE SPRING – SEVERE DAMAGE MAY OCCUR TO EQUIPMENT.
  1. Turn all circuit breakers for pool equipment off at main breaker box inside the house, not a sub-panel box or the circuit breaker in the AquaPlus/AquaLogic box.  If possible store the motor inside where the temperature remains constant and away from chlorine. Store the pressure gauge with the motor if it will remain above freezing.
  1. Remove and clean all deck equipment, ladders, and handrails.  To Remove ladders and Handrails: Slide the escutcheon up far enough on the rail to be out of your way.  Do not take the bolt all the way out.  Un-screw the bolt about 3/4” from concrete.  Then take a small piece of wood (i.e. a 2 x 4) and place it on top of the bolt head to keep from damaging the bolt head.  Then hammer the bolt down toward the concrete.  You could also use a rubber mallet to drive the bolt down.  This will force the wedge, that holds the ladder in the cup, down and loosen the rail so it can be removed.  Lubricate bolts in anchor sockets and in diving board base to avoid rusting. DO NOT STORE POOL EQUIPMENT NEAR OR WITH CHLORINE OF ANY TYPE.


  1.  For customers with D. E. filters we recommend that you disassemble the filter at this point and clean the grids or flex tubes so they are free of any residual.   If you leave this task for next year it will be more difficult to remove the D. E. from the grids.  If you don’t clean the filter the filter will run a higher pressure than normal.  Should you accidentally disassemble the grid assembly and you’re not able to re-assemble it we have two options.  First we have written instructions at Aegean Pools on how to re-assemble the grid assembly or bring it to us and we will help you re-assemble the grid assembly.
  1. Remove diving boards, and safety lines. Lay diving boards on their side when storing to prevent warping.
  1. Store automatic vacuum cleaner hoses in long straight runs. DO NOT COIL.
  1. Cover the pool.  IMPORTANT!  If you have a fiberglass in ground pool DO NOT use a  solid water bag cover when winterizing the pool.  If the cover develops a leak and you pump water off the top of the cover the water will seep through the cover and drain the pool.  If the pool does not have enough water in it and the water table rises it could cause the pool to float out of the ground.  This can result in very expensive repairs to you pool.  Fiberglass pools should use either a mesh, mesh safety cover,  a solid safety cover that will support the weight of water on top of it with out dipping to far down or  a solid safety cover with a mesh drain panel.

IMPORTANT!!! If you have a MESH SAFETY COVER you must keep the water at the bottom of the mouth of the skimmer. NEVER allow the water to rise above the top of the Super Gizzmo® inside the skimmer, should this happen during freezing weather your skimmer could be cracked by ice. Use an automatic submersible pump (available at Aegean Pools) to keep the water level down. If you have a fiberglass pool you will need a Little Giant Water Wizard Automatic Submersible Pump (available at Aegean Pools) place this pump in the skimmer on top of the short Gizzmo (also available at Aegean Pools).  If you have a SOLID WINTER COVER WITH WATER BAGS you must keep excess water off the cover. You can use a cover pump (available at Aegean Pools).  Older solid winter covers may have pinholes that allow water to seep through the cover. When you pump water off the cover you will be pumping water out of the pool.   If you have a fiberglass pool with a solid safety cover it is very important that you pay close attention to the water level in the pool.  You may end up draining water out of the pool while removing water from the cover.  If the water is too low in the pool and the water table rises the pool could float out of the ground.   When purchasing a submersible cover pump make sure it is designed for use on a swimming pool covers or damage may occur to your pool cover.  Aegean Pools sells cover pumps designed specifically for use with swimming pool covers.  The colder the water the more successful your winterizing will be.


2 thoughts on “How To Winterize Your In Ground Pool

  1. Dear Ms. Thomas,

    About your cover. The cover you have is fine. Our concern is this; solid covers can develop holes. If this were to happen and your pump begins to pump water off of the cover water could pass through the holes and then the cover pump would pump some water out of the pool. With a solid safety cover at some point the cover would rise above the water level in the pool and this process would stop. However, you may experience some water loss out of the pool if this were to happen. If the water level in the pool is too low and the ground water swells from a storm it could cause the pool to float out of the ground. We really don’t want to see this happen any more than you do. So the cover you have is fine you just have to be aware of the water level in the pool. We would recommend you check on the condition of the cover before installing it on the cover for the winter, if there are any holes patch them before you install the cover. During the winter keep an eye on the water level under the cover, it should never drop below the bottom of the mouth of the skimmer. If it does you will want to inspect the cover for holes or pin holes. As your cover begins to age (years 7+) it will tend to develop small holes. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me.


    Jim Garrison
    The Guru of Pools at
    Aegean Pools, Inc.

    • Jim…thanks so much for the reply. We are closing the pool up this weekend and will check the cover carefully for any damage/holes and will definitely keep a close eye on the water level in the pool over the winter. Thanks again!!

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