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Closing guide for above ground pools.

A step-by-step guide to closing your aboveground pool for the winter

We’ve all been there. One day you’re swimming in your above-ground pool, enjoying a seemingly endless summer. The next day, your inbox is filled with back-to-school emails. Temperatures are dropping. There’s no doubt about it: summer is coming to an end.


As a general rule, it is ideal to wait until the water is 12°C (55°F) , wait until the temperature drops below this point to close.

Why? Algae need heat to grow, and cold temperatures help keep your water free of infestation. Plus, by leaving your pool open until the mercury drops, you have plenty of time to clean, test and balance your pool before closing.

Pool Maintenance

First, if there is algae or the water is cloudy, it is necessary to treat it immediately. 

  • Maintain a Ph between 7.2 and 7.6
  • Maintain water alkalinity between 100 ppm and 120 ppm
  • Maintain a reasonable chlorine number to keep it clean (about 1.0ppm)

ASTUCE: If you have a salt system, ask a technician about it, as in cold water it will stop working. Feel free to install a dummy cell and add one to two protect stick in the skimmer.

You must remove all equipment that attaches to the pool such as:

  • The ladder or step
  • The thermometer
  • The sun cloth ( clean with mild soap and store dry)
  • Lights and toys

Water loss?

To check for the possibility of a leak in the pool liner (in good weather), you can draw a line at the water level on the liner that will allow you to observe if the water level drops within 4 days.. An undetected or neglected leak can damage the pool when it freezes or thaws. Repairs, if any, should be made before winterization

Preparations , 48 hours in advance

Remove leaves and heavy debris with a deep-bagged-leaf-cleaner. If you choose to vacuum leaves with your pool vacuum, be careful not to clog the suction line. It is recommended that you use a BLUE DEVIL for heavy buildup at the bottom of the pool. Brush the sides of the pool thoroughly.

Prepare water for maximum protection against winter damage:

  • Bring in a water sample/How to properly take a water sample. Click Here
  • Water becomes more corrosive and damaging when it is cold. Compensate by increasing the pH to 7.6 – 7.8 just before closing.
  • Clean your filter media with Dazzle™ Action Filter Cleanse, following the label instructions. Debris left in the filter solidifies and hardens when left on the filter media over the winter, compromising filtration in the spring.
  • After cleaning the filter, deep clean your water with a Jack’s magic Super Pac. Add the product to the skimmer. One bag treats up to 80,000 liters. Digesting organic waste and reducing phosphate levels means your water is cleaner and less susceptible to algae growth during the winter months. This allows you to get your pool ready for the spring opening in a snap

How to drain the pool?

When you are ready to drain the pool, start by closing the pool skimmer so that the suction of the pool is made only from your bottom drain( 3-way valve). Turn off the pool pump and rotate the filter control handle to the WASTE (sand filter) position.

Remove the pool pump and drain the pool 18″ below the skimmer. Then turn off the pump when the water level is reached.

ASTUCE: When the water level drops below the skimmer inlet, use a hose in the skimmer to maintain a water level in the skimmer. This will prevent air from being sucked in and losing the priming of your pump. 

Removing the pump

First, disconnect the power to the pump, remove the suction and pressure hoses. Remove and clean the basket inside. It is important to clean and empty the pump. Afterwards, store it in a warm place. 

Sand filter cleaning

Think about using a special box or bag for storing your pool parts. In order to prevent this bag from being lost or thrown away.  For parts such as the filter pressure gauge or salt cell, it is best to store them indoors during the winter where freezing is not a problem.  

Start with:

  • Unscrew the pressure gauge and remove the water inside.
  • Remove the glass bubble, if there is one. 
  • Remove the cap at the bottom of the filter and most importantly don’t reinstall it until next year.
  • Put the controller in the Winterize position.

Cartridge Filter Removal

  • Unscrew the pressure gauge and remove the water inside.
  • Unscrew the *AIR BLEEDER*
  • Remove the cap from the bottom of the filter and definitely do not reinstall it until next year.
  • Pull the cartridge inside, rinse off the excess and soak it in the appropriate solution (Rapid action filter cleanse) for 12 to 24 hours. Afterwards, rinse the filter with fresh water and store.

Bottom drain winterization

There are several ways to winterize your bottom drain, some of which are easier and less expensive, but they can put the integrity of your pool at risk. Piscine Hippocampestrongly recommends that you disconnect the bottom drain from your facility (see below):

Land prone to movement or questionable drainage

  • Disconnect the hose from the bottom drain under the 3-way valve and skimmer and attach the extension to it. See video here!
  • Attach the hose to a stake near the pool and allow it to protrude above the pool with the appropriate extension cord
  • Slowly pour in the antifreeze **Tip** Use a sugar-based (biodegradable) antifreeze, it will be able to mix well with the water without losing its integrity and will also be able to mix with pool water at the beginning of the next season.
  • Insert the Styrofoam coil inside the bottom drain hose, screw on the cap to secure it in case of a fall. 


  1. Bottom Drain Extension Kit for Pool off-grounde
  2. Dazzle Premium Anti-Freeze

Simplified but risky winterization

  • Place the 3-way valve in the *CLOSE* position, to allow the antifreeze to gravity flow down the bottom drain directly.
  • Slowly pour in the antifreeze **Tip** Use a sugar-based (biodegradable) antifreeze, it will be able to mix well with the water without losing its integrity and will also be able to mix with the pool water at the beginning of the next season.
  • Insert the Styrofoam coil inside the skimmer to the base of the pool. Afterwards, you can close the 3-way valve to solidify the bladder. (A 1 ½ » cap screwed on with Teflon also works).


  1. Dazzle Premium Anti-Freeze
  2. Ethafoam for pool closure
  3. Screwed-in 1 1/2 Stopper
  4. Teflon tape

Skimmer protection

First, you’ll need to remove the skimmer basket and door, use this time to clean everything! Don’t forget that your skimmer is at risk during winter, please install a protective foam inside it to prevent frost from cracking it. Please get a protective foam for your above-ground pool skimmer.


If you have a skimmer light, please follow the next steps:

  • Remove the screw cover around the skimmer.
  • Remove the 2 screws that hold the light.
  • Don’t forget to put the screws back in and tighten them afterwards.
  • Take the light and transformer inside to warm. 

Salt System

Disconnect the salt cell from the control panel and fittings. It is recommended that you clean the cell with Pristiva Salt Cell Cleaner, carefully following the label instructions. Then store the salt cell with your other parts, indoors if possible. 

ASTUCE: Use a dummy cell ( cell dummy) for winter or startup when not in use. Protect your IntelliChlor or Ichlor salt cell from cold and starting chemicals by replacing it with this plumbing part. This will also extend its life.

Heating System ( Heat Pump )

When it comes to winterizing your heat pump, using the right tools makes all the difference. Piscine Hippocampehas blowers with the right capacity to empty all types of machines at your disposal. You must *blow* the water out of the heat pump to prevent any possible freezing. Here are the recommended steps:

  • Reserve the block of time for the blower rental.  SMS: 450-632-8680 *Blower Reservation
  • Make sure the breaker is closed.
  • Remove the hoses going in and out of the heat pump (be careful not to lose any O’rings or parts).
  • Install the blower in the *IN* position and activate it. Please wait 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat the same manipulation but in the *OUT* position.
  • Check with our technicians to see if a heat pump cover is recommended for your model.

Water Return ( Jet )

A pool backflow is always a few inches lower than your skimmer, please use this as an overflow (OverFlow) path for your pool. Follow the next steps:

  • Take the eye off the overflow, please use the appropriate tool. If this one gets stuck ( Do not use plumbing pliers)
  • Please install a temporary hose to allow water to drain as far away from the pool plumbing as possible (sometimes the return water hose can do the job). This will protect the integrity of the structure. 

This principle of closure gives you peace of mind when rain or snowfall is too heavy and the pool is looking to overflow. The water only drips further.

Chemical use

The following steps can be performed after lowering the water level for the winter or before.

We prefer that these products be added after the water level is lowered. By adding them after the water level is lowered, we ensure that the water discharged will have the least impact on the environment. We also maximize the protective capacity of the products.

When applying these products after the water has been lowered, apply them very slowly and sparingly to the edges of the deep end of the pool and be sure to brush the pool to ensure proper mixing. Do this after each application of product. 

The preferred method for treating the water at closing with your salt pool is as follows;

  1. Prevent stains, scale formation, cloudy water and algae with Pristiva Primer. If the water has already been lowered, apply by mixing about 250 grams into a bucket of pool water and slowly pouring around the edges of the pool. Continue until the required amount has been mixed and applied. One 950g bottle will treat up to 80,000 liters. If the pump and filter are still running, pour slowly into the skimmer. Maintain filtration for at least one hour after application.
  2. Remove organic waste and maintain chlorine levels during the winter months with Pristiva Premium Shock. If the water has already been lowered, apply slowly and sparingly to the edges of the pool immediately after applying Pristiva Primer. Brush the pool immediately after application. Consider diluting Premium Shock in a bucket of water and pouring it around the edges when there is no deep end or the water is very cold. If the pump and filter are still working, Premium Shock can be added to the skimmer immediately after adding the Primer. Again, keep filtration going for at least an hour after these applications.

Check out the Pristiva Salt Pool Winterization Kit here!

The following method is for pools running on chlorine or with Mineraluxe system:

  1. Destroy organic waste with Dazzle’s Ultra Shock. Apply slowly and sparingly, directly into the pool, brushing immediately after application.
  2. Prevent algae with Dazzle’s Algae Clear 60. A highly concentrated, non-foaming algae destroyer. Ideal for killing all types of algae commonly found in pool water. Apply directly to pool water.

Dazzle Premium Winterization Kit here!


The use of netting is highly recommended to allow you a more enjoyable and much simpler pool opening. These famous nets are now very thinly braided to minimize the accumulation of dirt in the pool. Piscine Hippocampeoffers 2 installations: permanent or semi-permanent.

See explanatory video here!

Permanent winter setup:

You will need to get a set of bungee cords (bungee) , it will allow the net to never touch the water (the leaves will not get wet and will be blown away by the wind). This system also allows the net not to get caught in the ice. In addition, this one prevents premature wear of the net.

  • Install the wire rope around the pool (just below the pool finish caps)
  • Install the rubber bands to form a spider web. Once properly positioned, tension these.
  • Install the net on the pool and tighten the steel cable inside the net with the tensioner.
  • The installation can stay on the pool all winter


  1. Aboveground pool bungee system
  2. Pool Closure Net/Mesh

Semi-permanent installation:

The semi-permanent installation includes only the net. This one will touch the water (it will catch leaves and such). We strongly recommend that you remove it all before the big freezes , otherwise the net could get damaged.

  1. Pool Closure Mesh
  2. 4′ x 5′ Air Cushion


Once the pool is closed, heavy fall rains could raise the water level. Too high a water level, combined with freezing, damages the wall near the skimmer. It is suggested to lower the water level back to 18″ below the skimmer. Make sure that rain and melt water will have proper drainage, i.e., water away from the pool to avoid structural failure.

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