How to Winterize Your Vinyl Liner Pool

a pool in the middle of a snow covered yard.

Summer has drawn to a close, and now you’re ready to close the pool for the season. To help you do it right and ensure it’s in tip-top shape for next summer, we’re sharing how to winterize your vinyl liner pool

However, if you prefer to keep your pool open during the winter, follow these other instructions for maintaining your pool during the winter months without closing it.

FAQs for Winterizing a Vinyl Liner Pool

First, let’s answer some of your most frequently asked questions related to closing a swimming pool for the season.

When Is It Time to Winterize My Pool?

Even though you’ve probably not gone swimming in a while, you want to wait until air temperatures are consistently around 65 degrees during the day to make your work more effective. 

Here’s a list of things to consider for your pool as fall approaches winter.

Do I Empty the Pool?

You may want to lower the water level a bit to prevent overflow and keep it at the bottom edge of your skimmer, but you don’t need to drain your pool to winterize it! In fact, leaving it full prevents the temperature fluctuations from causing the liner to shrink. Plus, as the soil on the other side of the pool expands and contracts with moisture and temperature changes, the weight of the water counteracts the pressure fluctuations. An empty pool could crack or even cave in!

Do I Need a Pool Cover?

Absolutely! All the work you’re doing to winterize your vinyl liner pool will be wasted without a high-quality cover. Without one, leaves, sticks, and even pests will make their way in, creating a sludgy, nasty mess that can stain or even tear the vinyl liner. Investing in a cover lengthens the life of your liner. 

Discover how to choose the right type of vinyl liner pool cover here.

What Do I Need to Winterize My Pool?

Fortunately, you probably have everything you need already, but just in case, here’s a checklist: 

  • Testing strips 
  • Pool balancing chemicals, such as calcium, pH balancers, and stabilizers
  • Chemicals to control algae, metal deposits, and enzyme treatment to balance any dirt, pollution, or residue.  Often these will be in a pool closing kit. 
  • Skimmer and brush with telescoping pool
  • Pool vacuum attachment
  • Air compressor
  • Skimmer plate or Gizzmo
  • Winterizing plugs
  • Winter cover and winter cover blocks
  • Tools to remove pool accessories
  • Filter cleaner 

Steps to Winterize Your Vinyl Liner Pool

Okay, now you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started. 

Clean the Pool

Get your pool skimmer and clean all the debris from the top of the pool, then use your vacuum to get any debris off the floor of the pool. Don’t forget to empty your skimmer baskets. 

Test Your Water and Add Balancing Chemicals

Test the water and adjust the pH to increase acidity or alkalinity as needed to prevent any corrosion or build-up of scale. Be sure to keep the chlorine level below five ppm to protect other additives in your pool. 

Add Winterizing Chemicals

With the chlorine balanced, it’s time to add the other chemicals:

  • Algaecide to prevent spores from growing and leaving green and brown stains on your liner.
  • Metal sequestrant if your pool has high levels of iron, calcium, copper, etc to prevent rust and scale stains
  • Pool enzymes to destroy organic contaminants like dirt and leaf debris
  • Non-toxic, pool antifreeze (optional as blowing out the lines prevents freezing, but it’s a bit of added protection).

We don’t recommend using chlorine tablets as they don’t dissolve or distribute throughout the water with the pump turned off. 

You can learn about balancing pool chemicals for different seasons here.

Shock and Circulate the Water 

Go ahead and shock the pool one last time and run the pump overnight before you do the next steps and test the water the next day for a final balance check. 

Lower Your Water Level 

As we mentioned above, drain the water slightly to prevent overflow. While you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s suggestion on the cover, a general guideline is to keep it about an inch below your skimmer opening. 

Backwash and Clean Your Pump and Filter

You’ve spent a lot of time cleaning and treating the pool. Make sure the filter and pump are clean too! Take the cartridge out and wash it with pool filter cleaner, then rinse it and let it dry completely before storing it for the winter. 

Empty the Lines or Add Antifreeze

While North Carolina winters are fairly mild compared to much of the country, water can still freeze in the lines which can cause fractures and cracks. Blowing out the lines is fairly challenging as the plumbing may crack: 

  • Take off return fittings, skimmer baskets, and drain plugs from the filter;
  • Set the multiport valve to recirculate and the valve in front of your pump to the skimmer line;
  • Attach your air compressor to the drain plug opening of your pump (you can use a wet-dry vacuum, too);
  • Blow air through the entire system, keeping an eye for bubbles from the return lines;
  • Use  the vacuum to remove all the water being blown from the skimmer until it’s completely dry;
  • Put a Gizzmo or plug into the bottom of the skimmer and rubber plugs in the return lines as you see air bubbles leaving them;
  • Turn the valve in front of the pump to the drain setting to circulate air in that direction and watch for bubbles from the main drain in the deep end of the pool. 
  • Turn the pump valve back to the skimmer line and turn off the air compressor.
  • Place a plug in the pump.

Or, you can skip these steps and add non-toxic pool antifreeze. 

Remove the Accessories

Take the ladders, rails, and other accessories off the pool to prevent them from rusting and ensuring the pool cover fits securely. 

Winterize Your Water Features

Don’t forget to winterize your pool’s water features as well! You can find all the steps you need to take for winterizing a pool’s water features here.

Install Your Cover

Put the cover on and congratulate yourself on a job well done! 

Now you can relax and when the warm weather rolls around again, you can learn how to open a pool after winter.

Ready to Build Your Own a Custom Vinyl Liner Pool?  Contact us Today

If you don’t have a custom vinyl liner pool or need your current liner replaced, we can help! We serve Raleigh, Clayton, Garner, Knightdale, Wilson Mills, Four Oaks, Wendell, and Zebulon customers, providing long-lasting solutions. Call us at 919-586-8556 or fill out the online contact form to get started!