Tips For Closing Your Pool Before Fall

Man hauls water from a flooded pool cover

With summer’s end approaching, the time has come to start planning to close your pool and prepare it for the fall.
Whether you’re a new owner about to close your pool for the first time, or just need a refresher, it’s a good idea to make a plan. By properly closing the pool for the fall, it can extend the life of your pool and may even help avoid hassles next spring when you prepare it for the warm weather.

No matter the type of pool you own, here are some useful tips to close your pool.

Step 1 – Inspect your pool

First, inspect your pool’s liner for any damage. Though you may not have to worry about winter’s cold and ice right now, when it does arrive it can make any existing damage worse. If you find a problem, contact a professional for the repairs.

If you have a ladder or stairs inside the pool, be sure to remove them while the water level is high.

Tip: Take a few pictures before putting everything away. This will help you to put everything back in place next spring.

Step 2 – Add a phosphate remover

Wait until the average temperature drops below 18 Celcius (65F) during the day to avoid algae growth. A few days before closing, add a phosphate remover to the water to neutralize algae. If you close your pool too early, when the temperature outside is still warm, algae can start to grow again.

Important: Do not turn off your filtration system until the very end of the shut-off procedure to keep the water moving and prevent ice build-up.

Step 3 – Perform a cleaning

Remove surface debris, then vacuum and scrub to thoroughly clean the walls and floor of the pool. This will make your life easier when you reopen it in the spring. Also, don’t forget to clean the filter and pump baskets after vacuuming the pool.

Step 4 – Control the chemical balance of the water

Use a pool test kit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check and adjust pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness as needed. Balancing the water’s chemical levels helps you protect it against corrosion, staining and decay.

Step 5 – Do a shock treatment

Shock treat and chlorinate (or salt) the water to kill any bacteria that may remain over the winter. Add a winter algicide to kill existing algae and prevent its growth. This type of product is available at most pool stores.

Note: It is recommended that the shock treatment be performed a few days before closing the pool or, at a minimum, the night before closing the pool for the winter.

Step 6 – Backwash your filter

Run the pump for one complete cycle, following the manufacturer’s instructions, before backwashing and chemically cleaning your pool filter.

Step 7 – Reduce water level

Lower the water level in the pool to about 40 cm (15 inches) below the skimmer frame. This is to avoid problems during freezing and thawing. Do not drain the water completely. A relatively high water level in winter puts less pressure on the cover and the liner. If the pool is equipped with decorative tiles, keep the water level below the tiles, as the surface water will freeze, expand and can crack the tiles.

Step 8 – Empty out the pool filtering system

Drain all water from the pump, filter, heater and their tubes. Any water left in the system can freeze and cause damage. Be careful with delicate items such as pipes.

The cartridges and filters, as well as the skimmer door, should also be removed.

You can store the drain plugs in the pump basket during the winter. Once the plumbing is drained, it is recommended that you add pool antifreeze to protect your system during the harsh winter months.

Step 9 – Install the air cushion

If your pool is equipped with one, inflate the air cushion with an air pump and place it in the center of the pool. The air cushion can be attached to an anchor to hold it in place.

Step 10 – Cover your pool

If the type of pool you own allows for it, cover your pool and securely fasten the cover to keep debris out. Repair tears in the cover as needed. Place rags or cardboard over any sharp edges that stick out into the pool. Regardless of the type of cover you choose, make sure it is securely fastened to your pool.

Note: Don’t forget to remove all decorative elements, as well as any accessories (basket, filter, heater or other), if necessary.

Final advice

Each pool has its own characteristics and yours may require different maintenance than what is listed here. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, be sure to check monthly, even in the winter, if possible, to catch any problems early before they become serious (for example, a crack that could result in flooding of your yard as the pool drains completely).

Do you know if your pool is covered by insurance? Be sure to visit to learn more.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Always follow local laws and public health and safety measures and restrictions.