When preparing to close your swimming pool for the winter, one of the most important steps is to winterize your pool plumbing. While it can be often overlooked, there is a lot of potential for damage to your pipes, mainly from ice. When ice freezes, it expands, and if it is inside your plumbing, that expansion pressure can do a lot of damage over the course of a few months.
Thankfully, a little maintenance work at the end of the season can make a huge difference in protecting your investment. Our video shows you how using an air blower, plugs and antifreeze will help winterize your pool and keep your pipes safe during the colder months.
If you have already drained your pool then there is a good chance that your return fittings are already above your water line. Clear your return fittings of any installed hardware, including jets, lights, fountains, or other accessories.
Locate your plumbing line from your filter that returns back to your pool. Unscrew the pipe from your filter to gain access. Using an air blower, insert the tube into the return pipe, so air flows through the line. Water will start to blow out your return fitting as the air pushes all of the water out of the pipes. When the water lessens to a fine mist, you can plug the return fitting with a winter return fitting plug and turn off your air blower. If you pool has multiple return fittings, be sure to plug each one.
Open your skimmer and remove the skimmer basket. The skimmer basket will not be staying in your skimmer during the winter, so this will need to be stored away. It does work wonders to carry any small items your pool doesn’t need during the winter as well. If your basket is in rough shape, this is a great time to replace it with a new skimmer basket so you have a brand new model ready for use in the spring.
Like with the return line, use your air blower to blow air through your skimmer line. Water will blow up and out of the skimmer, then lessen to a mist. As it lessens, you can insert a skimmer plug into the skimmer chamber. Skimmer plugs prevent water from entering the skimmer line during the winter.
Being near the top of your pool, the skimmer stands a heavy chance of taking in new water from precipitation (rain and snow). In order to winterize your pool skimmer, the skimmer plug acts as a “sacrificial lamb”. Skimmer plugs are made with a hollow plastic design in order to easily collapse under ice pressure, giving the ice the room it is looking for, keeping pressure off of your skimmer chamber’s walls.
Skimmer plugs are available in a variety of heights, so it’s important to find one that properly fits your skimmer. You want one that will fill up a lot of space within your skimmer chamber, but still allow you to put the top plate back on once the skimmer plug has been inserted.
Unscrew the plumbing line on your main drain, and insert your air blower into the pipe. This will blow all of the water out of your main drain. Since the drain is at the bottom of your pool, you won’t be plugging the drain as with the skimmer and the return fittings. However, close the drain off with the valve on your system to prevent water from coming back into the pipes.
Pool antifreeze is a nontoxic solution that is specifically designed for swimming pools different from traditional antifreeze. Adding pool antifreeze will help protect your pipes and stop any water inside from freezing and expanding. Most pool antifreeze is designed to be diluted with water before being added to your pipes. Follow the instructions to dilute the antifreeze into an appropriate amount of water, and then pour into your pipes.
The antifreeze works best to winterize your pool skimmer line and return line. The water in your main drain line is still free to move, being connected to the water in the bottom of your swimming pool, so antifreeze added here will simply keep diluting further. Best to keep the antifreeze to the skimmer line and return line, where it is most effective.
If you do not have an air blower, a shop vac can be used in its place to winterize your pool pipes. Just make sure the inner chamber is clean!