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Winterizing Your Above-ground Swimming Pool

As your kids see the first days of school fast approaching, you see a major cleaning project in your future: the pool. Above-ground swimming pools are great backyard additions for the dog days of summer. They are cheap, set up quickly, are a snap to maintain and can be enjoyed with the flick of the wrist that removes the pool cover. Unfortunately, cleaning these above-ground pools is not quite as quick and simple. If you add winterizing the pool to the mix, there are additional considerations. Are you hip to the ins and outs of the best above-ground pool cleaning regimen?

Should You Break Down the Pool?

If you live in Fargo, where sub-freezing winter temperatures are the norm, taking down the pool and storing it for the winter is probably the best solution. On the other hand, if you make your home in balmy Southern California, leaving it up during the winter is a timesaving decision.

General rule of thumb: If you know that temperatures do not dip below freezing in your region, keep the pool intact. If freezing temperatures are part of your winter experience, break it down to prevent liner damage from forming ice.

How to Prepare the Pool for Draining

You could just attach a hose and open the valves, but why let go of all the nice cleaning water in the process? Instead, add some environmentally friendly algaecides that will make quick work of bottom and sidewall algae growth. Clean the pool’s interior with your trusty scrub brush and allow the algae to dissolve. Now is the time to attach the hose and use the pool water for the flowerbeds, the driveway, to hose down the dirty car, and to give the lawn a deep watering.

General rule of thumb: If you have used copious chemicals during the summer, water the flowerbeds at your own risk.

Store the Supplies

Get out the ladders, benches and pool toys. Clean and dry each item well. Do the same with the hoses and pool cover. Spend a bit of time cleaning and maintaining the pool filter system. You may find that there is some debris stuck in there. Since you are storing these items for at least six months, be certain that nothing will rot over the course of this time. Toss out your filter cartridge; start next year’s above-ground pool season with a fresh one.

General rule of thumb: If it looks broken, buy a replacement now. At the end of the outdoor pool season, supplies are cheap to buy and replace. Wait until the beginning of next year’s season, and you will pay top dollar for the same supplies.

Can You Dry a Pool Completely?

Drying the pool completely is a must, but it is here that the need for speed and fatigue can really throw you a curveball. If draining the pool has turned the backyard into a soggy mess, do not feel bad for leaving the empty pool collapsed on your patio for a day or two. Since the liner must be completely dry, be sure to allocate at least two hours and numerous towels to the endeavor. Failure to spend as much time as it takes on drying leads to a spring surprise of abundant mold growth and unbelievably vile odors.

General rule of thumb: Talcum powder is your friend. Sprinkle it quite liberally onto the dried liner. It soaks up any leftover moisture and furthermore keeps the vinyl from sticking to itself as you roll up the pool.

Invest in a large tote box or pool bag to hold the liner during the winter months. Store other pool accessories separately. Remember, you do not want the risk of poking holes into the liner if anything shifts in the garage or basement.

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