If you’re looking for the secret to life, an inflatable pool might just be it: they’re super lightweight, easy to set up, and as mobile as a pool could be. But even though inflatable and Intex pool owners have a loophole around the expenses of inground pool installation, there’s no clever way to stop the winter from coming, and coming quick. It can really feel like one moment you’re doggie paddling your way through the hot afternoon, and the next moment you’re pulling out a turtleneck from the back of your drawer. There are many things we can’t control, but the weather’s got to be the first on the list.
But when it comes down to it, the convenience of inflatable and Intex pools doesn’t have to end with the season. I’ll break down what it means to close an inflatable or intex pool, why and when you should close it, what you need in your pool closing arsenal, and finally, how to close your inflatable or Intex pool for the winter—the right (and yes, easy!) way.
What Does It Mean to Close Inflatable or Intex Pools?
Closing any pool type usually means that you disconnect the circulation system from power, remove equipment, and dry out pipes that can potentially be damaged by freezing temperatures. It also involves achieving the perfect pool closing chemical balance for your water to prevent any growth of algae, mold, or general mucky cloudiness while your pool is covered for the winter.
That’s the general meaning of pool closing. But what you need to do to protect your pool for the winter also diverges based on pool type. If you’re closing an above-ground pool, for instance, you’ll probably want to dissemble the plumbing and store it away from any potential freezes. And if you’re closing an inflatable or Intex pool and live in a cold climate (the specific number here is below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degrees Celsius), you’re going to want to drain and disassemble your pool entirely.
Closing season is the perfect time to plan for the future—and an efficient pump will save you tons of cash and effort to come. Try the Copper Force Above Ground Pool Pump, which has a start capacitor and different horsepower options. According to customer Doug Paar, “The pump is very quiet and has good pressure. I would recommend.”
Why Should I Close My Inflatable or Intex Pool?
Both inflatable and Intex pools, which are at least partially inflatable, are especially susceptible to freezing temperatures. If you leave your pool up for the winter, there’s a big chance that the weather will damage your pool liner, which will lead to a seriously costly repair. There’s also the possibility that it’ll be wrecked beyond repair—and we both know these pools don’t come cheap.
Hey, your pool is super lightweight and easy to set up. It’s not going to be that much harder to take down. Plus, it’ll ensure that you have a pool to use next summer—and not a costly pile of tattered material taking up space in your backyard.
Of course, you could be reading this in a tropical paradise. Lucky you! Read on to see why that’s a whole different story.
It All Depends on Your Weather
Do you spend your summer floating on your back on your pool, gazing up at palm trees? First of all, want to trade lives? And second of all, you may not need to close your pool at all.
Depending on your climate, you’ve got a few options. If your winter weather is warm enough that it’s not really a winter at all, you can keep your pool open for the winter and swim all season long—just know that that also involves maintenance as usual, including the cost of running your pump for the correct amount of time every day. If your weather gets too cold for swimming during the winter, but is nowhere near freezing temperatures, you can close your pool without worrying about drying or dissembling your plumbing. If your weather hits freezing, you’ll want to take down your plumbing and your inflatable pool and store it away for that happy, sunny, pool opening spring day.
If you live in conditions that necessitate closing your pool, I’ll break it down for you below. Just keep in mind that what you need (and ultimately, how you go about closing your pool) depends on the climate you’re expecting this winter.
What You’ll Need If You Live in a Cold Climate
Don’t worry, I’m probably not sending you to the store. Since you’re not adjusting your chemical balance, you only need these few essentials:
- A manual vacuum or automatic cleaner designed for above-ground pools, like the Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner.
- Mild all-purpose liquid cleaner.
- A soft cloth that won’t damage your liner.
- An old fashioned garden hose.
- The drain connector that came with your pool.
- Talcum powder or cornstarch.
What You’ll Need If You Live in a Mild Climate
If you live somewhere with mild weather and aren’t taking down your pool, you will need those winterizing chemicals. But chances are, you have all or most of these supplies on hand:
- A manual vacuum or automatic cleaner designed for above-ground pools, like the Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner.
- Alkalinity increaser.
- pH increaser and decreaser.
- Calcium hardness increaser.
- Water test strips.
- An inflatable or Intex pool cover.
Bonus: if your pool is especially susceptible to algae infestations, you’ll also want to give your pool a dose or two of algaecide before covering it up for the winter.
How to Close Your Inflatable or Intex Pool for A Cold Winter—In Eight Steps
The time has come, and you couldn’t be more prepared—even if you don’t know it yet. This process is going to be a breeze, but there are a few steps to get it done right.
Worried your pump won’t perform well next year, and rack up operational costs as a result? Try a replacement pump like the reliable and quiet Single Speed Dual Port Flow Force Replacement Pump for Above Ground Pools. According to customer Jeff Haywood, “Good quality pump at good price. Came with lots of fittings for different applications. Would recommend.”
1. Debris Be Gone
To start off, you’re going to have to use just a bit of elbow grease. Go ahead and clean debris from your water with your skimmer net on a telescopic pole and vacuum the sides and bottom of your pool with an automatic cleaner like the Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner or, if you’re okay with the extra effort, a manual vacuum.
You’re probably thinking: wait a minute here. I’m draining my pool anyway. Why should I have to clean up the water? And listen, I get it. But the last thing you want to do is clog your pipes with debris while you’re draining thousands of gallons of water—and have that water shoot right back at you, your yard, and your house’s foundation. It’s worth a few minutes of clean up before pulling the plug.
2. Get Game for a Drain
First, disconnect from all power sources, so you don’t get any surprises like a pump turning on and pumping air into your circulation system. Next, get rid of any skimmer, ladder, or other attached accessories in your pool, clean them, and store them in a protected and dry area for the winter.
Anytime you drain an above-ground pool, or any pool for that matter, it’s ideal to do it at a time when you haven’t been administering chemicals to your water for long enough for it to be registered as “neutral” on a water test strip. Of course, I know that’s not always going to happen. In either case, you’ll want a serious game plan for where the water you’re draining is going to go—and chances are that your local water authority has an opinion. Be sure to check with them on the recommended draining location for your area, as well as the mandated chemical levels in drained water, if any. Nobody wants to save money by going the DIY route just to rack up hefty fines for damaging the environment.
3. Wave Your Water Goodbye
Now that your pool is prepped and you know where that water is going to go, it’s time to ramp it up a bit. Check the drain plug on the inside of the pool and make sure it’s plugged in. Keep it plugged! Then get your drain connector, which was included with your pool when you bought it and should have been stored in a safe place, like your garage. Go ahead and attach that to the thin end of the drain connector. Make sure you point it away from your house, so you’re not flooding its foundation with thousands of gallons of water.
Once you do this next step, your water will immediately start draining full force. When you’re absolutely ready, connect that drain connector to the drain valve. This will disrupt the inner drain plug and start the draining process. Make sure that connector is tight on the valve, so you don’t have a geyser situation on your hands.
This drain will take a few hours at the least, but that doesn’t mean that this is the ideal time to cross those errands off your list. You’ll want to frequently check on the draining process to make sure it’s all going smoothly—and by smoothly, I mean not catastrophically. My recommendation? It’s a two birds, one stone situation: as the water drains, start cleaning your pool walls with a mild all-purpose cleaner and soft cloth—that’ll give you a head start on the next step coming up.
Eventually, the water will lower to a point where it can’t reach the drain. When this happens, lift the side of the pool away from the drain until your pool is empty of water. Make sure you remove the drain connector and replace the inside drain plug and outside drain valve cap. That way, you won’t have to worry about missing parts on pool opening day next spring.
4. Give Your Pool Walls a (Gentle) Scrub
This one’s as straightforward as they come; wipe down the inside of your pool with a soft cloth and mild cleaner. Make sure to rinse the walls when you’re done, so you don’t have residual soap to deal with next year.
5. Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down That Wall!
If your pool has a frame, use your owner manual to disassemble it, clean and dry it, and store it away in a safe place. In either case, you’ll want to let your liner air dry away from the hot sun. It needs to be really, really dry. In fact, it’s best to sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on it to absorb any leftover water.
6. Mind That Pool Liner
You’re going to want a friend for this step. Once your pool liner is dry, you’ll need to fold it into as neat a square as possible to fit it back into its original packaging. Threw out the box? You can use an extra large plastic storage container with a lid. If you need a bit of help folding the liner, chances are there’s a visual aid in your owner’s manual.
7. Clean That Equipment, Too
Your pump and your filter parts are next. Give them a rub down and then let them air dry before storing them away for the winter. If your filter cartridge is dirty, you’re better off skipping the clean and ordering a replacement instead. Just make sure you get the right filter for your pool type.
8. Out of Sight, Out of Harm’s Way
Everything stored away in a clean, dry place for that freezing cold winter coming? Congratulations, you’re done! And you have a nice, spacious yard again to boot.
How to Close Your Inflatable or Intex Pool for A Mild Winter—In Seven Steps
Freezing temperatures aren’t on your list of worries this winter, huh? That’s cool. Closing your pool will be a lot easier as a result, but you should reserve at least part of two days to do it. This will help you nail your chemical balance and keep the surprises to a minimum on pool opening day next spring.
A note on maintenance: this winter, just be sure to check your chemical balance on those warmer days (above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or so), so you can discourage any kind algae that might want to start growing. If I could, I’d choose that over taking down and setting up my pool every year. Wouldn’t you?
Another part of winter maintenance for upright, covered pool is preventing water from collapsing your winter cover—and it’s much easier to have a cover pump that works on its own. Keep your cover light and secure with the BLACK+DECKER 800 GPH Automatic Pool Cover Pump, which detects up to a quarter inch of rain and works on its own—fast.
1. Inspect Your Inflation
If your pool has inflatable parts, make sure they’re nice and properly inflated. Remember, this pool’s got to last through the long haul. A thorough inspection now could save you tons of headache later.
2. Give it a Mean Clean
Go ahead and skim any debris like floating leaves, twigs, and anything else that is going to seriously suck up the chemicals you’re about to add to your water. Be sure to vacuum the sides and bottom of your pool with a manual vacuum or an automatic cleaner like the Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Pool Cleaner. This will help eliminate any microscopic bacteria that might be ready to grow once its undisturbed. No, thank you.
3. It’s All About Balance
Achieving pool closing chemical balance now will save you any nasty surprises when you open your pool again next year. The short version? Your pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6, and your total alkalinity should be between 100 parts per million (ppm) and 150 ppm. And don’t forget about sanitizer! Getting the right levels keeps your pool healthy—and makes it less likely to generate some serious stress.
4. A Little Extras Go a Long Way
If your pool is susceptible to algae, you can add a dose or two of algaecide—which isn’t great at killing algae, but super useful for preventing infestations. Regardless, it’s important to shock your pool before you close it up for the winter. This will increase the longevity of the chemicals you’ve just added to your water. Just be sure you shock at dusk or at night, or else the sun will render it ineffective. Besides, I think you’ve earned a break!
5. Plug It Up
This one depends on what kind of pool model you have, and it’s one of the reasons why hanging onto your owner’s manual is so important. You might need to close your inlet or outlet valves, or plug in the inlet and outlet fitting to the side of your pool’s wall. Check out your manual to confirm which applies to you.
6. Power It Down
Time to turn off your circulation system, including your pump and filter. Go ahead and disconnect them from their power source, and remove the hoses that attach them to the pool itself. Drain and clean the pump, filter chamber, and their hoses and let them air dry until there’s not a drop of water in sight. Then store them indoors in a dry, protected place.
7. You’re Covered!
Here it is, the last step. That wasn’t so bad, right? Everything’s a little easier when you don’t have to drain thousands of gallons of water and dissemble your plumbing, isn’t it? Now you just need to cover your pool with a winter pool cover. If you have an Intex pool, a cover might’ve come with it. Just keep in mind that these aren’t safety covers, so there’s a possibility that small critters and even children can fall in. Take precautions to avoid accidents, okay?
Remember, your winter cover is going to get some serious debris over the next few months—and left unattended under that weight, it could fall into your pool and bring all that gunk with it. Keep your cover light and secure with the heavy-duty Brute Force 1250 Pool Cover Pump. According to customer Eric Zimmerer, “Love it! Saves so much time.”
Hope That Wasn’t Deflating!
If there’s anything that’s inevitable, it’s change. You’ve gone from cold cans poolside to hot cocoa inside. Your pool has gone from an open body of water in your backyard to either covered up or in pieces in storage. It’s okay, it’s all normal. And now that you’ve closed your inflatable pool the right way, it’s going to be a cinch to open it up next spring. Until then, stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy.