Swimming Pool Freeze Protection Tips

snow surrounding a frozen swimming pool

Swimming pool safety barriers help keep your pool protected, even when swimming pool freeze protection is in place to keep it safe throughout the winter. Far more than just installing a winter swimming pool cover, this includes preparing the body of the pool, the water inside it, and any fixtures, features, or amenities for falling temperatures. Let’s take a look at how to winterize your pool to reduce the risk of both accidental drowning and freeze-related drownings during the coldest months of the year.

The Dangers of Freezing Temperatures

There are many different ways in which freezing temperatures can impact your swimming pool and it’s surrounding area. Being aware of these possibilities will help you to better prepare your backyard for winter.

Liners, Plaster, and Tile 

Ice forming on the surface of your pool can easily cut into or damage the pool itself. Breaking up ice creates jagged splinters floating in your pool, while leaving it to form increases the pressure around the edge of the flow as the ice expands. Even when emptied, freezing temperatures can cause plaster, liners, and grout to become brittle. 


When water freezes into ice, it expands, increasing the pressure against the interior of pipes until they begin to crack and burst.

Pumps, Heaters, and Other Equipment 

Just as with pipes, the housings for water can be shattered by the pressure of expanding ice, and more delicate components can be crushed or warped as ice forms around them.

Friends, Family, Pets, and Wildlife

Accidental immersion can quickly become a death sentence in freezing weather as hypothermia rapidly sets in or the victim becomes trapped under a sheet of ice.

To Winterize or Not To Winterize? That is the (First) Question

community swimming pool covered in a layer of ice after a winter storm

Whether or not you need to fully winterize your pool depends largely on the climate in your area, the severity of winter you’re expecting, how often you may use the pool through the winter months, and whether the cost of increased heating and circulation outweighs the increased cost of chemicals used for winterization. 

  • If you live in a warmer area that is unlikely to experience freezing temperatures, plan on continuing to use your heated pool when you can over the winter, or find that your energy-efficient system is cheaper than winterization, you can take steps to protect your pool from the damaging cold without closing and winterizing it.
  • If you live in a colder region that expects multiple hard freezes, won’t be using the pool anyway, or just don’t want the increased utility expenses, winterization is the way to go.

Whichever choice you make, it’s important that you plan now to protect your pool and anyone who may be around it before the first freeze hits.

Keeping Your Pool Open

If you’re going to run your pool over the winter months, your swimming pool freeze protection will revolve around making it harder for ice to form in your pool.

Plan to Run Your Circulation and Filtration System More Often 

During the coldest months, your pump should be running twelve hours a day in intervals that make it harder for ice to form and coalesce. In addition, you need to ensure the full volume of your pool is being circulated to avoid cold pockets forming.

Use Your Pool Heater Proactively 

It takes a lot of energy to heat a large volume of water, so the last thing you want to do is get behind the curve. Your pool heater should be running anytime the temperature dips below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, but if temperatures are expected to fall sharply, a large amount of sleet or snow is expected, or the winds are howling in from the North, you may want to engage your pool heater even earlier to ensure your pool’s water stays well above freezing.

Embrace Automation 

With the more rigorous intermittent circulation schedule and the need to be proactive with your temperature control, consider adding automation systems like timers, sensors, and connected control systems to your swimming pool. These can not only take some of the workload off your shoulders but also avoid a potential tragedy from getting off work late, misreading the weather report, or simply forgetting to manage your pool in the holiday hustle and bustle.

Closing Your Pool for the Winter

When you close your pool, it needs to be winterized to remove water from areas that can be damaged by expanding ice, create more room for potential expansion to eliminate the threat of building pressure, and add insulation and chemical mitigation to prevent the remaining water from freezing at all. We’ve talked before about the proper way to close your pool for the winter, but here’s a quick refresher:

Lower Your Pool’s Water Level, Drain the Lines, and Drain any Equipment 

Lowering your pool level gets the water below some of the more at-risk parts of your pool’s interior surface and reduces the chance of water re-entering your pipes or accessories. Then, you’ll drain all water from the pipes, filter, pump housing, and heater.

Add Your Winterization Chemicals 

Along with a measure of your usual pool chemicals that keep the water clean and safe, you’ll add extra sanitizer, pool antifreeze, and conditioners to reduce the risk that the still water will stain your pool or liner over the winter.

black winter swimming pool cover installed

Install a Winter Swimming Pool Cover 

A winter swimming pool cover helps insulate the pool from the frigid air and any slushy precipitation. It also serves as a safety cover that blocks access to the pool surface. Anchored around the edge of the pool, it’s strong enough to hold the weight of a full-grown adult, making it a great deterrent to accidental immersion.

Stay Safety Focused

Whether you close your pool or leave it open, you need to ensure safety barriers are in place to help prevent accidental drownings. Thousands of lives are lost annually, and a lack of sufficient barriers is a contributing factor in the majority of these tragedies. 

  • Removable Mesh Pool Fence – This all-weather pool fencing creates a secure perimeter around your swimming pool area. Featuring strong poles anchored in the ground with rip-resistant mesh panels that deter climbing, it helps prevent unsupervised access to the pool when a responsible adult isn’t around to approve or monitor the action. The self-closing and self-latching gate is alarm-ready, so you can add even more protection and peace of mind.
  • Swimming Pool Safety Covers and Safety Nets – If you’re keeping your swimming pool open through the winter, you can still help keep it protected with a swimming pool safety cover or safety net in lieu of the winter pool cover used to close a pool down. Both options anchor around the edge of the pool to prevent unsupervised or accidental entry to the water.

Contact Your Local Independent Pool Safety Pro

Your local safety professional is ready to help you create a safer swimming pool with ASTM-compliant parts and professional installation. Schedule your free estimate and they’ll talk to you about your pool needs, take measurements, and lay out your options to protect your friends, family, and pets. Get your free quote from your local All-Safe Pool installer today.

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If it is important that your product be an exact color or shade, it is highly recommended that you inspect the actual product prior to its installation and address any concerns with your local independent installer. Most independent installers do not offer refunds or accept returns due to color variations.