When it comes to being a pool owner in the winter, out of sight out of mind isn’t a good rule to live by. Sure, you’ve successfully winterized your pool and have the cover on nice and tight, but there are a few things that still should be done throughout the colder months that will help prevent damage and make for an easier spring pool opening. 

What If It Snows?

While your winter cover is designed to help keep debris out of the pool when it’s not in use, excessive snowfall can add unnecessary stress. When snow and water build up on the pool cover throughout winter, it will put a lot of strain on the pool walls. Since Rochester experiences a high volume of major snowstorms, it’s important to remove as much snow as possible after a major snowstorm. 

The combined weight of the snow and rainwater pulls the top ledges and top of the pool inward. While regular water levels help support the pool walls, the pool has been partially drained for the winter. So removing the snow on a regular basis will reduce the possibility of the pool collapsing, as well as prevent broken top ledges and skimmers. 

Take Care of Leaks Now

There is always the chance that a small leak may have been overlooked while the pool was in use, but now that it has been closed for winter, that leak can become more apparent. If there is a leak, as the water level drops, the weight of the winter cover pulling inward on the pool walls can lead to the pool collapsing.  

Unfortunately, there is no practical way to find and patch a leak in the winter. The only option to reduce potential damage is to remove the cover for the remainder of winter. Depending on how the weather has played out during the winter, it might be impossible to remove the cover so it’s important to allow the cover to fall into the pool as it will release the pressure the walls are under. Be sure to address the leak in the early spring.

What If You Don’t Have a Cover?

Some pool owners choose not to cover their pools in the winter or weather-related circumstances force the cover to come off. In either situation, it is important to keep an eye on the pool’s water level. If the water has started leaking out of the through-wall skimmer, the water level needs to be drained down 6 inches below the skimmer opening. If water remains in the skimmer, the skimmer will likely crumple the wall underneath it, effectively destroying the pool.  

The hole in the bottom of an above ground pool skimmer should never be plugged or blocked. Hopefully, any water will drain out of the bottom hole. There are skimmer plates and return fitting plugs that can be used to seal off the skimmer and return fitting. If properly installed they will prevent water from entering the skimmer and jet housing, effectively preventing cracking or wall damage. 

Pool covers not only keep debris out of the pool but also block the sunlight which algae need to grow. To help make opening the pool in the spring after a winter without a cover easier, add a quart of poly-60 algaecide to the pool in early spring, as soon as the ice has melted.  

Uneventful Spring Opening

It can be several months after winter before the weather allows a pool to be opened. During that time, while your pool is still covered, it’s important to drain off the melted snow and rainwater. Not only does this release the pressure on the walls, but it also makes for an easier pool opening when the time comes. Leaves and debris on top of the cover are easier to remove when they have been allowed to dry out prior to removal. Water on top of the pool cover can attract bugs and migrating ducks, too. While ducks are cute, they have nails at the ends of their webbed toes that can poke holes in the winter cover. Bugs are just gross. 

Your Rochester Pool Care Experts

Pettis Pools remains dedicated to keeping your above ground pool healthy during the off-season. Give our above ground pool care experts a call today to learn more about proper winterization, as well as to help answer any questions you may have about caring for your pool during the harsh winter months. Be sure to stop by one of our pool supply stores in Greece or East Rochester to grab all of your above ground pool care needs.


Pettis Pools & Patios is a Greece pool builder proudly serving East Rochester, Wayne County, Ontario County and the surrounding areas. Family-owned and operated since 1962, Pettis Pools & Patios specializes in all pool and hot tub services, including new pool construction, hot tub sales & installation, and swim spa sales & installation. Pettis Pools & Patios also serves as a leading pool & hot tub service provider throughout the area, specializing in regular pool service, inground vinyl liner replacement, hot tub service, LOOP-LOC safety cover installations, and much more. Pettis Pools & Patios is proud to have two conveniently located pool supply stores in Greece and East Rochester, where pool owners can find all of their pool and hot tub care needs. 

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