Above-ground pools are a great way to cool down in the summer without breaking the bank, but like any pool, they require proper care and maintenance. Intex above-ground pools are some of the most affordable and popular on the market — and they require specific care to ensure they last a long time in your backyard, including proper winterization.
To prevent damage to the pool walls and liner, those in cold climates need to be prepared to close the pool entirely during the winter. But even those in more temperate areas still need to know how to winterize an Intex above-ground pool.
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Here's our in-depth guide to caring for your Intex pool during the winter months.
Can I Keep My Intex Pool Up All Winter?
You can keep your Intex above-ground pool up during the winter if you live in an area that stays above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Here's a simple guide to whether or not you need to take down or winterize your above-ground swimming pool:
- Residents of tropical climates who may regularly use their pool during the winter may choose not to winterize the pool at all.
- Anyone who lives in an area that does not go below 41 degrees Fahrenheit but is unlikely to go swimming during winter should winterize or close the pool.
- Intex recommends that pools should be closed (drained and stored) for the winter in cold climates that dip below 41 degrees Fahrenheit as freezing temperatures cause ice damage to the pool.
When to Close an Intex Pool for the Winter
Start the process of closing your Intex pool in the fall when temperatures start dropping and you aren't using your pool as much. This date should occur long before freezing temperatures are a realistic possibility in your area. Choose a block of days when the weather is expected to remain sunny to help the pieces dry before you store them.
It may be tempting to wait until the last minute to drain and put away your pool, especially if you're a bit of a procrastinator. Unfortunately, because most Intex pools require a garden hose to drain them, it can take days to fully empty the pool water. If you wait until winter is upon you, you might not have enough time to finish closing your pool before a cold front hits, potentially causing damage to your swimming pool.
How to Close an Intex Pool for the Winter
Unless you're dealing with a small kiddie pool, expect the pool-closing process to take a few days. You'll need to fully dry all the pieces, pack them up, and get them in your storage area before it rains or temperatures dip below freezing.
1. Remove the Pool Equipment
Remove the skimmer and any other accessories attached to the strainer connector, and replace the strainer grid if required. Remove the ladder from the pool. Fully clean and dry the equipment before storing it. Remove, clean, and drain the pump, filter housing, and hoses. Remove and discard the old pool filter cartridge and allow the remaining parts to dry thoroughly.
2. Drain the Pool
Drain your pool according to manufacturer directions (see below for further guidance), diverting the water to a legal and acceptable location. Never allow water to pool up around your home's foundation.
3. Disassemble the Pool
Carefully disassemble the pool by reversing the assembly steps used to put the pool together. If you aren't sure about the process, refer to your owner's manual to find step-by-step instructions for your specific model.
As you remove the connecting pipes of the pool frame (if applicable), use a permanent marker to label each pipe, as the paper labels that identify part numbers on each piece can easily rub off with moisture and weather.
4. Prepare the Liner for Storage
Because the area underneath the pool will likely be moist, drag the liner elsewhere if possible, ideally on top of a big tarp or patio, to keep it as clean and dry as possible. Clean the liner to remove any debris or algae clinging to it. Spread it out and let it air-dry until you know it's completely dry.
5. Store the Pool
Fold the pool liner and store it for the winter. Store all other pool parts in a dry location. Intex recommends a storage area that stays between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Drain an Intex Pool
Most Intex pools, including all models with a metal frame and Easy Set inflatable models, require a garden hose to drain them. Before draining, remove all toys and accessories. Then, test and adjust the water chemistry if necessary to ensure that the water you're going to be draining is safe in terms of pH and chlorine levels. In addition, make sure you're in compliance with any local laws governing pool water discharge. To drain your pool with a garden hose:
- Locate the drain valve. Confirm that the drain plug is in place on the interior side of the pool.
- Remove the cap from the drain plug on the exterior side of the pool.
- Attach your garden hose to the drain connector and situate the other end at the point where you want the water to drain.
- Attach the drain connector to the drain valve; water will begin flowing into the hose through the drain valve.
- Wait for the water flow to stop, then lift the pool from the side opposite the drain valve to remove the remaining water from the pool.
- Remove the garden hose and the drain connector from the drain valve.
- Reinstall the drain plug on the inside of the drain valve and the drain cap on the outside.
Some smaller Intex pools, such as the Ocean Spray Snapset, do not require a garden hose to drain them. To drain these models:
- Push the side of the pool slowly inward to begin draining the water out and onto the ground.
- Lift up the pool slowly on one side when the water level gets low to pour out the remaining water in the pool's bottom.
How to Store an Intex Pool
You can store a disassembled Intex pool in the original box or another storage container. There are even commercial products designed for storing an above-ground pool if your box gets damaged. Make sure to clean both the inside and outside of the pool liner before folding it for storage.
Because the liner is so large, it can be one of the most difficult parts to pack. Intex provides different recommendations for folding their liners based on the shape. If you have a round pool:
- First fold it in half and then half again so that you have a triangle shape similar to a pizza slice.
- Smooth all the edges so there aren't any creases.
- Then, take the pointed end, fold it, and tuck it under the straight edge to make it neat.
- Walk around on the liner to get any remaining air out and then roll it up.
For a rectangular pool:
- First fold in the four sides over the floor.
- Then, starting on a short side, fold over 1/6 of the liner width twice.
- Then, repeat on the other side. You'll have a long, thin rectangle at this point.
- Fold in the middle once and then fold in the middle again.
- As you fold, sprinkle more talcum powder on both the inside and outside. For a 16-foot-long pool, you'll have approximately a 4-foot-wide bundle. If possible, fold this again to make it more compact depending on where you plan to store it.
- Fit all the pool components together in the box or other storage container and then place it in a dry, temperature-controlled spot that never goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Winterize an Intex Above-Ground Pool
If you live in a warmer climate but you don't plan to use the pool in the winter, you should know how to winterize your Intex above-ground pool. The basic process involves cleaning the pool and balancing the pool water, removing unnecessary parts and equipment, using winterizing chemicals, installing a winter pool cover, and storing the equipment in a warm, dry area. Like closing the pool, this process takes time, so plan ahead.
1. Clean the Pool
Before you winterize your pool, remove debris and vacuum the walls and bottom of the pool. This makes it easier to balance the water and remove anything that might support the growth of mold or algae while your pool is closed. If you have an Easy Set or Oval Frame model, check for proper inflation of the top ring.
2. Balance the Water Chemistry
Test the pool water and adjust the water chemistry as needed to reach a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6, total alkalinity of 100 to 150 ppm, and a chlorine level of 1 to 3 ppm. Add winterizing chemicals, extra shock, and an algaecide to the water. If you don't already have these, look for a pool-winterizing kit with the chemicals you need to close your pool. Let the chemicals circulate for 24 hours.
3. Adjust the Inlet/Outlet Fitting or Valve
From the inside of the pool, plug the inlet and outlet fitting using the provided plug for pool sizes 16 feet and below. For pool sizes 17 feet and above, close the inlet and outlet plunger valve.
4. Remove and Dry the Pool Equipment
Detach the skimmer if applicable or any parts attached to the threaded strainer connector. Install a new strainer grid if needed. Turn off the pump and filter. Remove the ladder and the hoses connecting the pump and filter to the pool. Drain the pump and filter housing and discard the old filter cartridge. Clean all equipment and parts, allow them to dry completely, and store them in a warm, dry area that maintains temperatures between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Install a Pool Cover
Cover the pool with a locking Intex pool cover. The clamps help ensure the winter cover will not come off, even in strong winter winds.