Winter cover for AG— heavy snow Wisc., newb.

ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
This is my first time attempting to winterize my pool. I have always just taken it down completely but my dad is the one who knows how to/helps and he recently had a heart attack 😭 I don't want him trying to do anything (he's stubborn as Darn and WILL do it if I don't get it done myself before he can).

I've been reading the article here and the forums. I need a cover and have no idea what to get. I've read that a solid one would require me removing snow/water from it all during winter? And a mesh one wouldn't require that? We get tons of snow and many below 0° days. I don't want to trudge through multiple feet of snow to clear off a cover all throughout winter.

But wouldn't the pool freeze to the very top then from all the extra water going in through a mesh cover? Should I leave the inlet/outlet unplugged if using a mesh cover? Does a mesh still require a cable and winch? Do I need something under it like a solar cover or a pillow?

Any info/suggestions on a cover and how to use it would be very much appreciated!
 

IsThisWhereIPutMyName?

Active member
Apr 21, 2016
39
Massachusetts
A mesh cover will let water through and will filter off the big stuff. With a mess cover you need to make sure you have a place for the water to escape. This can be done by leaving the return open for the rain and snow melt to drain.

With a solid cover you want to pump water off the top so it doesn’t become a swamp but snow resting on the ice isn’t too big of a problem. Just make sure the cover is somewhat loose for when the weight of the snow will pull it down a bit.

Which to use? Mesh is more set and forget but open early because the pool will be a little dirtier in the spring. Solid saves the water that’s in the pool, keeps it cleaner but requires more off season maintenance. Either one will do fine if you pick what’s more important to you.
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
11,175
NY
The only reason an above ground pool needs to be covered is if crud dumps into it all winter long. Most above grounds are immune to leftover leaves blowing around the yard. (You can NEVER get them all, amirite :ROFLMAO:). Ingrounds will suck them up like a vacuum…. But most won’t get into the above ground. So look up. If you have nothing but what will be empty trees, Cover it with a tarp or leaf net for the short term while the leaves are dropping. Then leave it open but winterize your equipment/ pipes. Just before ‘the big freeze’ drain as low as you originally planned to the return. With any luck it will take a while to fill back up and get you until it thaws completely, which is the next chance you can drain.
 
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ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
The only reason an above ground pool needs to be covered is if crud dumps into it all winter long. Most above grounds are immune to leftover leaves blowing around the yard. (You can NEVER get them all, amirite :ROFLMAO:). Ingrounds will suck them up like a vacuum…. But most won’t get into the above ground. So look up. If you have nothing but what will be empty trees, Cover it with a tarp or leaf net for the short term while the leaves are dropping. Then leave it open but winterize your equipment/ pipes. Just before ‘the big freeze’ drain as low as you originally planned to the return. With any luck it will take a while to fill back up and get you until it thaws completely, which is the next chance you can drain.
Would you plug the inlets and outlets then? Would you use a pillow still to take the pressure off the walls?
 

Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
11,175
NY
Would you plug the inlets and outlets then?
Yes. I would plug them and remove/empty all the pipes and equipment and bring them indoors. Unless the equipment is too heavy for you. Then it can stay out covered with the drain plugs out.
Would you use a pillow still to take the pressure off the walls
Pillows are probably 50/50 across the land. Half of those pop. The ones that don’t, help. It’s totally up to you if you feel it’s worth it. :)
 
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ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Yes. I would plug them and remove/empty all the pipes and equipment and bring them indoors. Unless the equipment is too heavy for you. Then it can stay out covered with the drain plugs out.

Pillows are probably 50/50 across the land. Half of those pop. The ones that don’t, help. It’s totally up to you if you feel it’s worth it. :)
Thanks so much! I keep reading conflicting info— plug, don't plug; cover, don't cover; pull cover tight; leave loose so snow weight doesn't pull in on metal supports.... Ahhh lol
 
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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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The worst part is…….. nobody is wrong. :laughblue:

You have to hatch a plan and go from there down the process tree. Do you need to cover ? Do you want to drain ? Will you leave the equipment out or bring it in as it’s easier with Intex stuff ?
 
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ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
@jseyfert3 do you remove all the fittings and everything so it's just the bare hole in the liner?
 

jseyfert3

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I did last year, but I realized on another thread recently my larger Intex is also taller than a lot of the smaller ones, so my inlet holes are about 2/3 the way up the side of my pool, so I drained a couple inches below that.

But in the recent thread I realized on some (most?) Intex pools the inlets are only about half way up, so if you left them unplugged you start draining to what I’d consider an uncomfortably low water level.

It appears Intex pools may normally come with two black plastic plugs that plug the inlet holes. It’s probably best to use these to plug the inlets, then drain below the return, remove all hoses and leave the return hole open all winter.

I did not use a cover. I just kept my pool open really late and netted out leaves. From some conversations I’ve had it seems without a solid cover you need to close later and open earlier in the spring to prevent algae.

My pool last winter:
full
 

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ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
I did last year, but I realized on another thread recently my larger Intex is also taller than a lot of the smaller ones, so my inlet holes are about 2/3 the way up the side of my pool, so I drained a couple inches below that.

But in the recent thread I realized on some (most?) Intex pools the inlets are only about half way up, so if you left them unplugged you start draining to what I’d consider an uncomfortably low water level.

It appears Intex pools may normally come with two black plastic plugs that plug the inlet holes. It’s probably best to use these to plug the inlets, then drain below the return, remove all hoses and leave the return hole open all winter.

I did not use a cover. I just kept my pool open really late and netted out leaves. From some conversations I’ve had it seems without a solid cover you need to close later and open earlier in the spring to prevent algae.

My pool last winter:
full
Mine is an older 20x48 so my inlet is also about 2/3rds the way up. Do you think with all the snow we get that it will melt and raise the water level, and the plastic fittings, strainer, etc on the inlet and return would crack? I feel like, if not removing them, the water would get into them and then freeze and expand, cracking them?
 

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IsThisWhereIPutMyName?

Active member
Apr 21, 2016
39
Massachusetts
I don’t have an Intex, so I can speak specifically to how well they would hold up. But you should realize that unless the water is well below that point to start it is going to leak out. Even during winter when the pool has a big block of ice on the top there will be water below which will leak along the sides of the walls, find the opening and leak out. Even if there a sheet of ice on the top if you get snow, that new weight is going to push down and displace water under the ice and it will leak out. On a prior pool I had with aluminum walls, I took they eye ball out of the return and water would drain from there without any problem.

If you don’t bring the water well below that point there is not much you can do to avoid it leaking from there if it is open, regardless of whether you cover or what kind of cover you use. Keeping it under my require frequent pumping of water out if it’s not iced over. I would defer to Intex owners about plugging it. But my experience with my pools has been that the thing to avoid is winter overflowing and ice forming over the walls. Leaking out the side is a better safety valve.
 
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Woodstock1234

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Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
Mine is an older 20x48 so my inlet is also about 2/3rds the way up. Do you think with all the snow we get that it will melt and raise the water level, and the plastic fittings, strainer, etc on the inlet and return would crack? I feel like, if not removing them, the water would get into them and then freeze and expand, cracking them?
Last year, I removed all the external fittings and plugged the holes. I didn't drain any water mostly cause I was lazy. I used a solid cover with a pillow and let the snow accumulate on top. In the spring, I pumped the water off the cover and opened. I never removed any snow.
 
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jseyfert3

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Mine is an older 20x48 so my inlet is also about 2/3rds the way up. Do you think with all the snow we get that it will melt and raise the water level, and the plastic fittings, strainer, etc on the inlet and return would crack? I feel like, if not removing them, the water would get into them and then freeze and expand, cracking them?
You definitely need to remove the return eye, all the valves/hoses/fittings on the outside of the pool, and the inlet strainers. Once you remove the inlet strainers you can plug the inlet holes on the inside with the plugs that come with the pool before removing the hoses on the outside.
 

ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
You definitely need to remove the return eye, all the valves/hoses/fittings on the outside of the pool, and the inlet strainers. Once you remove the inlet strainers you can plug the inlet holes on the inside with the plugs that come with the pool before removing the hoses on the outside.
When do you normally close or when do you plan to close with this warmer fall we've been having?
 

jseyfert3

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When do you normally close or when do you plan to close with this warmer fall we've been having?
This is only going to be my second winter. That said, my water is still 65 °F. The general advise is to wait until it's below 60 before closing. Without a cover I plan to wait until the water is at least 50 °F and unlikely to warm back up before I close.
 

ChelleSte

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
73
Southern WI
Pool Size
9400
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
This is only going to be my second winter. That said, my water is still 65 °F. The general advise is to wait until it's below 60 before closing. Without a cover I plan to wait until the water is at least 50 °F and unlikely to warm back up before I close.
Thanks for all the help!!
 
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Dreynorgtz

Member
Aug 23, 2021
15
Ames, IA
You definitely need to remove the return eye, all the valves/hoses/fittings on the outside of the pool, and the inlet strainers. Once you remove the inlet strainers you can plug the inlet holes on the inside with the plugs that come with the pool before removing the hoses on the outside.
Do you know of any way to plug the return outlet? Is there a plug that fits?
 

jseyfert3

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There likely is one, but I am just going to drain the water below the return and remove the return entirely
 
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