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Pool Freezing in Winter: How to Deal with a Frozen Pool

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

As the chill of winter descends, proprietors of swimming facilities often grapple with the question of how to safeguard their aquatic investments. The icy grip of winter can wreak havoc on your pool, leading to fissured conduits, impaired pumps, and solidified water. It's paramount to implement the necessary precautions to shield your pool from the frosty onslaught of winter.

Winter tempests and frigid climates can transform your pool into an ice block in a mere night. A pool with scant or no water circulation can solidify completely within days of exposure to sub-zero temperatures. Stagnant water in your pool can inflict damage to the pool's walls, tiles, and liner. To avert the freezing of your pool during winter, proactive measures are essential to maintain the flow and warmth of your pool water.

Before you shutter your pool for the season, it's vital to balance your pool's chemicals. Our pool chemical calculator is at your disposal to ensure your pool is aptly primed for the off-season.

frozen pool

Balancing your pool's chemicals before closing it for the season is crucial. Use our pool chemical calculator to ensure your pool is properly prepared for the off-season.

Understanding Pool Freezing

What Happens When a Pool Freezes

When a pool freezes, the water within metamorphoses into ice. This can inflict damage on the pool and its equipment. Ice can expand up to 9% of its original volume, which can lead to cracks in the pool walls and floor.

If the ice is not extricated from the pool, it can inflict further damage. As the ice thaws, it can create pockets of water that can cause the pool to shift. This can result in structural damage and expensive repairs.

Impact of Freezing on Pool Equipment

pool pump

As winter approaches, it's crucial to prepare your pool for the cold. Our ultimate guide to pool closing kits provides all the information you need to protect your pool during the off-season.

As winter looms, it's crucial to ready your pool for the cold. Our comprehensive guide to pool closing kits provides all the information you need to shield your pool during the off-season.

In addition to damaging the pool structure, freezing temperatures can also wreak havoc on pool equipment. The water in the pool's pipes can freeze, leading to cracks or bursts. This can be an expensive repair, as the pipes will need to be replaced.

The pool pump and filter can also be affected by freezing temperatures. If the water in the pump or filter freezes, it can damage the equipment. To avert this, it is advised to run the pool pump round the clock or set the pump to activate intermittently throughout the day.

It is crucial to implement measures to prevent pool freezing in the winter to avoid expensive repairs and damage to the pool and its equipment. This can include maintaining the movement of the pool water by running the pump continuously when temperatures are near or below freezing, and keeping the pool warm by using a heater or pool cover.

Preventive Measures for Pool Freezing

When winter descends, pool owners need to implement additional precautions to prevent their pool from freezing. Here are some preventive measures to safeguard your pool equipment and keep your pool safe from freeze damage.

Pool Equipment Protection

To shield your pool equipment from freezing, it's crucial to maintain the flow of water. Run your pool pump continuously when temperatures are near or below freezing. This will help prevent the water from freezing in the pipes and equipment.

If you possess a variable speed pump, ensure it's set to operate at a higher speed during freezing temperatures. This will help maintain the movement of the water and prevent it from freezing.

Using Pool Plugs and Gizzmos

Using pool plugs and gizzmos is an effective way to prevent freeze damage to your pool. Drain plugs and skimmer baskets are particularly vulnerable to freeze damage. By using pool plugs and gizzmos, you can protect these areas from damage.

Super Gizzmo is a popular option for pool owners. It's designed to absorb the expansion of ice in the skimmer, protecting it from freeze damage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using pool plugs and gizzmos.

The Role of Pool Heaters

Pool heaters can help avert freeze damage by maintaining the water temperature above freezing. If you possess a heater, ensure it's operating during freezing temperatures. However, bear in mind that running the heater continuously can be costly.

If you're not utilizing your pool during the winter, it will be more cost-effective to winterize your pool instead of running the heater.

Utilizing Air Pillows and Pool Noodles

Air pillows and pool noodles can also assist in preventing pool freezing. Air pillows are placed under the pool cover to create a dome shape, which allows water to run off the cover and prevents it from freezing.

Pool noodles can be placed around the perimeter of the pool to prevent the cover from freezing to the pool wall. This will help prevent damage to the cover and the pool wall. By implementing these preventive measures, you can shield your pool from freeze damage and ensure that it's ready for use when the weather warms up.

Dealing with Extreme Weather Conditions


Your pool equipment is an investment that needs protection, especially during the winter. Check out our guide on how to protect your pool equipment this winter to avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Preparing for a Winter Storm

Winter storms can cause your pool to freeze, leading to costly damages. To prevent this, it's crucial to take steps to prepare for extreme weather conditions. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Winterize your pool: Before the winter season arrives, ensure to winterize your pool properly. This includes draining the water, blowing out the lines, and adding antifreeze to prevent any remaining water from freezing and causing damage.

  • Cover your pool: Covering your pool with a winter cover can help shield it from the elements. Ensure to use a cover that is specifically designed for winter use and that fits your pool properly.

  • Trim trees and bushes: If you have trees or bushes near your pool, ensure to trim them back before the winter season arrives. This will prevent any branches from falling and damaging your pool during a winter storm.

Handling Power Outages

Power outages can occur during a winter storm, which can affect your pool's equipment. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Turn off your pool equipment: If you experience a power outage, turn off your pool equipment immediately. This will prevent any damage from occurring due to power surges when the power comes back on.

  • Check your pool equipment: After the power comes back on, check your pool equipment for any damage. This includes the heat exchanger, pressure switch, volute, and impeller. If you notice any damage, contact a professional for repairs.

Post-Winter Pool Assessment

As Spring arrives, it's time to assess your pool. The assessment should include identifying and repairing damage and checking pool equipment and devices.

Identifying and Repairing Cracks and Damage

One of the most common problems that can occur during winter is cracks in the pool's tiles and walls. It's important to identify these cracks and repair them as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Look for any visible cracks in the pool's tiles and walls. If you find any, use a tile repair kit or contact a professional pool repair service to fix the issue.

In addition to cracks, winter can also cause damage to the pool's plumbing. Check the pool's plumbing for any leaks or damage. If you find any leaks or damage, contact a professional pool repair service to fix the issue.

Checking Pool Equipment and Devices

During winter, the pool's equipment and devices can also be affected. Check the pool's breaker and motor to ensure they are functioning properly. If you notice any issues, contact a professional pool repair service to fix the issue.

Check the pool pumps and devices to ensure they are working correctly. If the pool pumps or devices are not working correctly, contact a professional pool repair service to fix the issue.

A post-winter pool assessment is essential to ensure that your pool is ready for use during the summer months. By identifying and repairing any cracks or damage and checking pool equipment and devices, you can ensure that your pool is in top condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my pool from freezing in winter?

To prevent your pool from freezing in winter, you should take necessary precautions such as maintaining proper chemical balance, keeping the water level at the appropriate level, and winterizing your pool. Winterizing your pool involves draining the water and adding antifreeze to the plumbing lines. You can also use a pool cover to prevent debris from falling into the pool.

What temperature should I set my pool freeze protection?

You should set your pool freeze protection to turn on when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This will ensure that the pool water does not freeze and damage the pool equipment.

Why is my pool freeze protection not working?

There could be several reasons why your pool freeze protection is not working. It could be due to a malfunctioning thermostat, a damaged sensor, or a faulty control board. It is recommended to call a professional pool service technician to diagnose and fix the issue.

Do I need to run my pool pump during a freeze?

Yes, it is recommended to run your pool pump continuously during a freeze. Moving water is less likely to freeze, and running the pump will also circulate the water and prevent it from stagnating.

What should I do if my pool pump freezes?

If your pool pump freezes, turn off the power to the pump and wait for it to thaw naturally. Do not attempt to thaw the pump manually as it could cause damage. Once the pump has thawed, inspect it for any damage before turning it back on.

Should I cover my pool equipment during a freeze?

Yes, you should cover your pool equipment during a freeze to protect it from damage. Use a pool equipment cover or a tarp to cover the equipment, and secure it in place to prevent it from blowing away.


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