Above ground pools can be easier and cheaper to install than in-ground pools, but one major concern pool owners have is whether they can be left out in winter weather.
Above ground pools can be left out during the winter without too much preparation. However, getting the pool ready when spring comes will typically require more cleaning and more chemicals. Some soft sided pools are taken down to prevent damage during winter.
Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages associated with leaving your above ground pool out for the winter.
The pros and cons of leaving above ground pools out for the winter depend on how much time you want to spend maintaining the pool in the off-season and how much time you want to spend installing and reinstalling it.
There are several pros and cons related to winterizing an above ground pool and leaving it installed year-round versus dismantling it at the end of the season. While both choices come with costs and maintenance time, the one you choose will typically depend on your above ground pool type.
Below you’ll find a table with a breakdown of the basic pros and cons associated with leaving an above ground pool up in the winter:
|No need to reinstall pool in the spring||Cost of maintenance chemicals|
|Consistent water quality||Continued maintenance in the off-season|
|Aesthetics (pool covers not attractive)||Increased energy costs|
|Year-round swimming||Some pool equipment not compatible with cold weather|
|Save money on pool closing||Increased risk|
Let’s go into more detail on these pros and cons to explore whether winterizing your above ground pool is right for you.
Here’s a video showing a pool that was left up for the winter:
There are several conveniences associated with leaving an above ground pool out in the winter. Here are the biggest advantages associated with this option:
- No need to reinstall the pool: Dismantling and reinstalling an above ground pool every year can be tedious, time-consuming, and can potentially cause damage to your pool.
- Consistent water quality: Leaving the pool open year-round allows you to maintain it with stabilizing chemicals and keep it clean in the off-season. This prevents you from having to do major chemical adjustments and cleaning when the pool is reopened each season.
- Aesthetics: Pool covers can be unsightly, but leaving the pool open allows you to enjoy its beauty year-round.
- Year-round swimming: If you live in a temperate climate or have a heat pump on your pool, you can enjoy swimming in it whether it’s winter or not.
- Save money on pool closing: Closing the pool requires a lot of expense in protective gear, pool covers, and winterizing chemicals. Leaving the pool open eliminates these yearly costs.
If you intend to use your pool through multiple seasons and not just in hot weather, taking the steps to leave your above ground pool out in the winter can be a practical choice.
Even though there are advantages to leaving an above ground pool out in the winter, there are disadvantages too.
Here are some of the cons that you may run into when you leave an above ground pool out for the winter:
- Cost of maintenance chemicals: If you leave your above ground pool open in the winter, you’ll have to account for the extra months of treating it with shock, chlorine, and other stabilizing pool chemicals. (source: happysprouts.com)
- Continued maintenance: Leaving an above ground pool open in winter means you’ll have to spend more time keeping it clean of debris. Pools can accumulate a lot more dead leaves and other debris during the winter months when leaves are falling.
- Increased energy costs: Leaving an above ground pool up in the winter means that you’ll have to spend extra money running the filter and also running a heater to prevent freeze damage to the pool equipment.
- Some pool equipment is not compatible with cold weather: Electric pool heat pumps, for example, do not work well below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. (source: saltwaterpoolandspa.com)
- Increased risk: Leaving an above ground pool uncovered in the winter can potentially create a thin layer of ice on the surface of the pool, making it a drowning hazard for pets and small children if left unattended.
Most of the disadvantages related to leaving an above ground pool out in the winter are related to cost and maintenance.
Keep in mind that if you leave your above ground pool open during the winter, you’re committing to several extra months of maintenance and energy costs to keep it in good condition.
The main factor in deciding whether to leave an above ground pool out for winter or not is the type of above ground pool you have. Above ground pools can be broken down into two major categories:
- Ring pools: Ring pools are the simplest above ground pool designs and are designed to be set up and broken down relatively quickly. These pools are a practical option for pool owners who want to take down their above ground pool each season.
- Frame pools: Frame pools tend to be deeper and larger than ring pools, making them a much bigger commitment to install. Frame pools are a better option for pool owners who prefer to leave their above ground pool open all winter. (source: intheswim.com)
No matter which type of above ground pool you buy, there are a few factors you should take into consideration when deciding whether or not to leave your above ground pool open for the winter:
- Your budget for winterizing and maintaining the pool
- Your inclination to clean and maintain the pool during a busy holiday season
- The type of above ground pool you want to purchase
- Your winter climate and average winter temperatures
- Whether or not you intend to heat the pool over the winter
Thinking these factors through before you decide on an above ground pool purchase can help you purchase the type of above ground pool that is best for your winter pool plans.
Above Ground Pools Can Be Left Out in Winter
Just like in-ground pools, above ground pools can be used year-round as long as you’re willing to invest the time, energy, and money into keeping them maintained through the winter.
Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully so that you have a plan ready to go when it’s time to winterize your above ground pool.