I am always torn in Autumn when it is time to think about my Intex pool. Should I cover it up for the winter or pack it away?
With all the benefits of cold water swimming, many will keep their Intex pool running through the winter this season, but for those who want to pack away or winterize their Intex pool, it is important to know how to do this the right way.
According to the Intex owner’s manual, if the temperature drops below 5°C (41°F) in your region, you should drain, disassemble and store your pool to prevent ice damage. If you live in a warmer area with temperatures above this, you can leave your pool up for the winter but must winterize it.
I own an Intex metal frame pool and in the past; I have both stored it away and kept it up for winter.
In this article, I want to share everything I have learned from storing my pool and winterizing it, including some things I wish I had known when first storing my pool.
I will cover:
- Can you leave an Intex pool up all winter?
- How do I winterize my Intex pool?
- How do you winterize an above-ground vinyl pool?
- How should I cover my Intex pool for the winter?
- Should I drain the water in the winter?
- How do I store my Intex pool for the winter?
- How do I drain the bottom of my Intex pool?
- Can I use a pressure washer to clean my Intex pool?
Can You Leave An Intex Pool Up All Winter?
You can leave your pool up all winter if the temperature in your region does not get too cold or reach freezing temperatures.
According to Intex themselves, they state that if you live in an area where temperatures drop below 5°C (41°F) then you should drain, disassemble and properly store your pool away for the winter or until the cold season has passed.
This data comes directly from the Intex owner’s manual that I got with my pool. The pool I own is a rectangular metal frame pool.
The reason for packing up and dry storing your pool in colder conditions is to prevent ice damage to the pool liner and components.
Ice damage can cause the sudden collapse of your pool because of liner failure.
There are many different Intex pools, so I collated all the different types in this helpful table below.
These are the official general temperatures at which Intex recommends we should pack away and store our pools for the winter. [source]
|Intex Pool Type||Winter Storage Temperature|
|Easy Set||0°C (32°F)|
|Metal Frame (aka Steel Frame)||0°C (32°F)|
|Prism Frame||0°C (32°F)|
|Ultra XTR Frame||0°C (32°F)|
Intex state you should not leave your pool outdoors in the snow or freezing conditions because:
INTEX above-ground pools will collapse under the weight of ice and snow, and the PVC walls will be damaged.Intex FAQ
If you have the owner’s manual for your Intex pool, there will be a section about how to prepare your pool for the winter. This may have a different temperature that is slightly higher than 0°C (32°F).
For example, my owner’s manual states that I must drain and disassemble my pool for the winter if temperatures drop as low as 5°C (41°F).
Typically, ice forms at 0°C (32°F), but I can understand why Intex have specified 5°C (41°F) in my owner’s manual, as this will give a margin of safety.
In a nutshell, if you live in a region where winter temperatures drop to where frost and ice are forming, consider packing away your pool.
In the South-East of the UK, where I currently live, our winter temperatures average between 2°C to 7°C (36°F to 45°F) and often drop to just below 0°C (36°F).
I have kept my Intex pool up and safe in these temporary colder conditions by winterizing my pool.
Obviously, this is against the Intex recommendation, but as our winters have been very mild, with just the occasional day dropping below 0°C (36°F), I wanted to see what impact this had on my pool.
With good winter preparations, I could get my pool through the winter without damage.
Personally, I recommend you follow the Intex guide and take your pool down for the winter, but for many, that task might seem daunting.
Below, I explain both options:
- How to winterize your pool
- How to store your pool for the winter.
Both routes require some work, and taking your pool down might be easier than you think.
How Do I Winterize My Intex Pool?
To winterize your pool means to prepare it for the winter months so that it is safe from bad weather and freezing temperature conditions.
If you leave your Intex pool out for the winter in freezing conditions, the pool liner could rip and your pool could be unusable.
Since Intex does not guarantee pool operation below certain ambient temperatures (check your user manual for a specific number) the manufacturer’s guarantee will not cover damage to the pool because of cold weather.
How Do You Winterize An Above-Ground Vinyl Pool?
If your local weather temperature does not get so cold as to freeze,(i.e. it stays above 5°C (41°F) ) but you want to keep your pool up for the winter and protected, here are some steps you can take to protect your above-ground vinyl pool.
1. Clean The Pool Water
Before covering up your pool for the winter, you want to ensure that the pool water is clean. Ensure that it is filtered and any floating debris removed.
2. Remove Accessories
You will want to ensure that any fixtures and fittings that are not required are removed. For example, remove any ladders, pool strainers or strainer grids.
This is to prevent any winter damage to these parts.
3. Plug The Inlet & Outlet Fittings
Your Intex pool should have been supplied with plastic plugs, which will plug the inlet and outlet pipes. This will fully seal your pool and allow for the removal of filter hoses, which is discussed in the next step.
4. Remove The Filter Hoses
Once your inlet and outlet holes are plugged, you should then remove the filter hose pipes.
These can be very brittle and will degrade and crack if left outside exposed to the cold.
It is important to fully clean and dry these hoses before storing them indoors in a dry place.
5. Add Chemicals
It will be necessary to add the appropriate amount of chemicals to the pool water so it can sit in a treated state over the winter months.
The right chemicals and amount will vary depending on the size of your pool and your region. It is best to check with a local pool expert or check out Swim University for information on how to chemically treat your pool for winterization.
6. Cover The Pool
It is important to cover your pool for the winter months in order to stop rain and debris from getting into your pool.
7. Store Pump & Filters
Your filter pump or heater pump should be brought indoors for the winter. It is important to not allow electrical parts to sit outdoors, exposed to winter freezing conditions.
Any filter cartridge should be removed and discarded from your filter pump.
How Should I Cover My Intex Pool For The Winter?
Intex just recommends a standard Intex pool cover for covering their vinyl pools in the winter.
I found that the basic Intex pool cover alone was not enough to protect my pool.
As the Intex pool cover does not seal the pool, lots of little bugs and debris can still find their way into the pool water. Come Spring, after months of floating in your pool, this is not a pretty site.
In order to solve this problem, I used an additional tarpaulin cover, which was much bigger than the pool, to add an additional level of protection.
This sheet of tarpaulin was so large that it covered the pool fully, right down to the ground.
This meant that I could tuck the tarpaulin underneath the sides of the pool, effectively sealing it. This made it impossible for bugs and small debris to find their way into the pool.
Should I Drain The Water In The Winter?
For Intex above-ground vinyl pools, Intex recommends draining and storing your pool away if temperatures drop below 5°C (41°F). For a more specific temperature related to your pool, you will find this in your Intex owner’s manual.
On the other hand, if temperatures in your region stay above 5°C (41°F) in the winter, Intex recommends winterizing your pool, which does not involve draining your pool.
You just need to ensure that the water is clean and your pool winterized according to the instructions in your Intex owner’s manual before covering up your pool for the winter.
How Do I Store My Intex Pool For The Winter?
When I first considered dismantling my Intex pool and storing it for winter, I felt overwhelmed.
It looked like so much work to take everything apart, clean and store the pool. In the end, I got the job done on my own in just a few hours.
I was surprised at how well the vinyl folded and fitted back into the original packaging that it came in.
Here is an image of my dismantled and cleaned pool liner, and how small it folded. I could then fit this right back into its original box.
In order to get back Intex vinyl pool back into this storage state, here are the steps I took.
- Fully drain the pool. See below for tips on how to drain the bottom of your Intex pool.
- Remove the filter hoses. Fully wash, dry and store in a dry place as these hoses can become brittle when exposed to the cold.
- Remove the filter pump and heater pump. Wipe these clean and store them inside in a safe and dry place. It is important to keep the electronics protected from water.
- Remove any extra pool fittings such as the draining plug. Wash, dry and store.
- Remove all the metal frame parts.
- Fully clean and dry the metal frame parts. Store in a suitable waterproof container. Since the frame is metal, it will rust if left exposed to dampness over winter.
- Wash the pool liner. It is really important to wash the crevices where the metal frame fits, as I found some snails had made a home within the loop that the metal frame pushes through.
- Once the pool liner is fully cleaned and washed, let it dry. I found that this dried very quickly, and using a few large towels sped up the process.
How Do I Fold My Intex Pool For Storage?
My Intex pool owner’s manual did not give me any advice on how to do this.
Personally, I was concerned about creating folding creases in the vinyl that could become brittle and crack with time.
In the end, I just did my best and folded the vinyl pool liner as shown in the following image, in a way that did not put any pressure or stress on the vinyl.
I am sure that I could have folded the vinyl liner to an even smaller size, but I did not want to stress the material. This seemed to work well and the vinyl pool liner comfortably fitted back into its original box and survived.
How Do You Store A Plastic Or Vinyl Pool?
When I purchased my Intex above-ground vinyl pool, I kept all the boxes and manuals as I am a total pool geek. This worked well for storage, as I could fit all the parts back into their original boxes.
I could not fit the metal frame into the original box, as I wanted to leave as much room as possible for the vinyl liner.
If you do not have the original box, I suggest a simple large plastic storage box with a lid. A large plastic storage box will work fine for storing your plastic or vinyl pool.
The size you get will depend on the size of your pool. Once you have your pool liner dry and folded, it should become clear what size plastic box you need to buy.
How Do I Store My Intex Metal Frame?
It is really important to fully dry the pool metal frame, as this is made from steel.
Once the paint chips, the exposed steel will rust if exposed to water.
It is best to fully dismantle, clean, and dry the pool’s metal frame.
You can then store the metal frame in a large storage box or sealed plastic bag.
The most important thing is to ensure that you store the metal frame in a dry place. If the steel comes into contact with water, it will rust quickly.
How Do I Store My Intex Filter Pump?
Intex recommends you bring any filter pumps and parts indoors and store them in a safe and dry place, preferably between 0°C (32°F) and 40°C (104°F).
If you kept the original box, I have found that I can easily fit the filter pump back into the original box for storage. Alternatively, you can use a large box or plastic container.
It is essential that you store the pumps in a dry place to protect the electronics from water damage.
How Do I Drain The Bottom Of My Intex Pool?
One of the biggest headaches of storing the Intex pool for the winter is draining the pool.
On my particular model, the drainage plug is not on the very bottom of the pool, but approximately 3 inches higher than the bottom of the pool.
This is a pain, as when I drain my pool, it will not drain fully as 3 inches of water is left in the bottom of the pool as this water level is below the drainage outlet.
I don’t know why Intex has chosen this design. I can only assume that it is cheaper in manufacturing costs and reduces the risk of vinyl tearing if the outlet is too near to the edge of the pool liner. Either way, it makes draining the last few litres of the pool a pain.
Drainage instructions should be detailed in your Intex manual, which will be specific to your pool model. If not, here are some general instructions for draining your Intex pool.
- Check your local regulations for specific instructions for disposing of swimming pool water. You need to ensure that you are following the regulations for your specific region.
- Check that the drain plug inside the pool is plugged in place.
- Remove the external cap from the drain valve.
- Attach the female end of a garden hose to the drain valve.
- This garden hose will drain the water from your pool. Place the other end of the hose in a place where the water can be safely drained away. Ensure this is away from buildings and structures and is a safe drainage area.
- When the water stops draining, you may still have water at the bottom of your pool. Intex recommends you lift the side of the pool opposite the drain valve in order to direct the remaining water towards the drain valve. This will empty the pool completely.
- Disconnect the hose and adaptor when drained.
- Replace the drain cap on the outside of the pool.
I am afraid that to fully drain your pool, you must tilt the pool for the last few litres to get all the water out. I am not a fan of this method, but right now there is no alternative method to fully drain the bottom of your pool.
Can I Use A Pressure Washer To Clean My Intex Pool?
Intex does not recommend the use of a pressure washer to clean the pool.
Generally, pressure washers are considered too powerful for the soft vinyl liner, which could result in damage if exposed to a pressure washer.
Intex state in my manual that a pressure washer should not be used.
Intex provides wonderful products, however, the water can get too cold to swim in for the winter.
For the winter, you can either choose to dismantle your Intex pool and store it or you can winterize your pool.
If temperatures in your region freeze or drop below 0°C (32°F), it is recommended to pack away your pool for the winter.
Ice and snow can damage your pool causing the liner to break and your pool to collapse, therefore, storing your pool for the winter is often the recommended route if you experience freezing or icy conditions of 0°C (32°F) or less in your region.
Dismantling and storing your pool is not as daunting as it might first seem, and if you ensure everything is clean before storage and dry, you will have a fresh new pool to build in the summer when temperatures get back to comfortable swimming levels.