How much does it cost to close a swimming pool?
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Pool Closing Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
If you do not use your pool during the colder months, you must close it properly for the winter. Winterizing your pool means it is cleaner, more sanitary, and easier to open in the summer. While you can winterize your pool yourself, hiring a professional company for the job ensures the correct chemicals are added, and the equipment is properly drained and stored.
The national average cost to have your pool winterized is $200 to $300, with most homeowners paying around $250 to winterize an in-ground pool with winter chemicals, cleaning, lowering the water level, and installing a cover. This project’s low cost is $150 to winterize an above-ground pool with minimal equipment. The high cost is $400 to winterize an in-ground pool with an adjacent hot tub, adding chemicals, completely draining the hot tub, lowering the pool’s water, and covering both.
Cost to Close a Pool
|Pool Closing Prices|
|National average cost||$250|
What Is Pool Closing?
When most people think about pool closing, they mean closing the pool at the season’s end. This is called winterizing your pool or getting it ready for the freezing temperatures that could damage your pool.
However, you can also close your pool temporarily. You can turn off the pumps and cover the pool if you are on vacation and want to keep debris out. If you live in an area that stays relatively warm all winter, you may want to temporarily close it when the temperature dips and open it when the weather warms. In these cases, you are not winterizing the pool, only turning off the equipment and covering the pool. You may need to balance the chemicals once you are ready to use it, but closing does not take much time or energy.
However, you need to winterize your pool if you live in an area that sees temperatures below 65º F in the winter. This involves adding winter chemicals, cleaning the pool, lowering the water level, draining, lubricating, and storing equipment, and putting a winter cover over the pool.
This process should be done when temperatures are regularly below 65º F but before they dip to freezing. This ensures algae does not grow in your pool, and your pool does not get damaged by a freeze.
This guide uses the terms closing and winterizing interchangeably, but the focus is on winterizing the pool rather than covering the pool and shutting off the equipment for a short time.
Steps to Close a Pool
Regardless of what pool you have, the steps to closing are relatively similar. There may be minor differences based on types of equipment, cover, and size that means the closing is faster or takes longer than for other pools, but generally, most pools are closed the same way. The homeowner can do some of these steps to keep costs down, but most pool companies take care of everything over 2 or 3 visits.
1. Remove, Drain and Clean Accesories
All accessories are removed from the pool, including skimmer baskets, wall fittings, ladders, and other removable parts. These are drained, cleaned, and stored for winter.
2. Shock the Pool
The pool is shocked. This usually happens a few days before closing. Shock kills algae, bacteria, and other organisms that may grow in the pool while closed. Sometimes, the homeowner does this, but at other times, the pool company takes care of it.
3. Pool Is Deep Cleaned
The bottom is vacuumed, the walls are scrubbed, and debris is removed.
4. Water Level Is Lowered
This depends on the pool type and may be anywhere from 6” to 18”. If you have tile in your pool, the water must be lowered below the tile to prevent damage.
5. Drain and Lubricate Pool Equipment
All pool equipment is drained and lubricated. If it can be removed, it is stored for winter. Otherwise, it is capped in place.
6. Test and Balance Pool Water
The pool water is tested and balanced. The alkalinity must be between 80 and 150 parts per million. Once the alkalinity is balanced, the pH is brought to between 7.2 and 7.6 and the chlorine between 1 and 3 parts per million.
7. Cover and Secure Pool for Winter
After all these steps, the pool is covered and secured for winter.
Pool Closing Cost by Type of Pool
The cost of pool closing depends on if you have an above or in-ground pool. Above-ground pools tend to be smaller, with less equipment than in-ground pools. They also use different covers, which may be easier to put on. Above-ground pool closing costs tend to be lower than in-ground pool closing costs. Several factors can influence your pool closing cost, such as above-ground pool stairs or in-ground pool water features raising the project cost. Therefore, your costs vary depending on the pool features. Below are the average costs to winterize above-ground and in-ground pools, based on the project rather than a single visit.
|Above-Ground||$150 - $200|
|In-Ground||$200 - $400|
Close an Above-Ground Pool
The cost to winterize an above-ground pool averages $150 to $200. Above-ground pools are faster to winterize because they are smaller, often have less equipment, and can be covered with a tarp. Factors influencing the cost of your above-ground pool closing include removal and storage of the steps versus a ladder, using a custom cover instead of a tarp, and if you have a center drain. Center drains in above-ground pools must be blown out and capped, increasing costs. Larger pieces of equipment like stairs cost more to remove than ladders, and covers that fit tightly cost more to install than tarps.
Winterize an In-Ground Pool
The cost to winterize an in-ground pool averages $200 to $400. In-ground pools take longer to winterize than above-ground pools. They are often larger and have more equipment that must be treated, such as heaters and additional pumps. Water features, attached spas, or multiple drains increase the closing cost because these all must be treated separately. Water features generally receive their own cover, increasing costs. Specialty equipment, such as solar heaters, requires additional work and costs, including adding antifreeze.
Cost of Pool Closing Chemicals
Part of the pool closing process involves adding chemicals to the pool to kill algae or bacteria and balance the pool’s alkaline, pH, and chlorine levels. The exact level of chemicals added to the pool changes, depending on the amount of water and current pH and chlorine levels. The idea is to reach specific measures in the water, so testing must be done before and after adding the chemicals to ensure the levels are met. Some pools require more chemicals than others, but most generally use the same ones. Some pool companies sell a chemical closing kit that contains all the necessary pool-closing chemicals and tests to do this step yourself. Below are the chemicals used when closing a pool and their average costs.
|Chemical||Average Costs (Chemicals Only)|
|Algaecide||$14 - $60|
|Chlorine||$15 - $80|
|Stabilizer||$20 - $30|
|Shock||$25 - $50|
|Bromine||$30 - $50|
Pool Cover Cost by Type of Pool
If you close your pool yourself or hire a professional, you still need a winter pool cover. These covers come in various forms and styles and insulate the pool while providing a barrier against insects, debris, leaves, and other things you do not want in the water. Some covers are also installed for safety and can prevent children or pets from falling into the pool during the winter months.
Several cover types can be used. These can be as simple as tarps draped over an above-ground pool and weighted with sandbags to automatic covers that deploy on their own and only require securing once over the pool. Each type has different costs depending on how complex it is and how it is installed. Below are the average costs for the most common types of winter covers.
|Cover||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Above-Ground||$30 - $500|
|In-Ground||$650 - $20,000|
Above-Ground Pool Cover
Above-ground pool covers cost $30 to $500. These covers can be as simple as a tarp weighted on the edges to a cover that fits more tightly and is clipped into place. These covers are usually solid but cannot be considered safety covers like solid covers for in-ground pools. They cannot hold the weight of a person or pet if they climb on top. Most are only loosely connected to the pool or staked and weighted to prevent them from blowing off. Some mesh covers are available if you want something lightweight that does not develop puddles of water.
In-Ground Pool Cover
In-ground pool covers for winter come in several types. You can manually place solid or mesh covers on the pool and remove them in the spring. You can also use retractable covers where the cover remains at the end of the pool and extends over as needed. All three types can be used in various pools. Generally, non-retractable solid covers are the lowest cost because they can be made of many materials. Mesh is another lighter-weight option than solid covers, making it popular among homeowners. Retractable covers include more equipment for rolling, unrolling, and storing the cover, so they have the highest costs. The more equipment and automated the retracting process, the higher the cost. Below are the average costs for the three winter cover types.
|Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Solid||$650 - $1,200|
|Mesh||$1,500 - $3,000|
|Retractable||$2,000 - $20,000|
Solid Pool Cover Cost
Solid pool covers or safety pool covers that do not retract cost $650 to $1,200. These covers are tightly stretched across the surface of an in-ground pool. They are anchored on all sides and completely prevent anything from entering the pool, including debris, children, and pets. They can collect water on top, which may require a pump to remove if it becomes heavy enough. They also block sunlight so that there is no algae growth in the pool. Solid covers generally need to be manually placed on the pool and tied down at the end of the season.
Mesh Pool Cover Cost
Mesh pool covers cost $1,500 to $3,000. Mesh covers also install tightly stretched across the surface of an in-ground pool. They are lighter weight than solid covers and do not collect water. This can help reduce the chance of drowning if a child or pet climbs on the cover. Some mesh covers may be considered safety covers because they can be strong and durable enough to handle the weight of a person, child, or pet who climbs or falls onto it. However, mesh covers can let sunlight into the pool, causing algae growth.
Retractable Pool Cover Cost
Retractable pool covers cost $2,000 to $20,000. They remain rolled at one end until they are needed. They can be electric and automatic or manual, requiring you to pull and crank. The cost of the manual options falls between $2,000 and $5,000 while automatic covers range from $10,000 to $20,000. These covers cost the most, but they are the easiest to put on and take off each year. If you winterize your pool, having a retractable cover can make the process much faster and easier. They still need to be secured around the edges after being in place for safety. Below are the costs for the different retractable winter covers.
|Cover Operation Style||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Manual||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Automatic||$10,000 - $20,000|
Cost to Close a Pool Permanently
If you have a pool on your property that is in disrepair or no longer in use, you can close it permanently and remove it from your property. This is known as filling in the pool. It can be done by completely removing the pool material or crushing the material and using it to fill in the pool before adding soil. The type of pool fill you need is determined by the pool type you have and what you want to do with the property. The cost of filing in a pool ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the removal.
Cost to Open and Close a Pool
Most people do not use their pools all year, so they need to open and close them as the seasons change. When opening a pool, usually in the spring or summer, you first need to clean the pool, skim away the debris, check the various fittings and filters, and potentially add new chlorine or other chemicals. This can be a DIY project, or you can hire a professional. Opening a pool costs between $250 and $350. Closing a pool costs an average of $200 to $300, so the total cost of opening and closing a pool in a typical year is between $375 and $600.
Why Winterize a Pool?
If you live in the sunbelt or snowbelt and do not use your pool when the weather gets colder, it is important to winterize it before covering it for the season. Regardless of where you live, failing to winterize can lead to algae and bacteria overgrowth. It can also lead to debris composting in the pool, meaning it can be much more difficult to get your pool cleaned and ready to open the next year.
Failing to winterize can seriously damage the pool walls and equipment if you live in an area that sees freezing temperatures. Because water expands as it freezes into ice, water inside your pump, filter, or heating system can cause irreparable damage, necessitating their replacement. Not lowering the water level in the pool can also damage the tile and other parts.
When you winterize your pool properly, you help stop algae and bacteria growth and prevent new debris from entering. You also ensure there is no trapped water in the machinery or water lines so that the pool is easier and less costly to clean and open again next summer.
Many risks are associated with not closing your pool. The repair costs for burst pipes, damaged filter systems, and cracked tiles are often more expensive than closing your pool. This preventative measure saves money in the long run. It is almost always less expensive to winterize a pool than repair it.
Add-On Costs to Close a Pool
The cost of closing your pool varies by the company and your pool features. Most companies include chemical testing, equipment draining and lubricating, and covering the pool in their costs. Many also include the cost of cleaning the pool and lowering its water level. However, some do not include these services in their base price. You can add them to the project for $55 to $200, with costs depending on the company and how much cleaning the pool requires before closing. Heavily soiled pools that have not been cleaned in a while may cost more than those that have been well maintained.
You may also have costs to deal with water features, extra pumps, and other optional features in your pool. You may want to winterize your spa and hot tub or add antifreeze to solar heaters and built-in cleaning systems. Some companies can also handle taking down safety fences for the winter. You can DIY some of these add-ons to keep the cost low, but there are additional costs per extra piece of equipment or service performed if you hire a pool company to handle them. Below are the average costs for each potential add-on service. These include cleaning costs for companies that do not include it in their base price.
|Draining and Lubricating Additional Equipment||$25 - $35/each|
|Adding Antifreeze to a Solar Heater||$25 - $50|
|Draining and Covering a Water Feature||$50 - $60|
|Winterizing a Hot Tub or Spa||$50 - $100|
|Cleaning and Lowering the Water Level||$55 - $200|
|Winterizing a Built-In Cleaning System||$65 - $75|
|Removing a Safety Fence for Winter||$75 - $100|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
An Air Pillow
If you have an above-ground pool, you need to place an air pillow or ice compensator below the cover. This helps balance the weight of snow and ice on the cover and protects the walls from caving under that weight. Air pillows cost around $10 to $30, depending on the size.
Winter Pill for a Pool
If you have had issues with algae or bacteria growth in the winter before, you may want to opt for a winter pill, a floating device that releases chemicals slowly throughout the winter. They cost around $15 to $25.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Equipment storage. Slides and diving boards should be taken off and stored along with ladders and other equipment when closing the pool.
- Winterizing equipment. Most of the damage done to pipes and equipment comes from freezing when homeowners attempt to winterize the pool. It is best to have a professional winterize to ensure it is done correctly.
- Pool draining. Never drain a pool completely over the winter. Otherwise, pressure from the frozen ground could cause it to pop out or rip the liner from the pool, meaning expensive repairs in the spring. Optimum water levels should be 3” to 6” below the skimmer.
- When to reopen a pool. You can reopen your pool once the temperatures are consistently above 65º F at all times, but this varies depending on your area.
- Maintenance. Proper closing of your pool is part of good pool maintenance. It helps keep your equipment and pool in good condition to avoid damage during the freezing months.
- DIY closing. You can close your pool yourself. The steps are the same - shock, test, and balance the pool chemicals, clean, drain the water, and drain and lubricate equipment. If you have a saltwater pool, add a saltwater tester to the test equipment to balance this.
- Pool size. Your pool size does not tremendously impact closing costs. Things like equipment or cleaning level impact cost, but the pool size is generally not considered.
- How much does it cost to have someone close your pool?
The average cost to have a professional close your pool is around $200 to $300. Your costs can be higher if you have special equipment.
- What chemicals should I put in my pool when closing?
All pools should be shocked before closing. After this, it is typical to add an algaecide and stabilizer to the pool water. You also need to balance the alkalinity and chlorine, which may require you to add chlorine to the water, depending on your tests.
- Do I have to drain my above-ground pool for winter?
No, you should lower the waterline by about 12” and place an air pillow on the remaining water before covering it. Draining your pool completely can cause more damage because the water provides pressure to the sides of the pool necessary to keep its integrity.
- How much does it cost to close a pool permanently?
Permanently closing a pool costs between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the size and what needs to be done. Some pools can be broken into the cavity before filling, which is less expensive, while others must be removed entirely.
- Can I leave my in-ground pool empty?
Leaving your pool empty in a climate that experiences freeze/thaw temperatures causes serious damage to the liner or pool. Lowering the water level below the tiles or up to 6” below the skimmer is recommended for best results.
- Can you leave water in a pool over winter?
Yes, you should leave water in the pool over the winter, only lowering it to below the tile line or skimmer to prevent damage. Draining the pool completely could cause cracks or damage the liner or pool walls.
- How do you winterize your pool?
Winterizing a pool is done by shocking it, cleaning it well, removing, draining, and lubricating equipment, and lowering the water level before covering it. You also need to balance the pool chemicals to ensure no algae grows over the winter.
- What is included in a pool closing?
This varies by company. Some pool companies clean and shock your pool, remove, lubricate, and store equipment, and cover the pool. Others only handle the chemicals, equipment, and covering but do not clean the pool. Ask your pool company exactly what is included and what you need to contribute to the process.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.