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FAQs: Freezing Temperatures

Although we provide weekly pool maintenance services, this information may be helpful should something happen between our visits or during times of freezing temperatures.

What should I do when the temperature is below freezing?

When the outdoor air temperature reaches 32 degrees or lower, costly freeze damage can occur. These steps should be followed to help prevent any damage to your pool and/or equipment.

Systems that are running:

  • Run the filtration pump and all auxiliary pumps continuously (the pool cleaner pump does not need to run). If functioning properly, your freeze guard should run the pump automatically until temperatures rise above freezing. Note: Direct sunlight on your freeze guard may "trick" it into functioning as if the temperature is above freezing thereby turning off your pump. If this happens, reactivate the pump manually and remove the timer trippers or switch the computer controller to "service" and turn the pumps on. The pumps WILL NOT turn off automatically in service mode.
  • Break up any ice on the pool and spa surfaces to keep the skimmers and skimmer doors free from ice. Carefully remove skimmer doors if it is not possible to keep them free of ice. Use caution to avoid damaging the skimmers.
  • Maintain proper pool water level at all times (at the middle of the tile line). If the water level drops too low, the pump will draw in air through the skimmers which increases the risk of equipment freeze damage.
  • NEVER backwash during extremely cold conditions. Filter pressure gauges can freeze, resulting in inaccurate readings. DO NOT use heater during extreme cold unless it has been constantly running prior to the drop in temperature. Manufacturers state heaters should not be run at temperatures 68 and below.
  • Adjust pool and spa jets upwards to reduce surface freezing.

Systems that are not running or that experience a power outage during freezing weather:

  • Turn off circuit breakers to all pool equipment.
  • Open the filter air bleed valve. If it is frozen, pour warm water over it to dislodge the ice.
  • Drain the water from pump by removing all drain plugs from the bottom of the pump. Place the plugs in the pump basket and loosely replace the lid.
  • Remove drain plug for the filter and place in pump basket.
  • Remove the winterizing plugs and/or open drain valves on the heater and place them in the pump basket (if applicable).
  • Remove the chlorinator tubing and lid (if applicable).
  • Open all valves or adjust 3-way valves to the middle positions to allow water to flow back into the pool through all pipes.
  • Remove the winterizing plugs and/or open drain valves on the heater and place them in the pump basket (if applicable).
  • Any pipes that cannot be drained should be protected with electrical heat strips available at local hardware stores.
  • Cover electronic ignition heaters with a blanket for insulation. UNCOVER HEATER PRIOR TO USE.


Does algae grow in the winter?

Algae can cover a pool overnight depending on the weather. Cool weather will lead to cool water temperatures and slow down algae growth; however, just one day of rain before a day of sun can rapidly increase the growth of algae. Rain has the tendency to lower the pH and alkilinity and dissipate chlorine levels, which in turn allows a yellow colored algae to flourish.  

How to avoid damaging pool equipment during freezing temperatures?

There are three options to avoid damaging your pool equipment during freezing temperatures.

  1. Keep your pumps running at all times during freezing temperatures. 
  2. Remove winterizing plugs from the pump, filter, heater and any other equipment that can be drained. 
  3. Install a Freeze Protector, which is a device that circulates the pool water when temperatures are 38°F or below.

Is it necessary to get weekly pool maintenance during the Winter?

Although it is not absolutely necessary to have pools serviced weekly during the winter, it is highly recommended since water temperatures cool down with the weather. It is sufficient to have chemical treatment done every other week during winter. It is necessary to consistently empty the pump and skimmer baskets in order to avoid damage.

Note: Any malfunction may change the operation of the pool’s equipment. Sterling Pool Service is not be held liable for any personal or property damages that may occur due to homeowner performing the above or equipment malfunction. It is strongly advised that this procedure be done by a qualified pool service company


Remember - We do total pool renovations, weekly pool maintenance service, pool leak detections and repairs, and all equipment repairs. Contact us today at 888-973-0274 or visit our website at for more information and to read our testimonials. We are your one stop pool company.