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Freeze Protection for Pool Equipment

Many pools will experience freezing temperatures during the winter months, even those in warmer states like in the sunbelt region. If the surface of your pool gets a minor freeze across the surface, there's no immediate cause for concern. But if you have unwinterized pool equipment, and water freezes inside your pump, filter or heater — you can have an expensive freeze damage repair on your hands.

The easiest way to handle frozen pool equipment is to prevent it in the first place.

Preventing Pool Equipment Freeze

There are three ways to prevent pool equipment freeze damage:

  1. Winterize your pool equipment and plumbing.
  2. Keep pump(s) running with all valves open.
  3. Install freeze protection equipment.

Pool Winterization

A partial pool winterization can be done by draining the pump, filter, heater, and other above ground equipment. Remember to remove the drain plugs (before they freeze). Pour pool antifreeze into any pipes or hoses that contain water. Complete winterizing involves blowing the water out of the equipment and pipes, then plugging the pipes at the pool, to keep water out.

Keep Pool Pumps Running

check for freeze warnings

If you are in a normally mild climate, pay attention when the news reports a freeze warning, and then remove your timer clock off switch, to run the pump 24/7 until the weather warms up. As long as water moves through the pipes, it won't freeze.

For colder climates, rather than running your pump nonstop until spring, set up an alert on your phone to notify you when temps drop below 37ºF.

Or, install the Freeze Warn V alert system to prompt you to turn on the pool pump. Set a temperature from 30ºF–70ºF, and when reached, the 360º light spins with a rotating flash visible for up to 1/2 a mile at night!

Install Freeze Protection Equipment

intermatic digital timeclock

Pool freeze protection works with a sensor that measures the outside air temperature and turns on the pool pump when the low temperature threshold is reached. More advanced pool controllers can also open closed valves, and turn on other pumps, like booster pumps or waterfall pumps.

A less expensive way to freeze protect your pool equipment and pipes is to use the Intermatic Digital Timeclock. With the accessory air temp sensor, you can program the clock to turn on the pump at any specific temperature.

Winter Power Failure

If the power fails during a winter snow storm, the pool pumps will shut off, unless you have a home generator to take over. If this happens to your un-winterized pool, unscrew the two drain plugs on your pump and heater, and the single filter drain plug. Open the filter air bleeder, and any closed pool line valves. Shut the power off the breaker, so the pump won't turn on without water inside. When power is restored, replace the plugs, prime the pump, and start it up.

Frozen Pool Equipment

If you missed the chance to do any of these things above, and your pool equipment is frozen solid - here's what to do.

  1. Shut off all power at the breaker.
  2. Place heavy woolen blankets over the equipment.
  3. Safely place a small space heater inside the 'tent'.
  4. Monitor closely until thawed; inspect closely for cracks.
  5. If repair is needed, drain equipment until repaired.

If winter is coming your way, protect your pool and pool equipment against a freeze. Frozen pool equipment can lead to costly repairs and the inability to keep your pool clean and healthy. Stay ahead of trouble by following our quick and easy freeze protection tips!


In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.