Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

How Can I Winterize My Pool Skimmer?


When the winter season comes around you will need to close your pool to prevent any damage from occurring from the harsh elements of the cold. One of the most important steps in properly closing the swimming pool is to make sure that the skimmer or skimmers on your above ground or in ground pool are properly winterize and protected.How Can I Winterize My Pool Skimmer

You can protect your pools skimmer(s) is a number of different ways and of course protecting an in-ground swimming pool skimmer is a bit different then an above ground pool skimmer. Years ago the only choice was to lower the pool water to protect the pools skimmer. Now you have a choice of using a Gizzmo, a winter protection plate or using the traditional method which is lowering the water below the skimmer line.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer Winterization

If you have an above ground swimming pool and you are looking to protect the skimmer from freezing during the winter, there are a few things you can do to accomplish this task fairly easily and without “breaking the bank” as we say.

The first way you can protect the skimmer on your above ground pool from the winter season is to use something called an Winter Skimmer Plate. A winter skimmer plate can be either made from metal or plastic. These two different types of winter skimmer plates also mount to your skimmer in different ways. To install the standard type of metal winter plate onto your skimmer you will just have to remove a few of the skimmer face plate bolts, then place the skimmer plate foam and plate up to the face of the skimmer, while replacing the bolts you just removed. This type of place can be installed while the pool is full and takes only a few minutes and a Philips head screwdriver to do so.

The second way you can protect your above ground pool with a skimmer plate is to use a plastic style skimmer plate such as the AquaDor Winter Skimmer Cover Plate. This type of skimmer plate is made from plastic and once the outer frame is installed on the pool, it can be an even faster way of protecting the skimmer Vs the metal style skimmer plate. The AquaDor or plastic type of winter skimmer plates require you to remove your inner skimmer frame from the pool and then you will need to replace it with the special skimmer frame that comes with the plastic plate. You will have to also drain the pool below the skimmer if you are going to install this special frame for the AquaDor Winter skimmer Protection Plate or any other type of plastic winter plate. But once this special frame is installed onto the skimmer you can then easily just pop on and pull off the plastic winter plate. You will not have to remove any screws or drain the pool any longer. When the time comes to winterize and close the pool you will just be able to install the plastic winter plate in a snap.

In Ground Pool Skimmer Winterization

There are two steps to properly protecting your in ground pool skimmer from all of the harsh elements of winter. The first step is to blow all of the water out of the swimming pool plumbing above the ground and also under the ground. You can do this buy either using a shop vacuum, an air compressor. a liner blower, or you can alternatively have a professional swimming pool company remove the water from the lines for you.

Just as a note, you should also lower the water level below the skimmers. You can do so by using your filter system to drain the excess water from the pool.

Once you have the water blown out from the swimming pool lines, your next step will be to insert the Gizzmo into the skimmer and then you will want to tighten in down. The Gizzmo will spin into the threads that are molded into the bottom of the skimmer. Once the Gizzmo is screwed into the threads in the skimmer you will want to place the skimmer cover back on top of the skimmer box.

As an extra step you can also add some non toxic anti freeze inside the pools plumbing if you like as well. Once you have blown out the pool lines and before you insert the Gizzmos into each skimmer, you then can pour the anti freeze into the pool skimmer. Of course you will have to have the water level below the skimmers if you want to add the anti-freeze this way.

If you have any questions or need additional help, please leave them below.


  1. I hooked up a shop vac at the equipment. My pool builder put a T in the return line at equipment for this application. As the vac was blowing air bubbled out from the last return first and I plugged it then the next until all three returns were plugged. The shop vac continued to run for a long period of time but I never had air escape through the skimmer or main drains. Do I need to change any valves or do something different to insure the skimmer lines are clear???

    • Hi Ronny,

      The pool has two set of lines.

      One set if for the suction ( skimmers, main drain and vacuum port )

      One set is for the water return ( step jets, wall returns etc )

      From what you described above it sounds like your only blowing out the return lines not the suction lines.

      You need to blow the suction line out. This is the line that connects directly to the front of your pool pump.

      Let me know if you need more help or have any more questions.

      I hope this helps,


      • Thanks for the help so far. So if I remove the lid to the pump basket and put the shop vac into the line coming into the pump basket this will work? Just so you know from the pump basket going back there is a one way flap for lack of better term then the gate valve to adjust between skimmer and main drain.

  2. I have (I think) successfully blown out the 3 return lines by attaching my compressor to the filter and running it until water came out the first of three holes, let it run for 20 seconds, plugged it and then the other two in succession. I then ran my shop vac from the skimmer hole that leads to the filter and got all water from that. My pool as one skimmer, in it there is the skimmer line and the main drain line. I tried (unsuccessfully) to use my leaf blower and shop vac to blow water out of the main line to produce the air bubbles in the floor drain. Question 1: how do I get at least some of the water pushed out to prevent freezing? Nothing fits well into the hole and Mt Vesuvius returns. Additionally if I find something that does fit well (thinking some kind of plug purchased that will thread onto my compressor) and can get air bubbles moving, how do I exchange the bubble creator for the plug that I will put in the hole w. out having my eyes blown out by the force of 8ft of returning water? I also have a question about how to get antifreeze into the return lines but one miracle at a time! thanks!! Pender

  3. Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!|

  4. Was told by my pool installer that I don’t have to lower the pool water below the skimmer as long as I blow out the lines, add antifreeze, plug the opening in bottom of
    skimmer and then put plastic bottle with some antifreeze in bottom of skimmer. Also to take another plastic bottle and stick it in the skimmer opening which will then partially cover the bottle in the bottom of skimmer. He claims that with the plastic bottles in the skimmer, any freezing will be absorbed by the bottles and not the skimmer housing.
    What are your thoughts?

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