My Pool is Frozen - What Should I Do?

Not being used or circulating can cause swimming pools to freeze solid. This can happen even if the temperature drops to zero for several days. In the US, this can create a pool with up to 12 inches of solid ice.

If your pool has a thin sheet of ice on its surface, it is not likely to freeze. However, it can still freeze overnight in areas with very mild temperatures.

A pool's thin sheet of ice generally does not pose a problem for most households. However, if its thickness gets too thick, it can cause issues for both the pool's tile and skimmers.

Most pool tiles are frost free, but they can be damaged by ice if they freeze more than 1/2′′ thick. The best practice is to keep the pool's water level under the perimeter tile band to prevent ice damage. Ice can crack and pop tile in areas where it's not been installed, or it can create uneven surfaces and loose grout. It can also raise the surface of a pool wall.

A skimmer Gizzmo is a device that's designed to protect a pool skimmer from ice. It works by filling a half-full bottle with non-toxic pool antifreeze or pebbles. These skimmer bottles are designed to absorb the expansion of ice inside a skimmer. They help minimize the outward pressure that can crack a skimmer body.

Although Gizzmos and skimmer bottles can protect most of the pool from a complete solid ice sheet, they cannot always prevent the sheet from forming. This is why it is important to keep the water level below the tile and the skimmer to prevent the ice sheet from forming.


A simple device called a Aquador or Skimmer Plug is commonly used to keep pool water and ice sheets out of a pool skimmer. These are for use with vinyl or fiberglass pool pumps.

To prevent snow and rainwater from pooling into the pool, place a heavy plastic square between the lid and the skimmer. This will keep the water from dripping into the pool.

Having a leak in the pool can damage the vinyl liner if it gets covered in ice sheets. Also, if the sheet gets damaged, the vinyl liner can fall and damage the pool. If your pool has an ice sheet, make sure to add water to it. Also, don’t pump out pool water as it can damage pool liners.


Winter pool covers are designed to withstand the freezing conditions, and they are usually built to last. Heavy ice sheets and sharp sticks can create holes in the bottom of your pool covers. These issues can happen even with a few inches of water.

Although they may look like they will break under heavy snow or ice, Mesh Safety Covers won't. They will keep their shape as they warm and will spring back to a fit once the ice has melted. Do not try to remove snow from a mesh pool cover. Also, lower the water level before a deep frost sets in.

After the snow and ice melt, a good way to lower the water level in a winter pool are to install an Automatic Cover Pump. If the pool is already frozen over 1/2′′ thick, it is best to wait until the ice has melted before lowering the water level.

For safety pool covers, be careful not to lower the pool more than 12′′ below the tile line. This could damage the cover. The best place to set the water level in a safety cover is below the pool tile. Generally, if the winter is wet, lower it several times.

Protect pool pipes from freezing by making sure they are equipped with rigid plastic valves and pipes. Also, make sure they are located above the ground to avoid cracking. When ice forms inside PVC pipes, it will expand to fill the air space inside the pipe. If this continues, it will crack the various components of the pipe.

If the equipment is not working properly, or if it has a mechanical failure, drain the equipment and cover it with heavy blankets.


If you own an Above Ground pool, then chances are that it will freeze quickly. It’s important to keep the water level low enough to prevent damage. When used in freezing conditions, an Ice Compensator is required to effectively absorb the outward expansion of an ice sheet. This equipment is commonly used for above-ground pools.

Air Pillows are used above ground pools to keep the ice sheets from freezing. Pool walls can only handle so much ice expansion, and this can cause real damage to the pool liner and walls.

Air Pillows are used to prevent a continuous ice sheet formation. They can also help keep the water from expanding as it forms.

Can my pool handle the weight of ice?

Since ice contains less water than water, it’s not as heavy as it used to be. Also, when the pool surface gets frozen, it won’t weigh as much as the water that it displaces. If your pool cover is not properly cleaned and maintained, it could cause ice to form over the top rail of your pool.

Although it's possible to prevent a pool from freezing, it's not likely to happen if you experience below-freezing temperatures for several days. Some people ask about using pond heaters. However, these are only for venting and oxygenation of the winter fish ponds. Others are not interested in adding pool antifreeze. Having the filter pump running non-stop during freezing temperatures is the best way to prevent ice sheets from forming.  If you have any other questions about pool and spa products please do let us know - we are here to help!

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