How to Rescue a Frozen Pool

Frozen Pools Are a Challenge

Winter weather and freezing temperatures are more than an inconvenience for pool owners.

From frozen pipes to loss of electricity and even damage due to excessive winds, colder temperatures can create the ideal environment for seasonal damage and costly repairs.

Make sure to treat your pool correctly before frosty temperatures strike. Winterizing before serious weather events can save you headaches and financial stress.

If you didn’t already get ahead of inclement weather, or it unexpectedly arrives, there’s still hope. There are steps you can take to help protect your frozen pool.

Above ground, pipes are susceptible to freezing. The water sitting inside can expand as ice, filling the available space inside your equipment, and if this expansion continues, it can crack the pipes, valves, pumps, filters, and heaters.

To avoid this, run your pump when temperatures dip below 32 degrees, especially if the temperature remains below that 32-degree mark. Since moving water cannot freeze, you should aim to run your pump continuously, keeping the water in motion.

Pool Already Frozen?

If you suspect that you have a frozen pool, don’t turn it on if it’s been off! If your pool has not been running, now is not the time to flip the switch to “on.” Turning a pool on once frozen is unsafe and can cause damage to the pool.

You MUST wait until there’s a thaw before turning on pool equipment, or you risk permanent damage and possible injury!

If you can’t run the equipment due to a power failure, shut off the power to your pool system. Locate the power box and turn off the breakers. Locate the filter cartridge, and release the air via the top.

Remove all drain plugs on the pool equipment, to quickly drain out any water (you can store the plugs in your pump basket temporarily), then cover the equipment with heavy blankets. You can also wrap the above-ground PVC plumbing with a heating cable for pipes, protecting them from freezing. To ensure safety, do not cover the heater itself.

When power returns, replace the plugs and return to the breaker box. Turn your equipment back on and put the pool back into auto mode.

At this point, if your pool is not running, you may need to prime your pump. 

  • Put the pool back into service mode. 
  • Insert a garden hose into the top of the pump and allow the pump basket to fill with water. 
  • Once complete, remove the hose and tighten the pump’s lid. 
  • Put the pool back into auto mode to get it running.

Frozen Pool Surface

You may be tempted to break up the ice on the surface of your frozen pool water, but doing so can cause damage to tile, liners, and surfaces. Ice on top of your pool is not harmful, so allow it to dissipate.


If you've determined you need assistance with addressing your frozen pool, or if you're still experiencing issues after you've taken the steps above, do not fully drain your pool. While you may temporarily experience green pool water or other less-than-ideal conditions, draining the pool can compromise the structure and cause thousands of dollars in damages.

Contact your local Pinnacle Pool Service Provider today if you have a frozen pool or have pool care questions. We offer free quotes and peace of mind.