Home » How To Use A Winter Pool Air Pillow | Do You Need One?

How To Use A Winter Pool Air Pillow | Do You Need One?

Do you have cold winters (freezing) and an above-ground pool? If so, using a winter pool air pillow may be very beneficial for the longevity of your pool. Let’s discuss why you would want to use one and how to place it in your swimming pool.

What is an Air Pillow & What is it For?

Pool air pillow under the pool cover for above-ground pool
Pool air pillow under the pool cover for the above-ground pool.

A winter pool air pillow is an inflatable, air-filled pillow for your pool that you put in between the water and the pool cover of your pool during the cooler months. They are generally round, square, or rectangle shape.

It is placed (floats) in the pool and looks almost like a normal pillow that I would have on my bed, instead it is made out of vinyl or another heavy-duty material.

The purpose of using an air pillow is to create a space in the water so that when the water freezes, the ice will expand inwards to the pillow rather than outwards, which would put pressure on the walls of the pool. If you have an above-ground pool, using a pool air pillow is an important part of the process.

As a side note, make sure your above ground pool has a tarp under the pool or something similar to protect the bottom.

Do You Need a Pool Pillow to Winterize A Pool?

Not everyone chooses to use a pool air pillow, but it is strongly recommended to use one if you have an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools need air pillows if your winter is cold enough to freeze your pool.

If you do not use an air pillow, your pool and pool cover will be prone to damage. In fact, if your pool does freeze or in winter, the expanding water/ice can put enough pressure on the walls to destroy them completely.

Investing in an air pillow when winterizing your pool will assist greatly in the longevity of your swimming pool.

Related Reading: How to Close Above Ground Pool | Easy Way to Winterize

Do You Need a Pool Pillow for an Inground Pool?

Inground pools do not need an air pillow in winter. Since the walls of an inground pool are in the ground and have dirt supporting them, even if your pool freezes over, an inground pool has enough support and strength to withstand expanding ice.

It doesn’t hurt to use an air pillow in an inground pool though.

One thing you do need to winterize an inground pool is a gizmo for the skimmer box (link to our winterizing article or gizmo article). The skimmer is vulnerable to cracking due to ice expansion.

Advantages of Using an Air Pillow

  • Prevents damage to the pool walls from the expanding ice
  • Even weight distribution of the water to stop the pool cover from sinking or ripping
  • They are reasonably priced and can save you a lot of money in the long run
  • You will feel more comfortable leaving your swimming pool up over the winter
Pool air pillow under pool cover for above ground pool.
Pool air pillow under pool cover for an above-ground pool.

How to Use A Pool Pillow

When using an air pillow to winterize your pool, make sure to follow this process.

Materials Needed

  • Winter pool air pillow
  • Rope or strong string (may come included with your air pillow)
  • Pool test strips or kit (plus something to shock the pool with if needed)
  • A skimmer or net to clean out any debris
  • A pool brush
  • Air pump or something to inflate the air pillow with
  • Pool cover

Step 1: Clean the Pool

Clean any debris out of the pool water and give the pool walls and floor a scrub. Clean out the filters, pumps, and any other equipment so it is looking in great condition.

Step 2: Test and Balance the Pool Water

Test the water and check that the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels are sufficient. If you need to shock the pool or make changes to the pool water, then do that now.

Related Reading: 7 Easy Tips for Accurate Home Pool Water Testing

Step 3: Disconnect Any Hoses and Plug Outlets

Frozen water can expand and cause hoses to burst, so it is best to disconnect and unplug everything to avoid any damage over the winter. You can store these in a dry location until you want to use the pool again.

Step 4: Install Your Pool Air Pillow

To install your pool air pillow, first, locate the valve in your air pillow and inflate the pillow to 60% – 70% of its capacity using an air pump. Never inflate it fully.

Tie the rope to the grommets on the edges of the air pillow and have plenty of rope hanging off the ends, as you will be attaching the other end of the rope to the pool walls next.

Place the air pillow in the center of the pool and secure the rope to the edges of the pool so the air pillow is held centered in the middle of the pool. Adjust accordingly.

Step 5: Install the Pool Cover

Place your pool cover over the top of the air pillow and entire pool and secure it, then you are done!

Related Reading: Pool Covers – How to Measure & DIY Install

Where to Position a Pool Pillow

The pool pillow can be positioned in the middle of the pool. You can secure the pillow using rope to the sides of the pool to keep it fixed in place.

In actual fact, it doesn’t matter too much if the pillow isn’t right in the middle. As long as it’s in the water it will prevent the ice from expanding outwards.

How to Stop a Pool Pillow from Sliding and Moving

If your pool pillow has eyelets in it, they are designed for a rope. The tension from the rope that is attached to the pool air pillow and the sides of the pool through the grommet holes will prevent the pillow from sliding and moving around.

You can tighten them and adjust them if you notice the pillow moving around.

Water bottles holding and keeping the pool cover in place.
Water bottles holding and keeping the pool cover in place.

How Much Do Pool Pillows Cost?

Most winter pool air pillows will cost between $20 and $80 depending on the size and quality. You can easily buy them online and get them delivered directly to your home. Some popular air pillows include the 4 x 4 ft Yankee Winter Pool Pillow or the 4 ft x 15 ft Liberecoo Winter Pool Pillow.

Pool Cover Pillow for Above Ground Swimming Pools. Pool Pillow | Extra Durable 0.4 mm PVC (27 Gauge) Winter Pool Pillow (4x4 ft.)

Check the price here >>>

LIBERECOO 4'x15' Pool Pillow for Above Ground Pool, winterize Pool Closing kit Winter Pool Pillow.Super Durable & Strong Cold Resistant Easy Centering,2 Ropes Included

Check the price here >>>

What Size Pool Pillow Do I Need?

Pool Size (ft)Recommended Air Pillow Size (ft)
12’ – 15’  Round4’ X 5’
18’ Round4’ X 8’
21’ – 24’ Round4’ X 8’
27’ – 33’ Round4’ X15’
8’ X 12’-19’ Oval4’ X 5’
10’ X 15’ – 18’ Oval4’ X 5’
10’ X 19’ – 21’ Oval4’ X 5’
12’ X 16’ – 18’ Oval4 X 5’
12’ X 20’ – 21’ Oval4’ X 8’
12’ X 24’ – 27’ Oval4’ X 8’
14’ X 20’ Oval4’ X 8’
15’ X 23’ – 30’ Oval4’ X 8’
16’ X 26’ – 32’ Oval4’ X 8’
18’ X 33’ Oval4’ X 15’
Source: https://blog.thepoolfactory.com/winterize-swimming-pool-air-pillow

From this chart, we can see the best-recommended size pool air pillow for our pool size to get. You do not want the pool air pillow to be too big or too small as it will not work as effectively. It is best to get one that is the correct sizing and good quality so it will last all winter.

Common Questions About Winter Pool Air Pillows

Should I Use A Pool Pillow for an InGround Pool?

You can use a pool air pillow for your in-ground pool. However, it is more important to use one in an above-ground pool as the pool walls are weaker and more likely to damage without one compared to the sold structure of an in-ground pool.

How Do I Prevent My Pool Air Pillow from Deflating?

To prevent your pool air pillow from deflating over the winter, ensure you do not inflate the air pillow up completely and make sure the valve is tight (you could even place some duct tape over it).

Is There an Alternative I Can Use Instead of an Air Pillow?

You should avoid using other inflatable objects that were not designed to be pool air pillows for that purpose. It is likely you will damage the objects and they will not be as effective as a properly designed winter pool air pillow.

Related Reading: How to Maintain an Above-Ground Pool in Winter

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