If you live in one of the country’s colder areas, chances are high that your swim season is on the brief side. When winterizing time comes around, you likely feel it hasn’t been that long since you opened the pool.
If you live in an area with two months or more when even the daily high temperature never rises above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), you might consider extending your pool season by turning your in-ground pool into an ice skating rink.
Can an In-ground Pool Become an Ice Rink?
An important note: Your ice rink does not include the full depth of your swimming pool. Instead of attempting to freeze 10,000 gallons or more of water, you only need to worry about freezing a 4-inch-deep surface you’ll create using a vinyl pool blanket.
Another important note: Freezing temperatures present a danger to your pipes, not the body of the pool itself. As long as you properly winterize it first, transforming your pool into an ice rink won’t harm the ol’ swimmin’ hole. We offer guidelines toward partial winterization here, but if your area experience hard freezes, follow these instructions instead.
Technically, with a bit of work, some basic supplies, and strong DIY genes, you can build an ice rink in your backyard even if you don’t have a pool. However, if you do have an in-ground pool, you likely don’t have the amount of level ground you’d need to build a rink. What’s more, it’s easier to get the water to freeze if you build your rink over your pool, due to the relative temperature of the pool water versus the ground.
1. Gather Your Supplies
First, you need a large vinyl pool blanket. How large? It needs to cover the area of the pool as well as approximately 3 feet around the perimeter.
In addition, you need something to weigh down the pool blanket. Sandbags work well, and you need enough of them to secure the blanket fully. Finally, you need a standard garden hose to add your water.
2. Getting the Pool Ready for Ice Skating
Start by fully winterizing your pool. This protects your plumbing and equipment. Perform it even if you don’t plan to go skating this winter.
The water level needs to rest about 18 to 20 inches below the edge of the molding. This protects your tile, decking, and other concrete structures from damage. Once your water is at the right level, cover it with your vinyl pool blanket. The blanket needs to actually touch the water’s surface across the entire pool, and extend beyond the pool walls by at least 30 inches.
Now you just to need to wait for temperatures to drop low enough, for long enough, to make the whole thing work. This means below freezing temperatures that you expect to last for a while. Once you see this in your local weather forecast, you can add 4 inches of water over the vinyl. The sandbags hold everything in place, and the fact that the vinyl touches the pool water adds an extra level of stability.
3. Strap on Your Skates
Check the ice depth on your rink. As long as it’s frozen through, you’re ready to strap on your ice skates and have fun! Just make sure to check the ice anytime you want to skate or host a hockey match. As long as the temperatures stay low, you get to keep enjoying your pool, even after the water grows too cold even for polar bears.
Of course, before you know it, that winter ice melts away and you’re back to using your pool for its intended purpose. Make sure you’re ready for the new pool season with a pHin smart monitor. Our service tracks the chemical levels in your pool or hot tub, automatically sending you exactly what you need to get it back on track.