What Is Swimming Pool Antifreeze? Should You Use It?

Written by Michael Dean
April 3, 2024

antifreeze next to swimming pool in winter

The onset of colder temperatures in chilly regions means it’s time to winterize your pool. In cold enough regions, pool owners might even be faced with power outages or temperatures low enough that might cripple their pool infrastructure. You might wonder, in that case, if a bit of additional help might be needed in the form of swimming pool antifreeze.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about antifreeze, including what it is, whether you should use it, the pros and cons, and how to use it.

Main Takeaways

  • Using antifreeze designed for swimming pools lowers the freezing point of the water in your pool’s plumbing system.
  • While not always necessary, antifreeze is an added layer of protection against sudden cold snaps or winter power outages.
  • Manufacturers mostly recommend around a gallon of pool antifreeze for every 10 to 20 feet of water-filled pipe.

What Is Swimming Pool Antifreeze?

Swimming pool antifreeze (propylene glycol antifreeze or pool line antifreeze) is a non-toxic liquid. It is commonly used to safeguard swimming pool equipment, pipes, and plumbing from freezing during the winter season in chilly climates.

How does it work? Well, when water freezes, it expands. And if this expansion occurs in narrow, confined spaces like pipes, filters, and pumps, the material, be it steel or PVC, can crack and expand, destroying your expensive pool equipment. Using antifreeze designed for swimming pools lowers the freezing point of the water in your pool’s plumbing system, lessening the chances of damage taking place in your pool.

That said, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution to pool winterization—as in, just merely using antifreeze may not be sufficient protection during cold winter months. You should properly winterize your pool before the weather gets below freezing, which includes blowing out all your lines.

Should You Use Antifreeze in Your Pool?

Swimming pool antifreeze is not a necessity, but it can be a big help in certain cases, depending on your climate, how you winterize your pool, and the type of pool you have.


Your climate will have a huge say in whether or not you need to use antifreeze. If you live in the midwest or northern regions of the country with brutal winter conditions, such as Michigan or Alaska, there’s a higher possibility that you’d need to use antifreeze to protect your pool lines against dangerously low temps. If you live in warmer areas with mild winters, such as Texas and California, you might find antifreeze unnecessary, as temperatures rarely drop below 0, if at all!

Winterizing Your Pool

How you approach winterizing the pool is also a deciding factor. When you winterize the pool, a crucial step is blowing out your lines. However, if you, for some reason, decide not to blow out your lines or you are not confident you were able to completely blow them out due to lack of experience or a faulty plug, then using antifreeze can be a great insurance as a backup precaution.

Type of Pool

The type of pool you have matters as well. Inground pools are a lot more susceptible to freezing damage due to their buried pipes, as compared to above ground pools.

So Should You Use Antifreeze?

Here’s a simple breakdown of when you might need to use antifreeze and when you might not:

  • You need pool antifreeze: Cold climate, inground pool, unblown pool lines.
  • You don’t need pool antifreeze: Warm climate, above-ground pool, blown pool lines.

A point to keep in mind: do NOT use anything except antifreeze specifically designated for swimming pool use, i.e., glycol-based pool antifreeze. For instance, don’t substitute pool antifreeze with automotive antifreeze since it’ll be super toxic and harmful. Additionally, when disposing of it, be responsible and careful and dispose of the chemical following local guidelines.

Champion Swimming Pool Antifreeze for Winterizing

I use this option from Champion anytime I need to add antifreeze when winterizing a pool.

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I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at zero additional cost to you. This in no way impacts my research process or opinions.

Pros and Cons of Using Swimming Pool Antifreeze

Here are the pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to use antifreeze.

Pros of Using Pool Antifreeze

Freeze Damage Prevention

The biggest advantage antifreeze offers is what its name suggests. Antifreeze protects pool plumbing and equipment from freezing, cracking, and bursting open during super-low temperatures. It should go without saying that this will save you a decent chunk of money in terms of repairs and replacement.


As opposed to the alternative (and more labor-intensive method) of blowing compressed air through your pool lines to clear them out, adding antifreeze is a quicker and easier way to protect your pipes and equipment.

Non-Toxic, Environmentally-Friendly

Pool antifreeze that has been specifically formulated for pools comprises propylene glycol, a bright pink substance. This is a non-toxic substance that’s much less harmful to the environment than other types of antifreeze or chemicals. Always make sure you are using pool antifreeze in your pool only!

Peace of Mind

All in all, if you want a security blanket against freeze damage and need some peace of mind that your pool is safe, antifreeze is an added layer of protection against sudden cold snaps or winter power outages that could damage your pool infrastructure. Even if you blow out your lines, you never know if you may have a faulty plug. Pool antifreeze is great insurance for these unfortunate events!



As antifreeze is not a must-have chemical for pool owners, as long as you blow out your lines, you’ll also want to consider if shelling out another $15 to $30 per gallon will be worth it for you. Keep in mind that when using antifreeze, you’ll need around one gallon for every 10 to 20 feet of 1.5-inch pipe, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Potential for Damage

If used incorrectly, antifreeze can cause issues. Specifically, pool antifreeze can react badly when in contact with metal or rubber, so any equipment of this material that comes into contact with antifreeze may be damaged.


Pool antifreeze is a non-toxic substance but still requires safe, responsible disposal at a designated hazardous waste facility all the same to prevent potential hazards. Careless disposal might harm living organisms.

How to Use Swimming Pool Antifreeze

Before we start, gather the following items:

  • Safety goggles
  • Funnel
  • Hose
  • Bucket (for diluting the antifreeze)
  • Pair of gloves

Once you have these on hand, let’s start using antifreeze!

Step One: Get the Right Antifreeze

Double-check that you have the right sort of antifreeze: a propylene glycol-based pool antifreeze. Read the label and confirm it’s safe to be used specifically for swimming pool pipes.

Step Two: Calculate the Required Amount

The concentration of antifreeze you need for the pool depends on the length of your pipe and the manufacturer. Manufacturers mostly recommend around a gallon of pool antifreeze for every 10 to 20 feet of water-filled pipe. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for more specific instructions on how much you’ll need for your pool.

Step Three: Lower the Water

Once you have everything in place and calculated what you need, lower the water levels below the skimmer basket line. This will help protect any water from reaching your skimmer line once treated.

Step Four: Add Antifreeze to Designated Points

Dilute the correct amount of antifreeze with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, slowly pour it into the skimmer.

If you want to add pool antifreeze to the return line, main pipeline, or other pool liens as well for further protection, connect an empty garden hose to a valve or pump. Then, use a fennel to slowly and carefully pour in the antifreeze.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Pour Swimming Pool Antifreeze Directly into the Pool?

No, pool antifreeze is meant for the pipes, not the water. In fact, probably the more apt name for swimming pool antifreeze is pool pipes antifreeze. Pouring antifreeze into the pool will do little except possibly damage your pool plastering, metals, and silicon.

What’s the Difference Between Pool Antifreeze and Regular Antifreeze?

Pool antifreeze is made of non-toxic propylene glycol (making it safer to use), protects pool piping and equipment, and is an excellent safeguard during winter. On the other hand, regular antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is extremely dangerous, even fatal, if ingested and is not meant for pools. Do NOT use regular antifreeze in your pool, as it can harm swimmers and equipment.

Is Pool Antifreeze Necessary?

Not necessarily. As mentioned earlier, it depends on your situation. You can skip using it if you reside in warmer climates or have an above ground pool. Antifreeze is a good idea if you live in colder climates or have an inground pool and want some backup protection.

Is Pool Antifreeze Safe to Swim in?

Pool antifreeze is a safe, non-toxic substance, but since this chemical is meant to be in your pipes and not your pool, you shouldn’t be swimming in it.

Final Notes: Navigating Pool Antifreeze

Pool antifreeze is just another tool in your winterizing strategy toolbelt. It’s easy to use, non-toxic, and offers owners facing long, tough winters peace of mind. Of course, it might not always be necessary even then, so carefully consider your climate, type of pool, and winterizing preparation before you use it.

Still unsure about pool antifreeze or winterizing in general? Reach out; I’ll be happy to help you with any doubts.

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