A Quick Guide to Winterizing Portable Basketball Hoops

winterizing portable basketball hoopsIf you have a basketball hoop, it would be awesome if you’d take care of it. You want to know how to winterize a portable basketball hoop, protect it from wind and freezing, and you want it to last so that you don’t lose money for repairing it or even buying a new one.

If you’re not going to move it under the cover, here are the three steps you need to do to winterize a portable basketball hoop:

  1. You need to secure it from the wind. You don’t want to risk it falling on someone.
    I just took two of these 16-inch anchors (Amazon link) and lagged them into the ground on the opposite sides of the base. Along with anchors I bought this ratchet strap and tied it to anchors to secure it.
  2. You need to protect the base from freezing.
    This is what we’re going to talk about today. Read on.
  3. You need to cover it up and protect it from rust, especially if you’re living in a wet area.
    Also this way drunk teenagers won’t notice it overnight. The simplest thing you can do is use the largest barbecue cover you can find. This 58” BBQ Grill Cover (it costs around $20 on Amazon) will do the work.

How to prevent basketball hoop base from freezing

1) Drain the water from the base. This is how to do it…

If you want to be environmental-friendly, and not use antifreeze, you might want to drain the base. It’s an easier and cheaper option if you have time to deal with it.

You can try to empty the base laying the hoop on the side. There will still be some water in it afterward, so you’ll need to tip it around a bit until it’s completely drained out. Remove the pole and plastic plugs in holes on top. You don’t want to damage it.

If the hoop seems too heavy or you just don’t want to do the hard work of disassembling it, you can siphon it out with a siphon pump.

I’m happy with my Siphon Pro XL (aff. link) which I use for other things, but I’m sure it will work just as fine for this purpose.

You can also put the hose in the base and another end of the tube on the ground so that the gravity do all the work. Suck on it a little bit, but don’t let the water come close to your mouth.

2) Add antifreeze to the water in the base

If you don’t want to put sand in the base because you want to move it occasionally, there’s not much you can do but to add antifreeze.

Portable basketball hoop bases are made out of high-density polyethylene plastic and in most cases, they don’t break. They are flexible enough to expand when the water goes under 15 below 0 F.

When adding antifreeze to water, you should know two things. What antifreeze you should use and in what ratio with water.

What antifreeze to use?

The answer is non-toxic antifreeze for basketball hoop base. Antifreeze increases the boiling point by more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants and animals are in great danger when antifreeze is uncarefully used so it should be treated and stored with full care.

If it spills, it should be cleaned up immediately. A minimal amount can damage a CNS, and it can even cause death. It’s estimated that over 9,000 pets are accidentally poisoned with antifreeze through ingestion. The effects of antifreeze on the environment are brutal.

So, depending on the brand, the labels usually suggest adding non-toxic antifreeze.

What ratio with water?

Although some people believe that the ratio should be 50:50, which eventually stops them from buying non-toxic antifreeze, that is not true at all. You have two options.

  • You can use 2-3 8lbs bags of Calcium Chloride 77% dissolved in a big can of water, and you’re good to go. But be careful, this mixture can get very hot. Allow it to cool enough before moving into portable basketball hoop base.
  • Or you can use 2 – 4 bottles (depending on the size of the base) of non-toxic, biodegradable pool concentrate (one bottle should be around $15 on Amazon), safe for pets and kids. This is also the best option because of the simplicity of the procedure.

Both of these options are better and safer for the environment than automotive ethylene glycol based anti-freeze. Plus, they’re less expensive.

3) Use sand or BaseGel instead of water

If you choose to fill the base with sand instead of water, you do have good reasons for it. A 40-gallon base filled with water weighs around 320 lbs. If you put the sand in the same support base, it’s weight will go over 500 pounds.

It’s clear enough that sand brings more stability and won’t allow for leaking, freezing or evaporating. Sand doesn’t even cost much, as you can purchase it at Home Depot for about $4 per 50 lbs bag.

The BaseGel gives the same effect as around 390 pounds of sand. If you already filled a base with water, you can add a half of BaseGel to make it more firm.

It can last for years, and that makes it also an excellent option because it’s almost as stable as sand and you can get it back to its natural state (gel) in a few minutes; you just add a mixture of water and salt. You can get it on Amazon for less than $20.

What should you do if the water’s already frozen?

First, you need to check if your portable basketball hoop base is broken and will the cap come off. If it’s not, and if the cap comes off, pour some road salt in it.

Salt dissolves into the liquid in the ice and lowers its freezing point. If you live in a city that has lots of snow and ice in the winter, then you have probably seen the salt spread on the road to melt the ice.

Wrapping up

That’s it really. All you need to do to store a portable basketball hoop for winter are these few steps that we covered. We recently did an article on how to keep portable basketball hoop from falling over, so there you’ll find everything about securing it from wind (and dunking).

Don’t look for complicated solutions, don’t leave it out on the open spot unprotected, and most importantly – don’t let it freeze.

Hope you found what you were looking for. If you’re interested in anything else regarding hoops, you’ve got all the answers at improvehoops.com/hoops/.

Comments

  1. I am trying figure how best to fill my Spalding hoop base. I bought the base gel because I thought that it prevented freezing but it does freeze and expand according to the rep from BaseGel. Spalding says add anti freeze but the Basegel guy says it isn’t necessary. I have left about an inch of space for expansion but the Spalding rep told me to fill it up and just add antifreeze.
    I really don’t want to drain it every winter either. What is you experience with Basegel? I have a relatively basic Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54″ Angled Pole Backboard Basketball System with a 34 gallon tank.

    What are your suggestions?

    1. Author

      Sir, Basegel is awesome, use it without any worries. It’s confirmed by many people, at least in my area.

      Best regards, Mike

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