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Unfortunately, the summer comes to an end after a certain time. The days are getting shorter and colder, so that fewer and fewer young and old swimming enthusiasts are drawn to their local pools. This is not only the case for those who use chlorine for disinfection, but also for so-called salt water pools.

Just as with a classic chlorine pool, it is now time for pool owners to deal in detail with the topic of “winterizing salt water pools” so that, for example, no damage occurs to the materials of the pool.

Furthermore, an adequate winterization of your pool with salt water results in an uncomplicated start-up in the following spring. The relevant information, including the appropriate time for winterizing as well as the individual necessary steps, are described in the following sections.

Do you need to winterize a saltwater pool?

There are a variety of reasons to winterize a saltwater pool.

On the one hand, failure to properly winterize your saltwater pool can cause significant damage to the material, some of which could result in high repair costs.

On the other hand, not only damage caused by frost, but also contamination of your pool’s water, for example, by a heavy infestation of algae, are at the very least a major hindrance when it comes to cleaning it up afterwards in the spring before using it again, so winterizing a saltwater pool is just as important as it is for a conventional chlorine pool.

When to winterize a saltwater pool

However, it is not only essential to winterize the respective saltwater-filled pool correctly, which, in addition to extensive manual cleaning, includes among other things the optimal adjustment of the pool chemistry, but also to recognize the right time when you need to adequately prepare the saltwater pool for the cold months with the respective measures.

The time period for winterizing a saltwater pool is similar to that of a freshwater pool, which uses conventional means, including the chemical chlorine, to achieve a disinfecting effect.

One should pay special attention to two important aspects, and in both cases the local temperatures play a major role.

The salt water of the pool must be cooled down to a low level before you winterize the salt water pool, usually the outside temperatures are then no longer above 15 degrees, which is noticeable by colder days.

However, it is also important to ensure that there is not already ground frost or the like, otherwise it can already damage the material of your salt water pool, which is why September is often suitable as a monthly reference point, depending on the location.

Winterize your saltwater pool in 10 steps

As soon as you want to winterize your saltwater pool, it is advisable to perform, among other things, certain steps that will guarantee that both the materials of the pool and the water it contains will cope with the cold season in the most ideal way.

Apart from a comprehensive physical cleaning of the pool, it is also necessary to use the appropriate chemical means for the maintenance of the salt water.

The following sections provide an overview of what measures are effectively necessary to winterize a saltwater pool.

Step 1: Obtain the necessary equipment

Although a pool that uses saltwater as a disinfecting element often requires less additional pool chemistry in principle, it is a good idea to use it if you want to winterize your saltwater pool.

Furthermore, you should make sure that the necessary tools are also available and these, set the case it is missing one or the other item still to acquire.

Among other things, it is recommended to invest in a tarp for your saltwater pool as well as, for example, the appropriate clips, a test strip, some air cushions as well as a certain number of plugs.

To be able to winterize a saltwater pool, you furthermore require an antifreeze, a winterizing concentrate, a high-quality pool shocker, an algaecide, and furthermore frequently an agent to increase alkalinity as well as calcium hardness.

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Rx Clear Winter Closing Kit |
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Step 2: Extensively clean the salt water pool

For the physical cleaning that follows, a suitable pool vacuum cleaner or a soft brush or sponge, depending on the individual circumstances at the end of a telescopic pole, are used, among other things.

The thorough cleaning facilitates the following steps in many cases immensely.

Step 3: Test the pool water

In order to be able to winterize a salt water pool, the chemical properties of the respective water must be ideally matched to the corresponding situation.

Therefore, it is necessary to check the respective values with the help of a so-called test kit or a test strip. Particularly accurate results can be obtained with digital test devices, which are, however, somewhat more expensive to purchase. This provides the basis for preventing the settlement of foreign organisms as well as, for example, damage to the foil of the pool.

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Step 4: Adjust the pool chemistry

Ideally, when your pool is winterized, the pH will be between 7.4 and 7.6 in conjunction with an alkalinity characterized by values of 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter.

If the previous testing of the pool water gives different results, it is necessary to use the available chemical means to achieve an optimal balance.

When winterizing saltwater pools, it is also necessary to follow the individual instructions of the corresponding manufacturers at all times to ensure proper use.

Since both the pH value and the alkalinity continuously decrease with time, a high value is to be favored in the dosage. Furthermore, it is important that the calcium hardness of the respective pool water is 275 ppm, because a deviating value can lead to calcium deposits as well as damage to the pool, among other things.

Tip: In case of uncertainty, it is always worthwhile to seek the advice of a professional or other experienced pool owner regarding winterization.

Step 5: Use winterizing agent

On the one hand, using a winterizing agent further combats the proliferation of algae in your pool’s water, and on the other hand, it also prevents the formation of rims due to limescale or other buildup that could be caused by dirt particles.

Due to these realities, if you are winterizing the saltwater pool, the addition of winterizing agent is quite advisable in many ways. Provided that lowering the water level is considered, that measure should take place before adding the winterizing agent.

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Rx Clear Winter Closing Kit |
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Step 6: Perform shock chlorination

In order to be able to winterize the salt water pool under hygienically optimal conditions, the respective water must be freed not only from algae, but also from all organic foreign bodies; bacteria, for example, also fall into this category.

With the help of a so-called shock chlorination, which includes the use of an effective pool shocker, this ideal condition can be achieved.

It is essential to follow the instructions of the individual manufacturer with regard to the dosage and in no case to use chlorine granulate, as this can have negative effects on the materials of the pool.

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Step 7: Clean and seal the pipes

To avoid costly damage that can be caused by frozen water, the salt water should have been flushed out of the respective pipes before adding any antifreeze.

This must be explicitly developed and approved for use in a salt water pool, and the manufacturer’s instructions for use must be followed. Finally, a rubber plug is used to seal all the pipes, and it is essential to include the waste water pipes.

Step 8: Winterize the pool accessories

In most cases, pool accessories have not been designed for use in excessively cold temperatures, which is why when winterizing a saltwater pool, you should store, among other things, the pool ladders, as well as all removable components of any filtration system, skimmer and pool pump that may be used, in a dry room inside a house.

The individual steps for winterizing a filter system, for example, depend on the type of filter in question: a sand filter system therefore differs from a cartridge filter system or a pool solar heater in some respects. What they all have in common, however, is that an accumulation of water must be avoided at all costs.

A skimmer, for example, is protected from snow or rainfall by another cover, usually known as a skimmer cover. In addition, the water level should be lowered below the respective opening of the skimmer, because this measure can prevent frost damage.

Step 9: Insert pool cushions and ice pressure pads

When winterizing your saltwater pool, ice pressure pads and pool cushions play an essential role.

Ice pressure pads prevent damage to the walls of your pool that can occur due to the expansion of frozen water, which exerts a high pressure that is absorbed by the pads.

Also to protect the walls of your saltwater pool, but also to prepare the use of a pool cover, the use of pool cushions is highly recommended.

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Step 10: Covering the salt water pool

The last step in winterizing a saltwater pool is to pull a cover over the pool and secure it with the appropriate tools, such as clips.

When purchasing the pool cover, it is important to ensure that it is opaque, as sunlight supports the proliferation of algae in the water of your pool. In addition, it is advisable to remove accumulated snow or rainwater from the pool cover as soon as possible, even during the winter months.

Conclusion

In order to be able to winterize your saltwater pool and start using it again next spring, it is worth taking some preventive measures.

Not only will the risks of potentially costly frost damage be significantly minimized, but the necessary cleaning before jumping into the cool water in the following bathing season will be much easier.

In order to achieve an optimal result when winterizing a saltwater pool, it is important to adjust the water of your pool accordingly with the help of chemical agents for pool water care, in addition to manual cleaning.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.