How To Properly Winterize Salt Water Pool (Detailed Guide)

The purpose of winterizing a pool is to prevent algae build-up and mechanical and electrical problems with different parts of both the pool water and the pool itself. 

Although you love the idea of sitting in a heated pool enjoying the season, you’re snapped back to reality when you remember the high prices to do so and remember you need to winterize your pool to prevent algae growth and more serious pool damage.

To winterize a pool, you have to gather all needed materials, lower the water levels, apply the wintering chemicals, test the salt levels with a kit, brush the waterline of debris, and cover the pool.

Salt on pool

If you’re new to winterizing or if you are an experienced pool “winterizer”, stick around to make sure you haven’t been doing it wrong (you may even learn a few tips and tricks). This article will show you the easy way!

Saltwater Pool and Winter

When it comes to saltwater pools, winterization is an important step that you should take before the season begins. While there are many different types of saltwater pools and how they operate, this process remains relatively unchanged.

Winterizing your above-ground pool, regardless if it is a saltwater pool, is integral to its preservation and upkeep. Saltwater pools can freeze during cold winter temperatures because they only have a fraction of the salinity of ocean water. 

Things Needed to Winterize a Pool

It’s important to have all of your supplies ready before you begin the process to save you from the frustration that would occur otherwise. To properly winterize your pool, you will need:

Salt testing kit
  • A brush and vacuum to clean the waterline of debris.
  • A salt testing kit to check the salt levels in your pool.
    This should be done every year to ensure that you have enough salt for the upcoming season. You can also use this as an opportunity to test how much antifreeze or other chemicals are needed for proper winterizing.
  • Winterizing chemical kit (optional).
    The type of chemical used depends on whether it’s a chlorine-based system or not; however, most people prefer using non toxic antifreeze over chlorine based formulas because they’re less harmful when ingested by humans and animals alike!
Winterizing chemical kit
Winterizing chemical kit

How to Properly Winterize Salt Water Pool

When thinking about properly winterizing a saltwater pool, there 5 main steps to keep in mind to make sure you do a thorough job, and that your pool will be properly taken care of:

Step 1: Do not add salt
Salt is a corrosive agent and will damage the pool liner, tile, vinyl or composite decking material.

Step2: Balance the water by adding chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine.

Add more chlorine if you feel it needs to be balanced out further after adding chemicals to treat algal growth in your pool’s water chemistry. One week before your closing date, make sure pH is 7.2–7.8, Total Alkalinity is between 80–120 ppm, and Calcium Hardness is between 200–400 ppm. Adjust as needed, and allow the water to circulate.

Chlorine for pool

Step 3: Clean the pool of debris

Clean the pool with a strong jet of water from your garden hose or pressure washer for at least 15 minutes until all debris has been removed from the bottom of your saltwater generator tank or storage container (if one is being used). Make sure you vacuum, skim, and brush out any dirt or debris that could be anywhere in the pool.

Debris in Pool

Step 4: Lower the water levels so that they don’t rise too high.

Water’s crystalized nature causes it to expand when it freezes. If you don’t drain the water properly or to the right level, the pool cover won’t fit. If the pool cover isn’t able to be secured correctly, the gap left will allow for debris to get in between the cover and the surface of the pool, which could cause algae growth or mechanical problems later on.

Step 5: Replace clogged filters & remove equipment

Replace any filter that might have become clogged during this cleaning process as well. Filter replacement, though initially might not be super important, becomes very important to do before “packing up” the pool for a season.

Air Filter

If possible, remove all equipment from inside of your swimming area so as not to risk damaging anything while doing this step; however do not let things sit idle outside.

Step 6: Add the pool cover
The cover should be clean and free of rips and tears. Holes can be patched with a safety cover patch or a winter cover patch. If an oil-absorbing sponge or Winter Pill was included in your pool closing kit, toss them in the pool before the cover is installed.

Saltwater Pool Maintenance Tips For Winter

Let’s round up a few tips to help you best maintain your saltwater pool for the chilly winter:

Keep the cover clear of debris. A pool cover pump can help you keep your pool water clean and clear, but it may not be enough on its own to prevent algae growth in winter. In addition to regular maintenance, make sure there are no leaf or twig clumps on your pool covers or at other points where water could collect. If you do find a clump, cut it off with scissors and dispose of it properly so that it does not end up in your saltwater system when you refreeze over winter (this includes plastic bags).

Use a pool cover pump to remove excess rainwater and snow melt from the cover as needed during freezing temperatures; this helps prevent ice dams from forming under the cover while still allowing air flow through them so they aren’t too dense with moisture.

Check water chemistry every 6-8 weeks if possible—especially if there has been little precipitation recently (which means less evaporation).

Monitor pH levels regularly; high acidity can lead to algae growth while low alkalinity encourages algae growth by keeping nutrients dissolved longer than usual.

Monitor both chlorine residuals levels because these two factors alone determine whether or not an algaecide will kill off any potential invaders before they get started!

Add chemicals as necessary because warm/cool weather changes affect how quickly sanitizer dries out after being applied–so use extra caution until everything seems back under control again after each treatment session has taken place.

Best Time to Close Your Saltwater Pool

The best time to close your saltwater pool is when the water temperature reaches 70 degrees.

This means that you should close your saltwater pool as the weather gets cool, rather than doing it too soon in advance in the summer or much too late when winter has already approached.

The timing for winterizing a pool, specifically a salt water pool, is important because if you leave your pool open too long, there’s a chance that algae will grow on its walls and cause problems for both maintenance personnel and swimmers alike.

Algae thrive in warm environments; therefore, closing your saltwater pool when temperatures are above 70 degrees allows algae-fighting chemicals like chlorine to do their job properly. If you waste time it correctly, you’re sabotaging the entire operation.

Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you’ve read a lot of tips on what to do, let’s spend a moment elaborating on things to AVOID doing: Avoid:

  • Not cleaning before closing
  • Closing too early
  • Failing to balance the water
  • Leaving the pool uncovered after closing for winterization. (Salt generators can dry out if not used regularly.)
  • Not turning off all electrical components and disconnecting from the power source when not in use. It is important that you turn off your breaker box, as well as all of your power sources at the fuse boxes throughout your home or business premises so that no one accidentally turns on something while they are away from it during winterizing session!

It might be a good idea to go back over this “avoidance” checklist prior to crossing this task off of your to do list.

 Estimated Cost of Winterizing Saltwater Pool

So, how much does this process cost anyways? Winterizing a saltwater pool is generally an affordable thing to do, but does have some one time, upfront costs to be aware of.

Take a look at the list below with the average prices for each:

  • Air compressor: $50 to $300
  • Skimmer plug: around $20
  • Air pillow (optional): $10 to $20 per pillow
  • Pool cover: $50 to $200

 Importance of Winterizing Saltwater Pool

If you have a saltwater pool, it is important to properly winterize your saltwater pool. A properly winterized pool will help protect your equipment from stains and damage caused by harsh conditions such as snow or ice. It also ensures that the water stays clean and clear without any algae growth in its system.

Difference Between Saltwater Pools and Freshwater Pools

Saltwater pools and freshwater pools are two different types of pools. However, building these pools can have many different benefits. They have different features, maintenance requirements and costs.

A saltwater pool is an outdoor pool that uses salt to keep the water from freezing in winter months.

A freshwater pool is an indoor or outdoor one that does not use any form of chemicals to keep its water clean and clear for swimming.

There’s a slight difference in winterizing each (in terms of chemicals and quantities, but both are easier than they first appear. Saltwater pools have the benefit of generally staying cleaner, while freshwater pools tend to freeze faster and with less of a problem.

Both have their pros and cons!

Salt Water Pool Winterization

Winterizing a saltwater system involves draining it completely so that there are no chemicals left behind when you refill it again next springtime (or summertime season). You may have heard about using “chemical” treatments on your saltwater system during winter months; however, these products should only be used when necessary since they can cause algae growth which will require chemical treatment again next year.


We hope that by now, you understand how to winterize your saltwater pool properly. Remember, your ability to enjoy the water will depend on how well you winterize it, so maintaining a good balance between maintenance and safety is key. If you follow these tips, you should have no trouble keeping your pool safe and clean for the long term.

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