Winterizing a salt water pool is a simple and effective way to keep it clean and healthy. However, it can be a bit challenging to get started since many factors can affect the longevity of a pool.
Don't Add More Salt!
As the weather cools, the conductivity of water in lakes and ponds can decrease, which can cause a pool chlorine generator to malfunction. People tend to oversalt their bodies of water when it's cool.
At pool closing time, it's best to leave salt levels at the low end of the scale to avoid staining the pool.
Balance Water In Your Pool
Aside from checking salinity, you’ll also need to test and balance other aspects of your water chemistry. One week before your closing date, make sure pH is at 7.2-7.8, total alkalinity at 80-120 ppm and calcium hardness at 200-400 ppm. Adjust as needed, and allow the water to circulate.
A poorly balanced pH and calcium level can create mineral scale formation on pool surfaces. This is why it’s important to keep both of these numbers in check. If the calcium level is higher than 400 ppm, keep the pH under 7.6 to help prevent scale formation.
Clean Your Pool
Before the pool cover goes on, make sure the area around the pool is thoroughly cleaned. This will prevent dirt and organic residue from staining the water.
A few days before swimming season begins, shock the pool to remove anything that's floating in the water, such as algae spores and bacteria.
Remove Equipment From the Pool
ladders, diving boards, and handrails should be removed for the winter. If the deck is too close to the pool edge, these should be removed to prevent damage to the winter cover or safety cover.
Add Chemicals for Winter
There are many types of pool closing kits available, and some of these are labeled as salt water closing kits. However, these kits are safe to use in salt water pools. These chlorine-free pool closing kits are ideal for keeping your pool clean and safe. They include everything you need to effectively close a pool.
High chlorine can damage a winter cover and break down algaecide. It's also important to check water balance to ensure that chlorine levels are as low as possible.
The pool should have been cleaned and shocked, and the chlorine levels should be back to the normal range. When adding stain and scale inhibitor, the pump and filter should run for at least 10 hours to disperse the chemical.
Winter algaecide is usually added before the pool is covered to prevent algae growth. It is usually used after the water has been lowered.
If you want to add algaecide later, add it now before the pool is lowered. Also, if you want to avoid staining the pool, add the algaecide after the cover has been added.
Keep Your Water Level Low
This step is for vinyl pool systems that use a faceplate-type skimmer plug. If this is the case, then follow the next step. If you have a sand or DE filter, you can also start this process by backwashing it. This will remove the dirt and debris from the filter. If the pump is not working properly, try draining the pool and siphoning the water away from the pool.
Above ground pools should be drained a few inches below the skimmer. Inground pools with mesh covers will need to be about 12″ below the skimmer. Those with solid winter covers should be about 6″ below the skimmer. To prevent damage to your pool cover, the water should never be lower than 18″ from the pool ledge.
Winterize the Salt Generator
It’s best to remove the salt cell before the winter season begins. This procedure will help keep the line running smoothly and prevent it from getting damaged.
Use a high pressure hose to clean the generator plates. This will remove the buildup of scales and prevent the plates from getting damaged. Never scrape the generator plates with metal. Doing so can damage the coating and shorten the lifespan of the generator cell. For stubborn scale, dilute muriatic acid with a little water. Dry and clean it thoroughly.
Drain and Clean All Equipment Properly
Aside from the salt generator, you also need to drain and clean all of the pool equipment that use electricity. Make sure that the power circuits are turned off before starting any of these components.
Use a garden hose to clean the filter cartridges or grids from your pool equipment. Then, lubricate the o-rings using a small amount of lubricant. This will help keep the equipment running smoothly and prevent it from cracking.
Winterize Pool Lines and Skimmer
Winterizing is a process that involves ensuring that the pool lines are properly winterized. This is very important since it can prevent expensive and damaging repairs. Use a cyclone blower to remove the excess water from the return lines. Then, remove the skimmer basket and eyeball fittings. After the water has been cleared, replace the skimmer with a collapsible one. Use the return lines and pool plugs to secure the skimmer.
Not only should the pool be cleaned, but also, the non-toxic antifreeze should be used to prevent water from entering the pool's plumbing. It’s also good to use if the pool lines have been thoroughly cleared. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Add Cover to Pool
The cover should be cleaned and free from rips and tears. It can be installed with a safety cover patch or with a winter cover patch.
To install a safety cover on the pool deck, bring the anchors to the pool surface and use the special tool to attach the cover straps. For a solid winter cover, fill up the water weights around the perimeter of the pool to hold the cover securely in place. An above ground pool cover should be secured using a winch and air pillow to prevent ice from forming.
Even though the pool is closed for the winter, there are still some maintenance tips that can help keep it running smoothly. These include ensuring that the pool cover is installed correctly and avoiding damage to the pool.
- Keep the cover clear of debris.
- Use a pool cover pump to remove excess rain water and snow melt from the cover.
- Check water chemistry as you’re able to – every 6-8 weeks if possible.
- Monitor the water level. Undetected leaks can wreak havoc on covers and pool walls.
- Add chemicals as necessary. Warm, fluctuating temperatures can use up algaecide and sanitizer quickly.
- In the spring, use Salt Water Magic Monthly Maintenance to quickly get your pool back in top shape.
If you have any other questions about pool and spa products please do let us know - we are here to help!