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Things Every Pool Owner Should Know

Saltwater pools are all the rage in Canada, and for good reason. The water is softer and gentler than chlorine water, and the maintenance is easier.

However, it’s still vital that you care for your saltwater pool properly, especially in the winter. Closing your saltwater pool for the colder months is a slightly different process from closing your chlorine pool.

Whether this is your first winter season with a saltwater pool or you’re a longtime pro, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it right. Keep reading for our tips on how to care for a saltwater pool in the winter.

What is a Saltwater Pool?

When homeowners first hear about saltwater pools, they usually assume that it’s exactly like ocean water. Most homeowners don’t want their pools to taste salty like the ocean. The good news is that saltwater pools are actually not salty tasting at all.

A saltwater pool is a type of pool that uses a converter to turn salt into chlorine. So instead of treating your pool with chlorine to shock the water, you add high levels of salt to the generator and it turns it into chlorine for you.

Even though it seems like you have to add a ton of salt, saltwater pools are just one-tenth of the saltiness of the ocean.

How Do Saltwater Pools Differ From Chlorine Pools

As we mentioned above, saltwater pools have a different treatment process than chlorine pools. The salt makes the water feel silkier than chlorine water, which is why many homeowners are now choosing saltwater over chlorine.

Saltwater swimming pool maintenance is also easier and cheaper, and the water is more pleasant. It doesn’t sting your eyes or give off the smell of chlorine.

The Pros and Cons of Saltwater Pools

Here’s why homeowners love saltwater pools:

  • Easy saltwater pool maintenance
  • You don’t have to deal with chlorine anymore
  • They have lower yearly costs
  • The water is smoother and gentler on the skin
  • They don’t smell like chlorine
  • The water doesn’t burn your eyes

However, there are still some downsides of saltwater pools, including:

  • The parts are expensive to replace
  • They are more expensive to install
  • Saltwater can cause rusting over time

Despite these downsides, homeowners love having silky-soft saltwater in their pool versus chlorine water.

How to Care For a Saltwater Pool in the Winter

Just like chlorine pools, saltwater pools need to be closed in the winter. Closing your pool prevents algae from growing, protects the surface, and helps maintain your pool.

It’s a simple process that differs slightly from closing a chlorine pool. Let’s look at the steps for winterizing a saltwater pool.

Treat the Water

The first step is to test your pool’s pH level.

The pH level should be between 7.2-7.8. The alkalinity should be between 80-120 parts per million, and the calcium hardness should be between 200-400 parts per million. If needed, treat your pool before closing it to make sure it’s between these levels.

Manually Test the Salt Levels

Next, don’t make the mistake of adding more salt to your pool before you winterize it. Even if the generator indicates that the pool needs more salt, it’s okay to have less salt in the water during the winter months.

Plus, your generator reading may not be accurate during the winter. Cold weather makes your pool lose water. When the water levels are lower, your pool doesn’t need as much salt.

To get the most accurate salt level reading in the winter, test the water with salt test strips instead of just reading the generator.

Balance the Chemicals

If you discover that you do need to add salt to your pool after the manual test, do so now. You should also balance the other chemicals, including calcium, cyanuric acid, free chlorine, and alkalinity.

Add an Anti-Scale and Anti-Stain Chemicals

Next, there are extra chemicals you need to add to your pool during the winter months when it isn’t in use. These include anti-scale and anti-scale chemicals. Adding these will protect the surface of your pool from limescale or stains from too much salt.

Add Enzymes

One of the biggest concerns that homeowners have about their pools in the winter is that they will collect grime and gunk. Adding enzymes will protect your pool from build-up left by rain, wind, and dirt. They work by breaking down organic materials before they turn into scum in your pool.

Winterize the ECG

Next, you need to winterize the electrolytic chlorine generator that converts the salt into chlorine, also known as the ECG. The best way to do this is by removing the salt cell.

First, make sure you turn off all of the pool’s circuits and equipment. Then, unscrew the salt cell and clean it thoroughly with a hose. Once it’s clean, store it indoors for the winter.

Plug the Pool

Once all of you’re chemicals are balanced, you’ve added the winterizing chemicals, and winterized the ECG, you can plug the pool so that water cannot enter the plumbing. Use expansion plugs in the winter to plug the returns, skimmers, and cleaner lines. Once they’re plugged, turn off the air compressor.

Cover the Pool

The last thing you need to do is cover your pool with a heavy-duty cover that will protect it from winter weather. Before you do so, make sure the pool is completely cleaned out.

Tips For Preventing Damage to Your Pool in the Winter

If you follow all of the steps above, your pool will stay safe during the winter. However, sometimes extreme winter weather can still cause problems. One of the best ways you can protect your pool from freezing is to install freeze protection equipment.

The equipment will automatically turn on your pool’s pump when it detects freezing air. This is an effective way to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting in the winter.

Let Poolarama Help You With Saltwater Pool Maintenance in Canada

Being a pool owner comes with a ton of responsibilities, and sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. If you need extra help learning about how to care for a saltwater pool, contact us today.