Should I Close My Pool Or Leave It Open For Winter?

As fall approaches and the leaves on your trees begin to change colors, there is one question pool owners ask themselves every year, “Should I close my pool for winter or leave it open?” Sure, there are certainly benefits and drawbacks to both. However, closing your pool is a personal decision. What one pool owner decides may not be the best option for your pool.

If you’re unsure and at a loss at what to do with your pool this year, don’t worry. We are breaking down the pros and cons to keeping your pool open during the winter. 

Keeping Your Pool Open

Winterizing your swimming pool is a personal decision. Your physical location may also play a role in your decision. However, there are some things you should take into consideration before you make the decision to keep your pool open for the winter.

 

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Freezing Pool Lines

One of the main reasons a pool owner might close their pool is to protect their equipment and avoid any damage caused by freezing temperatures. So, how do you prevent your lines from freezing during the winter? It’s simple, keep your pump on. Running your pool pump keeps a constant flow of water and prevents your lines from freezing and pipes from bursting.

As an extra precaution, we also recommend purchasing a pool timer with freeze protection. Freeze protection protects your pool/spa equipment and plumbing against freeze damage.  The timer turns your pump and heater ON when the outdoor temperature drops below the set temperature. This is an excellent feature to have especially in areas of the US that are prone to freezing temperatures. You never want to wake up in the morning to frozen lines and a busted pump.

 

 

Maintaining Your Pool

Another responsibility for pool owners who keep their pools open is maintaining their pool. If you decide to keep your pool open, you have to maintain your pool throughout the winter. This includes balancing your water, cleaning your filter, and maintaining your pool equipment.

Most pool owners might assume that this also means a lot more money for chemicals. However, this isn’t necessarily true. In most cases, pool owners use fewer chemicals during the winter than spring and summer.

The cooler temperatures preserve the chemicals in your water. That means you are losing less chlorine and water through evaporation. As a result, you might consider reducing your pump’s runtime because the demand for chlorine is not as high.

I’ll be honest, though, you might clean a little more during the fall season. Usually, for about three weeks or so, pool owners can expect to clean leaves and debris from the inside of their pools. It is called fall for a reason, right? For some, this may be the only reason they need to close their pool for winter. Depending on your location, the number of leaves that end up in your pool can produce a lot of unwanted labor.

 

Power Failure?

I’m from Florida, so we are very familiar with power outages and the costs it can have on your families, houses, and pools. In the case of power outages, you always want to be prepared.

  1. Immediately loosen all of the drain plugs on your pump, heater, and filter drain plugs.
  2. Turn OFF your breaker. (This protects your pump should the power return on.)
  3. Close pool lines valves
  4. Open the filter air bleeder

 

Other Things To Consider

 

Salt Systems

There are other things you should consider before keeping your pool open. First, if you are using a salt system on your pool, pay close attention to the temperature threshold. The majority of salt systems stop working once the temperature drops below a certain degree. (This is also true for heat pumps) Still, pool owners shouldn’t fret. As mentioned earlier, the colder temperatures make sanitation less of a problem. That means your pool should be fine without operating your salt system for a few months. Make sure you test your pool water and maintain the proper chemical levels on a regular basis.

 

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Price

Pool owners also worry about the cost to keep their pool open for winter. Yes, you will purchase more chemicals and use more electricity during these months, however, keeping your pool open also forfeits you from purchasing a safety or winter cover. Depending on the quality, grade, and type of cover you purchase, it can easily outweigh the cost of chemicals. In most cases, it can be an even wash.

Pool owners who keep their pools open also spend less money on chemicals once spring comes. On top of that, they are usually the first ones enjoying their pools in spring, as well. Pool owners who close their pools for winter tend to have bouts with algal growth. If you’ve ever experienced algae in the beginning of spring, you understand the amount of time and money spent balancing your pool.

 

Closing Your Pool

If you’re looking forward to your freedom away from pool duties or simply want less responsibility for a few months, then closing your pool is probably the best option for you. Sure, it’s great to look (and listen) to your pool all year long, but it definitely comes with a price. 

Pool owners should follow our blog and read the how-to guide on winterizing their pool. We provide tips and insights for winterizing inground and aboveground pools.

 

CLOSING YOUR POOL FOR THE WINTER  (blog)

HOW TO WINTERIZE AN ABOVEGROUND POOL (video)

HOW TO WINTERIZE AN IN-GROUND POOL (how to)

 

click here to view our swimming pool solar, winter, and safety covers

25 thoughts on “Should I Close My Pool Or Leave It Open For Winter?

  1. I live in Minnesota. So from that perspective, I find it hilarious that you would send out an email in early December with a link to this article. Around here, the idea of leaving your pool open for the winter is laughable. 🙂

    I will say, though, that one thing in the story is factually FALSE:

    “So, how do you prevent your lines from freezing during the winter? It’s simple, keep your pump on. Running your pool pump keeps a constant flow of water and prevents your lines from freezing and pipes from bursting.”

    That might be possible in the Deep South, where periods of freezing are infrequent and short-lived–but in locations where the temperature is going to be at or near 0F for three months straight, simply keeping your pool pump running isn’t going to come close to being sufficient.

  2. Michigan here. Small Inground fiberglass. Always close during winter, but wish we could do ourselves. Special equipment needed? Every year is a scramble to find company to close it. Any good tutorial suggestions?

    1. Jim, I owned a pool for 20 years in NJ (in ground concrete – auto pool cover). Parents had a vinyl liner pool no auto cover for similar time we both took care of opening and closing the pool ourselves – very easy. We dropped pool water below the skimmer pots, then blew the lines out with a shop vac. Plugged the lines with the stoppers that came with the pool. In my case pulled the cartridge filters, cleaned and stored for the season. My Dad had sand filter, so nothing done with that. My Dads was a bit more of a pain, as he had an old fashioned cover with the water weights all around, but his pool (16×32) was smaller than mine too, so manageable with a couple of people. Good luck

  3. Hi. My dad has bad health and this year I am not sure what to do about the salt water pool. It was winterized and closed in Sept 2018 . Will it be ok if I do nothing ? Or what needs to be done

  4. Great info! New pool owner here – we did not close the pool since we are in TX. Saltwater generator is not currently running since water temp is in the mid 50’s. Our chlorine level is low – would it be best to add liquid chlorine at this point to get it back up or just wait until the water warms up enough for the chlorinator to kick back on? I have tried adding chlorine tabs but they aren’t dissolving quickly enough to raise the chlorine level. (we have also had a ton of rain here with has in turned lowered our chlorine levels as well.
    Thanks in Advance!

  5. Where should I leave my water level at in my salt waster I ground pool? Below the strainer? Also do I need to remove the salt cell during winter?

    1. It depends; how much rain or snow do you get while your pool is closed? That would determine how much you need to drain it. If you experience harsh weather in the winter, yes bring it in.

  6. Hi Ryann, I live in Texas where we generally have very mild winter weather to the point that is not unusual to be at 60 degrees during January and very seldom freezes. With this in mind:
    1. Is it advisable to stop balancing and sanitizing the pool during Texas winter season?
    2.Would it be advisable to dismiss the pool cleaning guy?
    3. What will be the bad consequences to the pool by not adding chemicals?

  7. *** freezing temperatures(high 20’s/low 30’s) are typically during the overnight hours and low to mid 40’s during the day December-Feb

  8. Hi!
    I am having an in-ground salt water pool installed and I am not planning on closing the pool annually. With that said, I have researched the to-do and not to-do, but still have a question about the actual salt water system- if the saltwater system does not work(due to cold temps), and i test the water and the pH is off, what chemicals should i be adding, generally?
    For those with(or know a good deal) salt water pools, is it more common that not to actually have the “saltwater system” off the entire winter months and not have pH balance issue?

    1. For the pH, then you had pH increaser or decreaser as necessary. The pH has nothing to do with the salt water generator running.

      Regarding the running of the SWG, in part it depends where you are. As in, how cold does it get where you are? If it stays consistently below 50 degrees, you do not have to do much because algae can’t grow in cold weather. If you are in Ohio, you might as well bring your equipment for the winter to save wear and tear. If you are in Florida or Texas leaving it out there so you can turn it on when the weather reaches operable temperature couldn’t be that bad.

      1. Matthew-
        Thanks for the reply! I live in Nashville and our cold months are from about December – February. We do get gold snaps, however, they don’t typically last very long. I would say the average during these months is apx 30-40 degrees and more sunny than not.
        My concern about the SWG is when temperatures reach a certain low and the generator does not kick on. I guess I am unsure on how long, typically, can a SWG not run before water imbalances begin to take place? If i am understanding your note above, my SWG has no role in maintaining any of the proper water balancing, or just the pH part?
        My idea, considering we don’t get to terribly cold for any extended period, is to add a device to the pump to ensure the pump kicks on when temps fall below freezing to help combat frozen lines of any sort. I will also run the automatic pool cleaner as needed- at a minimum of twice a week to maintain cleanliness. Lastly, monitor water levels(pH etc) weekly? or at what cadence?
        Is there any other “must do’s” that you would like to call out?

        Thanks!

      2. We live in a community development where the pool is not heated so in the 5 months when the temperature is down it cant be useful. Can you offer a solution to the Company to heat it. Unfortunately, people that have there own pools don’t care about the majority. Disappointed we moved here too many issues.

      3. >>>>>>”The pH has nothing to do with the salt water generator running.”

        Well I hate to disagree…pH is most important as it effects chlorine efficiency.

        I’ve spent a year listening to people in pool stores and on the youtube…just one said maintain pH @ 7.2 for salt pools.
        So I began bracket testing and found out he was RIGHT!
        A note here…I have a 35,000 gal pool…I also use a 2 tube reagent test almost every day never much more then that…also (“strips test” went to the landfill ).

        Then the other issue is maintaining salt…buying a salt tester is an expensive deal…going to pool store to test is a pain in the butt…I get numbers all over the scale from them…so whats the answer to the problem…well one day I figured it out.
        I got a new salt tester…you need a small cup though…scoop up some water and put it in your mouth…wash it around…spit out…if you can taste the salt…it’s perfect…if not add salt until you can taste it.
        That will put you in the middle of the ballpark for salt ppm.
        After looking at all the specs on salt gens and seeing numbers all over the place…one thing becomes clear (as an engineer) salt water conductivity will be the same for ALL salt generators…their readout might all be different…however the actual salt ppm will be the same…why? It’s called electrons they apply to the salt cell…they don’t change.
        Only thing that changes…is the product efficiency.

        I was chasing my tail following all the bullpoop.

        JFYI I’m an electronics Engineer amongst other things…
        So I looked at making my own salt tester which is on the project list here.
        You know the list -1 and then +5 that dang list !

        Testing salt is a little difficult, you need to measure conductivity of the solution in
        millivolts and the temperature of the solution accurately and perform a temperature compensation calculation.
        So the folks at the pool store put the tester in the water for different time periods never allowing an accurate temp to stabilize…thus the salt ppm was all over the place and guess who was chasing that tail…good ole me!

        Here’s another one…oh you have to run your pump 8-12 hours a day to generate enough chlorine.
        Bullpoop…I run exactly 4 hours a day (12-4 pm) when Sun is at max and Alexa makes sure of it to the second all year round @ the same yearly cost as 8 hours during the season !!
        Oh…don’t forget the costs of empty the wallet opening…no soup for you !!
        BTW Alexa is my hot pool chick !

        Got the pH and Salt ppm right and the Generator is set to 70% and water is crystal clear all year round. I also add 1 cap of phosphate Free stuff once a week or as needed. (don’t know why they call it free…only thing more expensive is Gold ) !!!

        I’m in Central Florida so we rarely ever hit 32 degrees and Temp has no effect.
        Also I still visit the pool guys when I need to…not every week or just when I want to empty my wallet!

        Also you can control your pool pump with Alexa for less then $25 bucks.

        You need…
        shorturl.at/losN7 (3 controllable outlets for pump, pool niche light, pool lights)
        shorturl.at/qxJPX (Contactor)

        You need some lamp cord plug cords you can find in the neighbors garbage…
        I tore the guts out of that POS dial timer and in less then 1 hour Alexa !

        So when I jump in the pool and don’t want the pump on…it’s “Alexa…turn off the Dampump”

        So for you folks up in the F’ing snow country…the alexa thing can run the pump 24 times a day for 10 mins…if you need to…adjust accordingly!
        Also salt water doesn’t freeze as easily as fresh water…just keep it moving from time to time.

        And if you need to know…salt water pool is the best thing since mom’s apple pie!

        Pool Projects…
        Wood burning pool heater
        Pool winter enclosure that is removable so I can swim every day year round !
        Any suggestions/ideas??!!??

        No screens to replace every 3-5 years and to many $$$$$$$$$ 15,000
        A pool can be just as bad as a Boat aka Break Out Another Thousand !

    2. Hi Ryann, We have a salt water pool. We keep it open all winter. We just turn the pump down so it doesn’t run as often and put chlorine tablets in the skimmers. (We do have the thing where if the temperature drops too low, the pump will come on to keep the pipes from freezing). Spring start up is never a big deal to us because we don’t close it. We’re in Georgia, so we don’t the extreme cold here. Hope that helps.

  9. people always talk about all this stuff but whats the solution to this. is there any way to minimize use of chlorine in pools I always feel kind of worried.My friends work in pool industry and he often share lots of stuff that they use flow meters to maintain flow rate of water and stuff about usage of chlorine. Is there anyone who knows about icon process controls?? Need to ask on thing.

      1. I have an in the ground pool and I am planning to keep it closed for this coming summer season. What additional chemical products do I need to keep the water clear for next year’s summer season?

  10. How is granular cloriene better to use than the tablets? If I use granualr how do I adnminster it? On the tabs thats easy I put 3 or 4 tabs in a floater and let it float and check it once in awhile to see if I should add some more tabs!

    obert Hardisty

    1. I’ve generally used granular chlorine only as a quick fix for introducing chlorine into your pool. Granules dissolve quickly into solution and are usually dissolved in a bucket of water before being poured into the pool.

      Tablets are meant more as a gradual and more sustained treatment. It depends on your application to determine which chlorine would be best for you.

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