Whether this is your first off-season with a saltwater pool or your dozenth, there’s no harm in reviewing the steps you need to take to properly winterize your saltwater pool. While the process is very similar to closing a traditional chlorine pool, there are a few extra steps to take in order for your pool to be in its best condition come the spring. Check out this how-to guide for closing your saltwater pool.

 Right at the start, your first task is to clean your whole pool. Skim, vacuum and scrub until your pool is free of debris and bugs and dirt stains. You’ll be grateful you did this earlier rather than later, since sitting debris and dirt could potentially stain your liner. That would be an awful surprise to open up to in the spring, so just take proper care before you close the pool for the winter. Use this opportunity to put your vacuum and pool accessories away into storage for the off-season to avoid any damage to them. Remember to put away all pool accessories; even that inflatable ducky float that you love.

Now, since you have a saltwater pool, you may know that your pool uses an electrolytic chlorine generator (ECG) to produce the sanitizing agent hypochlorous acid, as opposed to using chlorine to produce this agent. It’s important to note that in cooler weather, ECG sensors may release too much salt into the pool, making the water corrosive to your pool parts and pool liner. Avoid this mishap by testing salt levels manually with a strip to ensure they are normal.

Once you have your salt levels aligned, then you can do a final balancing of chemicals. It’s important for your chemical levels to be balanced all the time, but especially before a long winter ahead. Pay special attention to pH and calcium hardness in order to ensure your pool water won’t damage any mechanics or the liner. By the end, your pool should have balanced pH, calcium hardness, alkalinity, and free chlorine to keep your water clean and ensure that your pool is in good shape for the winter months.

There are several saltwater pool closing kits on the market and most of them include the same things: an algaecide, stain-fighter or scale inhibitor, and an oxidizer. Use a closing kit to gain the benefits from these three products or purchase them separately–whatever works best for you and your pool. Algaecide will keep algae at bay through the off-season, while an anti-staining agent or scale inhibitor will prevent liner and metal stains from minerals in the water. An oxidizer, added at least 4 hours after the scale inhibitor, will dissolve unwanted organic matter.

Be sure to turn off your ECG for the winter. Check your model of ECG to see if the manufacturer provided winterizing instructions for it. It’s best to adhere to their suggestions for optimal performance come the next swimming season. From here on out, closing a saltwater pool is just like closing a traditional chlorine pool. Run the filter one last time to clear out the system, then proceed to isolate it to avoid any freeze damage to the internal system. Once this is done, lower the water level to where it needs to be for your type of cover.

Your winter pool cover is the culminating final step to all this preparation. Take your winter pool cover and apply it to your pool, securing all the edges properly to make sure a winter gust won’t blow them up and expose the water to debris and potential damage. Make sure to place an air pillow or two under the cover to withstand the weight of the cover over your pool’s surface.

Take the time to double and triple check all these steps; you don’t want to miss one and see bad results when you reopen your pool in a few months. If you’re really having trouble with pool closure or aren’t confident you’ve done it correctly, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional. After all, they are pool pros and seeking out help will allow you to rest easy knowing your saltwater pool is properly closed for the cold months ahead. Being meticulous when closing your saltwater pool for the winter can only benefit you and your investment in the long-run.