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Off-Season Care for the Sunbelt Pool

If you reside in a region where winterizing the pool is not necessary but winter usage is avoided, you align with approximately 35% of pool owners in the U.S. Despite non-winterization, it remains crucial to run the filter daily and uphold optimal pH and chlorine levels. Neglecting these tasks could lead to the growth of black algae in a winterized pool, exploiting conditions such as a dirty pool, low chlorine, and insufficient filtration.

From addressing water chemistry and temperature fluctuations to covering specific tasks tailored to Sunbelt pools, the article serves as a valuable resource for pool owners, offering insights and tips to safeguard their investments and ensure enjoyable swimming experiences year-round.

Salt Chlorinators in Winter

chlorine tablets

If you didn't know, you may be surprised to know that salt systems don't produce chlorine when the water temperature gets too cold. It's not that they can't, but it's very inefficient, and it strains the salt cell. For this reason, many manufacturers have a fault built-in, to shut off the chlorine production at water temperatures below 60°F.

So, what's a salt pool owner to do? Use other forms of chlorine, the best being 3" chlorine tablets, used in a chlorinator or in a floater. You may also want to shock the pool during winter, using Cal Hypo, or Di Chlor, which is stabilized, to last longer in an uncovered pool.

Pool Filtering During Winter

As the water temperature drops, water clarity can be maintained with less filtering, and less sanitizer. At water temperatures below 60 degrees, algae can still grow, or particulate matter can make the water cloudy, but as the water cools into the fifties, very little is happening.

At water temperatures of 70°F, run the filter at least 8-10 hours daily, to ensure a full turnover - that is, all the water in the pool having passed through the filter and returned to the pool. As the water cools to 60°F, you can cut back filtering further, to save energy - but pay attention to the weather reports for frost warnings!

Pumps On in Freezing Temps!

cold temperatures

Just about every part of the U.S. gets freezing temperatures at one point or another. For a large part of the south, there is usually a period of a few weeks, or sometimes several periods, where night time (and day time) temperatures dip below the freezing mark.

During freezing temperatures, the pump must be running, and all lines (valves) should be open to keep water moving through the pipes and equipment. Fountains, slide water, or water features should also be running at least on low speed.

Intermatic makes a digital time clock PE153ME that includes freeze protection. This is an air temperature sensor that can turn on your pump when temperatures get close to freezing.

Or, you can run the pump at night during winter, and run it 24/7 for those periods where freezing is possible. If you're too chintzy with electricity, a cold snap could cause major damage to pumps, filters, heaters and pipes - when air temps reach 32°, and water is not moving, severe damage could occur in less than an hour.

If you have a power outage from an ice storm, or during freezing temperatures; high tail it out to the pool equipment pad and pull the drain plugs on the pump, filter, heater, etc, and shut the power off at the breaker. Lay heavy blankets over the equipment to hold in any heat. When power is restored, quickly tighten drain plugs, prime pump and start up the system again.

Covering the Winter Pool

pool cover

If your pool is a simple shape and size, covering it during winter with a safety pool cover could be an economical convenience for the sunbelt pool.

  • Looks great with a tight, snug fit.
  • Safety cover protects kids and animals.
  • Durable covers have a 12 year warranty.
  • Covered pools need less filtering and sanitizer.

There you have it sunbelters - a few things to consider while you are sipping your tall daiquiris in the sun all winter long! Take care of your pool this winter, and avoid the dreaded black algae, damage to your pool surfaces and expensive repair bills from frozen pool equipment.


In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.