Can Salt Water Pools Freeze? What Happens If It Freezes?

Winter pool with frozen water

A saltwater pool simply adds a certain level of salt to your pool and allows the generator to work by changing it to chlorine. A few chemicals are used to make your pool super stable and with super-low chlorine. You should use salt that is 99% pure or higher.

Saltwater is extremely good during hot summer days, but if you live in an area that is particularly cool during winter, you will likely ask this question: Can saltwater pools freeze?

Yes, they certainly will! Because saltwater pools have only a fraction of the salinity of ocean water, they will freeze in Ottawa’s frigid winters. When closing the pool for the winter, drain the water below the skimmer and blow out any lines.

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What happens when a saltwater pool freezes?

If your pool temperature falls below freezing, a small layer of ice may form. A thin film of ice isn’t a big deal for most pools, but if the temperatures stay below freezing and the right precautions aren’t taken, the ice sheet can thicken up to 14 inches each day.

The ice sheet becomes increasingly dangerous to your pool as it becomes larger. It may start to break tiles and loosen grout if it grows more than 12″ thick.

Once the grout has been sufficiently loosened, small tile pieces may start to break out.

Seven ways to winterized your saltwater pool


Remove any debris from the pool with a skimmer net. Scrub the pool walls using a nylon pool brush, carefully getting into every nook and crevice. Clean the filter after vacuuming the pool and running it for an hour.

When you close it, the cleaner your pool will be, the cleaner it will be the following spring.

Determine the salt level.

Test the salt levels manually with testing strips rather than depending on the saltwater chlorinator sensors when the cold season hits. Around 3,200 ppm is the recommended salt level.

If the salt levels are too high, don’t add any additional salt until the levels are down to the optimal level.

Balance chemicals

You must test and balance the chemicals before closing your pool. pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8, total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm, and calcium hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm.

Add agents for anti-staining and winterization

Use a scale and stain remover designed exclusively for saltwater pools. For saltwater pools, you should additionally apply to winterize chemicals. Algaecides are included in pool closing kits to prevent algae growth when the pool is closed.

Before closing your pool, make sure your pump runs for at least 8 hours to circulate the chemicals throughout the water.

Include enzymes

Before you close your pool, add slow-acting enzymes to the water. These are especially handy for pools with mesh coverings or drain panels since they will eliminate any impurities in the water.

Any impurities that seep into the water over the winter will be destroyed by the enzymes, keeping your pool clean during the off-season.

SWC, filter, skimmer, and plumbing winterization

Filter and saltwater chlorinator should both be emptied and cleaned. For winterizing your SWC, follow the manufacturer’s directions. You may be able to merely take it out and put it inside.

You’ll probably need to unplug it at the very least. It may also be necessary to remove all of the water or leave a mixture of water and non-toxic antifreeze in it.

Using a shop vac, remove any remaining water from the pipes and heater. Install a winterizing skimmer plate and a plugin for the return fitting.

Winterize your pool by covering it.

Place an air pillow or two in the pool before covering it. These will keep the cover from sinking into the pool throughout the winter. Air pillows help keep big ice sheets from accumulating on the pool liner and causing damage.

To keep the pool cover from flapping in the wind, weigh it down with water bags after you’ve secured it.

Over the winter, keep an eye on your pool cover and clean any snow or ice accumulated. You might also want to use a pump to keep the cover from accumulating too much water.

Contact the pool professionals for assistance with saltwater pool winter maintenance to ensure seamless pool shutting. Spending a little money early to winterize your saltwater pool will save you time and money later in the season.

Three things to remember how to maintain your saltwater pool.

To keep your saltwater pool in good maintenance, you must clean it up daily, weekly, and monthly.

Routine Tasks (daily)

Cleaning your pool and filters regularly should become a habit, as it will save you time and money.

Remember to clean the skimmer and empty the pump basket with a saltwater pool. Keep an eye out for any clear debris, and remember to skim it. To make your weekly and monthly chores easier, try to be as diligent as possible with these daily tasks.

Weekly tasks

You should test the pH and free chlorine in your saltwater pool once a week. You can buy test strips or test kits to do this.

Free chlorine levels should be between 1 and 3 ppm, and the pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. If your chlorine level is off, adjust your generator. Baking soda can be used to raise the pH of your pool, while sodium carbonate can be used to lower it.

Monthly task

Every month, you should check four things: salinity, alkalinity, stabilizer, and calcium.

The salinity of your pool should be between 2700 and 4500 ppm. To be sure, check your owner’s manual because your pool model may have subtle changes. If your generator doesn’t come with one, you can use a salt meter instead.

Alkalinity levels should be between 80 and 120 parts per million. Baking soda can be used to raise it, or sodium carbonate can be used to lower it.

The chosen stabilizer for saltwater pools is cyanuric acid (CYA), which should be at a concentration of 70 to 80 parts per million (ppm). Calcium hardness is last but not least. To avoid scaling and corrosion, aim for a calcium concentration of 200 to 400 ppm.


To conclude, saltwater pools freeze during winter, especially in very cold areas, but considering the various ways to winterize your pool will save you time and money.

Also important to carry out proper daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to clean your pool.

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