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How to Close Your Saltwater Swimming Pool at the End of the Season

Closing a saltwater swimming pool at seasons end should be a fast and worry-free process - learn how by reviewing the following article.
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Closing a saltwater swimming pool at season’s end should be an easy and worry-free process. Our pool specialists at The Pool Factory™ have put together the following tutorial to ensure you properly close a saltwater swimming pool at season’s end.

Recommended Pool Closing Supplies

Saltwater Chemical Kit
Skimmer Closure Plate
Return Fitting Winter Plug
Ice Compensator (Air Pillow)
Winter Cover
Filter System Winter Cover

Cover Pumps are strongly recommended to keep excess water from building up on your cover. Excess water on your cover means excess stress and a torn cover or damaged pool.

Steps to Close a Saltwater Swimming Pool


Clean and vacuum pool.


Check and adjust pH and Alkalinity. Also test and adjust the salt level with a saltwater test kit.

Saltwater Above Ground Pool Reading
Solaxx SafeDip Digital Chemistry Tester

The SafeDip is a digital chemistry reader designed to make measuring pool parameters easy. Simply collect the water sample from the pool using the onboard cup and press the Start button to take your measurement.


Add saltwater compatible winterizing kit as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Pool Closing Kit

This Winter Closing Kit contains everything you need to close your pool this fall. It will condition the pool water and prevent algae growth throughout freezing winter months to ensure a sparkling clean pool.


Run filter for at least 1 hour.

AquaPro Pool Pump
  • If you have a standard size thru-wall skimmer, attach a standard skimmer winterizing plate by removing ONLY the 6 screws corresponding to the 6 holes in the plate.
  • If you have a widemouth thru-wall skimmer, attach a widemouth skimmer winterizing plate by removing ONLY the 10 screws corresponding to the 10 holes in the plate.
  • It is not required to lower the water level below the skimmer opening when you are installing the skimmer winterizing plate. In areas with harsh winters a water level at or slightly below the skimmer level would be sufficient.

Do not remove skimmer face plate.

Pool Skimmer Cover/Plates

Prevents ice damage to your thru-wall skimmer and pool wall. Plate comes complete with screws and gasket, and installs over the existing skimmer face plate. Available for standard or widemouth thru-wall skimmers.


Plug your return fitting in the inside (water side) of pool with a threaded winterizing plug. If you have an Aqualuminator light, it should also be plugged in the inside (water side) of pool, using a winterizing plug for the Aqualuminator light. Make sure that the plug is pushed in all the way. The plug must be flush in the light housing. Dip plug into pool water to lubricate, if necessary.

IMPORTANT: All pool lights, such as the InnovaLite, Multi-Color LED Pool RETURN Light, and the Multi-Color LED Skimmer Face Plate Light should be removed from the swimming pool and stored indoors.
How to open a saltwater swimming pool step 4

Inflate air pillow (leaving soft) and fasten, allowing it to float in the center of the pool.


Drape the winter cover over the air pillow so it lays on the surface of the water all around the pillow.


Add 1-2 inches of water on the cover to prevent wind damage.


Empty and clean your filter, and remove all of the drain plugs in the filter tank and pump. This will allow the filter system to completely drain out any water and dry before storing indoors in a warm dry area. You also have the option to use an Aquapro Filter System Winter Cover to protect the filter system from the fall and winter elements if left outside.


Store all filters and equipment in warm dry places to prevent cracking. Drain excess water off cover during winter months to prevent damage to your pool.

Additional Tips

(If needed) Blow out excess water in the pool heater using an air compressor or shop vac and plug inlet and outlet lines of heater.

As water, ice and snow build up on your pool cover during the winter, always drain the cover when possible using a cover pump.

Too much water on the cover can destroy your pool if not drained off. The weight of the water pulls the cover into the pool. The cable, which holds the cover in place, will then pull the top ledges, the skimmer and the return up. This will damage the pool beyond repair. Your warranty does not cover winter damage.

Excess water on the cover can also tear your liner. The weight of the water will cause more movement in the ice below, which can rip your liner. Never attempt to break ice on your cover or in your pool. This will tear your liner. Wait for the ice on your cover to melt and then pump it off. Ice below the cover should be left alone. Let it melt on its own. Never let anyone step on the ice, cover or on the pool. This will damage your pool.

AquaPro Automatic Pool Cover Pump 3,000GPH W/ Leaf Protector APC4000A

The AquaPro Cover Pump is the finest pool cover pump ever designed. Features a powerful 110 volt 3,000 GPH automatic submersible pump with a specifically designed strainer base.

Alternative Pool Closing Tutorials

  • April 26, 2014 at 9:45 PM
    sharon luther

    Help saltwater pool bought new form you and used 1 month is GREEN and have tried shock, chlorine ect, any advise????????????

    • May 2, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      Hi Sharon! Please use our contact us form to get in touch with one of our Pool Experts!

  • September 15, 2014 at 6:40 PM
    Blaine Thomas

    When winterizing with skimmer plate and return plug do you need to drain water level down or leave it at normal for the winter ?

    • September 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Hi Blaine,

      The return fitting plug and the skimmer plate should be installed in the inside (water side) of the pool, you do not need to lower the water level to install either.

  • September 21, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    If you’ve drained the pool below the skimmer and return line, do you need to use a return line plug and skimmer plate?

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Hi Nicole,

      Unless you live in a warm area or an region where your pool water will not freeze during the winter months, we recommend always using a winter closing plate and winterizing return plug.

      If you do not, weight on the cover from snow, rain, or debris can displace the water in your swimming pool (under the cover) into the skimmer and return fittings. This can happen slowly during cold weather and cause an ice buildup in the skimmer and return fittings. The ice can be connected to the large block of ice inside the pool and more rain or snow will cause movement in the ice – which can damage or destroy an above ground pool very easily.

  • October 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Great advice, thank you. I’ve been unable to properly clean my pool before covering it, due to knee injury. Is it too late for me to place algaecides in? I have a salt water above ground. Ultra frame 18×9 52 inches. Or should I just drain it? Thank you.

    • October 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Hi Susann,

      It’s not too late to add algaecide to the pool, as long as the filtration system is still operational. Take a look at this green algae chemical package. These chemicals will help remove the algae from your saltwater pool.


  • August 18, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    We are trying to decide what kind of winter cover to buy. Are choices are GLI sunlight free mesh with no drain or a cover that has a place in the middle to put a pump to drain any suggestions

    • September 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Hi Beverly,

      Do you have an above ground pool or inground swimming pool?

  • September 30, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    We have a 16 ft 48inches intex pool and we also have an inline saltwater filter. We don’t know what to do to winterize the pool? (salt water) What should We do ? any advise ? Please, thanks.

    • November 24, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      Intex pools are not as strong as typical steel wall above ground pools and should be handled differently when winterizing. Manufacturer’s guidelines for winterizing an Intex pool can be found on manufacturers website.

  • October 4, 2015 at 12:32 PM
    Joe z

    What kind of plug do u use for the aqualite ty

  • September 13, 2016 at 5:52 PM

    Hi, we have a 15×30 salt water above ground pool. It has a Solaxx Saltron Retro Jet RJ SWG. We noticed the water was green about a week or so ago and the “System Error” light on the SWG is lit. I tried to call the number on the paperwork that came with it, but got someone’s v/m and they never called back.

    We found instructions on how to clean the cell (which weren’t included with our paperwork, so we had no clue!), so now we’re going to try that. We cannot find any kind of cap to screw onto it once we add the cleaner. Did it come with a cap, or is that something we have to buy separate? Please help!

  • November 27, 2016 at 5:02 PM
    Jeff Wainright

    We have a 27K gallon in-ground saltwater pool, and are struggling with how to close it for the winter. Our area is less likely to experience long runs of freezing temperatures. We need to know if we leave the freeze protection system enabled, do we need to blow out the lines and put the plugs in the return lines, or can we safely leave the lines open? If freeze protection is enabled, the system turns on and circulates water through the system if the temperature drops below 38 degrees. The pool water is currently cloudy, but the chemistry levels are within OK ranges.

  • November 29, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    a month ago we had to drain our intex aboveground pool to move it. Once we got it emptied we decided not to put it back up until next spring. What do we need to do to the saltwater filter in the meantime, other than keep it from freezing? Freezing is unlikely but possible as we live in the Houston, Texas area. It is sitting right where we disconnected it.

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