Sep 2, 2022
Raleigh, NC
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-30
I'm a new pool owner and planning for my first winter in Raleigh, NC. Even though I have a pool heater I am not planning to use the pool but still keep it open during the winter. Since I'm new to pool I have been getting a regular pool service. Since I will not be using the pool I want to discontinue the service (save money) and take care of the pool myself. I am comfortable with the following: getting rid of leaves/debris, cleaning the skimmer baskets, cleaning the pump filter basket, backwash and rinse the sand filter. Also, I do have a robot vacuum cleaner.
Can anyone please help me with the following to keep my pool open during winter (apologies as many questions are very basic):
  1. I was getting a regular pool service so no idea about the chemicals to balance water chemistry. I have a salt generator (pentair ichlor 30), I think it should take care of the chlorine but what other chemicals should I be using to balance the water during the winter even though I will not be using the pool?
  2. Can you please recommend a pool water test kit for a beginner?
  3. I have a 15K gallon salt water pool (fiberglass). How many hours should I run the pump (pentair superflow VST, 1.5 HP) per day? Can you please recommend different RPM and runtime combos?
  4. How often do I need to backwash?
  5. I am not planning to use the pool but do I need to use the pool heater if the temperature reaches freezing?
  6. Is there anything else that I need to do or monitor?
Thank you so much!

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
1 - Chemicals demands slow down significantly in colder water, especially below 60 degrees. But we typically keep all chemicals balanced like normal. Be sure to refer to our Pool Care Basics page. Keep in mind your SWG will shut down when the water temp drops, so we generally just add some liquid chlorine every few days or once a week as needed to get through the winter. Easy stuff and the FC level doesn't drop as fast.
2 - TF-100 test kit. See the link in my signature. Get one now and it will last through most of next season as well.
3 - See the link below. In the winter, you can reduce pump time significantly, but keep in mind if you have freeze warnings you want to make sure freeze protection stays on to keep the water moving. See video below.
4 - When the filter pressure increases by about 25% from the baseline-clean pressure.
5 - No. The heater will remain off once the water temps get really chilly. Maybe around 60 degrees, but refer to your owners manual. Heaters are not designed to keep cold water from freezing and you can damage a heater by trying to run it in very cold water.
6 - FC and pH mostly. In cold water below 60 degrees, maybe only test weekly or so. You'll see a pattern to ensure you keep the FC level from dropping too low to prevent algae.

Also watch our video below.

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