To close or not to close the Southern pool


Sep 14, 2017
Hello TFP'ers! We are facing our first winter in Birmingham, AL and trying to determine the virtues of closing vs. leaving open. My base plan is to keep it open but obviously don't want to make any newbie mistakes resulting to damage to the pool or equipment.

I understand most of the pros/cons- power/chemical usage + freeze protection vs close/open hassle, year round water. I also don't have much in the way of trees to be concerned about a cover with.

I have read the threads I could find about covering the equipment during a hard freeze, using drop lights, etc. I have also reviewed the reduced need for chlorine.

My "keep it open during winter" questions are:
  1. Does TFP have a pool school article I missed on open all year concepts?
  2. Salt Cell
    1. Should I get the "dummy" salt cell and remove the actual cell for the winter?
  3. Jandy VSP (pool) & non VSP Pro Flow (water feature) pumps
    1. Will they auto run below certain temps?
    2. Does the water feature need to run whenever their is a concern of freezing?
    3. If there isn't some sort of thermal protection, where would I buy one?
    4. Run pumps 24/7 during freezing temps and cover actual pumps?
      1. Or just run them every so often during a 24 hour period
  4. Heater
    1. Do anything special with the heater?
    2. Consider running the heater during a hard freeze?
  5. Drain the water at all or just keep as is?


Gold Supporter
Jan 5, 2018
Douglasville Georgia
Hi neighbor... I am about 2 hours east of you in Georgia with similar questions. I am keeping the pool open all winter as I like to look at it. This is from the Jandy 1400 SWG manual:

NOTE Exception - For Cold Weather Operation: If the salt water chlorinator is set to run 24 hours a day through thewinter, extremely cold water temperatures can contribute to a reduction in the operating life of the electrolyticcell. Sometimes it will be necessary to run the chlorinator at a very low production rate (10-20%) or to turnthe unit off. See Section 6.5, Winterizing.

6.5 WinterizingVery little chlorine is needed in cold water. Below 51°F (11°C), chlorine production is not permitted;operating the chlorinator in cold water might result in over-chlorinated pool water. If more chlorine isneeded, activating the “Boost” mode will override this cold water feature allowing chlorine productionfor 24 hours of operation. See Section 5.1, User Interface Controls.If preventative measures are not taken, freezing water may cause severe damage to the cell and flow/temp/salinity sensor. Prevent freeze damage to the cell and flow/temp/salinity sensor by running pumpcontinuously or winterize pool by draining water from pump, filter, and all intake and return lines. Removethe cell, clean and store it. Disconnect the flow/temp/salinity sensor from the power center, then remove itfrom the 3-port cell. Wrap flow/temp/salinity sensor in a plastic bag or protective covering and coil flow/temp/salinity sensor and DC power cord cables around the power center for storage.An optional Spool Piece (sold separately) is available to replace the cell during winterizing or cellmaintenance. This will enable pool pump to circulate water with the cell out the of line. See Figure 19.When a FREEZE CONTROLLER is used on pump equipment and the chlorinator is run through the winter,turn the CHLORINE PRODUCTION down to 10 - 20%. Otherwise, chlorine production will exceed therecommended level of 1 - 3 ppm.NOTE A chlorine level above 3 ppm may cause corrosion of pool metals and possibly cause damage to associatedpool equipment.



Sep 14, 2017
That is good information and appreciate the post! On a side note, we stopped at the Douglasville Buffalo Wild Wings on the way to Six Flags Fright Fest last Friday!