Do you have a saltwater pool? If you do, you may be wondering how often you should drain it. Unfortunately, this is a question that many people ask because they are afraid to lose the bromine or chlorine levels that they’ve worked hard to maintain.
This article will shed some light on the subject so that you’ll understand the process better and make an informed decision about what’s best for you. We’ll cover whether draining your pool is necessary or optional depending on your pool type, how many people swim in it, and how close you live to the ocean.
Do You Have to Drain a Saltwater Pool Every Year?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that it’s unnecessary to drain the pool yearly — unless you close it yearly and require a partial drain and refill each time. Otherwise, if you want to keep your pool in good condition, you can drain and refill it every five years.
There are several reasons why this makes sense. First, a pool that hasn’t been drained for a few years can lose its balance of chemicals and minerals. That means the water will become cloudy and lose its ability to clean itself properly.
Second, there could be damage to the pipes or other equipment that can cause leaks or other problems if left alone for too long.
Third, draining your pool and refilling it again will help remove any algae or mold that might have been growing on your pool walls during these past few years.
Can Stagnant Salt Water Become Dangerous?
The short answer is yes.
If you’re on vacation, or if you’ve been gone for a while, it’s possible that your pool could become stagnant. The water will still be clear and clean, but the chlorine level will be low, and the algae will start to grow.
It can be a problem because algae use up all the oxygen in the water and kill off other beneficial bacteria essential for keeping your pool clean and balanced. If this happens often enough, it can create an environment where disease-causing microorganisms start to grow.
When Should You Drain Your Saltwater Pool?
The short answer is that it depends. The longer answer is that if you have a saltwater pool, you shouldn’t drain it every year unless there is a reason to do so. Here are some of those reasons:
The water is cloudy or smells bad. A lack of circulation usually causes cloudy water. Also, your pool pump may be broken or not working correctly, which can cause dead spots in the pool. If this is the case, definitely drain your pool!
You want to replace your filter cartridge or other equipment. This process can be done during the winter when everything is shut down anyway.
Your salt levels are out of balance due to evaporation (often in dry areas).
How to Drain Your Saltwater Pool?
When you’re ready to drain your pool, following a specific order of operations is essential. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Turn off your Pump System
If you have a swimming pool with a pump system, you’ll need to turn it off. The easiest way to do this is by turning off the breaker that powers the pump. If your pool has a pump timer, then simply set it to “off.”
Step 2: Disconnect your Electrical System
Disconnect any electrical connections from the pump motor (if applicable) and remove any plumbing connections from the skimmer or return lines. Ensure all hoses are disconnected from their respective ports before disconnecting anything else. You should also shut off automatic timers or controls connected to your pool equipment.
Step 3: Remove the Skimmer Cover
The skimmer box is located in the deep end of your pool, and it contains a basket that skims debris and other objects from the surface of your pool. If you have a natural-looking skimmer cover, you may be able to pull it off by hand. Otherwise, you may need a screwdriver to pry it off.
Step 4: Open the Drain Valve
Open your pool’s drain valve by turning it counterclockwise. The valve should be near the center of your pool. It’s often attached to a white pipe that runs along the bottom of the pool wall. Once you open it, water will start draining from your pool into the ground below.
Step 5: Drain Water Below Filter Level
The next step is to drain the water below the filter level. This process can take several hours, depending on how much water is left in your pool. If you have a lot of water, we recommend using a submersible pump to speed up the draining process.
Step 6: Refill and Balance Your Water As Needed
Once you have drained all of the water, refill your pool with fresh water. This process will help balance out any chemicals in your pool. Next, run a test on your water so that you know what chemicals are needed to balance it out. For example, if you have high pH, use acid to bring it down.
How to Fill a Saltwater Pool?
Step 1: Fill the Pool With Fresh Water
This stage is the most time-consuming of the refill process. To speed things up, you can use a hose to fill your pool, but it’s not recommended for larger or deeper pools because it can take hours or even days. Instead, consider using a pump to pull water from your tap or other source and bring it into the pool.
Step 2: Turn On the Pump
Once the pool has been filled with fresh water, turn on your pump and let it run for at least 24 hours before adding any chlorine. That will ensure that all the equipment works correctly and give you time to add any chemicals or additives you want.
Step 3: Add Salt and Stabilizer
The first step is to add your salt. The average pool will require about 50 pounds of salt per 10,000 gallons of water. You may want to consult with your pool manufacturer before adding more than the recommended amount if you are using a different salt formula than the one they recommended.
Step 4: Test the Salt Level
After adding the stabilizer, wait at least 15 minutes before testing the salt level. Then use a test kit to measure how many parts per million (ppm) of sodium chloride is in your water. You’ll want to adjust as needed to ensure they’re within normal ranges. Once this is done, you can enjoy your new saltwater pool!
Why is Balancing the Salinity Important?
Balancing your pool’s salinity is a simple process that can help you enjoy your saltwater pool for years. A properly balanced pool will have fewer issues with corrosion and scaling and fewer problems with algae growth and slime buildup on walls, floors, and equipment surfaces. It also means better water clarity because impurities aren’t left behind when you drain your pool for winter storage or maintenance purposes.
Changing Pool Water: Things to Consider
1. Your Location
One of the most important things to consider when changing pool water is your location. In the Northern Hemisphere, pool season is year-round. That means you have to be much more careful about the chemicals you use and how often you add them to your pool.
2. Water Source
The type of water source you use to fill your swimming pool can impact how the water looks and feels. You can use hose water, a water truck, or any other natural water source around. You should make a choice based on your pool’s location and what you want from it.
3. Have Your Salt Ready
Ensure you have enough salt and have it ready when filling the pool. The amount needed will depend on how many gallons are in your pool, but ensuring you’re using the correct quantity is best because overuse can lead to problems like algae growth.
Draining Saltwater Pool FAQs
Should You Drain Saltwater Pool Before or After Winter?
If you live in a location where you get winters, it’s best to drain your pool before the cold weather hits. This practice will ensure that your equipment stays in good shape and that there are no issues with the water chemistry during the off-season.
Is Saltwater Cleaner than Chlorinated Water?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES! The chlorine in your pool can cause respiratory problems and skin irritations, whereas saltwater swimming pools are softer on your body and less irritating to the eyes. They are also much more environmentally friendly as they do not produce harmful by-products when used correctly.
How Long After Filling a Saltwater Pool Can You Go Swimming?
You can start swimming within 24 hours. However, it is recommended that you wait 48 hours before swimming after filling your pool, as this allows time for the added compounds to reach equilibrium with the water.
Can You Change a Chlorine Pool into a Saltwater Pool?
Yes, you can convert your existing chlorine pool to a saltwater pool. You may do this by adding a saltwater chlorine generator. However, it is not an easy process, and you should do so only if you are comfortable with the technical aspects of the process.
Can You Change a Saltwater Pool into a Chlorine Pool?
Saltwater pools easily convert back to chlorine pools by draining out all of the water and refilling it with fresh water. This process will remove all traces of salt from the water and allow you to use traditional chlorine again.
Read our related pool articles:
- Can I Drain My Saltwater Pool on My Lawn?
- Filling a Pool with a Water Truck (All You Need to Know)
- Can My Neighbor Drain Pool Water into My Yard?
- 10 Best Poolside Chairs
- 9 Ways to Keep Neighbors from Using Your Pool
- If I Drain My Pool Will It Collapse?
- How Far to Drain Your Above Ground Pool for Winter
- How Far to Drain Inground Pool for Winter?
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.