A lot of pool owners usually don’t know this, or maybe they just gloss over this piece of information on their owners’ manuals, but salt water chlorinators actually shut down or reduce chlorine production when the temperature drops below 16C (or a little bit lower, depending on the manufacturer). Now this isn’t really something we worry about here in Australia as our winters are pretty mild but it is quite helpful to know.
The science behind cold water and salt water chlorinators
The main reason why many chlorinators automatically reduce or shut off their operation when the temperature drops is because the lower the water’s temperature, the lower the salt water’s conductivity will be. This in turn will cause the salt water chlorinator to work much harder than normal to produce chlorine, which will shorten the life of your salt water cell. Some advanced salt water chlorinators like the Vapure Salt & Mineral Chlorinator have a dedicated winter mode to allow continued operation during the winter so to be able to still constantly generate chlorine and reduce stress to the salt water cells.
Curious about saltwater vs. chlorine pools? Click here to learn more about their differences.
Should I be worried of the lowered chlorine production?
Not in the slightest. Don’t worry too much when the chlorinator’s output is reduced during the colder months because algae activity is also reduced when the temperature drops. For extended cold streaks and your chlorine level drops below the recommended levels, you can easily dose your pool with some regular pool chlorine to bring it up to the level. Remember, a salt water pool is still a chlorine pool and it’s perfectly safe (and recommended) to dose your pool with chlorine whenever your sanitiser levels drop below the recommended levels.
Keeping a salt water pool open during winter
Again, depending on where you live and how mild the winter is at your location, you may want to keep your salt water pool open during the winter with the help of a good pool cover or a pool heat pump! As long as you can keep your water temperature to a comfortable temperature then your salt water chlorinator will have no problem producing the required sanitiser levels for your pool.
Opting to close your pool for the winter instead? See our complete pool winterization FAQ here.
Check also our Ultimate Guide for winter pool maintenance.
We also have some quick DOs and DON'Ts for winterizing Australian pools here.
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Happy swimming :)