Swimming pool maintenance is as important in the winter as in the summer, according to Dane Ilario, assistant store manager for Swim Clear Pool Supply in McKinney.

Ilario said pool maintenance is vastly different in winter months than in the summer.

“A lot of people are under the impression you don’t have to do anything during the winter months,” Ilario said. “There is minimum maintenance you have to keep up with, be it salt water or fresh water. There has to be a minimum presence of chlorine of one part per million. This is true of both types.”

Ilario said the challenge for salt water pools comes from the fact that the salt that produces chlorine during the summer won’t do so during the winter, as the cell cannot extract the chlorine. Salt water pools will use tablets during the winter for about six to eight weeks, depending on what the winter is like.

He said fresh water pools will use a tablet year round. They sometimes require a shock treatment to get the chlorine levels up.

“In addition to keeping the level up, be careful you are raking the pool — getting leaves, twigs, etc. — out,” Ilario said. “In winter the winds and rain will dump debris into the pool. During the rainy part of the winter it is important after a good rain to shock the pool and clean the debris right away.”

When it comes to cleaning the pool, Ilario recommends using a rake with a wide mouth and pronounced lip to clean everything. He said cold temperatures should be an issue with most pools, as newer ones come with a feature that turns the pump on if the temperature drops below a certain point. That way it will run water through the system, keeping it from freezing.