Whats A Salt Water Pool
A salt pool has a salt cell that creates its own chlorine by causing an electrical reaction between the salt and the electrode.
So, instead of manually adding chlorine to your pool once a week, your pool is creating its own naturally. The difference is, though, that it is higher quality than the chlorine you can buy and it doesnt cause the same reactions to the skin and eyes.
It also doesnt produce those nasty chloramines people tend to have trouble with.
And you will never taste it because it doesnt even contain as much salt as human tears.
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Balance Your Pool Chemistry
You dont necessarily have to balance your phosphate levels, but with salt water pools, its a good idea because they act almost like a glue for contaminants that can cause scale build-up inside your salt cell.
They enter your pool from human contaminants, chemicals, rainwater and other various sources.
Most average pool testing kits dont come with phosphate testers, but they’re pretty cheap to buy.
A phosphate level below 200 is recommended. You can then purchase a phosphate reducer if needed.
If any of these levels are off, take the appropriate measures to correct them.
What Are The Benefits Of A Saltwater Pool
Since salt cells create chlorine automatically, saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional swimming pools.
With saltwater pools, you dont have to stock up on or add chlorine ever again. You will save plenty of money and time that would have gone to adding chlorine to your pool.
You can avoid the risks of handling and storing unsafe chemicals. You will also avoid the potential health risks of prolonged exposure to toxins in heavily chlorinated pools.
And since saltwater is relatively gentle, you wont have to worry about itchy skin, burning eyes, dried out hair, or that strong chlorine smell anymore.
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How To Raise Free Chlorine In Saltwater Pool
Pool professionals who know how to raise free chlorine in pool use the higher ten times multiplier to make sure they have enough chlorine in the pool. When your free chlorine levels get too low, we recommend using calcium hypochlorite to raise them back up.
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Drain Part Of Your Poolor Dont
So you didnt opt in for the skimmer cover and youre expecting a tough winter, huh? Hey, you do you. Lowering your water level will help big time to prevent freezing damage, but dont lower so much that your pool walls are extremely exposed and could crack. Just under the skimmer should do the trick.
All you have to do is lower the water level of your pool with a submersible pump. Be sure to watch it working, so you dont accidentally remove too much water. That would be seriously, ah, draining.
Be sure to check with your local authorities about where that water you drain should goespecially since its just been chemically treated. The last thing you want is fees and environmental damage on your hands.
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Maintenance Is A Breeze
To an extent, salt water pools maintain themselves. A salt chlorine generator will gently clean the water by breaking the salt into sanitizing agents. This process is ongoing. Your pool is always cleaning itself in the background, and it requires no downtime. You wont need to retool water and chemical levels constantly because the pool equipment is able to manage it on its own.
A Salt Pool Is A Chlorine Pool
A salt water pool isnt better than a chlorine pool because it IS a chlorine pool. A saltwater pool system is the same thing as a salt chlorine generator/salt water chlorinator. Saltwater pools electrically convert pool salt into chlorine. Its the chlorine that keeps pool water clean, just like the chlorine you buy in buckets.
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Salt Water Pool System Considerations
- The salt cell will need to be replaced every 3 6 years at the cost of about $500 to $800. Without a functioning salt cell, chlorine will not be created from the salt, and your pool environment will suffer.
- The saltwater that is splashed onto anything metal will eventually corrode that metal. It should be rinsed off as soon as possible.
- Saltwater will kill surrounding grass and some plants.
- A saltwater pool needs to be tested weekly with salt and pH levels rebalanced.
- Salt buildup must be cleaned off the salt cell and pool interior regularly.
- Salt can corrode specific metal rails, steps, etc., so dont install these in or near the pool.
Quick Facts About Saltwater Pools
- Saltwater pools have about the salinity of tears, about 1/10 the salinity of sea water
- Another byproduct of a salt chlorine generator, sodium hydroxide, naturally raises the pH level of the water, preventing it from becoming acidic
- When the water is correctly pH balanced, acids cause the water to naturally restore the salinity levels. This means that you dont need to continually add or monitor salt levels once you are at the correct salinity for the first time
- Because the salinity of a salt water pool is similar to the level in our own bodies, it doesnt sting or irritate the eyes
- Salt water pools are preferred for people with asthma and allergies, because they dont have irritating chloramines
- Salt water will corrode metal, and shouldnt be used in pools with metal walls, or handrail, ladder, and other pool features that have metal components or anchors.
- Salt is abrasive on the inside of pool shells lined with concrete, gunite, or plaster
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Repairs On A Salt Water Pool
Most chlorine pools have a lot of metal components. Salt corrosion is the enemy of metal. Over time, you may notice that your metal components begin to rust. When possible, metal components can be replaced with other materials that are better equipped to handle salt exposure. If you choose to keep your metal components, they may need to be replaced periodically.
Fiberglass Vinyl Or Concrete
Salt water pools can be vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete/gunite. Vinyl is the least expensive but can rip easily. Concrete is the most expensive option to install and maintain. Fiberglass pools are priced in the middle and include a lifetime warranty. However, they come in a limited number of sizes and styles. All three types can be used for salt water or fresh water pools. Salt itself will not cause wear or tear to any of them, but it’s still important to take good care of your poolÂs structural material and/or lining.
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Make Sure You Have The Right Type Of Pool
Before choosing a saltwater system for an inground pool, you need to make sure you wont cause damage. Luckily, pools with vinyl liners are perfect candidates for conversions.
However, if there are galvanized walls behind the liner and it ever springs even a tiny leak, the steel wall will eventually corrode. Salt water systems also arent appropriate for above ground pools with a lot of metal parts, as they will rust. Above ground pools made of resin are just fine, though.
S To Converting Your Pool To Saltwater
Once you have converted to a saltwater swimming pool, continue maintenance as usual. This will help to assure clean, clear water and extend the life of your pool equipment.
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Generator Cell And Sensor Maintenance Is An Investment Of Time And Money
Saltwater generator cells require a cleaning every 90 days, or you will end up with calcium buildup. Skipping regular cleanings for six months or more shortens cell life, increases the likelihood that the cell will break, and the pool will eventually become swampy.
The cell in a saltwater generator cell must be replaced every two to three years. The replacements are an investment of about $500 to $800 .
You will also need to have a professional closely monitor and clean the sensor that determines how much salt needs to be added to the water, or you can end up with a serious chemistry imbalance.
High Chemical Levels Can Cause Harm
Saltwater pools may produce chlorine, but this doesnt mean you dont have to add chemicals to the pool. Saltwater pools need chemical treatments every week.
One of the chemicals required to ensure your salt chlorine generator reaches the required stabilizing levels is cyanuric acid.
High cyanuric acid levels can harm children, pets, the environment, older swimmers, and the pool itself. Other chemical treatments required by saltwater pools are an occasional algaecide, stain clarifier, and scale control applications.
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Start Up Your Salt Chlorine Generator
The next step is to start your salt chlorine generator, but first, youll want to make sure the water chemistry is right. Look for these ranges:
- pH 7.2 to 7.8
- Free chlorine 1.0 to 3.0 PPM
- Stabilizer 50 to 75 PPM
- Calcium hardness 150 to 400 PPM
- Total alkalinity 80 to 120 PPM
Set your system to 50% chlorine production and let it run for 24-hours. Then, test the water to see if its between 1 and 3 PPM. If not, dial it up or down in 10% increments and keep retesting every 24 hours until you reach your desired levels.
How To Convert A Pool To A Saltwater Pool
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Using A Saltwater Calculator
Salt charts are great tools for pool owners. In fact, most manufacturers provide salt charts for their salt chlorine generators inside the manual. However, if you misplaced your manual or simply dont like using the salt chart, you can use a salt water calculator.
Most of the major manufacturers like Hayward and Pentair have swimming pool calculators. Much like a regular calculator, you still have to input the correct number of gallons in your pool and you still have to measure your current salt levels, as well.
Its literally the same process. Below are examples of online calculators you can use to help streamline these calculations. Again, make sure you pay close attention to the parameters of the calculator. Some calculators determine how much salt you need to bring your pool to 3200 ppm while others will calculate to 3400 ppm.
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How To Convert From Chlorine To A Salt Water Pool
- Written by Kenneth Rivera on Sep 26, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
People who swim as a form of exercise or athletes who undergo swim-training in a pool prefer a salt water pool against a chlorinated water pool because saltwater is advantageous to the skin and hair. Chlorine contains hazardous chemicals used mainly for cleaning and maintenance. When human skin is exposed to relatively high levels of chlorine, skin irritation occurs. Preparation for the conversion of pool water from chemical chlorination to salt water chlorination may be done in two ways.
Step 1 Preparation before the Conversion Process
Since draining water completely from the pool is needed before conversion to salt water chlorination, it is best advised that the local government of the area be consulted for rules regarding disposal of old water into the areas waste system. There may be requirements of testing and inspection needed of the old water prior to disposal. The draining of water may need some neutralizing chemicals infused into it which may be costly and at the same time tests and confirmation done on the water may be a long process.
Step 2 Draining of the Old Water and Refilling
Step 3 Stabilizing Pool Water without Draining
Step 4 Adding on Salt to the Pool
Step 5 Checking for Water Salinity
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Mismanaged Ph Can Be Costly
Its not unusual for pool owners to fall behind on checking the pH and alkalinity balance of their pools. A saltwater pool has a higher pH than a traditional chlorine pool.
When the pH gets out of balance in a saltwater pool:
Imbalanced pH levels can also destroy a saltwater generator cell in less than 90 days. The cells warranty does not cover this type of damage, and cells can cost $500-$800 to replace.
Salt Water Pool Test Kit
A salt water pool test kit costs about $15 to $55, and saltwater test strips cost $11 to $25 for 40. A test kit lets you know if you need to rebalance the salinity and pH level of your saltwater. To keep a healthy pool, the water should be tested once a week. Not all salt water pool test kits give results for the salinity of the water, so check to make sure the one you want to purchase gives that result.
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Intex Sand Filter Pump
The Intex Sand Filter Pump comes in various sizes rated for above ground pools up to 19,600 gallons in water volume size. A sand filter is the preferred method of filtration for salt water pools so you can be assured of crystal clear water and less hassle than a regular chemical chlorine swimming pool. The controls include six functions filter, backwash, rinse, re-circulate, drain and close system. Includes strainer basket and 25 foot power cord for expanded reach to anywhere in your yard.
Can You Change Your Pool From Salt Water To Chlorine
When it comes to swimming pools, one of the biggest decisions people face is whether to go with a chlorine pool or a salt water pool. In some cases, pool owners may consider changing their pool from salt water to chlorine. One of the misconceptions that comes with a salt water pool is that it is chlorine-free. While you wont find the traditional chlorine tablets, you will find a salt water chlorinator that is used to create chlorine similar to that found in chlorine pools.
The big difference is that salt takes the place of chlorine tablets. This creates a slight salt water solution that your pool filters. During this process, the salt water passes through a salt cell and gets a small electrical current. This creates the pools own chlorine which helps to keep it clean.
Many people decide on salt water pools to avoid the irritants that can come along with a chlorine pools. But, then other issues may arise with salt water pools leading some to decide to change from salt water to chlorine.
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Cost To Convert A Pool To Salt Water
The cost to convert a pool to salt water will vary depending on the size of your pool and whether you hire a professional to complete the installation. There are salt water systems designed for every size of pool ranging from 5,000-100,000 gallons so you can be sure to find one that works for your specific pool.
We recommend purchasing a salt water system that is rated for pools approximately 15% larger than specified to ensure that you have adequate chlorine production during higher pool usage, increased sunlight hours and during superchlorination that reduces the need for shocking.
The price for a basic is about $300 and can be installed in as little as 30 minutes by a handy pool owner. The advanced units can cost upwards of $1,500 and include features like self diagnostics, automatic chemical feeders and a control panel that will automate all of your pool hardware. The automated pool systems are a bit more complex to install but for most pool owners the upfront cost is worth the very low maintenance down the road.
If you install the system yourself you won’t need to hire a pool service company but we recommend a professional for complicated systems to ensure it is installed correctly. A pool technician will charge approximately $250-$500 to install a salt water system but this of course will vary with geographic location and the complexity of the system.