How To Convert Your Pool To Saltwater
Thats all fine, youre probably thinking, but how do I convert my pool to saltwater? The good news is that salt water pool conversion is a fairly simple process and likely more affordable than you think.
After youve tested your water, balanced its chemistry, installed your saltwater chlorinator, and connected it to your pool pump, you can begin adding salt. You should look for granulated, non-iodized salt with 99.8% NaCl or higher.
When you enter your current water chemistry into Pool Calculator, youll know how much salt to add. In most cases, youll be starting with zero salinity, but if your water contains a little bit of salt, our app will tell you exactly how much more you need. Check the user manual on your salt chlorinator for specific directions on how to add salt. Since the salinity of salt water pools is relatively low, you only need to add salt a few times per year.
After adding salt, power on your saltwater chlorinator and let it run for 12 to 24 hours until it dissolves completely. Test your pool water again to ensure your salt and chlorine levels are balanced. If the chemistry looks good, you can go ahead and jump in!
Test & Balance Your Pool’s Chemical Levels
Once you know how many gallons of your pool holds it’s time to test your water. The amount of water in your pool will help determine how much of each chemical you’ll need to add after you’ve tested the water for it to be properly balanced.
Here’s what you’ll need to test for and their ideal range:
Your water needs to be completely balanced with all the ideal levels before turning the salt chlorinator on. Read more on testing your water here. An existing pool converting to chlorine will have a salt presence already. you’ll want to know your starting salt level after all the rest of your chemicals are balanced so you know how much salt to add in the next step.
If pool maintenance seems confusing or just isn’t your thing, now is also a good time to add E-Z Pool to your backyard living style. The combination of these two products takes out the need for adding a bunch of different chemicals to your pool to balance out your levels.
Determine How Much Salt Is In Your Pool
Salt test strips are the best way to test how much salt you have in your pool. Brand-new pools usually have 0 ppm, which makes the calculations much easier. Traditional chlorine pools often have around 500 ppm.
Alternatively, you can take a sample of your swimming pool water to your local pool store. Most stores provide free, accurate tests.
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Swimming Pool Salt Calculator
Adding salt to your swimming pool is fairly straight-forward. However, calculating how much salt to add can complicate things. What you need is a swimming pool salt calculator.
Usually, there are two reasons why you would need to add salt to your pool. Either your salt chlorine generator alerted you that your pool was low in salt or you recently drained your pool, for whatever reason. Whether youre adding salt to your swimming pool or diluting it, knowing how much salt to add back into the water is crucial to balancing your pool.
Lets take a look at how pool owners can determine when their salt is low and how they can calculate how much salt to add.
Chemicals For A Salt Water Pool
As previously mentioned, saltwater pools are not chlorine-free, nor are they chemical-free. A salt water pool is a chlorinated pool, with an alternative delivery system. As such, you will still need other pool chemicals when using a salt chlorine generator.
Sanitizers: Most of your sanitation will be taken care of with your chlorine generator. It can be helpful however, to keep a small supply of chlorine tabs or granular chlorine, in the event of problems with the pump, filter, plumbing or the salt cell itself. Salt pool owners also often use granular pool shock for oxidation, algae removal or super-chlorination. Many chlorine generators have a Shock feature, but they are slow to act, and using it creates a heavy demand on the salt cell, and may shorten the lifespan.
Balancers: Just like any pool, you need to pay close attention to pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid levels in the pool. Chlorine-tablet treated pools tend to gravitate towards the low end of the pH and Alkalinity scale, while salt water pools tend to slowly rise in pH level, requiring pH reducer. Salt water pools are most stable with a pH of 7.6, and Alkalinity of 70-80 ppm. A stabilizer level of 50-80 ppm is recommended by most salt system manufacturers. High calcium hardness levels have no effect on salt water pools, but a level of 180-200 ppm may result in less scale on the salt cell plates.
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The Impacts Salinity Has On Your Pool
Over time, incorrect salinity levels can deteriorate your pool water quality, leading to costly repairs and cleanings. If the level is too low, you end up with less chlorine in the pool since there is not as much salt for the generator to convert to chlorine. By not having a high enough salt content, your pool may grow bacteria and algae. If this is caught quickly and your saline levels are adjusted, the algae should come off with a pool brush. But if the growing materials begin to take over, you may have to use chemical cleaners or drain your pool to clean it. Plus, running a chlorine generator with salt at low-level results in a faster breakdown of cell plates. The system may also quit operating.
It is typically not as much of a problem if the salt level for a saltwater pool is too high. However, at very high levels 5000 ppm and above you will typically see issues arise, and your system may shut down.
Avoid these issues by regularly testing salinity and maintaining the appropriate levels for your pool.
What Kind Of Salt Does A Salt Chlorine Generator Use
You have options for the salt:
- Solar salt
- Mechanically evaporated salt
- Mined salt
Use salt thats only intended for swimming pools, food-grade, granular, and non-iodized.
The higher the salt purity, the less trouble itll give you in appearance and maintenance. We recommend 99% purity or higher.
Dont use rock salt in your pool. It isnt pure enough, and it wont dissolve well. Itll just give you a headache.
We also recommend you dont use calcium chloride. Calcium affects the hardness of the water and can form deposits on your pool walls if the concentration is too high.
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How Much Salt To Add To Your Pool
After purchasing a salt chlorine generator it is important to know how much salt to add to your pool, the correct salt levels needed for your above ground pool will help you get the best results. The target salt level is 3200 3400ppm . Depending on the size of the above ground pool, the number of pounds of salt will vary to reach this ideal range. The way in which salt is added to the pool though stays the same, no matter what type of salt system or above ground pool you have.
Remember to first test the pool water to see the current levels of salt. One should either bring their pool water to a local professional, or if they should purchase their own tester the staff at The Pool Factory recommends the Solaxx Digital SafeDip Tester. The source for your pool water may contain some salt levels already and it is a good idea to find out the level in which you are starting prior to figuring out how much salt to add to your pool.
The SafeDip is a digital chemistry reader designed to make measuring pool parameters easy. Simply collect the water sample from the pool using the onboard cup and press the Start button to take your measurement.
DO NOT USE Rock Salt, it is not very pure and hard to dissolve.
Cost To Replace Your Salt Chlorine Generator Cell
When its time to replace your salt chlorine generator cell, you can expect to pay between $700 and $1,100 for a new one. Most people find that they need to replace their cell every 3-7 years, depending on the quality of the salt used and how well they maintain their pool.
Pro Tip: To make your cell last as long as possible, use high-quality salt and only clean the cell when necessary.
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Table Salt Vs Pool Salt
One of the most frequently asked questions about pool salt is whether pool salt can be used in foods or whether it is possible to use table salt for pool disinfection. This curiosity stems from the thought that pool salt contains chemicals.
In fact, the salt used to disinfect pools must be 99.8% pure. Pool salt does not contain any anti-clumping agents and it does not go through the same iodization process as table salt. Although many people may believe that table salt is the purest of the two, pool salt is purer.
Get Your Current Salt Level
First things first, you need to test your pool water for its current salt level. This can be done easily with specialized salt test strips, a saltwater liquid test kit, or with a digital tester that measures for salinity.
The best way to test is by dunking a glass of water elbow deep in the deep end of your pool. You can then take the water sample and subject it to whichever testing method you prefer.
For pinpoint accuracy, you may even want to bring the sample to a pool shop where they can measure the salt level .
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How Much Does A Salt Water Pool Cost
Although a salt water pool is initially more expensive than a regular chlorine pool because of the up-front investment in the salt water system, many homeowners find they recoup the cost in chemicals over the lifetime of their pool. In fact, salt water pools provide up to 50% savings over conventional chlorine systems.
How Much Does An Inground Saltwater Pool Cost
As we mentioned earlier, saltwater pools cost about the same to own and operate as traditional chlorine pools . However, your expenses will be scattered over time. Most years, the cost to run your saltwater pool will be much lower than the cost of operating a chlorine pool.
Lets break down the cost of a salt chlorine generator, the cost of the salt, and the price range for replacement parts.
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A Swimming Pool Chemical Calculator
Adjust sliders to calculate pool salt.
For proper chlorine production in a salt water pool, it is extremely important that the salt parts per million to be kept as close to the system recommendations as possible. Operating a chlorine generator outside the recommended salt PPM can result in poor chlorine production or even damage to the chlorine generator itself in some cases.
When adding salt, open the bag on the corner and walk around the pool while pouring the salt in evenly. It can take up to 24 hours after adding salt to dissolve completely and circulate through the entire pool.
RESULTS SHOWN HERE
More About A Salt Water Pool
A salt water pool is a more convenient and healthy way to chlorinate the pool water. The chlorine is produced on site in a closed loop with the salt directly in the pool, eliminating the need to purchase and transport chlorine. The salt water pool generator provides a more automatic granular method of controlling the chlorine dosing. With the salt water pool generator, chlorine is constantly being produced. Making it easier to adjust the chlorine level on a daily basis as opposed to dumping large amounts of chlorine every few days spiking the chlorine levels. The salt water is said to have some health benefits like softer skin and better feeling water. Salt water pool generators also reduce eye and skin irritation.
LOW SALT EFFECTS:
HIGH SALT EFFECTS:
Tips About A Salt Water Pool
Salt Water Pool Maintenance
WHEN TO ADD SALT TO POOL:
The Chemistry Of Chlorine
Pool peoples references to chlorine are pretty loose, by the way.
Theres all kinds of chlorine variants you can add to the water upfront, but when all the chemistrys said and done, whats cleaning your pool water is actually hypochlorous acid, not pure chlorine.
Ground zero for this chemistry is plain ol water in the pool and your chlorine additive.
Many people use liquid chlorine or solid chlorine compressed with cyanuric acid . In the case of a salt chlorine generator, you use salt .
After you pour that additive into the water and mix it all up, it goes through two different chemical reactions before it reaches the form that will kill algae and bacteria and destroy dirt .
If you like to see reactions in simple chemistry terms, this is what the equations look like on paper:
The first reaction is what the salt chlorine generator does for you. The second reaction is how the chlorine becomes hypochlorous acid and cleans the pool.
First, the electrolysis of salt water produces pure chlorine.
When electricity is passed through 2NaCl and 2H20 , the atoms dissociate into Cl2 + 2NaOH + H2 .
The sodium hydroxide is happy to live its life now. It raises the pH of the water so its not too acidic.
And the hydrogen is just a normal part of pool water .
However, the chlorine is still busy and moves on to the second reaction.
Second, the pure chlorine reacts with more water and becomes hypochlorous acid.
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Does Swimming In Saltwater Burn More Calories
Swimming in a saltwater pool doesnt burn more calories than a regular pool. Still, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. No matter which type of pool youre swimming in, wear goggles to protect your eyes and avoid swallowing water. Want to learn more? Find out how many calories you burn swimming.
Its important to regularly test a saltwater pool. Weekly, test for free chlorine and pH using a drop kit or test strips. Monthly, its important to test for:
- salt level
You may need to make adjustments.
Every three months or so, you need to test the salt chlorine generator for buildup and clean it off. Also watch for signs of deposits and erosion, and perform maintenance as needed.
At any pool, its important to practice basic safety measures:
- supervise children at all times
- secure your pool with a fence so kids cant get in the water unsupervised
- enroll anyone who doesnt know how to swim in swim lessons
- enforce rules like no diving or no running near the pool
- when swimming laps, stop and take a break when youre out of breath
- warm up before entering the pool and stretch afterwards
- avoid drinking alcohol when youre in and near the water
Using Chlorine In A Salt Water Pool For A Quick Boost
Chlorine addition by liquid, powder or puck form quickly raises the chlorine level in a pool when you need a boost. Common reasons for shocking a pool include:
- Heavy pool usage and many swimmers using it.
- Effects of UV from the direct rays of the sun.
- Heavy rainfall which dilutes chlorine and other chemicals in the pool.
- Draining water from the pool when its too high for another reason such as when you are trying to dilute another water factor.
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What Chemicals To Add
Occasionally, you may need to add certain chemicals to maintain the composition and integrity of various pool elements. For instance, although the pool has a chlorine generator, we recommend keeping a supply of granular chlorine. This will come in handy if the pump malfunctions.
Other than that, to maintain the perfect balance of chemicals, you can use pH reducers. Unlike chlorine-tablet pools, the pH level of saltwater pools goes on increasing, making it necessary to add a stabiliser. It would be best if you keep the pH level at 7.6 and alkalinity at 70-80ppm.
Salt As A Swimming Pool Disinfectant
Salt treatment does not require routine maintenance. The device called chlorinator works continuously to transform the salt into chlorine and then converts the NaCl to its original state. This cycle repeats constantly. As a result, the chlorine is continuously renewed.
The chlorine generated as a result of this process is not as harmful as the chlorination method. It does not damage the skin and does not create a strong odor in water.
Besides, salt water pool treatment is the healthiest and most cost-effective method of disinfection continuously. It reduces pool maintenance costs by 80% and eliminates the use of disinfectant chemical products entirely.
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The Science Behind Salt Chlorination
There are two components to a salt chlorinator: the salt cell that converts salt into chlorine and the control box that tells the salt cell when and for how long to produce chlorine.
Salt cells, also known as electrolytic converters, are installed on the return line of the pools plumbing. They must be installed behind the pump, filter and heater.
As a pools water passes through the salt chlorinators salt cell, a harmless electrical charge, generated by the control box, automatically converts the dissolved salt into chlorine. The newly chlorinated water is then dispersed evenly throughout the pool by the return jets. After the chlorine has safely chlorinated the pools water, its transformed back into salt. The process happens over and over, automatically.