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How To Change From Chlorine To Salt Pool

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How Much Salt Do I Need When I Change Over My Pool

Converting Your Pool To Salt Water

When converting to saltwater, youll need about 440 pounds of salt for a 15,000-gallon inground pool or around 11 bags of salt. Ideally, the ratio of salt to water is 2,700 3,400 parts per million . At 3,500 ppm, humans can taste and sense salt, but at around 3,000 ppm of dissolved salt in the pool, the water will feel soft and silky.

Salt Water Conversion Kit

The equipment you need in order to convert your chlorine pool into saltwater comes in a saltwater conversion kit. Also called the saltwater system, this kit will do all the natural chlorine conversion for you and pretty soon, you will have a perfect saltwater pool.

The saltwater system contains a control box and a salt cell. The control box is installed into a wall, whereas the salt cell is put in the existing plumbing surrounding the pool. Once everything is put in place, you can connect the system to electricity, and it will automatically begin to convert the natural salt in your water into chlorine.

Note that there are different sizes of saltwater systems for the amount of water in a pool. It is recommended that you either get the size that perfectly matches your pools water capacity or the one which has a bigger capacity. While getting a saltwater system designed for a smaller pool will work fine initially, it will not be durable enough to last you more than a year. Therefore, it is vital to make an informed decision when choosing your saltwater system.

Another thing to consider is the cost of the systems replacement cells. All saltwater systems need a cell replacement every 3-5 years which is why you need to make sure you can afford them.

Using Chlorine As Pool Disinfectant

Chlorine has been a traditional product for pool cleaning for over 50 years. It became the standard because technology and available disinfectants made the pools easy to clean and maintain.

Pool disinfection often relies on chlorine tablets to clean and disinfect pool water from germs, bacteria, and algae. Tablets are dispensed into an external chemical feeder or in-pool floating device mounted next to the pool equipment.

The most convenient way to dispense chlorine tablets into a pool is with an external automatic feeder. While the pump is running, the water flows over the tablets, the tablet chlorine dissolves slowly in the pool water.

Changing the distribution rate to keep your chlorine levels in the optimal range can be easily done with the dial on the chemical feeder. The dial adjusts the amount of water flowing over the tablets this changes the rate at which the tablets dissolve and are released into the pool water.

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Check The Salt Cell Every Three Months

Most salt generators have automatic alerts that flash when the cells need to be changed, but even if they dont, you need to inspect them consistently.

Youll be looking for buildup or debris that might have gotten past your filter.

If theres anything in it, flush it thoroughly with a high-pressure hose.

You may even need to chip calcium buildup away with a plastic tool.

The Difference Between Saltwater And Chlorine Pools

How to Convert a Chlorine Pool to Salt Water

The water in traditional chlorine pools must be sampled and balanced with liquid or tablet chlorine. Alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness must be adjusted as well. Saltwater pools require the same chemicals except chlorine, although you may need to shock a saltwater pool once in a while.

Instead of relying on store-bought chlorine, saltwater pools create their own through electrolysis. You add pool grade salt to a chlorine generator. Then the generator runs salty water through two electrically charged plates, converting it to chlorine. The pool water is still sanitized with chlorine, but the process differs from that of a traditional chlorine pool.

Although each style of pool is sanitized with the same substance, the chlorine in a saltwater pool may be different than what youre used to experiencing. According to In the Swim, saltwater chlorine generation results in fewer chloramines, which are the real culprit of the feeling and smell often associated with traditional chlorine pools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, chloramines are a type of combined chlorine that form in water and emit gas into the surrounding air. They cause the well-known chlorine smell, eye redness and, sometimes, respiratory irritation.

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Maintaining Your Salt System

Even though these generators are great about maintaining a balanced chlorine level once youve found the right setting, you’ll still want to occasionally check the chemistry just to make sure everything is in balance.

Salt water pools have a tendency to have high pH levels that need to be dealt with to prevent scaling and cloudy water muriatic acid can be added to reduce high pH levels.

Youll also want to keep it as clean as possible. Just like a chlorine pool, your salt water pool needs to be brushed and vacuumed and kept free of visible debris.

Your pump also needs to be maintained to keep water flowing which will maximize your salt cells effectiveness and make it last longer.

How Do I Switch From Baquacil To A Salt System

Shock the Pool! Balance your pools water, and then use either liquid chlorine or non-chlorine shock. This will break apart the molecular bonds of the biguanides. Once you add the shock, check your pool water daily and add more chlorine to the pool if your test kit shows the level above zero. Keep adding chlorine until you are no longer getting a reading of baquacil in your water. During this time you will notice that your pool water may change different colors and you will have a residual of waste at the bottom of your pool. This is normal. Vacuum up the waste directly to waste, if you have a cartridge filter you will need to clean your cartridges after each cleaning.

This process may take a day or could take a week. The duration is determined by how much baquacil is in your pool and how much chlorine you are adding. Start with 2 gallons of bleach per 10,000 gallons, or if using non-chlorine shock, use 8 lbs per 10,000 gals. Run the filter 24/7 until the water clears, backwashing if needed.

Repeat the treatment if your pool water does not clear within a week. Usual time required is 3-5 days, but it can take longer or require additional chlorine if biguanide levels are high or if the pool water was in poor condition before treatment.

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Starting Up The Salt Chlorine Generator

It is very important to start off with good pool water. Your water chemistry should start off at the following values:

Salt: 3,000 3,500 PPMFree Chlorine: 1.0 3.0 PPMpH: 7.2 7.8Cyanuric Acid : 50 75 PPMTotal Alkalinity: 80 120 PPMCalcium Hardness: 150 400 PPM

At start up it is best to shock your pool from an outside source like a standard granular pool shock. Then, wait until the chlorine level has returned to between 1 to 3 PPM before turning on the salt system. Now its time to kick on your salt system. We suggest setting the system to 50% chlorine production and let the system run for 24 hours. After 24 hours test your pool water with a good test strip to see if your free chlorine is between 1-3 PPM. If your chlorine is too high or too low, dial your chlorine product up or down in 10% increments and retest your chlorine in 24 hours. Repeat this process until the proper chlorine level is reached. The nice thing is that once the salt system is dialed in it is pretty much a set-it-and-forget system, because it is always there producing natural chlorine for your pool at the desired amount to keep your pool crystal clear. Salt systems also have a superchlorinate feature which shocks your pool. So if you ever run into demanding water conditions then this feature comes in handy to shock your pool and get your pool water looking clear again.

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Install Your New Saltwater System


Installing the saltwater system that you have chosen is very simple. Be sure to carefully read and follow the instructions in the manufacturers manual. You should then slowly fill your above ground pool with fresh water. According to the manual, you should be able to know whether you need to add some salt to the pool once it is filled, or during the filling process. However, you should not turn on your saltwater system until your pool is filled. At this stage, you should be able to precisely determine the proper ratio of water to salt. This ratio varies based on pool size and capacity.

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Its Difficult To Drain A Saltwater Pool

In most places, you can simply drain the water from a chlorine pool into the local sewer system. That is not so with a saltwater pool. Many towns and cities have banned the drainage of saltwater pools into the sewer system, which means that pool owners have to have saltwater hauled away in tanker trucks.

Other municipalities require pool owners to pump the salt water into their homes sanitary drainage system. Regulations tend to shift and change around this issue, so even if draining a saltwater pool into your sewer grates is currently legal where you live, it may not be in the future.

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 Much Salt Does The System Require

The amount of salt your pool requires depends on size of your pool. Your chlorinator needs a certain salt level to keep everything optimal. Check the instruction manual as it will advise what the desired level is, it usually ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 ppm . Don’t worry, it’s all there in the manual and if you run into any trouble with your computations, you can just Contact Us with your pool specifications and chlorinator model and we’ll do all the math for you!

A common misconception is that more salt is better, this is not the case. High salt levels could lead to over conductivity within the water and the resistor inside the chlorinator box to overheat and trip. Some Salt Water Chlorinators will have a low salt, LED light to alert you to the need to adjust your salt level.

Saltwater Pools Come With Health And Environmental Concerns

How to Convert Your Pool to Salt Water

Human skin absorbs sodium, salt, and chlorine from a saltwater pool. Providers have linked numerous health concerns to sodium being absorbed through the skin.

Providers have also linked higher heart mortality risks to sodium absorption through the skin, particularly among people with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Circulatory issues
  • History of stroke

Pets can also get sick from drinking saltwater and concerns that saltwater systems damage the environment have even led to Ban the Brine movements.

These movements have resulted in the banning of saltwater pools in some areas, including Los Angeles County in California.

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Prepare The Hot Tub For Conversion To A Salt Water Tub

Now you need to prepare the spa for the saltwater system installation. For the system to work properly, you need to start it with fresh, clean water. Contamination and residues of hot tub sanitizers will interfere with the operation of the saltwater system.

1.Clean and drain a hot tub

Clean the hot tub with a hot tub cleaner before draining to remove contaminants from inside of the spa plumbing and jets. Drain the water and clean the surface.

2.Refill the hot tub

Refill the hot tub as usual but use a hose with a filter to ensure maximum water purity.

3.Check hot tub water chemistry

saltwater systems require balanced and pure water to start and work correctly. Check the water with test strips and balance the water if needed .

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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Salt Water Pool Vs Chlorine Pool Cost

The difference in the cost of a salt water pool vs. a chlorine pool lies mainly in the cost of chlorine and the initial purchase of the salt system. Both pools use chlorine to keep algae and other bacteria away, providing a healthy environment for swimming.

A salt water pool creates chlorine with a chlorine generator from the salt added to the water. The cell which is the part that generates the chlorine will need replacing every 3 6 years at the cost of about $800. You will also need salt a few times per year at an average price of $10 per 40-pound bag.

In comparison, a chlorine pool needs to have chlorine added quite often. How often depends on the size of your pool and the results of your weekly water testing. Its typical to go through 1 2 buckets of chlorine tablets a year at the cost of $100 to $755 in addition to other balancing chemicals.

The Cons Of A Salt Water Pool

How to Convert your Swimming Pool to a Saltwater Pool a Step by Step Video

Salt water pool conversion does come with a few drawbacks. Most homeowners feel that these drawbacks are so mild that they arent enough to change their minds. If youre willing to deal with a bit of a startup costs and some changes to your maintenance plan, its simple enough.

  • Startup costs
  • Specialized outside help

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How To Make The Switch From Salt Water To Chlorine

Many people find switching from salt water to chlorine is much easier than switching from chlorine to salt water. The main issue is to get the salt water out as much as you can.

In order to get remnants of the salt water out, many experts advise draining the pool and refilling it. But, it is not advised that you simply drain the water out into your yard. Draining salt water pools like that can hurt the ecosystem because salt breaks down into various components that can be harmful to the environment. Thats why a truck needs to be brought in to suck the water out. As you can imagine, this can become costly depending on the size of your pool and layout of your yard.

Even when you do this, there may some salt residue, but it should be extremely low. Basically by draining your salt water pool when you want to make the switch to chlorine, you are starting from scratch. You obviously no longer need salt for your pool. This is going to be replaced with chlorine tablets.

Choose The Right Salt Chlorinator

Salt chlorinators are rated for use in specific sizes of pools, usually in gallons. To find a chlorinator that will effectively generate enough chlorine for your pool, choose one that is rated for a pool at least 1/3 larger than your pool.

If you choose one that is rated for your pool size, your salt chlorinator will have to work at 100% output at all times. This will result in higher energy use and place more strain on the salt cell, which will limit its lifespan.

To calculate the size of your pool in gallons, measure the dimensions in feetlength, width, average depth. To find the average depth, add the depth of the shallow end with the depth of the deep end and divide by two.

Next, multiply the width by the length by the average depth, and then multiply by 7.5 to find the gallon capacity of your pool x 7.5.

Saltwater systems also come with added features, like system control and diagnostics. So choose one based on your budget and preferences.

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Saltwater Pool Vs Chlorinated Pool

A saltwater pool gets cleaned using a filtering system called a salt chlorine generator. The system uses electricity to turn salt into chlorine, which cleans the pool.

In a chlorinated pool, chlorine tablets or granules are physically added on a regular basis for the same purpose.

In both pool types, its important to still check the pH levels and alkalinity of the pool so it stays sanitized and the chemicals stay balanced.

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Salt Water Pool Maintenance

How to Convert a Salt Water Pool to Freshwater

Salt water pool maintenance costs about $45 per month if you do it yourself, and $80 to $150 per month if you pay a cleaning service. You can save on this cost if you close the pool for a few months every winter for around $300. Your salt water pool will need to be cleaned regularly from debris that falls or blows into it, dust that settles in the water, and salt buildupsalt solids can collect on the bottom of the pool.

Depending on the price you pay, weekly services can include:

  • Water testing and balancing
  • Vacuuming the pool

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