Should You Convert Your Inground Pool To Saltwater
The benefits of converting your pool to a salt system are clear, but it might cause you more problems in the end if your pool is incompatible.
It might not be a good idea to switch to a salt system if your inground pool has any metal parts in the structure or if you have metal accessories. You might also choose to steer clear of salt if you have a plaster surface.
However, in most cases, unless your pool has metal walls that can corrode, a saltwater pool can make pool maintenance much easier and give you a better swimming experience overall.
Still thinking about your options when it comes to inground pools, and whether or not you’d like to use a salt system to keep it clean? Take our Pool Type Quiz, which includes a question about saltwater to help you figure out which type of pool best suits your needs:
If you’d like to learn more about salt systems, feel free to check out our guides below. Happy swimming!
How To Change Your Pool From Chlorine To Salt Water
There are many things to consider when switching from chlorine to salt water, the first being the type of salt system. This is determined by the size of your pool. You also need to take into consideration how much you want to spend on a salt system. The price starts around $400 and goes up from there.
The next big decision comes in whether to do it yourself or hire a company to do it. With such a big job, its best to spend a little more and hire a professional. Flower Mound Pool Care & Maintenance can help you make the switch as well as make sure you are choosing the right equipment.
Depending on the size of your pool and the equipment chosen, making the switch from chlorine to salt water can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500.
Getting More Use Out Of Your Salt Cell
A salt cell will usually last about 3-7 years. Some of them are rather costly to replace, so you will probably want to take steps to make sure you get the most use out of them.
Keeping the pH level balanced will go a long way towards keeping your salt cell healthy. The scaling caused by unbalanced pH levels can lead to deposits and build-up on your generator, causing it to wear out more quickly.
But even when the pH levels are normal, you can still get calcium build-up.
Keep the blades of your salt cell cleaned off brushing and hosing off any visible scaling.
Stubborn build-up can usually be dissolved in a mild acid solution.
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Benefits Of A Salt Water Pool
When youre thinking about changing from chlorine to salt water there are several pros and cons to consider. Heres a look at some of the benefits of making the switch:
- You dont need to buy chlorine or shock. Since a salt system makes its own chlorine, no need for those items anymore. Youll save a lot of money because the cost of both can really add up.
- Eliminates chlorine smell and irritation. One of the many reasons people make the switch from chlorine to salt water is because chlorine can irritate the skin and the eyes. With a saltwater pool youll soon realize you can open your eyes under water without them getting itchy and red.
- Eliminates fading. Chlorine pools have a tendency to fade swimsuits as well as turn blonde hair green. No worries about either happening with a saltwater pool. Your blonde hair will stay that way and your red swimsuit wont turn pink mid-season.
Decide Which Device You Use To Convert Drop
There are two types of saltwater system constructions Drop-in and In-line. Here, Ill give you an overview of each design and its pros and cons.
- Drop-in saltwater generators you only need to submerge the cell into the hot tub water to make it work.
Construction is very simple and consists of 2 main parts:
Control panel a control unit for adjusting the intensity and amount of chlorine or bromine extraction, a timer, and other functions depending on the model.
Electrolytic cell produces chlorine/bromine, consists of a plastic case containing electrodes. They are usually made of Titanium .
Some models are equipped with a cell holder, which is very convenient and used to place the cell in
Pros: price, easy installation
The drop-insaltwater systems are the best choice for hot tubs, as in-line ones are designed mostly for pools with a large volume of water, require professional installation, and are up to several times more expensive. But, you can still use them if you dont want extra cables in your spa.
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Things To Consider Before Switching From Salt Water To Chlorine
One of the main differences you may notice when you switch from salt water to chlorine is the feel of the water. With salt water, the issue of red eyes and skin irritants is much lower, despite the presence of chlorine. Also, with regular chlorine pools some people report issues of swimsuits fading and blonde hair turning color. If these types of things dont faze you, then the switch to chlorine may not be as difficult.
In the end, it comes down to what types of things youre willing to deal with when it comes to your pool. If the salt water maintenance and damage is too much to bear, then it may be time to think about switching from salt water to chlorine.
But, if you cant deal with the smell of the chlorine or some of the irritants that some people have problems with, then you may want to stick with your salt water pool.
While both types of pools require cleaning and maintenance, keep in mind that you should always have shock and chlorine on hand to keep your pool in optimal shape with a chlorine pool. The same rules apply as with salt water pools when it comes to skimming it to get out debris and vacuuming it regularly to keep algae out.
The Cons Of A Salt Water Pool
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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Salt Water Pools Have Softer Water
You might be surprised to learn that salt water pools contain far less salt than seawater. The oceans salt level is 35,000 parts per million , roughly ten times more salt than that water in a salt water pool.
As a result, the water feels quite soft, and you wont notice the salt in a salt water pool the same way you do at the beach. It doesnt even taste saltybut you still shouldnt drink it.
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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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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Balance Your Pool Water
Once you know that the saltwater conversion will work with your existing chemicals, its time to adjust your pool water and get it as close to normal as possible. Balance things in this exact order: chlorine, alkalinity, pH, stabilizer, calcium hardness, and other metals. Test your water again, and continue balancing as needed.
It may take several days to fully adjust your pool, especially if it wasnt balanced earlier. This is because it takes time for pool water to circulate, and the entire pool should be as well-balanced as possible before you continue. Remember to rest different parts of your pool, not just the area closest to where you put the chemicals in.
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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.
Protecting The Surrounding Area
Salt is a corrosive mineral, and regular pool equipment may not stand up to its effects. Stainless steel metals are particularly susceptible and steel metal pool fixtures such as ladders or diving board hardware may need to be replaced with corrosion-resistant brass fixtures. Wooden and concrete decks are also weakened by salt. Consider replacing the apron around your pool with composite decking. A mineral pool doesnt appreciably impact surrounding surfaces.
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What About The Pool Liner
If you have an inground pool with a galvanized wall behind the liner, and your liner springs a leak, the wall could potentially corrode due to the salt in the water.
Salt can also cause an issue for above ground pools, which tend to have metal parts make up the top of the pool. These metal parts, when exposed to salt, can rust over time
Why Switch To A Saltwater Pool
Many of the negatives from chlorine pools, such as the “chlorine smell,” skin and eye irritation, and the constant maintenance of chlorine levels don’t even exist with salt pools. And while you will still check the chemicals regularly, you’ll typically make less frequent adjustments since you’ll see fewer peaks and valleys in chemical and pH levels. With of fewer spikes in chlorine, irritation of eyes and skin is less common, and the pool’s water is gentler on hair and clothing. Water in a saltwater system also tends to feel “softer” and more luxurious to swim in.
And even though they cost more upfront, saltwater pools save money in the long-term due to less maintenance and chemical use.
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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.
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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Preparing Your Pool For Conversion
We only need to balance our pool water in order to convert it for use with a salt water chlorinator! Contrary to urban legends, theres no need to drain and completely change out our pool water if we want to convert it. The first thing we need to do is to balance our pool water to the following levels:
- Free Chlorine: 1-3 PPM
How Do Salt Water Pools Work
A saltwater pool needs a salt water chlorination system to function correctly. The salt system contains an electrolyzer which generates chlorine from the salt and water as the salt water passes through an electrical current. The process results in fewer chloramines, which softens the water, is good for aching joints, and doesn’t smell like chlorine.
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted inground pool installation companies:
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How Salt Water Pools Are Easier On Your Hair Skin And Eyes
If you have a chlorinated pool, chances are high that your kids have picked up a few pairs of swimming googles over the years. Opening your eyes underwater in a chlorinated pool is painful after all, youre allowing chemicals to come into contact with some of the most sensitive tissue in your body. Salt water is saline, and saline is the main ingredient in eyedrops and contact solution. Salt water pools are a lot gentler on your eyes, skin, and hair because theyre naturally biocompatible.
You May Need A New Pool Guy
Most pool companies exclusively service chlorine pools. Salt water pools are an entirely different process that require specialized knowledge for maintenance. If youre going to convert your pool to a salt water pool and you use a company for pool maintenance, it helps to choose a conversion company that also offers maintenance services. Pioneer Pools has you covered.
The Salt Water Pool Conversion Process
Converting a chlorine pool to a salt water pool requires three very important things a salt chlorinator system, something called a sacrificial anode, and pool salt. The salt chlorinator system is the system that will replace your traditional chlorine system. Its prepared with the pool salt to produce salt chlorine as necessary.
The sacrificial anode is a device that will help to mitigate corrosion. Since salt is a corrosive substance, operating a salt water pool without a sacrificial anode will lead to rust buildup The anode acts as a little snack for the salt in your pool. It will begin to corrode the anode first, which is easy and inexpensive to replace. These anodes can last several years and preserve the integrity of your pool.
Salt Water Pool Conversion
A salt water pool conversion is a lot easier than you might think. The addition of a salt system with a natural chlorine generator will transform any existing chemical chlorine pool so you can experience soft and luxurious water. Whether you are a residential pool owner or a pool service professional we will guide you through the simple step by step process.
The first step when considering converting your pool to salt water is understanding how the chlorination process works. The basic principle is that instead of adding chemical chlorine pucks or powder to your pool on a daily or weekly basis, your pool will produce chlorine naturally from the salt that is in the water by breaking down the salt molecules.
The salt water creates a more stable environment which means you will not only be able to create your own chlorine but you will need less chemicals and balancing. You will be decreasing your pool maintenance while being able to experience the benefits of soft and luxurious salt water. In addition, you also wont feel the harsh side effects of chloramines that cause things like red eyes, chemical odours and the sticky feeling that can be left on your skin after a swim.
We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of upgrading your pool to salt water as well as answer questions like how much it costs to convert your pool. We’ll start with the salt water pool conversion process including some helpful tips for keeping your pool healthy, sparkling clean and functioning properly.