S For Winterizing A Salt Water Pool
Never closed a salt water swimming pool before? Not to worry! There are a few key differences compared to closing a regular chlorine pool, but its still a simple process that most pool owners can handle themselves. To prevent algae growth, surface stains and expensive pool damage, weve broken down the process for winterizing a salt water pool into 10 easy steps.
Drain The Water From Your Pool
Use a pool pump or a hose to entirely drain water from your above ground pool. There are pumps in the market that are specifically designed to remove water from above ground pools. These pumps can either be purchased or rented from your local pool supply store. You should take note of your citys regulations when it comes to dumping large amounts of water in alleyways and streets. If you are uncertain, it is advisable to seek guidance from your local water conservation department.
Ottawa Pool Builders Provide Tips For Switching To Saltwater Swimming Pools
Depending on your skin type, chlorine can be a tricky option for your pool. Too much, and it irritates your skin and eyes. Too little, and your pool chemical balance is off. That doesnt even begin to touch upon the unmistakable chemical smell, which some find off-putting. Thats why, more and more often, people are choosing saltwater systems for custom pool and spa designs. Saltwater systems provide a softer, gentler pool sanitizing option compared to traditional pools.
If you want to convert your swimming pool to saltwater, heres everything you need to know before making the switch.
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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.
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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What’s 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.
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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Check Your Existing Systems
The first step is to examine all of your existing parts and systems. This includes the pipes, interior pool material, pumps, and all other systems that either touch or are close to your water. I recommend this for one reason: You need to know if salt will hurt those systems before you convert.
Its possible to replace smaller parts early, but if your interior pool material is a bad choice for saltwater, then you may need to wait until you replace it to switch over. At that time, you can change to a material that works better with salt.
If all of your components are suitable for the conversion, then youre ready to proceed.
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.
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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.
Salt Water Pool Filters
The cost for an in-ground salt water pool pump with a filter is $500 to $1,600. Salt water filters are filled with sand, as that is an effective and affordable method of filtering the water.
For an above-ground pool, a pump and filter system costs $220 for 2,600 8,500 gallons of water. If you have a larger pool than that, expect to pay $280 for 4,800 15,000 gallons of water. Filters only for above-ground salt water pools cost from $100 to $400.
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How To Change An Above Ground Pool To Salt Water
Saltwater swimming pools are often identified as a low maintenance, eco-friendly alternative to traditional chlorine pools for above-ground and in-ground pool owners alike. Despite the allure of a seemingly “natural” alternative to chemical-laden chlorine pools, Vivo Pools CEO Willan Johnson says saltwater swimming pools do contain chemicals – including trace amounts of chlorine gas and hydrochloric acid. In the CNBC article “10 Things Your Pool Guy Didn’t Tell You,” Johnson says both saltwater and chlorine pools have unique benefits and encourages homeowners to know the facts before making the switch. If you’ve done your research and you’re ready to convert your above-ground pool to saltwater treatment, the task is an achievable do-it-yourself project that won’t break the bank.
Determine the type of saltwater system that best suits your needs. Saltwater chlorination systems, also called saltwater generators and saltwater sanitizing systems, keep the pool water clean, evenly distribute salt-generated chlorine and use sensors to stabilize a pool’s pH balance. Two options are available for above-ground pools – an easy-to-install generator that hangs over the wall of the pool and an in-line generator that mounts on the outside of the pool next to the filter. Take into consideration budget, size of the pool, and maintenance when deciding on a saltwater system that is right for you.
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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The Difference Between Saltwater And Chlorine Pools
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.
Why Should I Drain Pool Water
Due to factors like; harsh environments, chemicals, and biological remains pool water treatment becomes ineffective after five to seven years.;Over time, calcium from municipal water tends to accumulate. Salt deposits develop on the swimming pool walls and equipment, reducing their effectiveness. Therefore, it is advised to either completely drain the pool, and refill it with fresh water, or recycle the existing pool water. The advantage of the latter method is that you can reuse 90% of the water .;
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Converting Your Pool To Salt Water
If you do decide to convert your pool to a salt water system, there are some basic things that will help you out.;
For example, choose your salt water generator based on cost and pool size. These babies can get expensive, so dont go overboard with the biggest one when a smaller model will serve your purposes.
Make the decision upfront as to whether you’ll be installing the system yourself or hiring a professional.
Read up on exactly how its done and decide whether or not you have the time, patience and willingness to learn to get the job done right.
If you think you need a professional, get estimates and include that in your financial decision.
Know that you’ll sometimes still have to use regular chlorine.
While salt chlorinators do usually have a super chlorinate function that will give it a boost, its not a substitute for pool shock.
Usually, your pool will still need to be shocked at least once a month to keep algae at bay.
Calculating How Much Salt To Add
Use the calculator below to figure out how much salt to add or water to replace in your pool. All you need to do is plug in your pool volume and your current salt levels and hit calculate. I already plugged in the ideal salt level of 3,200 ppm, but if you feel strongly that you want it to be lower or higher, you can adjust it as needed.
And its as simple as that!
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Converting A Salt Pool Back To Traditional Chlorine
This may come as a surprise to some, but not everyone loves salt chlorine generators. Each pool owner has their reasons for not liking salt pools. Some people experience rusting, others have softstone decks, or just dont like plunking down a few hundred dollars for a replacement cell. No matter what the reason is, these pool owners want the easiest way of converting their pool from saltwater to traditional chlorine, a.k.a. freshwater.
In this article, we will discuss the water chemistry and hardware hurdles to overcome when making the switch. But the question asked most often is the following:
How Do Salt Test Strips Work
Test strips are the easiest way to test pools and they work the same for both chlorine and salt water pools.;
They’re made with pads on the end of the strips that are specially treated with a chemical that reacts with pool chemicals.;
You just hold the strip under water for a few seconds and then let it set out for a few minutes.
You’ll then read the color on the strip and compare it to the chart in your manufacturers instructions.
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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.
Best Time To Switch From Baquacil To A Salt Chlorine Generator
If you close your pool down for the winter months, making the switch is best done when you open your pool in the spring as this should be the time when the residual of baquacil is the lowest. Outside of this advice, the best time to switch may be when you cant get the pool water clear, no matter what you try, and all the pool store has to offer is another $100 solution.
If you have been using Baquacil because of an aversion to chlorine do not worry. Salt chlorinator pools have all of the good traits of chlorine, without the smelly water, itchy skin, red eyes and damaged hair. The water is soft and silky, without a hint of chlorine or saltiness.
If you have any other questions on why, how, or when to convert from Baquacil to a;Salt Chlorinator, leave a comment below, or give us a call anytime, at;800-288-7946!
In The Swim Staff Blogger
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What Is A Saltwater Pool
One of the biggest misconceptions about a saltwater pool is that they don’t use chlorine to keep the water clean. This is not the case, as chlorine is still used as a sanitizing agent. The difference is that with a saltwater pool the salt works with a salt cell to produce the chlorine for you as it is needed. This not only means you won’t have to handle liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets, but your pool will generally have lower chlorine levels than it would with a traditional system.
As the chlorine is regulated through your salt cell and its connected automation system, your pool will not experience the constant seesaw of spikes and drops commonly associated with traditional chlorine pools. For a more detailed comparison, check out our breakdown of chlorine vs. saltwater vs. mineral pools.
Everything You Need To Know About Salt Water Pools
Have you heard people talking about salt water pools and wondered what all the hype was about?
Im not here to convince you one way or the other.
The decision on whether to have a salt water pool or not is usually just a matter of preference.
All I’m here to do is give you the low-down on what they are so you can decide for yourself.
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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.
You’ll be looking for buildup or debris that might have gotten past your filter.
If there’s anything in it, flush it thoroughly with a high-pressure hose.
You may even need to chip calcium buildup away with a plastic tool.