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How To Turn Pool To Saltwater

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How Much Do Saltwater Above Ground Pools Cost

Converting Your Pool To Salt Water

The cost of a saltwater pool is initially more than that of chlorine pools. Thats because the installation and initial purchase for a saltwater chlorination system can be around $1,000 to $2,000 depending on your pool size. However, in time, it could save you money since you wont have to buy chlorine tablets as often.

How To Convert An Aboveground Pool To Saltwater

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger. Amy Bobinger has been a writer and editor at wikiHow since 2017. She especially enjoys writing articles that help people overcome interpersonal hurdles but frequently covers a variety of subjects, including health and wellness, spirituality, gardening, and more. Amy graduated with a B.A. in English Lit from Mississippi College in 2011 and now lives in her hometown with her husband and two young sons. This article has been viewed 15,099 times.Learn more…

Saltwater pools are getting more and more popular thanks to their softer water and reduced irritation to your eyes and skin. If you have an above-ground pool, you might have wondered how difficult it would be to convert it to a saltwater pool. Luckily, it’s easy to set up a salt system, and maintenance is usually easier than caring for a regular pool.

Salt Water Hot Tub Conversion: A Brief Overview

There are two ways to convert your tub to saltwater. The more straightforward among the two is simply dropping in, a drop-in saltwater chlorinator. What is a saltwater chlorinator, though? It is a device that you can place in the middle of your hot tub or fix by an interior side. Once you plug it into the electric outlet, you will have free saltwater in your hot tub.

The problem with such a contraption is that it is not as safe as an inline salt water chlorinator. Thats because theres an electric wire hanging within your pool when you use a drop-in chlorinator. Needless to say, it is not as aesthetic or safe. Safety is the senior concern because even if you find a way to hide the wire, it could get exposed due to various reasons and pose an electrocution hazard.

However, if you do not have any children or pets, it can be a practical solution to generate saltwater without having to take apart your hot tubs plumbing. With that out of the way, the safer way to convert your hot tub to salt water is to turn it into a saltwater hot tub by installing a similar chlorinator into the plumbing of your hot tub. And for that, you have to take specific steps so that you do not end up with an oversalted or an under-chlorinated tub.

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What To Consider Beforehand

Saltwater pools require a larger initial investment. But you will save on chlorine in the long run.

Saltwater systems are also more complex than chlorine pools. They have more parts, such as the circuit board, salt cell, flow sensor, and flow switch. So you may need to hire an experienced technician if you ever encounter issues with the system.

Salt is corrosive and has the potential to damage certain materials. It also creates high pH levels and calcium build-up in pool equipment. So you have to take precautions, such as balancing the water and maintaining salt cells.

You should also avoid using specific types of pool liner, heaters, lighting, fixtures, and masonry that will corrode over time. Instead, use a cupronickel heater, or install a sacrificial zinc anode that will absorb all the corrosion.

Getting More Use Out Of Your Salt Cell

How To Convert an Above Ground Pool to Saltwater

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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The Biggest Misconception: Saltwater Pools Are Chlorine

Lets start by busting the biggest misconception about saltwater pools a saltwater pool is not a chlorine pool. Wrong. Chlorine is required in both types of pools to keep the water sanitized it just gets added to the water differently.

A saltwater pool is a chlorine pool. The difference is instead of adding chlorine to the water, you add salt, and a salt-chlorine generator converts salt to chlorine.

Unfortunately, the chlorine created by the generator is unstabilized chlorine that dissipates more quickly. This means the chlorine in a saltwater pool doesnt have as much sanitizing power.

Why chlorine systems beat saltwater systems: the basics.

What Exactly Is A Salt Pool

Before the critics jump into the comment section to correct us, we understand that the name itself may be a tad misleading. A salt pool is an alternative option to the standard chlorinated swimming pool. As water passes through the cell, electrolysis occurs.

Electrolysis is the process in which the salt and water split into hydrogen and hypochlorous acid and converts to chlorine. Sure, you are still using chlorine to sanitize your pool, however, its just in a different form.

Another thing that might be misleading is the idea that a salt pool mimics water you find at the beach. Although I do love the beach, this is inaccurate. To compare, ocean water is at 50,000 parts per million while a salt pool sits close to 3,000 ppm. Therefore, it is only a fraction of the amount of salt you find at the beach. The cool thing about salt systems is once the chlorine finally breaks down, it becomes salt again.

The chlorine produced by salt is a higher quality than the traditional chlorine. By converting to a salt pool, you no longer need to purchase chlorine tablets, liquid chlorine, or shock.

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Decide How To Convert To A Saltwater Tub Chlorine Vs Bromine

There are two ways to get a saltwater hot tub chlorine generators and bromine generators. Chlorinators are more popular as they are at least half the price of brominators . There are also saltwater systems that can produce both chlorine or bromine depending on the type of salt you use .


Note: Only bromine generators should be usedin wooden hot tubs because chlorine has a bad effect on wood.


I cant give a simple answer to which is better, bromine or chlorine? This age-old dilemma also applies to saltwater systems. hoose what is more suitable for you based on the characteristics.

Chlorinator is my personal choice for saltwater hot tubs since it has significant advantages: the cost and the availability of the device and the cost of salt.

Tip: If you are still hesitant, buy a salt system in which you can use both salts and try it by yourself you can use theControlOMatic SmarterSpa.

Why Switch To A Saltwater Pool

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

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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Salt Water Pools Cost Less To Maintain

While you may have been led to believe that all you need to do to maintain a salt water pool is throw in some salt every few weeks, its actually a bit more involved than that.

The good news is, salt water pool maintenance can cost a lot less than caring for a chlorine pool, which can be one of the most important deciding factors in making the switch. Exactly how much less expensive salt water is than chlorine over the lifetime of your pool depends on several factors such as where you live, the size of your pool, the quality of the equipment you use, and how well you maintain it.

The up-front cost of a chlorinator ranges from a few hundred to a thousand dollars or more. Long-term costs include replacing the chlorinator cellthe part that actually converts salt to chlorineevery five years or so, provided you maintain your chlorinator well.

Youll also still need to keep your water balanced, but another positive aspect of a salt water pool conversion is youll likely require fewer chemicals to keep the water balanced.

So while things like test strips or digital testers and a few chemicals will still have to be part of your maintenance budget, your monthly chemical costs will still be lower with a salt water pool, than with chlorine.

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.

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Pool Water Delivery Cost

A 15,000-gallon pool will cost from $80 to $160 using your garden hose or $600 to $1,200 trucked in. While its entirely possible to fill your pool with a garden hose, it will take some time. A water tanker holds about 9,000 lbs. of water, and youll need a tanker and a half of water. It costs more to hire tankers, but it is much faster.

  • City Water Having a pool can increase your water bill by about $4 to $20 per month, due to the 2 inches per week loss of water per day due to evaporation. The average price per gallon of water ranges from $0.002/gallon to $0.011/gallon .
  • Well Water Well water isnt treated whereas city water is. The metals and minerals can stain your pool wall and possibly turn the water brown. You can filter the water before it goes into the pool with something like a Hayword Bobby filter on the end of your garden hose which filters out the impurities, or treat the water once its in the pool with a metal control treatment or water clarifier.

Installing Your Salt System

How to Convert a Chlorine Pool to Salt Water

So youve made the decision to convert your pool to salt water and now its time to decide whether to hire an expert or DIY it.

If you decide to do it yourself, I say go for it!

You can do it in a weekend and it will save you at least a few hundred bucks, so why not?

Keep in mind that the task does involve some basic pool plumbing and electrical work, cutting and gluing PVC pipes, and using hand tools, though. So, if you are not comfortable with that, theres no shame in calling a pro.

If youre ready to get started on your own, heres what you need to do:

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How To Convert Chlorine Pool To Salt Water

Converting chlorine water into salt water is a lot simpler than one might think. But first, you need to understand the chlorination process.

The natural salt molecules in water have the potential to be converted to chlorine when they react to the electrode. These electrodes meet them in the natural chlorine generator that is a basic necessity of a saltwater pool.

A chlorine generator uses electricity to turn the natural salts into chlorine so that it keeps your pool clean without you having to add in extra amounts from the store. However, it is crucial to measure the salt levels in the water and make sure they are up to the level at which the generator starts working. If not, you will inevitably have to add some store-bought salt in the water manually. Once the salt levels are enough to get the generator started, you can begin to enjoy your new, softer, more luxurious pool water. Overall, a saltwater pool requires fewer chemicals and balancing, which makes it easier to maintain.

Salt Water Pool Conversion In 5 Steps

After you have purchased your salt system it’s time to install it in your existing pool plumbing system. It should be installed at the end of your plumbing after the pump, filter and heater right before the return valve to your pool. This ensures that the freshly chlorinated water that has passed through the salt system and cell enters the pool directly.

The ideal setup is to run your control panel and pool pump from the same power source and timer to ensure simultaneous operation. This keeps the entire system is in sync and ensures that the pump is running during chlorination. You can print off our salt water pool installation diagram for easy reference.

If you decide on a system that requires a more complex installation you will be required to do some basic plumbing and electrical work. It’s recommended that you hire a plumber or pool professional to complete the conversion if you arent comfortable with either of these tasks. If you want to try on your own you can follow our step by step guide on how to complete a salt water pool conversion.

  • Adding Salt
  • 1. Establish Location for Installation

    In most inground swimming pools you will be adding the salt system in your existing plumbing that is fitted for 1.5-2.5 inches diameter. It should be installed after the pump, filter and heater and within proximity of the power source and control panel.

    2. Plumbing, Flow Switch and Check Valve

    3. Sacrificial Zinc Anode

    4. Control Panel and Power Supply

    5. Adding Salt

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    Cost To Convert An Above

    Expense Type
    Salt $53

    The total cost of converting an above-ground swimming pool to a saltwater pool is around $803. Note that the estimate mentioned applies to a standard-sized 10,000-gallon above-ground pool.

    We can break down that cost estimate even further so you can fully understand what youre paying for. The relevant details are included below.

    How To Change An Above Ground Pool To Salt Water

    Converting to a Saltwater Pool? Know the Facts First

    Related Articles

    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.

  • Things You Will Need



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    Saltwater Systems Cause Corrosion

    Corrosion is a common problem with saltwater pools. Saltwater systems pass salt through an electrolytic cell to produce chlorine. Pool water can become extremely over-chlorinated and corrosive if the sodium hypochlorite levels get too high.

    Saltwater can wear away at the deck anchors of the ladder and diving board, causing safety issues. Over the long term, the salt itself can corrode anything near the pool where water evaporates like equipment, lighting fixtures, and cement.

    How To Convert Your Hot Tub To Saltwater A Step

    Saltron Mini Salt System The easiest way to convert

    But not suitable for every hot tub. Read more to know why, what other methods exist and how it all works.

    And you may have the following questions that we will answer in this article.

  • Can any hot tub be converted to a Saltwater tub?
  • What is better saltwater: Chlorinator or Brominator?
  • What is better: Drop-in or In-line saltwater system?
  • What do you need for conversion to a saltwater hot tub?
  • How to install a saltwater system?
  • How to maintain a saltwater hot tub?
  • Are saltwater hot tubs more expensive compared to Chlorine/Bromine tablets?
  • The main question is it possible to turn any hot tub into a saltwater tub? In a nutshell yes! Lets see how it works to understand why and how.

    Using a natural chemical reaction between salt and water electrolysis, saltwater systems provide your hot tub with a steady supply of chlorine or bromine. These are the same sanitizers that are commonly used for hot tub water, but with the saltwater system, they are produced naturally.

    You dont need to add salt daily. Only on the initial setup. The salt system generates chlorine/bromine after it breaks down back into salt and the cycle continues since salt does not evaporate from the water. You may need to add extra salt only if you add a lot of new water. Otherwise, the system uses the same salt till the next refill . This makes the installation of this system more attractive continuous savings on chemicals.

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