The Effects of High Salt Levels in Your Pool and How to Fix Them

Saltwater pools are becoming more popular among pool owners who want to enjoy the benefits of chlorine without the harsh chemicals. Saltwater pools use a salt chlorine generator to convert salt into chlorine, which sanitizes the water and keeps it clear and sparkling.

However, saltwater pools also require proper maintenance and monitoring of the salt levels, which can affect the performance of the generator and the quality of the water. In this article, we will explain what happens if there is too much salt in your pool, how to test the salt levels, and how to lower them if needed.

what happens if salt level is too high in pool

What Happens If There Is Too Much Salt In Your Pool?

The optimal range of salt needed in a saltwater pool lies between 2700 to 3400 ppm, with the ideal amount being 3200 ppm. This level ensures that the salt chlorine generator can produce enough chlorine to keep the pool clean and safe, without causing any adverse effects on the pool equipment or the swimmers. However, if the salt level exceeds this range, there may be some problems that arise.

One of the most obvious effects of having too much salt in your pool is that the water will taste salty. This may not be a big issue for some people, but it can be unpleasant for others, especially if they accidentally swallow some water while swimming. Moreover, having too much salt in your pool can also cause eye and skin irritation. The high concentration of salt draws moisture from the eyes, causing dryness, redness, and itchiness. Additionally, it can make your skin feel dry, tight, and uncomfortable after swimming.

Another effect of having too much salt in your pool is that it can damage your pool equipment. Salt is a corrosive element that can cause metal parts to rust and deteriorate over time. This can affect your pool pump, filter, heater, ladder, rails, lights, and other metal components. Furthermore, some salt chlorine generators may not function properly at high salt levels. They may produce too much chlorine, which can bleach your pool liner and cause chemical imbalances in your water. Alternatively, they may produce too little chlorine, which can lead to algae growth and bacterial contamination in your pool.

The negative effects of high salt levels in your pool usually start to show when the salinity reaches above 5000 to 6000 ppm. However, some factors may influence how sensitive your pool is to high salt levels, such as the type and age of your equipment, the quality of your water source, and the frequency and intensity of your pool usage. Therefore, it is important to regularly test your salt levels and keep them within the optimal range.

How To Test Salt Levels In Your Pool

There are different methods you can use to test the salt levels in your pool. These include testing strips, liquid testing kits, monitoring your chlorine generator’s readings, or using an electronic salinity meter.

Testing strips are easy to use and inexpensive. They work by changing color when dipped into the pool water. You can then compare the color with a chart to determine the approximate salinity level. However, testing strips are not very accurate and may give inconsistent results depending on the lighting conditions and the quality of the strips.

Liquid testing kits are more precise but also more complicated. They work by adding a reagent to a sample of pool water and measuring the color change with a titrator or a comparator. You can then use a formula or a table to calculate the exact salinity level. However, liquid testing kits are more prone to user error and require more time and skill to perform.

Monitoring your chlorine generator’s readings is another way to check the salt levels in your pool. Most chlorine generators have a digital display that shows the current salinity level or an indicator light that signals if the level is too high or too low. However, these readings may not be very reliable as they can drift over time due to calibration issues or wear and tear of the generator. Therefore, you should always verify these readings with another testing method.

Electronic salinity meters are the most accurate and convenient way to test the salt levels in your pool. They work by measuring the electrical conductivity of the pool water with a probe or a sensor. You can then read the exact salinity level on a digital screen or an app on your smartphone. Electronic salinity meters are easy to use and provide instant results. However, they are also more expensive than other testing methods and require regular calibration and maintenance.

How To Lower Salt Levels In Your Pool

If you find out that your salt level is too high in your pool, you need to lower it as soon as possible to avoid any negative effects on your pool or yourself. The only way to lower the salt level in your pool is to dilute the water by draining some of it and refilling it with fresh water. However, you need to be careful not to drain too much water or too fast, as this can cause structural damage to your pool or affect the water balance.

To calculate how much water you need to drain and refill, you can use the following formula:

New salt level = Current salt level x (Current water volume – Drained water volume) / Current water volume

For example, if your current salt level is 6000 ppm and your current water volume is 20,000 gallons, and you want to lower the salt level to 3200 ppm, you need to drain and refill:

New salt level = 6000 x (20,000 – Drained water volume) / 20,000

3200 = 6000 x (20,000 – Drained water volume) / 20,000

Drained water volume = 9333.33 gallons

Therefore, you need to drain about 9333 gallons of water and replace it with fresh water to lower the salt level to 3200 ppm.

You should drain the water gradually and in stages, not all at once. You should also test the salt level after each stage to monitor the progress and avoid over-diluting the water. Moreover, you should check and adjust the other chemical parameters of your pool after refilling it, such as pH, alkalinity, hardness, and chlorine.


Saltwater pools are a great alternative to traditional chlorine pools, but they also require proper care and maintenance. One of the most important aspects of maintaining a saltwater pool is keeping the salt level within the optimal range of 2700 to 3400 ppm. Having too much salt in your pool can cause several problems, such as salty taste, eye and skin irritation, equipment damage, and generator malfunction.

To prevent these issues, you should regularly test your salt level with a reliable testing method and lower it if needed by diluting the water with fresh water. By doing so, you can enjoy your saltwater pool for many years to come.