Salt water pools are becoming more popular among pool owners who want to enjoy the benefits of chlorine without the harsh chemicals. Salt water pools use a salt chlorine generator that converts salt into chlorine, which sanitizes the pool water.
However, adding salt to your pool is not as simple as dumping it in and jumping in right away. There are some factors that you need to consider before you can safely swim in your salt water pool.
The Factors That Affect How Long You Have to Wait
The main factors that affect how long you have to wait after adding salt to your pool are:
- The amount of salt you add
- The type of salt you use
- The water temperature
- The water circulation
- The pool size and shape
The Amount of Salt You Add
The amount of salt you add to your pool depends on the salinity level that your salt chlorine generator requires. Typically, the ideal salinity range is between 2,700 to 3,400 parts per million (PPM), but you should check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your model.
If you are adding salt for the first time, you will need more salt than if you are topping up the existing salt level. For example, if you have a 20,000-gallon pool and you are adding salt for the first time, you will need about 568 pounds of salt. However, if you are adding salt after heavy rain or fresh water refill, you will need less salt to maintain the optimal salinity.
The Type of Salt You Use
The type of salt you use for your pool also affects how long you have to wait before swimming.
- You should use pool-grade salt (sodium chloride) that is at least 99% pure and free of any additives or impurities.
- Avoid using table salt, rock salt, or sea salt, as they may contain iodine, anti-caking agents, or other minerals that can damage your salt chlorine generator or cause staining or scaling on your pool surfaces.
The Water Temperature
The water temperature affects how fast the salt dissolves in your pool. The warmer the water, the faster the salt will dissolve. However, the water temperature also affects how much chlorine your salt chlorine generator produces.
The higher the water temperature, the more chlorine demand there is in your pool. Therefore, you need to balance the water temperature with the salinity level and the chlorine output to ensure that your pool is properly sanitized and safe to swim in.
The Water Circulation
The water circulation is essential for distributing the salt and the chlorine evenly throughout your pool. You should run your pool pump while adding salt to your pool and for at least 24 hours after adding it.
This will help dissolve the salt faster and prevent it from settling on the bottom or accumulating in certain areas of your pool. It will also help maintain a consistent chlorine level in your pool.
The Pool Size and Shape
The pool size and shape affect how long it takes for the salt and chlorine to reach all parts of your pool. Larger and irregularly shaped pools may require more time and more salt than smaller and rectangular pools.
You should also consider any features or accessories that may affect the water flow in your pool, such as waterfalls, fountains, jets, or slides. These may create areas where the salt or chlorine concentration is higher or lower than the rest of the pool.
How Long Should You Wait After Adding Salt to Your Pool?
There is no definitive answer to how long you should wait after adding salt to your pool before swimming. It depends on various factors, such as those mentioned above. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should wait at least 24 hours after adding salt to your pool before swimming. This will give you enough time for the salt to dissolve completely and for the chlorine level to stabilize in your pool.
However, before you swim in your saltwater pool, you should always test the water quality to make sure that it is safe and comfortable. You should check the following parameters:
- Salinity: Use a salinity test kit or a digital salinity meter to measure the salinity level in your pool. It should be within the range recommended by your salt chlorine generator manufacturer.
- Chlorine: Use a chlorine test kit or a digital chlorine meter to measure the free chlorine level in your pool. It should be between 1 to 3 PPM for optimal sanitation and comfort.
- pH: Use a pH test kit or a digital pH meter to measure the pH level in your pool. It should be between 7.2 to 7.6 for optimal chlorine efficiency and comfort.
- Alkalinity: Use an alkalinity test kit or a digital alkalinity meter to measure the total alkalinity level in your pool. It should be between 80 to 120 PPM for optimal pH stability and comfort.
- Calcium hardness: Use a calcium hardness test kit or a digital calcium hardness meter to measure the calcium hardness level in your pool. It should be between 200 to 400 PPM for optimal salt chlorine generator performance and comfort.
If any of these parameters are out of balance, you should adjust them accordingly before swimming in your pool. You can use pool chemicals, such as pH increaser, pH decreaser, alkalinity increaser, calcium increaser, or chlorine shock, to correct the water chemistry in your pool. Follow the instructions on the product labels and wait for the recommended time before swimming.
Salt water pools are a great alternative to traditional chlorine pools, as they offer a more natural and gentle way of sanitizing your pool water. However, they also require proper maintenance and care to ensure that they are safe and enjoyable.
One of the most important aspects of salt water pool maintenance is adding salt to your pool. You should add the right amount and type of salt to your pool and wait for at least 24 hours before swimming. You should also test and balance your water chemistry regularly to keep your pool in optimal condition.