Salt water 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.
But how much salt do you need to add to your pool to make it a salt water pool? And how often do you need to add more salt? In this article, we will answer these questions and provide some tips on how to maintain your salt water pool.
How to Calculate the Amount of Salt for Your Pool
The amount of salt you need to add to your pool depends on two factors: the size of your pool and the current salt level in your water. The size of your pool is measured by its volume, which is the amount of water it can hold. The current salt level is measured by its salinity, which is the concentration of salt in the water.
The ideal salinity for a saltwater pool is between 2,700 and 3,400 parts per million (ppm), with 3,200 ppm being optimal. This means that for every million parts of water, there are 2,700 to 3,400 parts of salt. To put it in perspective, the salinity of seawater is about 35,000 ppm, which is much higher than what you need for your pool.
To calculate the amount of salt you need to add to your pool, you need to know two things: the volume of your pool in gallons and the current salinity of your water in ppm. You can use the following formula to find the volume of your pool:
Volume (gallons) = Length (feet) x Width (feet) x Average Depth (feet) x 7.5
The average depth is the sum of the shallow end and the deep end divided by two. For example, if your pool is 20 feet long, 10 feet wide, 4 feet deep at the shallow end, and 8 feet deep at the deep end, then its volume is:
Volume = 20 x 10 x (4 + 8) / 2 x 7.5
Volume = 9,000 gallons
To find the current salinity of your water, you can use a saltwater test strip or take a water sample to a pool store for testing. Let’s say your water has a salinity of 500 ppm. This means that you need to increase it by 2,700 ppm to reach the ideal level of 3,200 ppm.
To find out how much salt you need to add to increase the salinity by a certain amount, you can use this formula:
Salt (pounds) = Volume (gallons) x Desired Increase (ppm) / 120,000
For example, if you want to increase the salinity by 2,700 ppm in a 9,000-gallon pool, then you need:
Salt = 9,000 x 2,700 / 120,000
Salt = 202.5 pounds
Generally, pool salt comes in 40-pound bags, so you would need about five bags of salt to achieve the desired salinity.
How to Add Salt to Your Pool
Once you know how much salt you need to add to your pool, you can follow these steps to do it properly:
- Turn off your salt chlorine generator and any other equipment that may interfere with the circulation of the water.
- Check the label of the salt you are using and make sure it is suitable for pools. Avoid using table salt or rock salt as they may contain additives that can damage your pool or affect its chemistry.
- Spread the salt evenly over the surface of the water as close to the edges as possible. Do not dump the salt in one spot or near the skimmer or main drain as this may cause corrosion or clogging.
- Turn on your pump and filter and let them run for at least 24 hours to dissolve and distribute the salt throughout the pool.
- Test the salinity of your water again and adjust it if necessary. You can use a digital salt meter or a test kit for more accuracy.
- Turn on your salt chlorine generator and set it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to Maintain Your Salt Water Pool
Once you have converted your pool to a salt water pool, you need to maintain it regularly to keep it clean and safe. Here are some tips on how to do it:
- Test your water chemistry at least once a week and balance it as needed. You should check the pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer levels in addition to the salinity. The ideal ranges are:
- pH: 7.2 – 7.6
- Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
- Calcium hardness: 200 – 400 ppm
- Stabilizer: 70 – 80 ppm
- Shock your pool every week or after a heavy use to kill any bacteria, algae or organic contaminants. You can use a non-chlorine shock or a chlorine shock that is compatible with your salt chlorine generator.
- Clean your salt cell every month or as recommended by the manufacturer. You can use a cell cleaning kit or a solution of water and muriatic acid to remove any calcium buildup or debris from the cell plates.
- Monitor your salt chlorine generator and make sure it is working properly. Check the indicator lights, the output settings and the flow rate. If you notice any problems, consult the manual or contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting.
- Add more salt to your pool as needed to maintain the ideal salinity level. You may need to add salt after heavy rain, backwashing, draining or refilling your pool.
Salt water pools are a great alternative to traditional chlorine pools as they offer a more comfortable and natural swimming experience. However, they also require proper care and maintenance to keep them in good condition.
By following the steps and tips in this article, you can calculate how much salt you need to add to your pool and how to keep it balanced and clean. Happy swimming!