Saltwater pools are becoming more popular among pool owners who want to enjoy the benefits of chlorine without the hassle of adding chemicals manually. Saltwater pools use a salt chlorine generator that converts salt into chlorine, which sanitizes the pool water and then recycles it back into salt. This means you only need to add salt to your pool once or twice a year, or when the salinity level drops due to rain or water replacement.
But how much salt do you need for your pool? And how do you measure and maintain the right salinity level? In this article, we will answer these questions and provide some tips on how to keep your saltwater pool clean and clear.
How to Measure the Salinity Level of Your Pool
The salinity level of your pool is the amount of salt dissolved in the water, measured in parts per million (PPM). The ideal salinity range for most salt chlorine generators is between 2,700 and 3,400 PPM, with 3,200 PPM being the optimal level. However, you should always check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your model.
To measure the salinity level of your pool, you can use a digital salt tester, a test strip, or a liquid test kit. These devices are easy to use and can give you accurate readings in minutes. You should test your salinity level at least once a month, or more often if you notice any changes in the water quality or performance of your salt chlorine generator.
How to Add Salt to Your Pool
If your salinity level is below the recommended range, you will need to add salt to your pool to increase it. 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 other minerals or substances that can damage your pool equipment or affect the water balance.
To add salt to your pool, follow these steps:
- Turn off your salt chlorine generator and turn on your pool pump.
- Calculate how much salt you need to add using a pool salinity calculator. You will need to know your current salinity level, your desired salinity level, and your pool volume.
- Divide the amount of salt by four and add it in four equal doses over several hours. This will help prevent oversalting and allow the salt to dissolve evenly.
- Pour the salt around the perimeter of the pool, as close to the water as possible. Avoid dumping it in one spot or near the skimmer or main drain.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the pool to help distribute the salt.
- Wait at least 24 hours before turning on your salt chlorine generator and testing your salinity level again. Adjust as needed until you reach the desired range.
How to Maintain Your Saltwater Pool
Adding salt to your pool is not enough to keep it clean and clear. You still need to perform regular maintenance tasks such as:
- Checking and adjusting the water balance, especially the pH and chlorine levels. Saltwater pools tend to have higher pH levels than regular chlorine pools, which can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine and cause scaling or staining on your pool surfaces. You may need to add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to lower the pH level and keep it between 7.2 and 7.6.
- Shocking your pool every week or after heavy use or contamination. Shocking is the process of adding a large dose of chlorine to kill any bacteria, algae, or organic matter that may be present in your pool water. You can use either granular chlorine or liquid chlorine to shock your pool, but make sure you follow the instructions on the label and wear protective gear.
- Cleaning your salt cell every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer. The salt cell is the part of your salt chlorine generator that produces chlorine from salt. Over time, it can get clogged with calcium deposits or debris that can reduce its efficiency or damage it. To clean your salt cell, you will need to remove it from the system and soak it in a solution of water and muriatic acid for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse it with fresh water and reinstall it.
- Skimming, brushing, and vacuuming your pool every week or as needed. These are basic cleaning tasks that help remove any dirt, leaves, insects, or other debris that may accumulate in your pool water or on your pool surfaces. Skimming involves using a net to scoop out any floating debris from the water surface. Brushing involves using a brush to scrub any dirt or algae from the walls and floor of the pool. Vacuuming involves using a vacuum cleaner to suck up any settled debris from the bottom of the pool.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your saltwater pool stays clean, clear, and safe for swimming.