Saltwater pools are becoming more popular among pool owners who want to enjoy the benefits of saltwater, such as less maintenance, gentler water, and lower chemical costs. However, starting up a saltwater pool is not as simple as dumping some salt into the water and turning on the generator.
There are some important steps you need to follow to ensure your pool is ready for saltwater and your generator works properly. In this article, we will explain how to start up a saltwater pool, how much salt you need, and how to maintain your saltwater pool throughout the season.
What is a Saltwater Pool?
A saltwater pool is a pool that uses a salt chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt. The generator consists of a control box and a cell that are installed on the pool’s plumbing system. The control box allows you to adjust the chlorine output and monitor the salt level, while the cell contains metal plates that use electricity to convert salt into chlorine gas. The chlorine gas then dissolves in the water and sanitizes the pool.
A saltwater pool is not a chlorine-free pool, as some people may think. It still uses chlorine as the primary sanitizer, but it generates it on-site rather than adding it manually. This means you don’t have to buy, store, or handle chlorine tablets or liquid, which can save you money and hassle in the long run. A saltwater pool also has a lower concentration of chlorine than a traditional pool, which makes the water softer and less irritating to the eyes, skin, and hair.
How to Start Up a Saltwater Pool
Starting up a saltwater pool involves three main steps: finding your pool’s gallon capacity, testing and balancing your pool’s chemical levels, and adding salt to your pool.
Step 1: Find Your Pool’s Gallon Capacity
The first step is to find out how many gallons of water your pool holds. This will help you determine how much salt you need to add to achieve the ideal salinity level for your generator. You can use our handy calculator to find out your pool’s gallon capacity based on its shape, size, and depth.
Use Our Pool Gallon Calculator
Step 2: Test and Balance Your Pool’s Chemical Levels
The second step is to test your water for the following parameters and adjust them accordingly:
- Alkalinity (80-120 ppm)
- pH (7.2-7.6)
- Chlorine (1-3 ppm)
- Cyanuric Acid (50-80 ppm)
- Calcium Hardness (200-400 ppm)
- Metals (0)
You can use a water test kit or test strips to measure these levels, or take a water sample to your local pool store for analysis. It is important to balance your water before adding salt and turning on the generator, as unbalanced water can cause scaling, corrosion, or staining on your pool surfaces and equipment.
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Step 3: Add Salt to Your Pool
The third step is to add salt to your pool according to your generator’s recommended salinity level. Most generators require a salinity level of around 3,200 ppm, but check your manual for the exact range. You can use any type of sodium chloride salt that is at least 99% pure, but we recommend using AquaSalt , which is 99.9% pure and specially formulated for pools.
To calculate how much salt you need to add, you can use this formula:
Salt needed (lbs) = (Desired salinity – Current salinity) x Pool volume (gallons) / 1,000
For example, if you have a 10,000-gallon pool with no salt (0 ppm) and you want to achieve a salinity level of 3,200 ppm, you need to add:
(3,200 – 0) x 10,000 / 1,000 = 32 lbs of salt
You can also use this chart as a reference:
|Current Salinity (ppm)||Salt Needed per 10,000 Gallons (lbs)|
To add salt to your pool, follow these steps:
- Turn off the generator and any other equipment that may interfere with the salt dissolving process.
- Divide the salt into equal portions and broadcast it evenly over the surface of the water.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the pool to help distribute the salt.
- Run the filter pump for at least 24 hours or until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Test the salinity level with a salt test kit or a digital meter and adjust if needed.
- Turn on the generator and set the chlorine output according to your pool’s demand.
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How to Maintain a Saltwater Pool
Once you have started up your saltwater pool, you need to maintain it regularly to keep it clean and clear. Here are some tips for saltwater pool maintenance:
- Test your water at least once a week for salinity, chlorine, pH, and alkalinity, and adjust them as needed. You can use a water test kit or test strips, or take a water sample to your local pool store for analysis.
- Check your generator’s cell at least once a month for any signs of scaling, corrosion, or debris, and clean it as instructed by the manufacturer. You can use a cell cleaning kit or a mild acid solution to remove any buildup.
- Shock your pool every two weeks or as needed to prevent algae growth and remove organic contaminants. You can use a non-chlorine shock or a chlorine shock that is compatible with saltwater pools.
- Add cyanuric acid (stabilizer) as needed to protect your chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. The ideal level of cyanuric acid for saltwater pools is 50-80 ppm.
- Add calcium hardness increaser as needed to prevent corrosion of your pool surfaces and equipment. The ideal level of calcium hardness for saltwater pools is 200-400 ppm.
- Add metal sequestrant as needed to prevent staining of your pool surfaces from metals in the water. The ideal level of metals for saltwater pools is 0 ppm.
- Add algaecide as needed to prevent algae growth and improve water clarity. You can use an algaecide that is compatible with saltwater pools.
- Vacuum your pool regularly to remove any dirt, debris, or algae from the bottom and sides of the pool.
- Skim your pool regularly to remove any leaves, insects, or other floating objects from the surface of the water.
- Backwash your filter regularly to remove any dirt, debris, or algae from the filter media.
- Drain and refill your pool partially every two to three years or as needed to reduce the buildup of dissolved solids and minerals in the water.
Starting up a saltwater pool is not difficult if you follow the steps outlined in this article. By finding your pool’s gallon capacity, testing and balancing your pool’s chemical levels, and adding salt to your pool, you can enjoy the benefits of saltwater without the hassle of traditional chlorine.
Remember to maintain your saltwater pool regularly by testing your water, checking your generator’s cell, shocking your pool, adding chemicals as needed, and cleaning your pool. With proper care and maintenance, your saltwater pool will provide you with years of fun and relaxation.