For information about the actual process, see How to Convert Your Pool to a Salt Water System.
One of the first questions that pops into a pool owner's mind when they begin considering converting their pool to salt is, "how much will it cost?" We're going to go through a few scenarios to help you estimate how much it would cost you to convert your own swimming pool.
The basic costs involved are...
- the price of the saltwater chlorine generator (the equipment)
- the cost of the actual salt to put in the water
- installation costs (if any)
If you're new to this, the most important thing to remember is that a saltwater pool system eliminates the need to buy chlorine, shock, and algaecide, so it pays for itself pretty quickly and gives years and years of savings. Also remember, it's not necessary to drain your pool or replace your equipment in normal circumstances, and the whole start-up process usually take about an hour.
Scenario 1 - Average Pool Use, Temperate Climate, DIY Capable - Low Cost
Matthew is 35, married, and living in his first home in Parkville, MD. The house came with a 15,000 gallon pool, and after the initial excitement wore off, he and his wife will swim maybe once on the weekends during the summer, with the occasional get-together at their pool with other friends.
1) Equipment Cost - Given the usage and environment of the pool, Matthew goes by the system sizing recommendations and chooses a system that is about 50% larger than his pool size, in this case a 25k gallon pool system. For example purposes, an average market price for this system could be in the ballpark of $600 (though you can certainly find one priced lower or higher).
2) Salt Cost - Based on Matthew's pool size of 15k gallons and the specs of the equipment, he needs about 11 forty pound bags of salt. At about $5.40 each, he's spending $59.40 on salt.
3) Installation Costs - Matthew is decently handy. He already has a hacksaw lying around to cut the PVC pipes on his pool plumbing, but can't find any PVC glue in his garage. At the hardware store, he buys PVC glue for about $4.78, and decides to buy a little extra PVC pipe and PVC fittings just in case he measures wrong and needs to redo the pipe joint like he did when he fixed the lawn sprinkler head last month. Playing it safe, he's out the door for $10.81.
Matthew cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into his piping in about 35 minutes, and connects its power cord to his pool pump's timer in about 8 minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just about 10 minutes. Matthew has converted his pool to a salt system in under an hour, and for about...
$670.21 - Total Estimated Cost. Looking back a year later, Matthew was shocked that he only spent about $34 dollars on his pool for the rest of that year for some muriatic acid to balance the pH.
Scenario 2 - Heavy Pool Use, Tropical Climate, Local Installer - Mid-range Cost
Kim is 52, and lives in Gulfport, MS. Her young grandkids are constantly swimming in her 15,000 gallon pool, and she has done a lot of research and knows for sure that a saltwater pool is the best way to go. She has even picked out the exact system that she needs. However, she doesn't want to bother with installing any equipment on her pool.
1) Equipment Cost - Given the usage and environment of the pool, Kim wants to make sure her pool stays clean even in high summer when there might be a dozen kids swimming in it. Since she knows the benefits of choosing an over-sized system, she doesn't think twice and choose a larger 40k gallon pool system. For example purposes, an average market price for this system could be in the ballpark of $800 (though you can certainly find one priced lower or higher).
2) Salt Cost - Based on Kim's pool size of 15k gallons and the equipment's salinity requirement, she needs about 11 forty pound bags of salt. At about $5.40 each, she's spending $59.40 on salt.
3) Installation Costs - Kim finds a local handyman online with good reviews. He's installed other saltwater systems, and he says "besides, even if I had never done this before, it's just cutting and gluing PVC pipe and connecting a set of wires. It will take me less than an hour, but my minimum rate is $125."
Kim's handyman cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into the piping in about 25 minutes, and connects its power cord to the pool pump's timer in about 6 minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just about 8 minutes. Kim's pool has been converted to a salt system in well under an hour, and for about...
$984.40 - Total Estimated Cost. Looking back a year later, Kim was delighted that she only had to spend $52 on her pool for the rest of the year for some muriatic acid to balance the pH and some clarifier to help the filter remove all the sand and dirt the kids tracked into the pool.
Scenario 3 - Pool Company Customer - High Cost (what to avoid )
David is 44, living in Huntington Beach, CA, and always uses the pool with his kids at least a few times every week. He is friends with all his neighbors, and always hears them talking about their saltwater pools. He's been happy with his pool service, so he asks them what they think about it. They tell him that they've "been in the pool business for a long time and they don't prefer saltwater pools, but a lot of people want it and they can certainly convert his pool for him", and since he uses their pool service they tell him installation will be "free".
1) Equipment Cost - The pool company only uses one system for every saltwater pool they do, and even though it might not be the best one for David's pool and even though it only costs them about $700, they sell it to him for about $1800 (which means David is paying a lot more than he should).
2) Salt Cost - Based on David's pool size of 15k gallons and the system's salinity requirement, he needs about 11 forty pound bags of salt. Sold to him at the "pool-store" price of about $12.50 each, he's spending $137.50 on salt (too much).
3) Installation Costs - David's pool company isn't charging him any more for installation.
David's pool company cuts and glues the pipe to plumb the salt system into the piping in about 30 minutes, and connects its power cord to the pool pump's timer in about 6 minutes. He dumps the salt into the pool in just under 8 minutes. David's pool has been converted to a salt system in well under an hour, and for about...
$1937.50 - Total Estimated Cost (unfortunately). Looking back a year later, David wasn't very happy to realize that the pool company was still charging him $100 every month for service visits, because he thought that he didn't need all that chlorine they were still putting in. What were they still charging him for...?
The moral of the story? Even if you don't convert your pool to salt water yourself, you can get one installed for usually half as much as you'll hear from a big pool company chain. But if you have some basic DIY skills or a handy friend, you can convert your pool to a saltwater system yourself and save big. Discount Salt Pool also offers unlimited customer support to try and make things as easy as possible for you!