The Basics of What To Expect After Converting To A Salt Pool

If you’ve already installed your salt water system or you’re about to switch over, you might be wanting to know how to maintain it so that you keep the swimming pool  looking great all year long. 

 Luckily, there isn’t nearly as much work involved, unlike chlorine systems! 

 Just a few minor things to keep in mind over the life of your pool. The three most important things to know about maintaining your saltwater pool will be:



What to Look After

One of the biggest differences between a chlorine pool and a salt pool is that a salt pool eliminates the need to buy and add chlorine tablets, algaecide and shock. Most people have heard how these chemicals make it so expensive to maintain a pool, as well as how much of a hassle it becomes.

However, with salt pools, none of that is needed! 

A saltwater system will work every day automatically with your pool equipment to consistently generate a pure form of chlorine, so that there’s no need to buy tons of sanitation chemicals or do extensive maintenance to maintain their levels.

So what kind of maintenance is required?

Instead, when you first install the pool, you’ll be adding in the appropriate amount of salt needed for your pool (for more on that, check this out).

Compared to the constant maintenance of chlorine pools, all you really have to do with salt pools is just periodically keeping up with your more supplementary water chemistry, such as checking your PH, Alkalinity, salt levels, and seasonal cleaning- more on that later. 

Keeping an eye on your PH, Alkalinity and salt levels is relatively simple- these levels change relatively slowly and don’t cost much to adjust. All you’ll need to do is just make sure they are within the parameters that guarantee a clean and sanitized pool. 

You don’t have to obsessively check or worry too much about your salt system, it will let you know when its components need to be checked out. Many of the popular models have warning lights or displays that will tell you when your salt levels will need to be adjusted or when the salt cell needs to be cleaned. 

As mentioned before,  when you first set up your salt water system, you will need to determine the right amount of salt for your pool size. 

You’ll need to double check your manual for  what your salt level needs to be, because you will need to make sure the salt levels are always in range  in order to keep your pool sanitized. The salt you put in at the beginning doesn’t get used up and doesn’t evaporate but will need to be replenished over the season as you get rain or if you drain water from the pool. 

For example, if there is a large storm or heavy rain or you have a big pool party, it is advised that you check your salt levels to make sure they are up to par. If not, you will just need to add enough salt to level it out.

Since bags of salt are generally budget friendly and are usually just seasonally needed, you aren’t paying much over time, unlike buying chlorine and other chemicals. In fact, the average saltwater pool owner spends about twenty dollars a year on salt, which means even more savings for you!

Basic Maintenance

Aside from the occasional additions of salt, the most you’ll ever have to maintain is just making sure the cell stays clean. 

To clean the cell, you’ll need to premix a solution of one part Muriatic acid to four parts water and let it soak in the cell for about ten to fifteen minutes. You can purchase Muriatic acid from your favorite home improvement store. 

Once the cleaning solution has dissolved the mineral scaling that builds up over time in the cell, you’re good to go- and if the water chemistry is good, most people typically only have to do it one or two times a season! Some systems even have an included cleaning tool to simply the process even further.

You can make sure the water chemistry is good by doing the things listed above: keeping an eye on the chlorine level that your salt system is maintaining, as well as the PH and alkalinity levels (like any pool), and the salinity level, which should only take a few moments to check, and if they need to be altered, it's a quick and cheap fix. Seasonally, like any pool, you may need to adjust things like your stabilizer and calcium hardness, depending on your pool’s unique needs.

Some advice for those who haven’t yet installed their systems- make sure to set up your system that will allow ease of access to your systems when maintenance is needed! You don’t want to set it up in an area that will be a pain in the neck to get to — you will need to get to it sometimes, and for peace of mind, just make sure to set it up somewhere you can check it with ease. 

For more on that and other tips for DIY installation, this article has all the information you’ll need. Generally, that is all the maintenance your system will require, so you can continue to enjoy your pool all year long without much hassle.


What to Expect

By this point I’m sure you’re aware of what is expected when you own a salt water pool, but the best part about these systems is how easy they are to maintain. The main thing you should expect to do with the salt system is to adjust its output setting so that it maintains the right level of free chlorine for your pool (1-3 ppm). Every pool needs different amounts of sanitation, so when you first set your salt system up, let it run for a couple days with your normal pump schedule; measure your resulting free chlorine level, and then adjust the salt system up or down as needed. Once you make a few adjustments, usually within the first week, you’ll have it tailored to meet your pool’s needs. With seasonal changes, you’ll likely need to make small, infrequent adjustments as you get warmer/cooler temperatures, more/less pool use, rain storms, etc… You’ll see that getting predictable, consistent pool sanitation from a salt system makes a world of difference and gets rid of so many typical pool headaches.

More and more people are switching over to salt water systems to save money and because of the pool experience it provides. Saltwater systems drastically cut down the amount of maintenance you’d expect from other non-saltwater systems, as well as cut down the price of the money you’d be spending on chemicals for basic upkeep of chlorine pools, as well as helping to lessen the amount of those chemicals added in the water.

 Another thing that makes salt water systems the preferred choice of pool owners is that they help eliminate irritating chemical byproducts that are found in most regular chlorine pools, which is especially great for people who have allergies or sensitive skin. 

No more itchy skin, red eyes, bleached bathing suits or that pungent chlorine smell! Just clean and safe water to enjoy! Plus, people who had to avoid being in the pool due to their allergies or skin sensitivities now can finally enjoy how refreshing swimming in a pool can be. 

Additionally, what you should NOT expect is for the water to taste salty or like the ocean! Our salt water pools have a low ppm (parts per million) of salt, meaning most people are unable to taste any saltiness.

So, if you haven’t already, you can expect to take about less than an hour to install your system, and then every season, just do a quick cell cleaning to make sure your system is in tip-top shape. Set a calendar reminder to help you to remember to regularly check those most critical water balance levels: free chlorine, PH and salt levels. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge, give us a call.  We’ll take care of you and answer any questions you might have.


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Converting your pool to salt just means adding a chlorine generator! Use our intelligent product recommendation system to see what the best choices for you might be. See more now ►

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Diane L Watters

Date 8/13/2019

Hello to all of you at Discount Salt Pool. I just recently got my system installed and running and am going to Love It ! Thank you ! My question is, I went to my pool people to get my stabilizer and they insisted very strongly that I also get Fresh & Clear (to add 1 bag per week, along with liquid Pool Perfect also (1 cap per week) are these necessary and or did I just get gipped into buying some chemicals. Any info would be greatly appreciated Sincerely Diane Watters

DSP Staff

Date 8/14/2019

Diane, looking up that product "Fresh & Clear" appears to just be pool chlorine. Your salt chlorine generator is designed to make buying chlorine & shock unnecessary! "Pool Perfect" is an amalgam of chemicals which can possibly be helpful depending on what your pool actually needs.

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