Salt water pool systems maintenance DIY

Ned Kampmann

There’s quite a bit of misinformation and speculation around salt water pool systems, and almost none of it is true. According to some people, the salt will damage your pool, your equipment as well as your eyes, none of which are really true at all.

Salt water pool detractors point to the expensive setup involved, and the difficult maintenance that’s required. While there is an inherent cost of the salt chlorine generator, it can pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time. Taking care of your saltwater pool is in fact not hard at all, and easy for any DIY’er at home.
Here’s just a few ways to maintain your traditional or above ground pool saltwater system. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you own a concrete salt water swimming pool.

How to install and maintain a saltwater pool system

If you are considering converting your swimming pool to take advantage of a salt water pool, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The primary concern is your salt chlorinator, or the device that’s primarily responsible for chlorinating your pool.

Instead of using the traditional method of expensive chemicals, this salt chlorinator should be properly sized for the capacity of the swimming pool in question. As always, it’s a good idea to overshoot when you are looking for the best salt chlorinator for your sale water pool system.

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How to install and maintain a saltwater pool system

To calculate the capacity of your swimming pool, you can use this easy equation to do the math. First measure your swimming pool by length and width, and then average the range of depths. Multiply all three factors and then multiply that sum by 7.5 to reach the capacity of your pool by gallons.
Let’s take an example of a 30 foot wide swimming pool, that’s also 45 feet long. With depths from 8 feet to 2 feet, the average is 3.33.

30 ft. wide X 45 ft. long X ((8 ft. deep + 2 ft. deep)/2)) X 7.5 = 33,716 gallons.

What is a Saltwater Pool System

Saltwater pools are unique in that they use salt to create the cleansing agents that would have traditionally come from chlorine. Instead of expensive chemicals, your salt chlorinator provides the proper balance your swimming pool needs for safe operation.

What is a Saltwater Pool System


Much like the traditional pool, saltwater pool maintenance involves a routine to maintain proper water balance. But unlike the traditional swimming pool, saltwater pools deliver constant chlorine based cleansing agents, and has been proven to be less harsh because of the clear lack of chloramines.

Easy to use and maintain, the saltwater pool system is an efficient way to enjoy your swimming pool with less hassle and work. Many above ground pool saltwater systems are easy to use and maintain because the pump is easier to access.

How to install a saltwater pool system

Many saltwater systems for your swimming pool come with everything you need, making installing a saltwater pool system easy. This is especially true if you own an above ground pool saltwater system, as all you will need to do is disconnect the lines leading to your external pump.

How to install a saltwater pool system

Whether you own an in ground swimming pool or not, the basics behind installation of a saltwater swimming pool is the salt chlorine generator revolve around fittings and lines. You may or may not require a step down adapter to make the correct fit for your piping.

Because most aftermarket saltwater pool systems utilize an external controller, there’s not much to the install process once you’ve overcome these obstacles.

How to maintain a saltwater pool system

Maintenance is very minimal in the saltwater pool system, and for many people that’s the only way to own a pool. While the low maintenance factor is certainly a factor, there are still a few things you must remember to maintain your saltwater pool.

The heart of the unit is of course the salt chlorine generator, which can become clogged or fail. Properly maintaining your piping can prevent leaks or loss of pressure. Installing a flow sensor can help you realize when the generator is dry or no water is flowing through it.

When it comes to checking the balance of your salt water, there are a few differences when contrasted against traditional pools. Instead of checking for chlorine weekly, you will be testing for salinity or the presence of salt in your salt swimming pool.

How to maintain a saltwater pool system

Using salt water test strips, the weekly checks should have your salt water swimming pool checking in at 2500-4500 PPM. Because the generator causes pH to rise, this is the other part of your weekly salt water swimming pool check. The pH levels should be between 7.2-7.6 when checking your salt water, and 7.4 is the optimum level you are aiming for.

The normal checks you perform on any swimming pool can now be done on a monthly basis. You can use your swimming pool test strips to check for chlorine first, which should be between 1 – 3 ppm. The alkalinity in your pool during your monthly check should fall between 80 – 120 ppm, and your calcium hardness should be between 250-350 ppm.

And finally the last part of your salt water swimming pool DIY maintenance is of course your salt cell. This is the agent that works it’s magic to keep your swimming pool sparkling clean. You should clean your salt cell annually to keep your generator working at optimum efficiency.

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