Easy Tips for Maintaining a Salt Water Pool

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Easy Tips for Maintaining a Salt Water Pool

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics of Saltwater Pool Maintenance 2.1 Adding the Right Amount of Salt 2.2 Testing and Balancing Water 2.2.1 Testing Free Chlorine Levels 2.2.2 Testing pH Levels 2.3 Monitoring Salinity Levels 2.4 Testing and Balancing Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid, and Calcium Hardness 2.5 Setting Up Circulation 2.6 Preventing Erosion and Calcium Buildup 2.7 Checking Salt Cell 2.8 Shocking the Pool 2.9 Cleaning Surfaces
  3. Common Issues and Troubleshooting 3.1 High pH Levels 3.2 Algae Growth 3.3 Calcium Buildup 3.4 Low Chlorine Levels 3.5 Salt Cell Problems
  4. Conclusion

The Basics of Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Saltwater pools have gained popularity for their ease of maintenance and the overall swimming experience they offer. However, maintaining a saltwater pool requires specific care and attention to ensure the water remains balanced and clean. In this article, we will explore the essential steps involved in saltwater pool maintenance, from adding the right amount of salt to preventing erosion and calcium buildup. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a crystal-clear pool without the hassle of traditional pool care.

Adding the Right Amount of Salt

To maintain the ideal salt concentration in your pool, it is essential to add the right amount of salt. Unlike traditional chlorine pools, where chlorine is added directly, saltwater pools utilize a salt chlorine generator. This device converts the salt added to the water into chlorine, providing a sanitizing agent for the pool. Typically, you only need to add salt once or twice a year, as it does not evaporate but gets recycled within the pool. The recommended salinity levels are usually between 2700 and 3400 parts per million, with 3200 parts per million being ideal. However, it is recommended to refer to your owner's manual for specific guidelines.

Testing and Balancing Water

Regular testing and balancing of the water are crucial for maintaining a healthy saltwater pool. While the salt chlorine generator measures chlorine levels, it is essential to manually test the water to ensure accuracy. Testing free chlorine levels should be done regularly, with the ideal level being three parts per million. Additionally, testing and balancing pH levels are vital to prevent eye and skin irritation and scaling on pool equipment. The saltwater generator typically raises the pH level, so it is crucial to test and balance it weekly. If adjustments are necessary, pH decreasers or muriatic acid can be used. Monitoring salinity levels, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and calcium hardness should also be part of your regular maintenance routine.

Setting Up Circulation

Proper circulation is essential to maintain consistent salinity levels throughout your pool. It ensures that the salt is effectively distributed, preventing localized high salinity areas. To test the salinity levels in different areas, use a digital salinity reader and adjust the return jets accordingly. The pool water should pass through the filter at least once a day, which typically requires running the pump and filter for a minimum of eight hours daily.

Preventing Erosion and Calcium Buildup

Saltwater pools can cause erosion and calcium buildup if not properly maintained. Splashing out can lead to high concentrations of salt outside the pool, which can corrode surfaces such as limestone or soft stone coping. Regularly rinsing these areas, along with tiles, exposed liners, and concrete surfaces, can help prevent erosion. Additionally, calcium buildup can occur in the pool and inside the salt cell, resulting in white flakes. Avoiding the use of chlorine shocks with calcium and regularly cleaning the salt cell can prevent these issues.

Checking Salt Cell

The salt cell is a vital component of a saltwater pool, responsible for converting salt into chlorine. Over time, calcium can build up on the salt cell, hindering its performance. It is essential to inspect the salt cell every three months for any visible deposits and clean it by hand if necessary. If deposits are difficult to remove, soaking the cell in a solution of water and muriatic acid can help dislodge them. However, proper safety precautions should be taken when handling muriatic acid.

Shocking the Pool

Regularly shocking the pool helps eliminate algae growth and bacteria buildup. Utilizing the super chlorinate setting on your saltwater generator or adding non-chlorine shocks can help maintain a healthy pool. However, caution should be exercised when using calcium-based shocks, as they can contribute to calcium buildup in the salt cell.

Cleaning Surfaces

Keeping the pool surfaces clean is essential for overall pool maintenance. Skimming the water, brushing the surfaces, and vacuuming the pool should be done on a weekly basis. Additionally, emptying the skimmer basket and pump basket of debris ensures proper filtration. Cleaning the areas around the pool, including the pool deck, tiles, concrete surfaces, and exposed metal, helps prevent erosion and corrosion.

By following these steps and troubleshooting any common issues that may arise, you can enjoy a well-maintained saltwater pool throughout the year. Remember to refer to your specific equipment manuals and seek professional assistance if needed. Maintaining the right balance of chemicals and cleanliness will ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for you and your family.


  • Easier to maintain compared to traditional chlorine pools
  • Reduced reliance on manually adding chlorine
  • Can provide a more natural swimming experience
  • Saltwater can be gentler on the skin and eyes compared to chlorinated water


  • Initial investment in a salt chlorine generator
  • Salt cells may require cleaning and occasional replacement
  • Possibility of saltwater system malfunctions
  • Saltwater can corrode certain materials if not properly maintained


Q: How often should I test the salt levels in my pool? A: It is recommended to test the salt levels at least once a month, especially after heavy rain or water additions.

Q: Can I use regular table salt in my saltwater pool? A: No, regular table salt contains additives that can interfere with the salt chlorine generator. It is crucial to use pool-grade salt specifically designed for saltwater pools.

Q: How often should I clean the salt cell? A: It is recommended to inspect and clean the salt cell every three months or as needed. Visible deposits should be removed to ensure efficient operation.

Q: Can I swim in a saltwater pool if I have sensitive skin or allergies? A: Saltwater pools are often preferred by individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. The lower levels of chlorine can be gentler on the skin and eyes compared to traditional chlorine pools.

Q: Are saltwater pools completely chlorine-free? A: No, saltwater pools still contain chlorine, but it is generated through the salt chlorine generator rather than manually added.

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