HOW TO CONVERT TO A SALTWATER POOL

We recently covered SALTWATER BASICS. If you’re educating yourself about saltwater pools, check it out here. The biggest takeaway was dispelling the myth that saltwater pools are not chlorine pools.

With a saltwater pool you are still using chlorine to sanitize your pool, you are just manufacturing your own.

The chlorine that is produced by a saltwater pool is a higher quality chlorine that does not have the negative effects of traditional chlorine, red eyes, itchy skin, and the strong smell of chloramines. If you decide to convert your pool to a saltwater system you no longer need to purchase chlorine tablets, liquid chlorine, or shock because your salt system will be creating all of your chlorine. But remember! Salt is corrosive, and can damage pool parts and accessories if the water chemistry is not regularly monitored and maintained - salt chlorination is not a set it & forget it chemistry option.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to convert your chlorine pool to a saltwater system.

First things first, you do not need to drain your pool to convert to a salt system!

  1. CHOOSE YOUR SALT SYSTEM
    Here at Browning, we are proud to be partners with Hayward, and as far as salt systems go our preferred system is Hayward’s AquaRite 900 Series.

  2. INSTALL YOUR SALT SYSTEM
    Of course we recommend hiring a professional to install your salt system. There are those pool owners that are fully capable of installing the system themselves, but just make sure to check out your warranty on the system you decide to buy. Some warranties are void if not installed by a professional.

  3. ADD THE SALT
    Your owners manual for the salt system that you have chosen will tell you how much salt you need to add based on the size of your pool. You’ll need some pool salt test strips to ensure that the salt levels are in the 3,000 PPM range.  The salt is sold in 40# bags and should be labeled “pool salt”. When adding the salt, your pump should be turned on, and your salt system turned off. Broadcast the salt evenly around the pool. Do not add the salt to the skimmer, and it’s a good idea to add 1 bag less salt than recommended. It’s much easier to add a little more salt than to go through the trouble of partially draining and refilling.

  4. BRUSH DOWN THE POOL
    After adding all of the salt to the pool (minus 1 bag) brush down the sides of the pool, this will help the salt dissolve. Circulate for 24 hours and then brush again to make sure all of the salt is dissolved.

  5. CHECK YOUR WATER CHEMISTRY
    Start off right by making sure that your water is balanced within the following ranges:

    Salt: 3,000 – 3,500 PPM

    Free Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 PPM

    pH: 7.2 – 7.8

    Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer): 50 – 75 PPM

    Total Alkalinity: 80 – 120 PPM

    Calcium Hardness: 150 – 400 PPM

  6. TURN ON THE SALT CHLORINATOR
    The system will need time to be able to generate enough chlorine to develop a residual. If your pool already had free chlorine available then this is easy, but if your pool had zero available chlorine, the salt system will need time to make up for the deficit. A common solution to this problem is at start up add a bag of shock to the pool and wait until the free chlorine is within range of 1-3 PPM. Once you’re there, go ahead and turn on your system. Start out at 50% chlorine production and let it run for 24 hours. Depending on whether your chlorine is too high or too low, dial your chlorine up or down in 10% increments and retest your chlorine in 24 hours. Repeat this process until the proper chlorine level is reached. Once you have your salt generator dialed in correctly, you’re good to go!

If your thinking about converting your chlorine pool to a salt water pool, we hope this has helped give you an idea of what’s involved. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself because whatever type of sanitization system you choose, it is critical to stay on top of your water chemistry, otherwise you can have a real nightmare on your hands.

YOUR POOL IS OUR BUSINESS & WE ARE HERE TO HELP

If you have questions, feel free to give us a call anytime.  301-972-3800

/Happy Swimming!/