Are These Salt Water Pool Balance Readings Right?

by John
(Estero, FL)

My pool service walked away with these readings:

4500 salt

8.2 pH

6.5 Bromine

3.0 Chlorine

I have a 6 month old pool with a AquaPure unit.

When asked, the service kid said, "turn the production up to 75% from 50% to "lower the salt".

Should I fire them or are these acceptable readings?

Thanks for the question John

I'll start with the salt question first, then work down from there.

Different salt cells have different ranges for salinity. We used to have an older model AquaPure salt cell for the YMCA hot tub.

It's very important on keeping the salt in the right range. The unit we have now for the hot tub has a very forgiving range, between 3200 - 4800ppm salinity.

I don't know the AquaPure model salt unit you have so I would encourage you to check with the manual or manufacturer to find the correct salinity range. You run the risk of burning up the salt chlorinator if the salinity is too high.

The pH is a bit high. I always kept the pH of the pools on my pool route between 7.6 - 7.8. I keep the Y pool at this level as well.

I've cut down the monthly acid use from between 25 - 30 gallons to around 2. This saves alot of money and is also better for the pool and swimmers.

Anything over 8.0 for the pH and you're only using about 25% of your chlorine. Your pool guy needs to come back and get the level down.

7.4ppm is acceptable.

Once you start swimming and splashing around, the pH will automatically increase.

If he did test for Bromine, the level is a bit high, but nothing to worry about. Between 2.5 - 5.0 is acceptable, but 6.5 is alright.

The chlorine for home pools should be between 1.5 - 3.5ppm. You have 3.0, which is acceptable. Be sure he tests for cyanuric acid (CYA). This is the stabilizer for the chlorine. If it's not kept between 30 - 50ppm, you'll be using up alot of chlorine.

If he charges for chemicals, you could be in for a higher than normal bill at the end of the month.

When you wrote "turn the production up to 75% from 50% to "lower the salt", that made me cringe a little bit.

Let's say, hypothetically, that the salinity is high. If you run the salt cell at an even higher percentage, you run the risk of burning it up, as was stated.

I know this for a fact because I've had to replace 2 salt cells for the Y pool because the guards put in too much salt and burned the units up. Each salt chlorinator was about $2500.

The safest way to reduce a high salt level in a pool is to drain 1/3 - 1/2 of the pool water and refill with fresh tap water, then balance out the salt again.

And by turning up the chlorinator you're going to be producing more chlorine. If the pool doesn't get used, the chlorine can increase very quickly.

Once it gets above 7.0 - 8.0ppm you'll need to wait to swim or use another chemical called Thiosulfate to force the chlorine level back down.

Only use this in extreme cases as it might mess up the chlorine readings. And you don't want another chemical in the pool and another added expense.

Be sure he cleans out the salt cell. It will burn up if he allows it calcify.

Here are a couple of good pages to look over:

Affordable Salt Generator For 65,000 Gallon Pool

Salt Generator..Change A Chlorine Pool Into A Salt Pool

Hope this helps and have a fun and safe swimming season.


New Comment
By: John
Date: May 24, 2011

I appreciate the informative, detailed feedback on
my posting. You really laid out what I need to
be aware of and how to cautiously adjust various
levels of chemicals.

This really helps a lot.

I am fortunate in that I have a screened enclosed
10K gal.pool--that helps in keeping it nice & sparkling.

PS: I fired the pool service because he lied about
a weekly visit he did not make.

Didn't sign his log sheet, so no contest.

By: Robert
Date: May 24, 2011

Thanks for the comment. I'm always glad to help and let me know if there's anything else.

Hopefully you can find another pool service that can properly take care of your pool. And you always have this website to refer back to.

Good luck with your pool and have fun with it.


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