My Saltwater Pool Has No Chlorine


We had Leslie's test our water:

free available chlorine - 0
waterph- 8.7
total alkalinity 90
cyanuric acid - 0
calcium hardness - 150
salt - 4100

What's the best way to fix the numbers? This is a new system about 5 months old.



Thanks for the question Velvet

First item of business is to add acid to get the pH down to an acceptable range. 7.2 - 7.4ppm is what you'll want to do. When the pool is balanced out, you can allow the pH to go to 7.6 - 7.8ppm. Not having the pool size I can't say how much you need, but you can go to these pH pages. They have the charts you need for your size pool.

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

About 2 hours after adding the pool acid, you'll want to turn OFF the salt water generator (SWG) and shock with Dichlor. This is a stabilized form of chlorine and will raise both the CYA and chlorine.

Swimming Pool Chlorine

Pool Shock

Pool Chlorine

Be careful when using Dichlor as it can get out of hand quickly. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Dichlor, you'll raise the CYA by 9ppm. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Trichlor tabs you'll raise the CYA by 6ppm. I'd encourage you to get a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 pool test kit.

Pool Water Testing

Water Testing Kit

Be sure you're manually testing your salt against any reading from the SWG and cleaning it correctly.

Salt Water Swimming Pools

Chlorine Generator

Be sure that your salt level is in line with the manufacturer's recommendations. Too low and the salt cell won't produce chlorine. Too high and you might burn up the cell. Once you've reached 30 - 50ppm for the CYA, stop using Dichlor and start using the SWG again. You'll want to make adjustments in the evening then retest in the morning to see how the chlorine is holding.

Allow for one full turnover of the water which is normally about 8 - 10 hours before tests. Keep filtering 24/7. If you haven't dialed in the SWG yet, after the water is balanced would be a good time to do so. Start at about 30% and work from there. It may take a few days to get it right but you'll know when you have a consistent 1.5 - 3.5ppm of chlorine in the pool.

If the chlorine dips down a bit, you can manually dose the pool with a little chlorine to get it back to the right level, them work on the SWG again. The alkalinity and hardness are fine so don't touch those. 80 - 100ppm for the alkalinity and 150 - 250ppm for the hardness.

If you want, you can use a PolyQuat 60 algaecide during this process just as a little backup against any possible algae blooms. Once the pool is balanced out, there's really no reason to continue using an algaecide. The chlorine's job is to kill off any algae and bacteria.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Salt Water Pools" category.

Swimming Pool Questions and Answers

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Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Salt Level

by Cheryl

I have just had a new inground vinyl pool built. Pool folks are still adjusting chemicals.

One worker is concerned the salt level is high at 3800 ppm, but they are not involving me yet.

So, with this high salt level, what will happen if they leave it that high?

Pool is 14x 32. Have Hayward pump motor & Polaris cleaner. And salt system of course.

Thanks for the question Cheryl

What the salt level needs to be is dependent on the kind of salt water generator (SWG) and what range the SWG can take. Some salt cells are between 3000 - 3500ppm and others are 2500 - 4500ppm.

First, I'd encourage you to become familiar with your SWG. Know the salinity range and try to keep it as close to the middle range as you can. If the salt range is between 3000 - 3500, then keep the salinity 3200 - 3400ppm. Too low or too high salinity might burn up the cell.

Next is to realize that there's two ways to reduce salt in a pool.

One way is to do a partial drain and refill with fresh water. This is the best way if too much salt is put in the pool.

The other way is by using the salt cell. As the cell is being used, it converts the salt water into chlorine. the salinity goes down and more salt needs to be added.

Again, if you find the salt level is too high, do a partial drain and refill.

I'd also encourage you to start being involved. There's no reason, given the information in the question, that you should not be involved in the process of balancing the chemicals, if only from an information point.

You need to know what and how they're doing what they're doing. What happens if you find yourself in this situation again? How will you handle it?

It's best to be informed all the way through the process.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Salt Water Pools" category.

Swimming Pool Questions & Answers

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

Hope this helps and have fun with your pool.


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