Salt Water Pool Maintenance Guide

by Andy
(Mesa, AZ)

I have just put in a salt water pool and I'm looking for any kind of maintenance guide, general pool maintenance, and how to keep your pool water clear. You said the pool you take care of is a saltwater swimming pool.

Is the chlorine the same? Is the water testing kit the same? Salt water swimming pool chemistry?

I'm not sure if the guys who built the pool are giving me the right answers so I wanted to check with you.

Anything would help with the swimming pool.

Thanks for your question Andy

Yes I take care of the YMCA salt water pool. It's very similar to a regular chlorinated swimming pool in that the tests are the same.

I suggest you get a Taylor Reagent FAS-DPD K-2006 pool water testing kit.

Swimming Pool Water Testing Kit

This one is the most accurate and the one that most pool professionals use on a regular basis.

A salt water swimming pool is just as it implies, adding salt to your pool to make pool chlorine by installing a chlorine generator.

Salt Water Swimming Pools

Chlorine generators (both in-line and free standing) have become popular because it lessens the need to buy, transport, or store liquid or dry pool chlorine.

There is an alternative to installing an in-line salt chlorine generator and adding large amounts of salt directly a salt water pool.

Free-standing salt chlorine generators are gaining in popularity. You actually add a small amount of salt into the chlorine generator that uses this salt to produce chlorine, and that chlorinated water is then
returned back into the pool.

Some salt chlorine chlorinators may also measure out the proper amounts of acid and Sodium Bicarbonate to keep your pH and alkalinity in balance.

A salt water swimming pool is not a chlorine-free pool. Salt water systems simply takes the salt and produces chlorine.

The chlorine generator produces swimming pool chlorine (Hypochlorous acid) which is returned back into your swimming pool as pool chlorine which sanitized your pool.

You can also go to this link to learn all about your pool water maintenance and chemistry:

Swimming Pool Tips

If you've found this site helpful please consider making a donation. Thank you.

Hope this helps and have a great Summer


Comment By Diane: Winterizing A Saltwater Pool
Date: Sep. 26, 2011

I need directions for my saltwater above ground pool. We need to close it for the season and need to know if we need to add something to it while it's covered during fall & winter months.

Thanks for the question Diane

Here's a recent post about this very issue:

Saltwater Winterization

It basically tells you about your salt water cell and the importance of blowing the lines clear of water.

Here's the page on how to winterize a pool:

Pool Winterization

The main thing to remember is to close as late as you can and open as early as possible.

In some places it can still get into the 80s during the day. A closed pool with a cover when it's still hot is a perfect recipe for algae.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pool.


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Salt Water System

by Scott

I am a new owner of a Saltwater system. Size is 24' round with 52" high walls. Water went in on Monday June 10th. I was told to add 6 bags of Salt then start my pump 24 hours later to allow the glue to dry on the pipes. I used my vacuum to steer around the salt.

They then asked me to wait 24 hours more as the temp is cold. pool was at 62 last night. Tonight I will start the pump. 2 questions: Should I add 3 more bags of salt or wait till I do a test? And should I wait to turn on the Aqua Rite system until I get the water chemistry right as per the store?

Thanks for the question Scott

According to the dimensions of the pool that you gave and my calculation, you have a 15,200 gallon pool. Is that pretty close?

Here are a couple of links to look over:

Salt pools
Salt Water Swimming Pools

Chlorine Generator

There are many answered questions on my Q&A page under salt water pools. You may want to check those out as well.

Swimming Pool Questions and Answers and Pool Help Forum

I can assume mid. range for the salinity is 3500 ppm. The question says you're planning on adding 9 lbs. of salt. I will also assume they're 50 lbs. each. You're probably on the metric system so hopefully you can convert that weight. It says Aqua Rite. Is this the Goldline, Hayward, or something else?

It takes about 8 bags to reach 3500 ppm per 20,000 gallons. You might have a 15,000 gallon pool, so 9 bags might be a little too much. I'd add the 6 bags, FILTER for 24 hours then retest the salinity and see where you are. You don't want to over-shoot. It's much easier to add much difficult to take out.

You should wait until you reach the proper salinity before you turn on the chlorine cell. You can manually dose your pool with liquid pool chlorine or bleach until that happens. You can also use a PolyQuat 60 algaecide during the process as well, just until you get everything dialed in right. Only use a PolyQuat 60 because many of the others have copper fillers in them. This can cause foaming and, through constant use, metal stains.

You probably don't have any CYA/pool stabilizer in the pool right now. You need to get it in there and the best way is to shock the pool with Dichlor. This is a stabilized form of chlorine. Once you reach the 30 ppm CYA mark, stop with Dichlor and go back to regular liquid chlorine until you can get the SWG and salinity perfect. Be sure the cell is OFF during the shocking process.

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. It's 1 1/3 lbs. of Dichlor per 10,000 gallons to shock. The range for CYA is 30 - 50 ppm. You may need to shock the pool 2 - 3 times before you reach the 30 ppm CYA. Remember to test after each shock, waiting about 8 - 10 hours between the shock and test.

Do this first, then add the salt, test the salinity, and use the PolyQuat 60. You can discontinue with the algaecide once you get everything in line.

If you would like personal assistance, I do phone consultations for $35 per hour. It makes things go much faster and many serious pool owners have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias. If you choose to not go that route, we can correspond by email but it will slow the process down.


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Saltwater System For A Swimming Pool

by Bill

I had a look into this system, a salt water swimming pool system. There's not alot of info on this kind of pool system.

Do you have any knowledge on a saltwater swimming pool system.?

I like your web site and I would like to recommend you site to some of my other dyi people.

Keep up the good work


Thanks for your comment and question Bill

Yes I do have a working knowledge of saltwater swimming pool systems. The YMCA pool that I operate is a salt water pool system and it has a chlorine generator.

Salt Water Swimming Pools..Saltwater Chlorinator..Maintenance Guide

Swimming Pool Chlorine Generator..Salt Water..Chlorinator..Chemistry

Salt water pools are bit different than regular chorine pools in that you actually add salt to the pool. This saline water is then carried through the filtration system to the in-line chlorine cell. The chlorine cell produces the pool chlorine which is then returned back into the pool through the returns.

There are some free standing chlorine machines that are about the size of a dishwasher. You add salt into this machine which produces the chlorine inside, and this pool chlorine is returned back into the pool.

If you have any questions or other comments, I'd be happy to hear from you and answer anything you want about your saltwater swimming pool system.

All the best


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Water Balance Suggestion for SWG Pool (Fiberglass)

by Tracy

My son Elliott just bought a house with a 26000 Litre fiberglass Pool.It has a chloromatic ESC24C system with a sand filter. We've never had a pool before. So we just want to get the correct balance numbers from the start.

Were a bit confused on this subject as there is a lot of different information on the net.Have scoured the internet and came up with these numbers.What do you think.
PH is interesting.

pH = 7.0 to 7.2 (fiberglass)
TA = 70 ppm (SWG POOL)
CYA = 70 ppm.(SWG POOL)
FC = 3.0ppm (CYA OF 70PPM)
CH = 100-225 ppm (fiberglass)
Pool Salt 4000 - 6000 (SWG SELF CLEANING TYPE)


Thanks for the question Tracy. Those numbers are pretty accurate but I'd like to amend them just a bit.

pH is a bit low, especially if you have a pool heater. Lower pH can cause corrosion to the copper coils and leach copper into the pool. It's best to keep the pH 7.2 - 7.8. 7.6 is optimal. The TA can be 70ppm to 100ppm.

CYA/stabilizer can be a bit higher for salt pools do to the fact that the chlorine cell produces a constant amount of chlorine. 60 - 80ppm is good for a salt pool. The range for a normal chlorine pool is 30 - 50ppm.

The CH (calcium hardness) is not as important for fiberglass compared to a plaster/concrete pool. You can have a CH of 100ppm and be fine, but always follow the manufacturer recommendations. Whatever they say overrides what I say.

Salt level depends upon the kind of cell you have. In your situation the salt level is 4500 - 6000ppm. I would go to the max at 6000 then allow the salt to come down with the chlorine production. Once it gets to 5000 add more salt to bump the level back up again. Never allow the salt level to get to the minimum, or below, because the cell won't be able to produce enough FC to sanitize the water.

FC level of 3 - 5ppm is fine but remember it depends on your unique situation, usage, splash out, etc... If it's a heavily used pool it's best to keep 5ppm of FC in the pool. If it's a lightly used pool then you can allow it to go to 3 - 4ppm.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone and/or SKYPE consultations. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias. If you purchase a personal phone consult you'll get all 3 eBooks for free.

Pool Consultation

Clear Blue Pool eBook

How To Clear Up A Green Pool eBook

Swimming Pool Resources

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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