The Basics of Saltwater Pools

In order to have a salt pool, you must have a piece of pool equipment called a salt chlorine generator (also called an electronic chlorine generator).

I have a regular chlorine pool; can I switch to a saltwater pool?

Yes, if you already own a regularly chlorinated swimming pool, you can easily make the switch to a salt pool. To make your transition easy, you only need two new components added to your pool - a salt cell and a control unit. These two components make up a electronic chlorine generator. The salt cell will be attached to the pipes between your pool filter and water outlet and the control unit will allow you to control and monitor the salt cell.

Once your pool is equipped with a chlorine generator, it will produce its own pool chlorine from a small amount of pool salt that is dissolved into the pool water to provide for the pool’s sanitizing needs. A salt-chlorine generator uses the simple process of electrolysis in combination with the water to separate the chlorine and sodium molecules and then reintroduces them into the pool.

Salt Pool Facts:

  • Salt pools are still sanitized using chlorine. A salt chlorine generator turns salt into chlorine to sanitize the pool water. Chlorine produced from a salt chlorine generator is less harsh on skin and eyes and has no chlorine odors. Salt pool water is known for its silky-smooth feeling.
  • The ocean's salt water has a salt content of approximately 35,000 ppm. The salt in a salt pool has a low concentration of salt at 3,000 – 6,000 ppm. That is approximately 1/10th the level of salt in the ocean. This means that if you properly maintain your salt pool and keep the salt levels between 3,000 - 6,000 ppm with your control unit, the pool water will not taste salty at all.
  • It is very important that you still regularly balance the water in your salt pool. Just like a regular chlorine pool, a salt pool should maintain proper pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Stabilizer levels in order to prevent scale formations on your salt pool system and maximize sanitizing effectiveness. Test pool water on a weekly basis and use standard pool chemical procedures to adjust the levels.
  • All pools, including salt water pools, need to be shocked regularly with pool shock. During pool season, when the pool is used the most, shock your salt pool on a weekly basis.
  • Saltwater pools are initially more costly to maintain than regular chlorine pools. You must factor in the cost of the salt chorine generator, pool salt purchases, and replacements of the salt cell (every five years, on average). However, salt water pool maintenance is far easier and the pool water is softer and does not irritate swimmers' eyes or skin.

How to increase salt content in your pool:

Please check with your salt chlorine generator's specific manufacturer's recommendations and adjust the salt level accordingly.

Salinity Salt Pool Products, available at your local Pinch A Penny store, are specially formulated for salt pools.

View the entire Pool Care Guide