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Salt Water Pool Maintenance

Contrary to its name, a saltwater pool is not actually salty. To help you better understand, the salt levels in the ocean are at 35,000 parts per million. A human tear is 6,000 parts per million. A saltwater pool is only 2,500 parts per million. In other words, you can barely detect the salt in a saltwater pool. 

If saltwater pools do not turn your pool water into salty “beach water”, why are they popular these days? A saltwater pool is a viable alternative to the traditional chlorinated pool. The biggest difference of a saltwater pool versus a traditional pool is that it does not need to add chlorine directly to the pool water. It instead dissolves the salt in the pool water and converts it into chlorine, which is milder than the chlorine that is added into traditional swimming pools.

Clean your pool

Cleaning your pool is a crucial step in maintaining your salt water pool. Make sure to remove debris on the surface of your pool. Use a skimmer or a pool vacuum to ensure that you remove all the dirt from your pool and to keep it sparkling clean. 

A saltwater pool only contains about 10% of the salt that is found in ocean water. While this is a small amount, it helps to brush the bottom of your pool. You should keep salt water from building up, which can cause staining.

Pools should get cleaned 2 to 3 times per week. An uncovered pool may need more cleanings or take longer to clean, as it is more open to catching leaves and other debris. Using a pool cover or a blanket will keep your pool cleaner and help it stay warmer in cooler months. 

You’ll also want to clean your pool lining every month and follow proper maintenance tips for closing your pool down in the winter. 

Algae can also cause your pool to take on a dirty green hue. Use a special algae bush to remove it from the sides and bottom of your pool.

Test Your pH and Chlorine Levels

Add water level testing to your saltwater pool maintenance checklist. You should check your pH and chlorine levels every week. You can use an easy pool test kit to do this. 

  • pH Levels

A pool’s pH level should be between 7.2 to 7.6 ppm. If pH levels get unbalanced, you can add in sodium carbonate/muriatic acid to reduce the pH or add baking soda to increase the pH levels. 

  • Chlorine Levels 

Your chlorine should be about 1 to 3 ppm. If you live in a warmer climate, the sun’s rays can evaporate more of the chlorine from your pool. So you need to test the stabilizer levels, which should be between 70 and 80 ppm.  

Check salinity, alkalinity, stabilizer, and Calcium

Aside from checking your pool’s pH and chlorine levels, you should also check your pool’s water salinity, alkalinity, stabilizer, and calcium every month. 

  • Salinity – Ensure that your pool’s salinity is between 2700 and 4500 ppm. Check your owner’s manual to be sure since there may be slight differences depending on your pool model. Use a salt meter for this if your generator doesn’t come with one.
  • Alkalinity – Your pool’s alkalinity levels should be between 80 and 120 ppm. Use baking soda to raise it or muriatic acid to lower it.
  • Stabilizer – Cyanuric acid or CYA is an effective stabilizer for salt water pools. Make sure to keep this at 70 to 80 ppm. 
  • Calcium – Your pool’s calcium levels should be between 200 to 400 ppm. Calcium is essential for your water to stay clear and to prevent scaling and corrosion.  

Ensure Your Pump and Filter Are Functioning Right  

Saltwater pool maintenance is easy when all your pool parts function correctly, which is why it is critical to keep your pump, filter and skimmer clean and in good working condition. 

Regularly check and clean these parts since they can become clogged with debris over time. All these parts work together in keeping your pool water clean. When your pool water has a low water level, these can be a sign that one of these parts is getting blocked. The reduced water flow can also mean that chlorine is no longer generated by a salt chlorinator. Spray water from a hose to unclog the part and get rid of the debris. 

Clean your pool’s generator every few months to prevent scale and salt buildup. You can clean it using a high-pressure water hose, or you can scrape off the buildup with a plastic tool. This will help circulate the salt through your pool. 

Use a Shock Solution When Needed 

Shocking your pool is similar to deep cleaning it. You can shock your pool with a solution made of chlorine and water. Make sure to use a chlorine brand that is safe for saltwater pools. Keep in mind as well to use the right amount of chlorine depending on the size of your pool. Wait 8 hours to let the chlorine dissolve into your pool and recheck your pool levels afterwards. 

Here’s a tip: the best time for shocking a pool is at the start of summertime, right before you start using the pool more. 

Shock your pool regularly to keep your water looking fresh.