How To Change to a Saltwater Pool

Maintaining a swimming pool can be fun, but it’s also a big responsibility. If you have a freshwater pool, you will need to treat it with the right chemicals to prevent algae and bacteria from building up. Otherwise, you will have a murky and green pool that is unhealthy for swimming. If you aren’t fond of using chemicals in cleaning your pool, though, you have an environmentally-friendly alternative. You can use salt.

A chemically-driven pool system can be converted into a saltwater swimming pool easily. You will have cost-savings and there are also environmental benefits. Saltwater pools are becoming more common across the US, and you can take advantage of this through an easy conversion.

  • Install a chlorine generator alongside your pool’s plumbing system. This works with saltwater in maintaining the right amount of active chlorine required to keep a clean pool. This means you no longer have to regularly add chlorine or other chemicals manually. You will need to wire the chlorine generator with your pump’s circuit, so that it will power up and down alongside the pump.
  • The chlorine generator should be installed along the pool’s water return line. This should be after the filter and the heater. Cut into the return line and set up PVC piping so that water will run through the chlorine generator before coming back to the return line.
  • You can start converting your pool to a saltwater pool by adding salt. The right amount will depend on how large your pool is.  A good estimate is that you will need about 50 pounds of salt for every 1,200 gallon pool capacity.
  • When you turn on the pump, saltwater should circulate through the system, which will include the chlorine generator. The salt molecules will separate into sodium and chlorine through electrolysis. With this reaction, hydrogen atoms are freed from water, which helps clean the water naturally. Hydrogen and chloride, meanwhile, combine to form chlorine, which is sodium hypochlorite, which purifies your pool water.
  • Chlorine will chemically combine with sodium and turn back into salt, then the process starts over.

Salt for saltwater pool use is readily available at hardware and home improvement stores. You can usually save a lot of money with a saltwater pool, since the salt stays in the water and is just combined and recombined in the chlorination process. You might have to hire an electrician to wire the chlorine generator, although most do-it-yourself enthusiasts can do the actual piping and installation of the generator.

Before doing any conversion, check if your pool equipment—including your pump and filtration system—are rated for use on saltwater pools. The salt content in your pool is still generally too small that it’s still classified as freshwater (and not seawater). However, some equipment might be susceptible to corrosion when salt is present.

This conversion is a quick and easy process meant for cost-saving and efficiency. You will be more environmentally-friendly, too, as saltwater pools use less chemicals for treating and cleaning the water.


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