Converting A Swimming Pool Into A Saltwater Pool: Can It Be Done

Converting A Swimming Pool Into A Saltwater Pool. This article acts as a guide to the cost, benefits, and process of pool conversion.

Many pool owners have wondered about converting a swimming pool into a saltwater pool and if it’s worth the cost and the hassle to do so.

One of the main advantages of a saltwater pool is that the water is softer and gentler on the skin and eyes. The saltwater also stabilizes the pH level of the pool, reducing the need for frequent adjustments.

However, it’s important to note that converting to a saltwater pool does come with some costs and maintenance requirements that pool owners should be aware of before making the switch.

What Is A Saltwater Pool

A saltwater pool is a type of swimming pool that uses salt to generate chlorine instead of adding chlorine directly to the water.

The saltwater pool system uses a salt cell or a salt chlorine generator to convert the salt in the water into chlorine. The chlorine generated by the salt cell is milder and less irritating to the skin and eyes compared to the chlorine used in traditional chlorine pools.

The saltwater pool system requires the addition of pool-grade salt to the water. This salt is different from table salt or sea salt and is specifically designed for use in swimming pools.

The salt cell generates chlorine by electrolysis, which breaks down the salt molecules into sodium and chlorine. The chlorine that is produced by the salt cell kills bacteria and other harmful organisms in the pool water.

It is important to note that a saltwater pool is not a chlorine-free pool. The saltwater pool system generates chlorine, but the levels of chlorine are typically lower than in traditional chlorine pools.

The saltwater pool also requires regular testing and maintenance of the water chemistry to ensure proper balance of pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and salinity levels. pH balance is also important for Koi ponds, as this article discusses.

If the water chemistry is not properly balanced, it can lead to problems such as high levels of chloramines or scaling caused by high levels of calcium.

Converting A Swimming Pool To A Saltwater Pool

Costs of Converting to a Saltwater Pool

On average, the cost of converting a swimming pool can range from $1,500 to $2,500. This cost includes the installation of a salt system, a chlorinator controller, and a chlorinator cell.

Converting a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool can be expensive. The cost can vary depending on the size of the pool, the type of equipment needed, and the amount of work required. Additionally, the pool equipment may need to be upgraded to accommodate the new system.

Installation Process

The installation process for converting a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool typically takes about a day or two.

  1. The first step is to drain the pool and remove the existing chlorinator system.
  2. The new salt chlorinator system is then installed, along with the chlorinator controller and cell.
  3. The pool is then refilled with water and the salt is added.

When converting a swimming pool to a saltwater pool, it’s important to remember that pool-grade salt must be used for the conversion process.

Maintenance of a Saltwater Pool

Maintaining a saltwater pool is different than maintaining a chlorine pool. While a saltwater pool is generally easier to maintain, it still requires regular upkeep.

The salt level must be monitored and adjusted as needed, and the chlorinator cell must be cleaned regularly. It is also important to check and maintain the pool equipment, such as the pump and filter, to ensure they are working properly.

Additionally, the pool liner may need to be replaced sooner than with a chlorine pool due to the salt content in the water.

Pros and Cons of Saltwater Pools

Many pool owners are considering converting their traditional chlorinated pools to saltwater pools. While saltwater pools have some advantages, they also have some disadvantages. This section will discuss the pros and cons of saltwater pools.

Pros of Saltwater Pools

Here are some of the advantages of saltwater pools:

  • No Chlorine Smell: Saltwater pools use a salt chlorination system to generate chlorine, which results in a milder and more pleasant smell compared to chlorinated pools.
  • Lifespan: Saltwater pools have a longer lifespan than chlorinated pools because the salt chlorinator produces a steady supply of chlorine, which reduces the need for harsh chemicals that can damage the pool’s surface and equipment.
  • pH Level: Saltwater pools have a more stable pH level, which means less monitoring and maintenance for the pool owner.
  • Reduced Chemical Costs: Salt chlorination systems require less maintenance and fewer chemicals, which can save pool owners money in the long run.
  • Evaporation: Saltwater pools have a lower evaporation rate than chlorinated pools, which means less water loss and less need to refill the pool.

Cons of Saltwater Pools

Here are some of the disadvantages of saltwater pools:

  • Salt Chlorine Generator: Saltwater pools require a salt chlorine generator, which can be expensive to install and maintain.
  • Skin Irritation: Some people may experience skin irritation from the salt in the water, although this is rare.
  • Green Hair: Saltwater pools can cause hair to turn green, but this can be prevented by using a clarifying shampoo after swimming.
  • Pool Size: Saltwater pools require a larger initial investment than chlorinated pools, which may not be feasible for some pool owners.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, the decision of converting a swimming pool to a saltwater pool is a personal preference based on individual needs and preferences.

Maintaining a Saltwater Pool

Once you have converted your traditional swimming pool to a saltwater pool, it is important to maintain proper chemical balance for optimal performance and longevity of your pool. Here are some key factors to consider:

Balancing pH and Alkalinity

The pH and alkalinity levels in your saltwater pool need to be balanced to prevent damage to the pool surface, equipment, and skin irritation.

The ideal pH level is between 7.2 and 7.8, while the alkalinity level should be between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm). You can use a pool water test kit to measure these levels and adjust them as needed using pH increaser or decreaser and alkalinity increaser.

Testing Salt Levels

Regularly testing the salt levels in your pool is crucial for maintaining proper chlorine levels and preventing damage to your salt cell. T

he recommended salt level for saltwater pools is between 2,500 and 3,500 ppm. You can test the salt level using a salt test kit and add salt as needed to maintain the proper level.

Maintaining Proper Chlorine Levels

Unlike traditional pools, saltwater pools use a chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt. The chlorine level in your pool should be between 1 and 3 ppm. You can adjust the chlorine levels by adjusting the output of your salt chlorine generator or adding pool-grade salt to the pool. It is important to regularly clean and inspect your salt cell to ensure proper function and longevity.

Other factors to consider when maintaining a saltwater pool include stabilizing the pool water with cyanuric acid, maintaining proper calcium hardness levels, and regularly testing your pool water for total alkalinity and other chemical levels.

By following these guidelines and regularly maintaining your saltwater pool, you can enjoy a clean and refreshing swimming experience for years to come.

Is It Worth Converting A Swimming Pool to Saltwater

There are numerous benefits to converting a swimming pool to a saltwater pool. Not only do saltwater pools provide a more natural swimming experience, but they are also easier to maintain and more cost-effective in the long run.

  • Gentler Swimming Experience – The water in a saltwater pool is softer and silkier than the water in a traditional chlorine pool, which can be harsh on the skin and eyes. This means that you and your family can swim comfortably for longer periods of time without experiencing discomfort.
  • Less Maintenance – With a saltwater system, you won’t have to worry about adding chlorine tablets or shock treatments to the water. Instead, the saltwater generator will automatically produce the necessary amount of chlorine to keep the water clean and clear. This means less time spent maintaining your pool and more time enjoying it.
  • Cost-Effective – While the initial cost of installing a saltwater system may be higher than that of a traditional chlorine system, the ongoing maintenance costs are significantly lower. This is because you won’t have to constantly purchase and add chlorine tablets to the water. Over time, this can add up to substantial savings.

Final Thoughts

Converting a swimming pool into a saltwater pool has numerous benefits that make it a worthwhile investment for pool owners.

Saltwater pools provide a more natural swimming experience with softer, silkier water that is gentle on the skin and eyes. They also require less maintenance and are more cost-effective in the long run, despite the higher initial cost of installation.

By making the switch to a saltwater pool, pool owners can enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable swimming experience while also reducing their environmental impact.

With the help of a professional pool service, converting a pool to a saltwater system can be a relatively simple and stress-free process that will ultimately pay off in terms of improved water quality, reduced maintenance, and long-term cost savings.


Hi, I'm Chris. Who knew there could be so many interesting things about salt?!

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