How Salt Water Pool Systems Work?

Using a salt water pool system rather than straight chlorine additives are beneficial in a lot of ways and are better for you and the environment. Chlorine produces a gas that comes off of the pool and makes the water hard, whether you can smell it or not.

Chlorine pools also cause a lot of skin irritation and can be harmful if the water gets in your eyes, especially if the water isn’t clean, and there are a lot of bacteria in it. The reason chlorine is the chemical used in pools is because of its antibacterial properties. Saltwater uses less chlorine, but the salt creates its cleaning and sanitizing effect.

How Salt Water Pool Systems Work

Salt water pool system use dissolved salt to create chlorine in the water. The salt breaks down in the water through electrolysis into the chemicals sodium hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid, which is the same properties that chlorine tablets have, just in a different form. This process creates water that is softer and less harmful to swimmers.

Most people believe that saltwater pools don’t contain any chlorine and that they only have salt; this is false. Once they own a saltwater pool for themselves, they realize that the water does contain chlorine. Although it seems as though the pool is entirely different since the smell and taste of the water are differing.

To turn your pool into a saltwater pool, you will need a chlorine generator. Generators come in different types, and some are more technologically advanced than others. The more features the generator has, the less work you have to do to maintain the pool.

You will also need a tremendous amount of salt; the exact amount depends on the size of pool you have. You will need to buy the salt through a salt water pool retailer. Overall, it is going to cost you anywhere between $500 and $2,000 for everything you need to convert the pool to salt water and to maintain it afterward.

Benefits of a Salt Water Pool

When you step into a salt water pool, you can automatically tell that it is saltwater and not pure chlorine. The water feels warmer, and you can probably smell the salt. Once you get out of the water, the salt has made your skin feel softer; chlorine pools usually dry out your skin and hair, especially if you swim often. Other benefits include stress relief and joint pain relief.

If you like to do laps in your pool as your daily exercise routine, saltwater is better on your muscles and joints since it creates a relaxing sensation. This type of pool is beneficial because it has a lower chlorine level than other pools. With the presence of salt, less chlorine is necessary.

How to Care for a Salt Water Pool

The care and maintenance tasks you have to perform to keep up with a salt water pool create a much different process than how you clean and take care of chlorine pools. Some of the tests are the same since a salt water pool does still contain chlorine, but there are a few extra tests that you need to conduct occasionally to check the salt levels.


Using a test kit, which you can find at your local pool supply store or online, test the chlorine level and the pH at least once or twice a week. Use the test kit by dipping the testing block under the pool water until both vials are full. Place five drops from each testing solution bottle into the appropriate side and compare the color of the water to the measurement scales labeled on the testing block. For salt water, the chlorine level should be 1-3ppm, and the pH should be 7.2-7.6.

Other tests you have to do are for salt, alkalinity, stabilizer, and calcium. Calcium is a necessary test because of how the saltwater causes calcium deposits on pool equipment and metal. Your chlorine generator should say on it what the salt level is supposed to be. You can use test strips or drops for these tests, but test strips are cheaper and easier to use.


For your saltwater system to work correctly, it needs to be clean. Some generators tell you when to clean the cell inside the chlorinator by illuminating a light on the generator. The cell is the location of most calcium deposits.

You also need to keep the pump, filter, and skimmer clean. Otherwise, there won’t be enough suction in the pump, and bacteria will start to increase. Cleanliness is important for all types of pools.

What You Need for a Salt Water Pool

Here are all of the items you need for your new salt water pool, except for the salt, which you will have to purchase from a pool supply store. Make sure you talk to a professional or do research to find out exactly how much salt you need.

Should You Invest in a Salt Water System for Your Pool?

Salt water pools are more complicated than regular chlorine pools and more expensive. There are more tests to perform every week and every month, and you have to invest in a chlorine generator. The upfront costs are high, sometimes it costs thousands of dollars, but the long term cost and maintenance are lower than those of a chlorine pool.

Before you decide to switch to a saltwater pool, you should get in contact with a pool care professional either online or at a local pool supply store to get more detailed information on how to install and care for a salt water pool system.