How to Maintain a Salt Water Pool

How to Maintain a Salt Water Pool

A saltwater pool is a widely admired alternative to a conventional swimming pool. The soft water and comparatively easy maintenance schedule are the prime advantages of a saltwater pool. 

However, it is not some self-caring setup, and you must be careful. This comprehensive guide will delve deeper into this topic and give you insights on how to maintain a saltwater pool. 

Regular maintenance for a saltwater pool 

The scheme for looking after a saltwater pool has three aspects - maintenance, cleaning, and water balancing. 

Let's dive into it.

Maintenance for a saltwater pool 

Maintaining a saltwater pool is easier compared to a conventional swimming pool. Saltwater pools work on the concept of electrolysis and do not need regular addition of chlorine.

Here are some steps for the routine maintenance of your saltwater pool:

  1. Skim the pool daily to remove any debris which may have fallen into the water. Also, clean the skimmer and empty the pump basket.

  2. Check your pool deck and other metal equipment (jets, ladders, handrails, etc.) for any signs of corrosion. Saltwater can react with the surfaces and will damage them in the long run. It is best to spray your pool deck each week with a water hose.

  3. Check the pool circulation system every month and make sure it is in proper working condition. It can also become the cause of improper sanitization.

  4. Often check the pH and sanitizer levels and adjust them as needed. A pool shock is essential if the sanitizer levels go too low. 

  5. Conduct a monthly check of the salinity, calcium hardness, and stabilizer levels of the saltwater pool.

  6. Never add extra salt to the pool - be sure to only use pool salt for optimal results. 

Salt cell generator 

The salt cell generator is pretty much the heart of the saltwater pool. It is the machine responsible for generating free chlorine.

These generators have a service life of three to seven years, but they need routine maintenance and cleaning to work for that long. 

  • Pull the plug off the salt cell generator and other connected equipment. Unscrew the cell, pull it out, and inspect it for any signs of white or scaly deposits.

  • If you don’t find any deposits,the generator is in fine condition. Check again next month.

  • If the generator has any buildup, you should use a mix of scrubbing and chemicals to clean the deposits. The chemical used to clean tough deposits is muriatic acid. Use a 4:1 (add one quart of acid to four quarts of water) solution for cleaning and always add acid to water and not the other way around. Since acid is damaging to the skin, always wear adequate protective gear.

  • Do not use cleaning chemicals every week because they deteriorate the cell generator. 

Cleaning a saltwater pool 

Cleaning the saltwater pool with appropriate pool chemicals is essential to ensure things stay in  working order. Using a pool net skimmer will get rid of the large and visible debris in the water. A weekly scrub and vacuuming of the pool walls are essential to remove any buildup. 

Chemistry for a saltwater pool 

Like a conventional pool, a saltwater pool requires prompt water chemistry maintenance. You can use pool test kits to check the levels of these parameters.

However, changes in the chemistry of a saltwater pool can be frequent and need thorough monitoring. So it is better to use a real-time digital pool water chemistry monitor like Sutro. 

These are the most important parameters with their optimal values:

  • The pH: The optimal pH level for a saltwater pool is 7.5 and should stay between 7.2 and 7.8. You will often need a pH reducer because pH levels in these pools tend to rise. 

  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid): A stabilizer reading of 70 ppm is ideal for a saltwater pool. Adding a stabilizer is not required very often, but it helps, especially during the summer.

  • Free Chlorine/Bromine: The acceptable range of free chlorine is 2-5 ppm (parts per million). The chlorine levels should not fall below 2 ppm and bromine levels should not fall below 4 ppm.

  • Salinity: The level of salt required in the pool is between 3200-4000 ppm. Maintaining these levels is essential for the salt cell generators to work correctly.

  • Total Alkalinity: The value of TA for a saltwater pool lies between 80-120 ppm.

  • Calcium Hardness: The optimal value is between 200-400 ppm. 

  • Langelier Saturation Index (LSI): It measures how corrosive or scaling the water in your pool is. You can check out this calculator here.

How to get your salt pool ready for a new season 

Opening your saltwater pool for the new season is an exciting time that requires some appropriate preparations. Here’s how to do it step-by-step:

  1. Clean the cover, dry it and store it away from rodents and insects.

  2. Reconnect any pool equipment you removed when closing the saltwater pool. This includes the filter, salt cell generator, pump pressure gauge, and anything else that was disconnected. Make sure everything is clean, properly installed in place, and running. 

  3. Refill the pool up to the skimmer level if the water level has dropped. Adjust the water chemistry.. 

  4. Add high-quality salt to your pool. It prevents the TDS level and other inorganic contaminants from rising. You can use a pool salt calculator to measure the amount needed. 

  5. Run the salt cell generator and measure the water chemistry the next day. Balance if needed. 

How to close it up for the winter break 

Winterizing a saltwater pool refers to the process of closing down the pool for the upcoming winter. The pool becomes unusable due to low temperatures, but you must take careful measures to ensure it stays in perfect condition even during the winter.  

  1. Clean the pool using the scrub-and-vacuum method. Ensure no debris remains inside the pool water or the circulation system.

  2. Test the salinity and other water chemistry parameters. Adjust them to optimal levels if needed.

  3. Add winterizing pool chemicals and let the circulation run for at least eight hours. You can also find a pool winterizing kit that contains everything needed for the job.

  4. Lower the water levels below the skimmer line to absorb the effect of rain or snow increasing water levels.

  5. Remove and clean the salt cell generator and winterize it.

  6. Remove all other equipment and store them safely.

  7. Plug the skimmer so that no water enters the plumbing system

  8. Add some antifreeze to the plumbing (after plugging the pipes) if you live in areas that face subzero temperatures.

  9. Skim the pool to remove any debris and cover it.


A saltwater pool is technically easier to maintain when compared to a conventional pool. The salt water chlorine generator  produces chlorine, which sustains sanitization. However, it requires a strict maintenance schedule for optimal performance year-round.

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