How to Maintain a Saltwater Pool. With saltwater pools, maintenance during the season becomes easier and you’ll also enjoy reduced cost of running it. But, if you want your saltwater pool to work in the ideal conditions, like all swimming pools, you need to check the chemical levels, adjust them and do a good cleaning. This will help you to get the most out of your swimming pool.
However, many pool owners and managers don’t really know how to care for a saltwater pool.
Basically, you only need to clean the water daily from leaves and insects. Also, you’ll need to check the pH and other chemical levels. Firstly, let us give a brief explanation of how it works and some advantages and downsides of having a saltwater pool. These will help you to know the benefits and problems you might soon be dealing with.
How saltwater pools and salt chlorinators work
Generally, salt chlorinators work as chlorine generally does, unlike a pool which we have to bleach directly. Saltwater pools use saline chlorinators; that is, they use salt to generate chlorine.
Salt chlorinators are devices which we can integrate into the filtration system. It helps us take advantage of saltwater to generate chlorine gas by electrolysis. This dissolves immediately in the water and disinfects it.
For those people concerned about the preservation of the environment, it is important to clarify that we are generating hypochlorite, which when decomposed, will convert back into salt. Therefore, this system is a cycle which is totally ecological and respectful to nature.
It is also necessary to mention that the salt level of salty pools is much lower than the sea salt level. Specifically, we are talking about one-tenth or less. The salt used is sodium chloride; that is, common salt like the one you have in table salt shakers.
Saltwater pools: Advantages and Disadvantages
Are you tired of having your eyes and skin irritated during or after swimming sessions? Or perhaps, you’re fed up of buying chlorine every two times for your pool. Then, the saltwater pool may be the solution. Today, we will see some of the advantages and disadvantages of a system that are often used in both private and public pools.
Advantages of saltwater pools
- One of the first aspects that we are going to value as advantages are the money-saving benefit. Obviously, this system saves money both in maintenance and in chemical products. By maintaining stable levels, you’ll be able to reduce the consumption of chemical products. When it comes to a small pool, you can save money in the long term. And when it comes to a large pool in a hotel, a building or a sports center, you can save a lot of money which you can invest in other improvements.
- Also, by automating the process, you can save several hours of work or personnel.
- Secondly, by not having to handle chlorine directly, we reduce the risks of chemical accidents. Besides, you can be sure that the concentration of chlorine in the water will never be excessive. Goodbye to pools with water that smells like chlorine, goodbye to irritations of skin and eyes, goodbye to damaged hair!
- Lastly, while the water evaporates, the salt never does. The only loss of salt that occurs is when we enter and leave the pool. So, even if we add more water, the level of salt will be the same. Although we will have to add some salt, the cost is very low when you compare it to what you will spend on chlorine.
- As we have already mentioned, the amount of salt in the water is not enough to irritate our eyes or our skin. Also, it’s not enough for it to damage the lawn of the garden. There is less salt than in seawater. It’s an amount similar to what can be in a tear.
Disadvantages of saltwater pools
From the point of view of the comfort of the swimmer, the saltwater pools have no disadvantages. Perhaps some people do not enjoy the taste of salt. However, being much less salty than seawater should not be a problem.
As for the owner, whether it is a small private pool, a hotel pool or that of a neighboring community, it is true that the salt chlorination system requires an installation cost. However, it is rather an investment, since in the long term you’ll get more quality water. As mentioned earlier, you will be able to reduce the expense of chemical products.
With a saltwater pool, everything doesn’t work out by just dumping salt in the water and leave it to care for itself. It requires special everyday maintenance.
Part 1: Daily maintenance tasks for a saltwater pool
Keep in mind that the pool season is not excessively long. So, ideally, you’ll need to maintain the pool every day you use it to keep it in perfect conditions. To do this, you must perform the following tasks every day:
You have to clean the filter, skimmer and pump every day. If not, the water flow will reduce. Consequentially, the salt chlorinator will stop and the water will not receive any more chlorine.
Every day, clean the leaves and insects that accumulate in the skimmers. However, if your pool is in a tree-free zone and so much dirt does not fall in the water, you can space the cleaning of this equipment to a period you deem necessary.
It is very important that you measure the pH of the saltwater pool every morning. This is because salt chlorination tends to increase water pH. Remember, the pH should be in values close to 7.2. By abiding by this, swimmers will find swimming comfortable. Also, this will help your equipment to be in good condition.
- If the pH is low: That is, when the water is acidic, the electrode of the salt chlorinator will deteriorate more quickly (any metallic element that is in contact with water), the chlorine vapor increases and it will irritate people’s skin and eyes. The solution is to raise the pH level.
- If the pH is high: The disinfectant loses its effectiveness and is consumed more. Also, algae will proliferate, the skin and mucous membranes are also irritated. The solution is to reduce pH.
Note: When the pH of the pool water is too low (excess acidity), one of the effects of the situation is that the tile cement joints will deteriorate more quickly.
How is the pH measured?
Ideally, your salt chlorinator should incorporate a meter and pH meter that regularly tests the values and corrects them. If the manufacturer does not incorporate it, for your convenience, you can install an automatic one which is compatible with your chlorinator. Automatic dispensers should work with a pH corrector based on sulfuric acid. If we put one with a base of hydrochloric acid, it will damage the equipment.
If you do not mind doing the daily measurements to control the pH of the water, you can use two types of analyzers. However, you should always follow the instructions of each manufacturer regarding the application of the correctors in the pool water.
Meanwhile, there are comfortable electronic devices which measure the pH values of the water when you hadn’t a rod with a sensor in it. They may be:
- Analog: a needle moves through a colored graph with the values of acidity and alkalinity marked.
- Digital: the numerical values appear in an easy to read the screen.
How to fix the pH
When the water is acidic, to correct it, you have to add an alkaline element such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate. On the other hand, if you have to add acid, it can be hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid. However, you must always dilute them in large quantities of water. Note: Always follow the instructions on the package.
Connect the purifier for about 6 hours a day, preferably when no one is in the pool. However, if the pH measurement or chlorine levels indicate alterations, you may have to leave it for longer. Meanwhile, if you ever have guests and the capacity increases, leave it up to 12 hours.
In general, with salt chlorination, the filtration should work for a longer time. However, you can do the filtration during the day, while the pool is in use, without any problem. It’s however important you make sure that the total water passes through the filter twice a day.
You can buy a measuring kit consisting of pipettes with which you’ll take a sample of water and place it on reagents. These change color which will indicate acidity or alkalinity. Also, there are reagents in the form of strips with their individual tube, available in the form of pills.
Part 2: Daily maintenance tasks for a saltwater pool
With saline chlorination pools, the interesting thing is that you can space out the weekly treatment. Even, you can conduct the treatment every two weeks, when there is less use of the pool. However, you should look at these aspects:
Firstly, measure the chlorine levels with a test. They usually sell the pH and chlorine level of salt and chlorine level meters together. This will help you adjust the hours of operation of your saline chlorination device. Meanwhile, if you discover low levels of chlorine, you should increase the daily hours they are connected, and vice versa.
First off, like the chlorine levels, test the amount of salt in the water. It is very important that it does not go down so that the salt chlorinator will work properly. As earlier mentioned, the salt does not evaporate. However, it can lower its concentration if you do many backwashes of the filter (more frequent in areas with trees).
Add salt in the ratio recommended by the manufacturer of your chlorinator for cases in which you need to compensate for salinity.
On the other hand, if the salt level is too high, slightly empty the pool and add new water. In any case, if you discover again the lack or excess of salt, it may be that you do not have the salt chlorinator running at the right time and power or that it has a problem.
An easy formula to calculate the amount of salt that we have to add to the pool is this: multiply the cubic meters of the pool by the grams of salt/liter that we have to add. This way, you’ll get the kilos of salt to put – 60m3 x 2gr = 120kg. of salt
Cleaning of the filters
It is advisable that once a week you check the condition of the filters. Firstly, open the lid and remove the sand. If it is dirty, remove the first layer and add a de-agglomerating product to help it perform its function correctly. Also, every time you see in the manometer that the filter pressure has risen above 1.3 kg/cm2, do a wash. With backwashing, you invert the direction of water circulation in the filter. And with it, you’ll expel the filtered material to the drain. If your filter is a cartridge, remove it and clean it with a jet of water under pressure.
Cleaning of the coverings around the glass
This is especially necessary for pools with hard water. That is to say, pools with excess lime in its composition. Whitish marks may remain on the tiles surrounding the glass. Clean them weekly (or every 3 or 4 days) with a descaling product and a hard bristle brush.
Can I use algaecides, flocculants, and chlorine for a saltwater pool?
Yes, you can use chemical products in your purified pool with a saline chlorinator. However, we advise you to use it only as a shock treatment in certain circumstances. It does not make much sense (neither for the economy nor for ecology) to opt for a water disinfection method that allows you to dispense with these products and still use them.
Add them only if you have filled the pool. Basically, this helps to prevent the appearance of algae (which love clean and untreated water) until the chlorinator is producing chlorine.
Also, you should add them if for any reason you see greenish water. Although this is a sign that either your appliance is not working well. Or perhaps the salt ratio is too low and it does not allow enough chlorine to generate in the electrolysis process. Also, another likelihood is that maybe the pH is high. Remedy the cause so that it does not happen again.
Flocculants serve to bind tiny particles that escape to the filters in larger elements so they can be filtered. Generally, salt chlorinators destroy organic waste by passing through the electrolysis cell. Even so, if for some reason, you saw the cloudy water, add them to eliminate the waste. After this, check the chlorinator’s operation and measure the levels to see where the problem is.
The salt chlorinator, when working for the appropriate hours and with clean cell electrodes, is capable of producing the chlorine your pool needs throughout the season. However, if you have just filled the glass or you have not made a correct wintering, it is advisable to apply a dose of rapid dissolving chlorine.
It can also happen that you have one way or the other adjusted the hours and power of the salt chlorinator for the use that your family usually makes of the pool. However, if someday these circumstances vary, as for example many guests come to swim, the chlorine can evaporate more quickly and lower its concentration. To remedy this, put the chlorinator at higher power the next day. And if the chlorine level is still low, add rapid dissolving chlorine until it reaches the appropriate levels.
We hope you were able to learn a thing or two about how to maintain a saltwater pool. You may also check the YouTube video below for added assistance:
Kindly let us know your thoughts, ideas or raise questions in the comment section below. Don’t forget to like and share this article How to Maintain a Saltwater Pool.
Table of Contents
- 1 How saltwater pools and salt chlorinators work
- 2 Saltwater pools: Advantages and Disadvantages
- 3 Advantages of saltwater pools
- 4 Disadvantages of saltwater pools
- 5 Part 1: Daily maintenance tasks for a saltwater pool
- 6 Part 2: Daily maintenance tasks for a saltwater pool
- 7 Can I use algaecides, flocculants, and chlorine for a saltwater pool?