How To Convert Your Pool To Salt Water
If you are looking for information about how to convert your pool to salt water then this article will help you. There is a lot of reading that you will need to do before you are aware of everything that you will need to know.
On the simple end converting a pool to salt water is a very quick and easy process in that you buy a salt system, install it, add salt to the pool, and turn the system on. The problem with this is that is glazes over the meat and potatoes of what you need to know.
There is quite a bit of misinformation surrounding salt water pools and the truth is that adding a salt water system to the wrong pool can be a total disaster. Anybody can convert a pool to salt water...it is super easy to do. This information is to help you convert your pool properly so that you do not damage your pool and have a solid understanding of how a salt system is designed to work and what to expect moving forward.
How to install a salt water system - This article looks at how to install a salt chlorinator cell in your plumbing system. It is very important where the cell gets installed in relation to your other equipment to prevent from damaging other components of your pool. This article also talks about isolating the generation cell with a check valve as well as how to calculate how much salt you should add to the water.
Is salt water bad for your pool? - This article should be requisite reading for any pool owner looking to convert to salt water. This article explains the process that allows salt to damage swimming pools and pool equipment, as well as what you can (and should) do to mitigate this potential damage.
Pool salt system comparison - See every swimming pool salt water system compared side by side based on how much chlorine each unit is able to generate over a 24 hour period. This creates the most apples-to-apples comparison review of salt systems that you will find anywhere. This includes all systems from Hayward, Pentair, Zodiac, Solaxx, Intex, CompuPool, AutoPilot and CircuPool.
How to maintain a salt water pool - Salt water pools are not maintenance free. They require all of the same chemical checks and balancing that traditional chlorine pools require. This article talks about how to care for salt water pools as well as some tips that can help you to have an easier time keeping your pH level where you want it to be.
Once you have read the information listed above then you will have a much better understanding of what a salt system is, how to install one properly, which salt systems are the best, and how to take care of your pool moving forward. So much of this information is not covered by salespeople selling these systems and that leads to unhappy customers and pool owners and a bad reputation for the pool industry in general. Protect your pool by reading the articles listed above before converting your pool to salt water.
Converting To A Salt Water Pool
Going from a traditional chlorine pool to a salt water chlorine pool takes about 24 hours in total to complete. The majority of this time will be simply letting the salt in the pool fully dissolve as well as letting the glued PVC connections set up. For a skilled swimming pool service technician you can complete the installation of a new salt system in less than an hour. Easily the hardest part of the process is just getting the salt from your vehicle all the way back to the pool location.
Converting a pool to salt water takes quite a bit of salt...more than most people are expecting. You should also be sure to have your pool clean and properly balanced (especially the total alkalinity and pH levels) before you start adding any salt to the pool.
1) Choose your system - Choose the right salt system for your pool buy going to a local pool and spa store or by reading this article on salt chlorinator reviews and then order one online.
2) Install the chlorine cell - The chlorine generation cell should be installed last, right before the water is returned to your pool. You should also have a check valve just before the salt cell to prevent any chlorine from tracing backwards through the system when the pump is turned off. If your salt system has a power center or control box that mounts nearby, be sure to connect a bonding wire to the lug provided on the casing of the unit.
3) Install a sacrificial anode - Install a sacrificial anode in your plumbing system and then connect it to the bonding grid for your pool. This will help to reduce any damage from galvanic corrosion which results from increased salt levels in your pool water. The sacrificial anode system can be installed anywhere in your pool plumbing system so long as it is before the salt chlorine cell.
4) Add salt to the pool - Each salt system will stipulate the parts per million of salt needed for the system to operate. Most are around 3000 ppm. You can ballpark the amount of salt needed for your pool using a rough formula of one pound of salt to raise a 1000 gallon pool by 100 parts per million. This would mean a 10,000 gallon pool would need about 250 to 300 pounds of salt to achieve a level of 3000 parts per million. When adding salt, always check your pool salt levels before adding any salt. Usually a pool already has a salt level from source water and old chlorine so to avoid overshooting check your numbers first. Also always add at least one bag less than the amount you calculate that you need. It is easy to add a little more salt but to remove some you need to partially drain and refill your pool. Pentair provides this useful pool salt calculator tool to help you determine the exact amount of salt you will need.
5) Brush down the pool - After adding salt directly to the pool you will need to brush it around to help encourage it to dissolve. Leave the salt in the pool for 24 hours and then brush down the pool walls and floor again to make sure all of the salt has properly dissolved.
6) Turn on the salt chlorinator cell - You need to leave the salt chlorinator cell turned off for 24 hours after you add the salt to the pool. This helps to prevent the potential of damage to the salt system by way of over current. If a highly concentrated amount of salt water were to pass through the salt cell this water would have a very low electrical resistance which is far outside of the parameters of the electronics of the salt system. This low resistance causes a current spike which can damage some systems. Allowing 24 hours to dissolve the salt thoroughly prevents from having any concentrated salt water pass through the system while it is running and trying to generate chlorine.
A salt chlorine generator makes chlorine slowly over a long period of time. This is important for a lot of reasons. When first installing your system this is important because the system will need time in order to generate enough chlorine to develop a residual. If your pool already had an established free chlorine residual then this is easy. If the pool had zero available chlorine in it then the salt system needs to make enough chlorine to overcome the current chlorine deficit, and then enough to build a reserve amount. This is why you should set your system to either super chlorinate or 100% output until you develop a free chlorine level between 1 to 3 parts per million. You can also simply add chlorine to your pool to help build up a residual chlorine level and this will not hurt the pool in any way.
The type of pool salt that you use definitely makes a difference. You need a high purity sodium chloride. You want to choose a pool salt that is over 99% pure and specifically avoid road salts or any salt that contains iron or manganese. You can usually see these impurities in the salt as discolorations. Pool salt does not contain anti-caking agents like sodium silicoaluminate or magnesium carbonate which are used to stop salt from clumping together. Pool salt is also non-iodized and use of iodized salt in pools is not recommended due to potential staining issues.
Tips For Salt Water Pools
A salt chlorine system can only generate chlorine while the pump is running. If you turn off your pump for part of the day, or run your variable speed pump on an ultra low RPM setting then this can prevent your salt system from generating chlorine. If you have a high chlorine demand in your pool then you might benefit from running your pump more often to allow time for the chlorine generator to work. You also can, and should, add regular chlorine to your pool to "help out" your salt water system when needed. Many pool owners do not understand that it is perfectly safe and normal to do this. Sure you can rely on your salt chlorinator to crank out the chlorine that you need slowly, or you can help boost the chlorine levels right away if needed by adding some manually.
Another tip for converting your pool to salt water is that you should be using a high quality stain and scale control chemical in your water. Salt pools tend to have a high pH and with the amount of salt in the water it is very common to develop scale problems in salt pools. This is less often evidenced within the pool itself, but instead the scale first forms on the inside of plumbing lines and on the inside of pool equipment like heaters. Using a scale reducing product like scale free is ideal as it reduces scale formation and does not contain phosphates.
Reducing phosphates is important in salt water pools even more so that traditional chlorine pools and if your phosphate levels are over 500 parts per billion you should treat your pool with a phosphate remover. The reason for this is that your salt system makes chlorine slowly over time, similar to how phosphates (and nitrates) help to produce algae slowly over time. What you end up with is a race between algae and chlorine that puts a strain on your salt chlorinator. By the time phosphates are over 1000 parts per billion many salt systems will struggle to maintain a free chlorine level. Reducing your phosphates and adding chlorine manually will help your salt system to develop and maintain a suitable chlorine residual.
Is Salt Water Bad For Pools?
How Much Chlorine Can Each Salt System Make In 24 Hours?
How To Maintain A Salt Water Pool
How To Install A Pool Salt Water System
Salt Water Generator Reviews
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