How to Convert a Pool to a Saltwater System

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Things You'll Need

  • Pool water testing kit

  • Pool water balancing chemicals

  • Saltwater chlorine generator

  • Saltwater testing strips

  • Pure salt

Converting a pool to a saltwater system can save any homeowner money.

Traditional chlorine pools, with required chemicals and complicated filter systems, have long been the most common choice for a home pool. Many homeowners are not even aware of the alternatives. One of the best alternatives to a chlorine pool is a saltwater pool. The experts at Saline Pool Systems explain that there's no need for expensive chemicals in a saltwater pool, and the water does not dry out swimmers' hair and skin. Almost any existing chlorine pool can be converted with the right equipment.


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Step 1

Choose and purchase a saltwater chlorine generator. This device works to produce chlorine gas to kill bacteria in the water through an electrical reaction with the salt in the water. According to the Red Square Pools Blog, the generator will need to be designed to work on the size of pool you currently have.

Step 2

Test the pool water. This will determine if you can simply add salt and the chlorine generator to the pool or if it will need to be drained and refilled first. According to the saltwater pool experts at Ed's Pools, the pH level will need to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Dissolved solids in the existing water also will have to be low, with the test showing between 1,000 and 2,000 dissolved parts per million.


Step 3

Install the saltwater chlorine generator. This must be done professionally, as the device is connected to the electrical line powering the pool's pump. The device is very sensitive to humidity, so trying to install it yourself can be dangerous.

Step 4

Drain the pool and refill it. This step is not required if your pool water is already stable, or if you can stabilize it with pool balancing chemicals.

Step 5

Add the required amount of salt. The experts at Ed's Pools recommend 25 lbs. of pure salt per 1,000 gallons of water. The salt must be pure, without any added chemicals or minerals such as iodine.


Step 6

Brush the salt to dissolve it. Use a broom or similar tool, and brush the bottom of the pool to break down any salt that has settled. Turn on the saltwater chlorine generator at this point.

Step 7

Test the water after 48 hours. Determine the salinity level, which should be close to 3,000 parts per million. Check that the generator is producing the correct level of chlorine.


Consider adding 75 percent of the recommended amount of salt and then testing the water. Lowering the salinity of a pool is a lot harder than raising it. Perform regular maintenance on the chlorine generator. Most systems feature cells that need to be cleaned regularly to avoid buildup.


Do not attempt to convert existing pool water that has a higher or lower pH balance, or that contains a higher level of dissolved solids. Do not discard your existing chlorine testing strips. The pool will not contain the same high level of chlorine, but it will still need to be tested regularly to ensure the chlorine generator is functioning properly.