Salt Water Pool Maintenance For Beginners

Beginner Info, Pool

salt water pool maintenance for beginners
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In this post, we would be discussing the nuts and bolts of saltwater pool maintenance for dummies.

So, here I’m your friend your host with one of the most burning topics, “how to maintain a saltwater pool effectively“.

Without wasting any time, I would love to come straight to the topics that we would be covering in this comprehensive guide.

Does it make sense?

  • Benefits of owning a saltwater pool
  • How to test the saltwater pool
  • Chemicals needed to maintain a saltwater pool
  • How to winterize your salt chlorinator
  • FAQs

So, without any further ado, let’s dive in…

Salt Water Pool Maintenance For Dummies

We’ve tried to the best of our capabilities to bundle the information so that our readers can reap maximum benefits from it.

In case, you think we’ve missed out on something then please do let us know in the comment section, and we would be more than happy to include it.

Salt Water Pool Benefits

Trust me, there are loads and loads of benefits using a saltwater pool, but it isn’t possible for me to discuss each one of them here.

So, what I’ll do is throw some light on the most important benefits that many of you might not be aware of.

  • As compared to the water in a traditional chlorine pool, the water of a saltwater pool is much smoother, cleaner, and softer, and gives you a great feeling when swimming
  • Many of you might not be aware of the fact that your saltwater pool would be generating its own chlorine still most swimmers find it less itchy to the skin and eyes
  • The best thing about a saltwater pool is that it doesn’t produce chloramines that most swimmers hate
  • If you own a saltwater pool then definitely you don’t have to deal with handling or storing chlorine as the saltwater cell produces it on its own
  • With the help of a timer and settings, you can automate a major portion of daily task

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, And Quarterly Tasks

There is a big difference between low-maintenance and NO MAINTENANCE, right?

So, please don’t get confused that a saltwater pool doesn’t need any maintenance.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the tasks that you need to perform on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in order to keep your pool in a healthy condition.

Daily Tasks

You just need to spend some time on your daily tasks so that the swimmer experiences the best swimming ambiance.

  • First and foremost, clear the skimmer
  • Then, you need to empty the pump basket
  • And, lastly, skim any visible debris

Even though you’re a beginner it is of utter importance that you keep your pool and the filter as clean as possible in order to save both time and money.

Weekly Tasks

As a pool owner, it’s your sole responsibility to check your pool’s pH on a weekly basis.

Also, check whether your salt cell generator is properly adjusted or NOT with the help of a test kit or a test strip that will depict the free chlorine level.

Using an effective test kit like this (check the current price on Amazon) would definitely help you to save a good amount of time.

Even though you’re just starting out, it is really important for you to know the acceptable range for both Ph levels and free chlorine.

A pool pH level in the range of 7.2-7.6 is acceptable, and the free chlorine should fall in the range of 1.0 and 3.0 ppm.

But, what if the chlorine doesn’t fall in the prescribed range?

Well, you don’t need to worry at all as your chlorine generator will do the trick for you.

All you need to do is to adjust the chlorine generator accordingly by the output control on the control box or cell.

In case, the difference is huge, then you need to test it again and again, maybe every day until it’s back to normal.

There are two easy ways to lower free chlorine, that is, dialing back the output setting on your chlorine generator and running the circulation system.

The latter will consume less time.

On the other hand, if you want to increase the chlorine level then all you need to do is to either increase chlorine production or try pool shock treatment whichever you’re comfortable with.

Similarly, for raising the pH level you can try sodium bicarbonate, and in case of lowering sodium carbonate or muriatic acid would do the trick for you.

Before we move further, could you PLEASE help me with whether we’re on the same page or NOT?

Monthly Task

Unlike daily and weekly tasks, the monthly tasks would need more of your involvement and definitely, would consume a good amount of your time.

The cleaning process would be a bit more detailed and time-consuming.

Secondly, you would be testing as well as adjusting balancing chemicals so that everything is in place for the upcoming week.


Though each salt generator is unique still it’s good to ensure that the salinity of your pool falls in the range of 2700-4500 ppm.

Moreover, you should also check your manufacturer’s instructions and confirm the amount of pool salt that is best for your model.

In case, you’re planning to buy a generator then I highly recommend that go for the model that comes with a control panel capable of displaying the water’s salinity level.

However, if you own one which lacks the display feature then you’ll have to buy a salt meter (check the current price on Amazon) to find out.

In other words, when the salt level is too low you’ll have to add salt until it reaches the desired level.

On the other hand, if the salt level is too high then the best that you can do is to dilute the pool water.

Most of the salt cell generators do come with a manual.

In case, you’re just starting out, you should definitely go through the manual which will have instructions about the right amount of salt that needs to be added.

Remember, adding salt in abundance can even damage the unit.


It goes without saying that Alkalinity plays an important in maintaining a healthy pool ambiance.

Correct me, if I’m wrong.

But, an imbalance in alkalinity can also lead to some serious problems.

In order to keep the pH level of your pool stabilized you need to pay proper attention to alkalinity.

If you’re a beginner then you might not be aware of the fact that high alkalinity is usually what is responsible for cloudy pool water.

And, on the other hand, low alkalinity causes corrosion and pool damage.

As a pool owner, it is solely your responsibility that proper alkalinity is maintained which falls in the range of 80 and 120 ppm.

Muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate can be added to lower alkalinity levels.

For raising the alkalinity level, you need to add sodium carbonate.

Remember, the process would take a couple of days before the alkalinity level comes to normal.

For the best result, you need to add chemicals slowly and test them every 24 hours.

Cyanuric Acid

Often I’ve seen pool owners overlooking the importance of Cyanuric acid, but I request you to NOT repeat the same mistake.

The CYA has its own importance that can’t be ignored.

It acts as a stabilizer for your pool water.

Cyanuric acid plays a crucial role in preventing your pool’s chlorine from being mitigated by UV rays.

In fact, your pool can lose up to 90 percent of its chlorine on a sunny day and in the absence of CYA.

Well, if you own a saltwater pool then you definitely require a higher amount of CYA which should fall in the range of 70 and 80 ppm.

The level of CYA can be increased by simply adding it in more quantity to your pool water.

On the other hand, for diluting the CYA level, drain a little of it from the pool and add fresh water.

But, before draining out the CYA, it is advisable to wait for a day or two and see if the level gets neutralized on its own.

Calcium Hardness

Till now, I think you would’ve understood the importance of pH, alkalinity, etc, and everything should be in balance for the proper and healthy functioning of the pool.

As a pool owner, you can’t afford to take calcium hardness lightly.

An excess of it can lead to scaling and low levels can cause corrosion.

The calcium hardness must fall in the range of 200-400 ppm.

Lowering calcium hardness is a bit complex process but definitely can be achieved with some effort.

The easiest but at the same time, expensive way is to drain the pool water and add some fresh water in order to dilute the concentration.

However, if you’re looking for a cheaper way then you can try flocculant. (Check current price on Amazon)

What a flocculant will do is it will clump together loose calcium deposits and thus will make it easier for you to expedite the skimming or vacuuming process.

Moreover, a flocculant is capable of sinking debris to the bottom of a pool for easy vacuuming.

Even it is capable of settling dead algae after treatment.

Well, even after expediting the flocculant if the levels are still on a higher side then it is highly recommended that you contact a professional.

Quarterly Tasks

Yes, you heard it RIGHT…

As a pool owner, you need to expedite certain quarterly tasks in order to keep your pool healthy.

First and foremost, you need to check your pool’s salt cell condition, and if it’s not performing up to the mark, replace it at the earliest.

Ignorance of the replacement of the salt cell can cause some really serious problems in the future so it’s better to prevent any such occurrence.

As someone rightly said, prevention is better than cure, isn’t it?

In most cases, your unit would be informed about the malfunctioning of the salt cell, and if that is NOT the case, then it’s better that you mark the event in your calendar.

For checking the performance of the salt cell generator, firstly, turn off the power and then open the unit and look for any buildup if made.

Well, if you don’t find any tangible build-up then simply rinse it off and restore the original position.

On the other hand, if you find a significant build-up then definitely you need to clean it thoroughly.

For the mild build-up, scrubbing off the scale with a brush and spraying it off with a high-pressure nozzle would do the trick for you.

But, if you couldn’t find success with the last step, then soak it in a mild hydrochloric acid wash.

Even though you’re cleaning your pool pump, skimmer, and pool filter on a regular basis, you might need to clean them more thoroughly as a part of the quarterly task.

Editor’s Recommended Testing Kit

Frankly speaking, there are quite a few good testing kits available on the market, and if you own any one of them, then it’s perfectly fine and you can use it for testing purposes.

A good testing kit for the saltwater pool pump will help you in testing chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and stabilizer (CYA).

In case, you’ve not bought a testing kit and looking for my recommendation then definitely, you can go for this test kit. (Check current price on Amazon)

The reason why I’m recommending this kit is that I’ve been using it quite a few times now.

And, to be honest, I’m more than happy with its performance, and the same is the case for my clients as well to whom I’ve recommended this kit.

Trust me, the kit will test anything and everything that is needed to keep your saltwater pool chemistry balanced.

And, the best part is that the kit is highly affordable.

Especially the newbies would get benefited from this kit because it comes with thorough instructions and thus negates any guesswork.

Salt Chlorinator Winterizing

First and foremost, you need to understand that all the saltwater systems are different so the response might be different as well.

For example, some manufacturers believe that the water should be completely drained from the unit while others claim that it’s okay to leave a little amount of water inside the unit along with some antifreeze.

However, if you own a unit that is easily removable then it’s better to detach it and store it inside out of the winter elements.

Don’t forget to follow the instructions that come with your unit.


In this section, I would be responding to the queries related to saltwater pool maintenance in order to help you expedite the process effortlessly.

Does it make sense?

As a beginner, how can I add salt to my pool for the first time?

Well, the process is simple, easy, and less time-consuming.

Follow the below-mentioned steps and you’re done.

  • First and foremost, you need to check the manual that comes with your saltwater chlorinator
  • Jot down the saltwater level mentioned in the manual for your reference
  • Test your pool’s saltwater with a testing kit
  • Jot down the testing finding on a piece of paper for reference
  • Now, you’ve all the data with you so what you’ve to do is to calculate the proper amount of salt that you need to add
  • Lastly, you need to either distribute the salt along the edges of your pool or broadcast it into the shallow end to be circulated by your pool’s pump system whichever suits you and makes you more comfortable

As a newbie pool owner, can I put chlorine tablets in my saltwater pool?

Well, this is an important question and I’ve been asked time and again by my clientele especially those who have recently owned a pool.

As a consultant, I need to do proper homework before recommending a solution to my clientele because it can adversely impact personal branding if things will turn bizarre.

Well, if you’re doing anything within the limit then it’s fine and excess of anything and everything is bad, right?

The same holds true with the chlorine tablets.

Definitely, you can add chlorine tablets to your pool in order to surge chlorine levels quickly, but at the same time, my advice would be to refrain from using it excessively as it might lead to chloramines.

What is the best way to clean a saltwater pool that is green?

If you’ve been using a slat chlorinator quite a few times now then definitely you would be aware of a “super-chlorination” switch that comes with most of the salt generator cell models.

Once you’ll press the super-chlorination switch you’ll find an extra boost of chlorine which might help you in cleaning the pool that is green.

But, don’t consider it as a substitute for shocking your pool which is by far the best way to clean a saltwater pool that is green.

Frankly speaking, if your pool is green then the best thing that you can do is to shock it, and if needed expedite the process twice, thrice, etc just like any regular pool.

Do algae grow in a saltwater pool?

I know most of the newbies would be inquisitive to know whether I need to face the problem of algae in my saltwater pool or NOT, right?

Well, I was also in a similar frame of mind when for the first time I bought a saltwater pool.

It’s normal and good to be curious, isn’t it?

Cutting long-story-short, just like any other pool, if the water chemistry levels are unbalanced and go for a toss then definitely you’ll face the problem of algae glooming and blooming.

However, following the tasks that we mentioned above and maintaining the right water chemistry would definitely help you to prevent the growth of the algae.

What is the best way to clear a cloudy saltwater pool fast?

Well, in order to find the best solution the first thing that you need to do is to find the root cause of the problem.

With the help of root-cause analysis, you would be able to figure out what causes your pool to cloud up.

Be it a problem of circulation, unbalanced chemistry, or even growth of algae.

For unbalanced chemistry, the easiest and fastest way is to balance them.

In case, the circulation is NOT proper and normal then you need to check the filtration system, and if needed replace the old one with a high-quality filter to achieve an optimum result.

Using a pool clarifier and vacuuming up the residue would definitely help you in checking the growth of either algae or any other similar contaminants.

Are saltwater pools cheaper?

Well, you might have to pay more upfront for a saltwater pool as compared to the traditional chlorine pool but in the long run, the former is a better investment.

I know you’re curious to know the reason why am I making such a statement, right?

To be honest, the operating cost of a saltwater pool is way less than a traditional chlorine pool.

You might be astonished to know that on average the yearly chemical cost for a saltwater pool is somewhere around $70-$120 as compared to chlorine pool cost which falls in the range of $300-$800.

How long after adding salt to my pool can I swim?

I highly recommend that you’ve patience and wait for at least 30 minutes so that the chlorine not only gets dissolved fully but also circulates to every nook and corner of your pool.

Can I open my eyes in a saltwater pool?

Definitely, you can open your eyes in a saltwater pool but at the same time, it is really important that you clear out the irritants from your eyes through simple procedures such as flushing with clean and cold water, moisturizing your eyes, etc.

Moreover, you can use swimming goggles to keep your eyes safe and healthy.

In fact, salty and chlorinated water may blur your vision for some time, and it will go away on its own, so you don’t have to worry at all.

However, if the problem persists for a long-time accompanied by other symptoms such as pain then definitely, you need to see a doctor as it might be an early warning of a serious problem.

How can I fix chlorine and saltwater irritation caused to my eyes?

There are numerous ways to get rid of such irritation, and our primary aim should be to eliminate any acidic, basic, or any other contaminants or pollutants from our eyes.

You can try the below methods to get rid of the irritation at the earliest.

  • Rinse your eyes with cold water
  • Soothe with milk
  • Moisturize with a saline solution
  • Rinse and moisturize with a baking soda solution
  • Soothe with wet tea bags
  • You can use even a cold compress
  • Soothe with cucumber slices
  • You can even soothe with an aloe vera compress, or with grated potato

It’s A Wrap

I hope you would’ve thoroughly enjoyed our comprehensive guide on saltwater pool maintenance.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, the aforementioned procedure would definitely help you in achieving an optimum result.

All the processes that we’ve explained in this post have been expedited by not only our team but also our clientele.

In case, you still have any doubts or queries then feel free to mail us.

We would be more than happy to help you to the best of our capabilities.

Last but not least, share this piece of information with the ones who are in need of it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

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