Salt Water Pool Maintenance 101

Salt Water Pool Maintenance 101

Anthony Barnes

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Maintaining a saltwater system isn’t quite like maintaining a regular pool.

You need to understand how to do this properly or else you’ll damage your pool and its support system.

Why Maintaining A Saltwater Pool Is Different From A Traditional Chlorine Pool

Salt Water Pool Maintenance 101

Chlorine is used to kill bacteria in swimming pools. Salt chlorine generators produce hydrogen gas and hypochlorous acid.

These chemicals kill bacteria and sanitize the pool.

Saltwater pools are more expensive than regular pools, but they’re also easier to maintain.

You need to be careful about how much salt you add to your pool, though. Too much salt can cause damage to your pool equipment.

Chlorine pools are safer than salt water pools because they contain fewer bacteria and other harmful organisms.

However, salt water pools (see also ‘Salt Water Pool Cost [New Data]’) are better for swimmers who want to learn how to swim or for those who prefer a natural environment.

Maintaining A Salt Water Pool

Saltwater pools require regular maintenance. You’ll need to check the salt chlorinator cell regularly to make sure it’s working properly. You should also test the water regularly.

Chlorine is added to the pool by using a salt chlorinator. This is done by adding chlorine to the pool via a chemical reaction.

A salt chlorination system is very important for keeping pools clean.

Chlorine kills bacteria and algae, and helps maintain healthy water chemistry. Salt chlorination also helps prevent scum buildup.

Salt Water Pool Chemistry Tips

Using a salt water pool test strips, test your water. Use an online water chemistry calculator to help make  adjustments and balance your pool’s water.

Following severe weather or times when more people are using the pool, be sure to test again to maintain your pool’s water chemistry within proper levels.

When you have tested your pool, balance as needed.

Free Chlorine

Pool owners should always check the level of chlorine in the pool. Clean pools require less chlorine than dirty ones.

A clean pool requires more chlorine than a dirty one. Too much chlorine causes irritation to eyes and skin. Chlorine levels should be checked regularly.


A saltwater chlorination system must be maintained properly. High levels of salt cause corrosion, damage metal, concrete, etc.

Low levels of salt may lead to cloudy water or worse problems.

Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric Acid is a chemical that protects chlorine from sunlight damage.

It should be added to chlorine and shock products because it helps prevent chlorine from dying.

Pool Sanitation

Salt Water Pool Maintenance 101

Salt pools require less maintenance than traditional pools because there is less need to add chemicals.

There is no need to buy or carry large amounts of chlorine. Salt pools are safer and healthy because they create their own natural disinfectant.

Pool Circulation Filtration

Water moves around a lot, but it doesn’t move very far. Where there are lots of places for water to go, it stays clean.

Ideally, your pool pump should run long enough to circulate 2x the amount of water in the pool through the pool filter daily.

Alternatively, as a starting point, you can consider running the pump for 1 hour for every 10° F of outdoor temperature.

Over time, you can monitor the pool for water quality and the accumulation of sediment.

Pool filters should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogs.

A good rule of thumb is if the pressure goes up by more than 10 psi over baseline, the filter should be cleaned.

Your filter might also need cleaning if it seems to require frequent cleanings.

Water should be kept clean by using filters and chemicals. But without the right chemical balance, your body won’t get enough nutrients.

Monitor Correct Water Balance

Water chemistry is the foundation of any pool. Imbalance in water chemistry can make things difficult for pool owners.

Pool owners need to be aware of how much salt or chemicals are needed to maintain pools.

Pool chemistry is important because it affects the quality of water. You should check the pH level regularly.

Also, you need to know if there are any chemicals or additives used in the pool.

A pH balance system is an easy-to-use device that measures the pH level of your pool. This helps to keep the pH levels even.

Your pool is too acidic if your pH is low. Your alkalinity is too high if your pH is high.

You need to add some chemicals to your pool to neutralize your pool.

Pool chemicals should be kept on hand. We should keep our pH and alkalinity level up.

We should use a pH Increaser to increase our pH level. We should use pH Reducer to decrease our pH level.

We shouldn’t use alkalinity increases if we already have enough alkalinity.

Pool sanitation requires monitoring of the above-mentioned chemicals.

Phosphates should be kept below 100ppb, Nitrates should be kept below 5ppm, and Stabilizers should be kept within an acceptable range.

High levels of Chlorine can cause pools to become dirty and unsafe.

Salt chlorine generators need to be in the right range of salinity. Most systems require 3000-4500 ppm.

Some systems need less than 3000 ppm, some more than 45000 ppm.

You check your salinity after rain or draining of water. Usually, only a few bags of salts are needed a year.

Practical Maintenance

Swimming pools need regular maintenance. Pump and skimmer baskets should be checked regularly.

Leaves, bugs, and other debris will collect in them and may block the flow of water. A net or sweeping device can help remove these items. 

Mechanical pool cleaners can clean the entire pool surface, including walls, floors, corners, and even the waterline.

These machines are almost plug-and-play, and some even learn the pool’s shape and cover every inch of it.

Cleaning your salt cell is important because it helps prevent clogging.

You should follow the instructions in the user guide to clean your salt cell.

Follow the pump and filter instructions to ensure proper mechanical maintenance.

Replace parts if necessary. This may be beneficial if you want to check regularly.

Maintaining Proper Pool Circulation

Saltwater pools need regular circulation to prevent salt buildup.

Irregular-shaped pools usually do not use salt chlorine generators because they require extra planning and equipment.

You should always check to make sure that all the water in the pool rotates through the filter. Otherwise, you could end up with algae problems.

You can use several different devices such as salt concentration detectors or water flow meters to check your pool circulation system.

If the numbers are distinct, you may need to adjust the angles of your jets.

Cleaning Your Pool Regularly

Salt Water Pool Maintenance 101

Saltwater pools require different maintenance than regular pools. You need to use a device that was made for the saltwater environment.

You should always be aware of the dangers of salt buildup. Salt can cause serious problems if left unchecked.

Regularly spray the pool with water to push salt back into your pool.

Salt crystals growing on anything means that your pool needs to be cleaned immediately.

Chlorine pools need regular maintenance, but if you notice salt crystals growing on any part of your pool, it may need cleaning.

Maintaining Proper Pool Chemistry

Maintain the salt level of your pool. You should maintain the salt level of your saltwater pool to be around 3,400 parts per million (ppm).

This number is important because it determines whether your pool will work properly.

Your salt level should be maintained at this amount using a salt chlorinator.

Saltwater pools require a stabilizer to help maintain the proper amount of chlorine in the water.

Cyanuric acid (see also ‘How To Balance Cyanuric Acid In Your Swimming Pool’) is used to bind chlorine together when the stabilizer is at the correct level.

The ideal pH for a saltwater pool is 7.4. This number naturally fluctuates over time and, in a saltwater pool, will constantly increase.

To manage the pH levels (see also ‘ How To Raise The pH Level In Your Pool Safely’ ), you need to use tools to lower the pH down.

You should test your pool’s pH and free chlorine levels every week or two. You should add granular chlorine to your pool when needed.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for shocking your pool before adding more chlorine.

You may want to buy a new filter if you notice that your water isn’t as clear as before. You may also need to add more chlorine to your pool.

Winterizing your pool means making sure that you cover it up during the cold months.

Salt Cell Generator

Minerals like calcium tend to build up on salt cells over time. You’ll need to examine them visually and clean them out as needed. 

Turn off the power to your cell. Unscrew the cell at both ends and remove it.

Look at the metal plates inside the cells. Mineral deposits typically look whitish and flaky, and should be easy to see.

If you don’t have any deposits, then replace your salt cell. Check back in another month. Review the salt cell at least once per month.

Most cells need cleaning at least twice per year, and some cells may need replacement after as few as 6 months.

Chemical Cleaning

Cleaning cells with muriatic acid requires wearing protective clothing and using safety equipment. The solution foams as it cleans the cells.

After the cleaning process is complete, the solution must be poured back into the container.

Salt cells should be cleaned regularly. Chemical cleaners harm them, so it is important to limit how often you use them.

Cleaners must be disposed of properly by going to a hazardous waste facility. Don’t pour chemical cleaners into your pipes or on the ground.


Pool maintenance is important because it helps you save time and money by making your weekly and monthly tasks much easier.

You should try to do your best to clean your pool and filter regularly.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age