How to Maintain a Saltwater Swimming Pool
Saltwater pools aren’t just easier on your skin and hair; they are also easier to maintain compared to chlorine pools. With a saltwater pool, you don’t have to worry about large spikes and dips in disinfectant levels. Saltwater produces natural chlorine that stays at a more stable level. You rarely have to shock your pool. The ease of maintaining the chemicals might make you forget that it’s still necessary to manage your pool. Follow these tips and guidelines to keep your saltwater pool algae-free and keep it looking brand new!
General Maintenance Schedule
- Quickly skim off any debris in the water and make sure the pump basket skimmer is empty.
At least twice every week:
- Clean out the pool and the skimmer. Use a net to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from the water. If you have a pool vacuum, run it for 45 minutes to an hour to remove any debris or undissolved salt crystals on the bottom of your pool.
- Check the pump and filter to ensure they are running smoothly. Then rinse them off with a garden hose.
- Test the water chemistry and balance. You can pick up test strips or a drop kit to test the chlorine levels and the water’s pH level. The chlorine level should be 1 to 3 parts per million (ppm). Add more salt if it’s too low. If the alkalinity or pH is off, you can use sodium bicarbonate or muriatic acid to normalize it.
- Check the salt level to make sure it’s within the ideal range for your pool. Typically, the salinity level should be between 3000 and 3500 ppm. Don’t rely on the salt chlorinator’s automatic reading! It may be inaccurate. Instead, use a saltwater test kit or take a sample of your pool water to a pool supply store, like Pool Works.
- Adjust the stabilizer levels as needed. The stabilizer level should be 70-80 ppm for an outdoor pool and 0-30 ppm for an indoor pool. If you need to increase the stabilizer level, add cyanuric acid. If the stabilizer level is too high, just add some fresh water to your pool.
- Check the water hardness. The calcium level in your water should be between 200 and 400 ppm. If the calcium level is too low, the water can corrode the pool liner. If it’s too high, the pool water will become cloudy.
- Brush the bottom of the pool. This will remove any salt buildup that’s settled there. If you don’t do this regularly, clumps of salt can build up on the bottom of your pool and discolor the liner.
- Inspect the salt cell in the chlorinator. If there are salt deposits on it, rinse it off with a garden hose using a high-pressure nozzle. If that doesn’t remove the scale buildup, soak the cell in an acid wash (use a 4 to 1 ratio of water to muriatic acid) for a few minutes. Then rinse it off again with the hose. Once it’s clean, reinstall it.
Inspect the sacrificial zinc anode at the beginning of the swim season. Replace it if it has fully corroded.
Saltwater Pool Tips
- Install a sacrificial anode (zinc anode) to protect metal components in your pool. Saltwater is corrosive to metal. Sacrificial zinc anodes are designed to attract salt to prevent other metal components in your pool from corroding. If you have a pool heater, we recommend installing one on each side of it to protect the copper heat exchange inside.
- Use algaecide regularly. Algae can thrive in a saltwater pool just like chlorine pools. You can prevent this by adding algaecide to the water consistently. Be sure to purchase algaecide that’s compatible with saltwater pools.
- Use pool shock as needed. Saltwater pools don’t need to be shocked as frequently as chlorine pools, but there are times when it is beneficial. It’s still smart to shock your pool at the beginning and end of the swimming season. Then as needed throughout the season, especially after a big party or to kill off algae. Make sure to pick up pool shock that’s compatible with a saltwater pool.
It doesn’t take much work to keep a saltwater pool crystal clear. Like any pool, regular maintenance is the key to keeping algae at bay and ensuring your pool lasts a lifetime! If you need help balancing your pool water or finding the right products for your pool, stop by PoolWorks! We serve pool owners throughout Lakeland, Florida.