Having a saltwater pool is great. The water is softer, it generally costs less to operate, and there are no chloramines. While a saltwater pool has fewer maintenance requirements than a traditional pool, there are some maintenance requirements you should keep in mind. If you are thinking about investing in a saltwater pool, or just looking for ways to optimize your maintenance and upkeep efforts, below are a few tips.
The first step is to test the pool for free chlorine and pH. A number of different test kits are available. In a saltwater pool, the free chlorine level should be 1-3 parts per million. The pH should be kept between 7.2 and 7.6.
You are also going to need to test the water for salt, stabilizer, alkalinity, and calcium. You can also use a liquid drop test kit or test strips. You should check your owner’s manual for the optimal levels that are specific to your pool and make the necessary adjustments.
To make sure your saltwater pool is working at full capacity, you should visually inspect the cell every three months. Most salt chlorinators remind you to do this with a flashing light that lets you know it’s time for an inspection. Once you have removed the cell, you should inspect it for scale buildup or debris that has slipped past the filter.
Keep the filter, skimmer and pump squeaky clean. If any or all of these become clogged with debris, the water flow is going to be greatly reduced. If the water flow becomes reduced past a certain point, the salt chlorinator will stop generating chlorine altogether.
You are going to need to winterize your salt chlorinator as well. Most manufacturers will recommend that both the salt cell and the flow switch be removed from the plumbing and kept inside your home, away from the elements. The control box can stand up to freezing temperatures and stay installed. If you live in a warmer climate, you only need to run the pump continuously if you are expecting a freeze.
Having a saltwater pool is a great way to avoid the chlorine and the maintenance of a traditional pool, but it is not a maintenance free pool by any stretch of the imagination. If you have a saltwater pool, or are thinking about installing one, keep the above saltwater pool maintenance tips in mind and keep your pool running optimally all year long.