There is a myth that salt-water pools are "maintenance free". Salt-water pools require maintenance like any other pool. Just as with a traditional chlorine pool, you need to test the pH of your pool and perform basic checks and maintenance.
What is Salt Water Chlorination?
To understand why you still have to monitor and adjust your pool's pH levels, it is good to know how salt-water pools work. Salt-water chlorination uses dissolved salt to produce hypochlorous acid and sodium hypochlorite to keep your pool clean.
The electrolysis of the salt, in essence, generates chlorine, so the pool is not chlorine-free; it is just chlorinated using a salt-water process.
How do you maintain a salt-water pool?
The essential method for maintaining a salt-water pool is to make sure that all of the chlorine generation equipment is working properly and that the pH levels are within the appropriate range.
- Test the pH content of your pool. This involves a kit that you can get at any pool supply store. The kit contains test strips or drops and ranges from single-digit prices to professional grades nearing $100. Perform tests on a weekly basis
- Adjust the pH of your pool. The pH should be between 7.4 and 7.8. You can raise the pH with soda ash or sodium bicarbonate or lower the pH with muriatic acid
- On a monthly basis, test the pool water using a drop or strip test kit for four things: salt, alkalinity, stabilizer, and calcium. You may be able to see the salt reading on your salt chlorinator, but you should test the salt content yourself, too
- Inspect your salt chlorinator every 3 months. Look to see if there are any deposits or debris inside the cell. If there are deposits, use a high-pressure spray to remove the deposits. You can scrape off deposits with a wood or plastic tool if spraying does not remove all of the deposits
- Regularly clean the pump parts of the system. These include the pump, the skimmer, and the filter
What do you do when the pool is not in use?
During the winter, it is unlikely that you will be swimming in your salt-water pool. You should winterize your pool by removing the salt cell inside the chlorinator. Also, remove the flow switch. If you need to keep something where the salt cell should go, you can insert a "dummy" salt cell.
Maintaining a salt-water pool is a relatively simple process. Following regular weekly and monthly tests can make sure your salt-water pool has a long life. For more tips, speak with a swimming pool service.