How to Convert Your Swimming Pool to a Saltwater Pool: A DIY Guide

Roger Marx

Written By Roger Marx

Published 04/28/22
How to Convert to a Salt Water Pool

Many people recognize saltwater pools as superior to traditional chlorinated pools, but homeowners are hesitant to make the switch because they assume it to be an ambitious undertaking. Believe it or not, converting chlorine pool to salt water pool systems is actually quite straightforward.

In this article, we’ll review some of the benefits of a saltwater pool system. We’ll also share how to go about upgrading your chlorinated pool and how much you can expect to spend.

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What Are the Benefits of Switching to Salt Water Pool Systems?

Because saltwater pools are positioned as an alternative to chlorinated pools, some people assume that saltwater pools have no chlorine whatsoever. This is not the case. Chlorine is absolutely present in saltwater pools, but it’s produced from a chemical reaction when salt is added to the pool water. You do not have to manually add liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets to a saltwater pool.

So, what’s the difference? Well, the chemistry of a saltwater pool enables it to maintain a consistent chlorine level, without the spikes and sharp drops in chlorine levels that you see in traditional pools. This provides several benefits:

  • There’s no pungent, unpleasant chlorine smell that we associate with swimming pools.
  • Saltwater is gentler on the skin, eyes, and hair.
  • The water feels softer and silkier than traditionally chlorinated water.

Saltwater pools are also easier to maintain. After all, you don’t need to handle any caustic chemicals. Overall maintenance costs are lower, too.

What Is the Cost of a Pool Salt System Conversion?

Converting to salt water pool systems isn’t as expensive as you might think. Conversion doesn’t require total drainage of the pool or any new construction.

A saltwater pool does require some unique equipment. The most significant is the salt chlorine generator or chlorinator. Some models cost around $800, but others have price tags of $2,000 or more. You’ll also need a sacrificial anode to prevent salt from corroding metal components of the pool, and you’ll need the pool salt itself. Those items are comparatively inexpensive, however.

When you factor in labor costs to install the new equipment, expect to spend somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 to convert a traditional pool to a saltwater pool.

But again, a saltwater pool is cheaper to maintain. There may be upfront costs, but you will save money over time.

How to Convert Swimming Pool to Saltwater Pool System

Now that we’ve covered the primary benefits of a saltwater pool, let’s run through the steps you’ll need to take to make the conversion.

1. Chemically balance your pool’s water.

Before installing any new equipment, you’ll need to balance your pool’s pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. You’ve likely done this many times as a pool owner, but for reference, here are levels that experts recommend:

  • pH: 7.2 – 7.8
  • Total alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness: 200 – 400 ppm
  • Cyanuric acid: 30 – 50 ppm
  • Chlorine: 1 –3 ppm

2. Add pool-grade salt.

After balancing your pool, you can add salt to the water. The amount of salt required is dependent on the volume of water in your pool. You want to shoot for a salt level of around 3,200 ppm. A pool technician, the documentation that came with your new pool equipment, or an online salt calculator can all help you determine how many pounds of salt to add to your pool.

Try to distribute the salt somewhat evenly rather than dumping it in one spot. Allow 24 hours or so for the salt to fully dissolve in the water.

3. Install your new saltwater pool chlorination system.

Install the chlorinator per the manufacturer’s specifications. You may be more comfortable having a professional handle the installation. The general installation process entails:

  •          Mounting the chlorinator and connecting it to a power source
  •          Integrating the salt cell into the pool’s plumbing system and linking it with the control board
  •          Inserting the sacrificial anode
  •          Letting the pump run before powering on the chlorinator

4. Rebalance your pool’s water as needed.

Once everything is up and running, you should retest the water levels to confirm your pool is still balanced. Adjust as necessary.

Stay Afloat with Home Warranty Pool Coverage

Whether you have a traditional chlorinated swimming pool or a saltwater pool, you have the option of insuring against future repair costs. A home warranty with pool coverage from Liberty Home Guard will cover your heating, pumping, and filtration systems. We’ll dispatch a licensed technician as soon as you let us know there’s a problem, and you’ll be back in the water before you know it.

Use our website to start building a plan with the coverage you need. You can also speak with our team by calling (866)-931-1806.

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