How often do you add salt to your pool?

southernmumSeptember 18, 2008

Hello! We're still new at all of this! We've had our pool for almost two months now. Initially the pb added the salt, then we added a bag almost a month ago. After having a pool party over the weekend, my chlorine is virtually nonexistent! I turned the SWG up to super chlorinate, but the chlorine part of the test strip is totally white. I'm going to go buy salt, but just wanted to see if this sounds right. I don't know the gallons of our pool, but it's a 18x36 kidney (3ft. shallow, and 6ft. deep end), if that helps. A bag of salt a month -- does that sound similar to what you guys do? Thanks so much.

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I've had my pool for 3 months now, and I haven't had to add any salt. I was told that a light would come on on the SWG control box to tell me when to add salt. Also, I can push a button that will tell me what the salinity is. It has not gone below 3.2. Does your system give you the ability to check the salinity?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:25AM
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My SWG has the lights on that say "check cell" and "check salt." But of course we have no idea what to really do, because our PB never went over any of this with us! I'm going to go get out the manual once again, and see if I can figure it out. The first time the check cell light came on, we cleaned the cell. The light has stayed on ever since. Thanks, stonesmama, for you reply!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:44AM
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It sounds like you have either a bad cell or an algae bloom. I wouldn't add any salt before verifying the salt content of the pool. Since the cell may be bad, get some test strips and test the salt level with the strips. If the salt level is OK, then put your SWG on 100% and test the water straight out of one of the jets with a drop-based kit. If it reads zero then your SWG is not generating chlorine and probably needs replacement. It's under warranty if your pool is only 2 months old, so it'll be replaced for free.

If however you do see chlorine showing up when testing right out of one of the jets, then it may be working but was set too low or can't keep up with the load. Try getting your pool up to proper chlorine level with bleach (see the link below for the amount needed) and then see if the SWG can maintain it there. SWGs are great at maintaining chlorine levels, but not good at creating a sudden increase in chlorine level. IE, if you set it at 100% and you have no chlorine in the pool it can take the SWG weeks to bring the chlorine level up to where it needs to be.

You should use a drop-based kit to test your chlorine, test strips aren't very reliable (they're OK for testing salt levels but not chlorine, PH, etc.) Get a kit that tests for free chlorine as well as combined chloramines. If there are any CC's present that will tell you if you have an algae bloom or something else that's using up all the chlorine.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:30PM
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I've had similar problems following Hurricane Ike rolling through my back yard. I had to add lots of extra chlorine manually and I also had to add about 50 lbs of salt following the heavy, heavy rain fall, but that's about three times as much salt as I've added in the past year combined. I agree with tresw about using the salt test strips and drop-based kit. One other thing to try after verifying everything trews mentioned is to just unplug the SWG for a minute and then replug it back in (reboot). After getting stumped a couple of times after going through numerous tests to find the problem, IÂve found simply "rebooting" the SWG returned the unit back to normal.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Southernmum- I believe that you may not have any problem. We usually only add salt to the pool when we first open it, around here we need to drain the water down about 2' in the winter so there goes your salt. In the normal course of using your pool you will loose very little salt. When the water level drops because of evaporation the salt stays behind. You will only loose salt by splashing it out or by backwashing your filter.

We have an AquaRite salt generator and about every 3 months the "check cell" light comes on. We have to take out the cell, inspect it, give it a diluted muriatic acid bath and reset it. It's not too hard and your manual should explain how to do it.

Be careful about adding salt, the only way to lower your salt level is by draining water out of your pool. You can test the water with test strips and find out how much salt in ppm is in there. My AquaRite also tells you what the salt level is at anytime, you can then compare it to what the manufacturer recommends.

When we add salt we do it in small quantities at a time, 10 or 20 lbs, then we give it at least 24 hours to disolve and disperse before we test again.

You said that you "cleaned the cell" and "The light has stayed on ever since." Did you reset it? I believe on ours that you have to hold the display button for 3 seconds to reset.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Sounds like your pool builder never put any CYA or cyanuric acid (stabilizer) in your pool. Without stabilizer, your chlorine will dissipate almost immediately on a hot sunny day. Stabilizer keeps the chlorine in the water much longer. I had the same problem with my new pool start up. I kept turning the chlorine output up up up but my chlorine levels never seemed to rise much. Then I added CYA and had way too much chlorine in my pool before I knew it!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 7:04PM
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I use to need about 4 bags of it once per year....
Do it with your pool water level low so if you do over shoot it, you got a few inches of dilution capability....thats what I use to do. Make sure and turn the cell off when adding the salt.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 5:28PM
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After having a pool party over the weekend, my chlorine is virtually nonexistent! I turned the SWG up to super chlorinate, but the chlorine part of the test strip is totally white. I'm going to go buy salt, but just wanted to see if this sounds right. Chlorine levels really have nothing "directly" to do with salt levels. I get the feeling reading that statement that you think the salt generator turns the salt into chlorine and since you have no more chlorine its an indication you have used up all the salt in your pool and need more. Most of the chlorine produced by the SWCG goes to chlorine compounds that return back the chlorine ions of salt when the cleaning is done. That means 99% of the salt is never "used up" through the manufacturer of chlorine.

Most of the "salt" that has to be replaced, goes away because its dilluted over time in your pool. So, I'm saying you cannot use the chlorine level in your pool as "any" indication of your salt level. You have to measure salt levels independently from chlorine levels.

My experience suggests that with a SWCG you may find the times that you may require adding "extra" external chlorine at times when you have a pool party. These are times when you are putting the most demand on your system. You can try the superchlorine but I never found that it had enough chlorine punch "quick" enough. I had to supplement superchlorine at with liquid chlorine.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 5:51PM
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The first thing you need to do is determine the what the pool water looks like. Take a sample to your local pool store and have them test the water, including the salt level, and phosphate level. This will tell you what you need to add, if anything. If water checks out then you probably have a problem with the salt generator. Don't add any salt until you find out what the level is.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Yeh, they are going to tell you to add a bunch of stuff...bring your check book.
I would definetly NOT do this.

My pool is fine and I test it myself with a test kit. I decided a week ago to bring my water in. The guy told me my CYA was over 100, my Calcium was off the chart, my TA was too low. ALL of his tests were wrong. The machine he used was "computer controlled" and it was so old, you could see that it was going to have trouble looking at the transparency of the test solutions.

My personal experience is you could guess and have better luck than having someone test your water.

You HAVE TO buy your own test kit. No if's ands or buts about it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 5:50PM
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It rained 4-6 inches. Wondering how much salt needs to be put back in. Drained out as much water as it rained. Is there a amount per inch? I'm new @ all this. Thx :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 4:51PM
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This is a good question but the answers are not so good.

The question is how often do you add salt to your pool. Not how much salt do you put in at the beginning or after it rains.

I have a 21,000 gal pool in So Cal and I have been adding approximately 6 bags a year. I have zero splash out, an auto fill valve and we have not gotten any rain to dilute the salt reading. My cell is in good working order and I keep it cleaned. I have double checked my salt reading with a test kit and at the pool store. So if 99% of the salt stays in the pool why do I need to add so much salt throughout the year? Can someone answer this? Perhaps members can respond also by saying how much salt they add each year.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Salt? Do you really need to put it on your pool? I haven't heard about this stupid idea. Haha What's the purpose of doing that? To taste like sea?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mafia

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:34AM
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MarbellaP: The salt is for a salt water chlorinator, instead of using normal chlorine. The chlorinator make chlorine from salt. Dumb-Dumb.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:32PM
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How often you add to your pool depends on many factors. There is not time frame but when the pool needs it. Many times a salt system will have a controller that will alert you to low salt levels. You can buy a salt meter that you can check your own salt levels or you can take a sample to a local pool store.

Gastek Pool & Gas Services

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Perhaps the question should be why do I need to add salt to my salt water pool if -

1. I don't have splash out.
2. It has not rained
3. And I already put enough salt in at the beginning to establish the 3200 ppm?

Another way to look at it is what is causing my salt level to go down knowing all the factors I just stated?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:42PM
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That's a very good question. Here in Jersey, our fiberglass pool has a waterline tile. We use a pump situated on the first step to lower the water to that level every pool closing. A day or two before opening, we have to fill the pool. Two 40lb bags of Morton's pool salt will bring it back to the 3200-3400 range.

I believe when the pool was originally filled, the installers delivered 12 bags of salt, and used 8 that first season.

Also, usually once every season, I do need to use 1lb of shock. This kinda' "jump starts" the SWG for the season.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:58PM
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