Easy Tips for Maintaining a Salt Water Pool
Salt water pools are becoming more common in backyards today, due to their many benefits. However, a common misconception with salt water pools is that they are virtually maintenance free, due to the salt water chlorinator that converts salt into chlorine gas to keep pool water safe and clean. However, salt water pools, like other types of swimming pools do require regular maintenance to keep them sanitized and operating at peak efficiency. This article will explain the basics about salt water pool maintenance so you can develop a schedule for upkeep that will keep your swimming pool in top condition.
Even salt water pools require regular testing to ensure the water maintains the proper balance. Each week during the swim season, you should test your pool water for pH and free chlorine. The free chlorine level should hover somewhere between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm and the pH levels should read in the 7.2 to 7.6 range. In addition, you may need to periodically check salinity levels, which should be maintained between 2,700 and 3,400 ppm. While salt does not evaporate from pool water the way chlorine does, it will need to be added on occasion to ensure levels in your pool stay consistent and safe for swimming.
Running the Pool Pump
Some pool owners find that they need to run the pool pump more frequently with a salt water pool to ensure the water continues to circulate properly. During the peak of swimming season, this may mean running your pump at least eight hours a day, probably between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, some pool owners may discover that their pump needs to run nearly 24 hours a day to keep the proper chlorine levels in the pool. The difference with a salt water pool is that chlorine will only be put into the pool when the pump is running, so less operating time may mean insufficient chlorine amounts to keep your pool water sanitized.
Shocking the Pool
Some pool owners make the mistake of thinking that a salt water pool means you can bid farewell to chemical treatments completely, but that is usually not the case. Even salt water pools require regular shock treatments to give the water a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. The best rule of thumb is to shock your pool if the water becomes cloudy, the chlorine readings drop too low or the pool endures an exorbitant amount of use. Since rain tends to deplete the salt in the water, a shock treatment after a heavy rain may be a good idea as well. The good news is that shock treatments may not need to be done as frequently in a salt water pool, as long as the pool is properly maintained on a weekly basis.
While a salt water pool generally means less work than a chlorine pool might, there is still some maintenance chores that need to be done regularly. With these steps in mind, you will successfully keep your salt water pool in top condition throughout the entire swimming season.