How To Convert Your Pool To A Salt Water System In 5 Easy Steps

Did you just install a new pool or thinking about converting your pool from chlorine to a salt chlorine generator? Where do you begin? What products do you need? How do you maintain a salt water pool once it’s up and running? Don’t fret – we’ve got you covered!

How to Convert Pool To Salt - article image

Step 1: Choosing The Right Salt Chlorinator

We recommend using a salt system that is rated for a pool at least 1/3 larger than your pool size. For example, let’s say you have a 25,000 gallon pool. You don’t want to install a chlorinator made for pools up to 15,000 gallons because it wouldn’t be able to generate the amount of chlorine your 25,000 gallon pool needs. You may also want to avoid a chlorinator listed for a 25,000 gallon pool, even though it says it’s good for pools up to 25,000 gallons. If you run a salt chlorinator made to work on a pool that is up to 25,000 gallons pool, on a 25,000-gallon chlorinator, it will be running at 100% output all the time. This will not only consume a large amount energy, but it will put a lot of unnecessary strain on the salt cell – limiting the lifespan of the unit.

If you’re unsure how to calculate the gallon capacity of your pool, there is a simple way to get a fairly accurate estimate. Take the width of your pool multiplied by the length, multiplied by the average depth, and then multiplied by 7.5.

For example, a 20 X 40 pool with a 3 foot shallow end and an 8 foot deep end would be:
20 ft. wide x 40 ft. long * ((8 ft. deep + 3 ft. deep)/2)) X 7.5 = 33,000 gallons.

Primary factors that raise your water’s chlorine demand:

  • Heat
  • Sunlight
  • Increased Pool Use

There are a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing a salt water system. Below are some options our customers love!

hayward aqua rite

Hayward Aqua Rite


pentair intellichlor

Pentair IntelliChlor IC40


jandy aquapure

Jandy AquaPure


Step 2: What Kind Of Salt Do You Use, And How Much?

The proper salt for a salt water pool is non-iodized salt — plain old table salt. You can purchase it in bulk from a local home goods store or hardware store. It’s also sold in large bags labeled pool salt. The amount of salt needed will vary, so make sure to follow the salt chlorine generator manufacturer’s specifications.

Expert tip: Any time you add salt into your pool water, walk around the pool distributing it evenly and use a pool brush to stir the salt until dissolved.

Step 3: Eliminate Phosphates

Phosphates are a primary food source for algae, but also act as glue for contaminants that can cause scale build-up inside your salt cell.

Phosphates may enter your pool from:

  • Organic Contaminants (swimmers, sunscreen, oils etc)
  • Lawn fertilizers
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaners
  • Decaying plants
  • Rainwater
  • Various other sources

Phosphate test kits are inexpensive and easy to use. Any phosphate level below 200 PPB is safe, but we recommend that it stay between 100 – 125 PPB. You can never completely remove phosphates, but the closer you can get to zero, the better. You can maintain “near zero” phosphate levels using Natural Chemistry PHOSfree products. PHOSfree products are administered directly to your pool skimmer, and start working as soon as they hit the water.

Step 4: Maintain

In most cases, a salt cell will last anywhere from three to five years, when maintained properly. Adding a Natural Chemistry Salt Water Magic Monthly Maintenance Kit upon starting-up your salt water pool will ensure the perfect pool water environment throughout the season. The Natural Chemistry Salt Water Magic Monthly Maintenance Kit consists of one 1 liter bottle of Natural Chemistry Liquid Salt Water Magic and one 1 liter bottle of Natural Chemistry Cell Protect. Monthly maintenance with these two products will result in a longer cell life and the highest water quality possible.

Natural Chemistry Instant Pool Conditioner is a great addition, used for stabilizing chlorine from UV sunlight loss. This is a combination of all-natural enzymes, borate technology, metal deactivator and a phosphate remover. This product will help protect the chlorine, while not impacting the pH level.

If you run into an issue where your water has a high metal content, before adding Pool Conditioner or other softeners, use a 1-liter bottle of Natural Chemistry METALfree. METALfree is a product that quickly and easily chelates metals without adding phosphates, and helps prevent metal stains and water discoloration.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Now that your salt water pool is up and running, just kick back, relax and let your salt chlorine generator do all the work! You’ll want to add salt when your chlorinator reading gets low, and clean your salt cell as needed (check your manual for guidelines). You also need to continue testing your pool chemistry regularly. The easiest way to keep a pool in check is through constant testing with an FAS-DPD test kit such as the TF-100 kit.

Previous articleCommon Questions About Salt Cells
Next articleHow To Maintain And Extend The Life Of Your Salt Cell
When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.