How to raise & lower salt levels in saltwater pools

So you've installed a Salt Chlorine Generator or Saltwater Chlorinator to transform your chlorine-tablet swimming pool into a saltwater one. Now, you'll be able to enjoy a more comfortable swimming experience that is gentler on your family's eyes, skin and airways.

However, even though chlorine levels are adjusted automatically by saltwater chlorinators, you'll need to manually test, increase or dilute your pool's salt content to ensure optimal salt levels.

Pre-Step 1 – Test your pool's salt level

Some chlorinators have built-in salt level indicators, but readings can become inaccurate due to clogged saltwater cells and damaged equipment. For a more accurate reading, use saltwater test strips to establish your pool's actual salt PPM levels. You can also drop in to our store with a water sample for a free, more accurate test. Keep in mind that if your pool water level drops, the salt level will increase in concentration.

Now that you have determined your pool's current salt level, compare that figure with your saltwater chlorinator model manual's recommended salt concentration levels. Typically, most saltwater generators operate about 3,200-7,000 PPM. Depending on your operation manual for your chlorinator unit, you'll have to increase or dilute it accordingly.

Atlantis-pool-shop-water-test-
Pauls-Pool-Shop-aussie-gold-5-in-1-water-test-strips

You are welcome to get free accurate test from our shop

Address : Unit 4, 14 Burke Cres, North Lakes, QLD 4509

 

* Strips test is for your reference only. The best is to bring your pool water to our shop and tested by digital SpinTouch water test.

Pre-Step 2 – Measure your pool water volume capacity

If you've made a note of your pool water volume then you're all set to adjust your pool's salt levels. Simply consult the salt level chart below to work out how much salt you need to add to or reduce from your pool.

If you don't know your pool's water capacity, click on the following link to our swimming pool volume calculator to work out your pool's volume first before proceeding to the chart:

To utilise the salt level chart below, simply cross reference your current salt level with your pool volume size to determine the amount of salt (in kilograms) required for your pool:

Atlantis-Pool-Shop-pool-volumne-size-calculator

How to increase your pool’s salt levels

Step 1

If your pool’s salt levels are too low, it’s time to purchase bulk salt!

Make sure the salt you use is a minimum 99.8% pure sodium chloride (NaCl). This type of salt should be evaporated, granulated and non-iodised. Do not use salt containing anti-caking agents or calcium chloride.

You can order premium pool salt in 20kg bags in store or from our online store here:

Step 2

Ensure your pool water is balanced (except for the salt level at this stage). Your saltwater pool’s chemical balance requirements are basically the same as traditional chlorinated pools. That means you need to ensure pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels are balanced.

Pauls-Pool-Care-water-test-report

Step 3

Leave the water circulation PUMP ON and running to circulate the water and dissolve the salt (as per normal for 8 hours/day).

Step 4

TURN OFF the Saltwater Chlorinator at the Control Unit. Do not turn on the chlorinator until the salt has fully dissolved.

Step 5

Add salt by emptying the required amount into the pool’s shallow end. Allow 24 hours for the salt to dissolve completely and circulate via the main drain. Finer grades of salt will dissolve faster.

How many 20kg bags of Salt needed to raise pool salt level
Salt level10,000L Water20,000L Water40,000L Water60,000L Water
0.1% or 1000ppm.5 Bag1.0 Bag1.9 Bags2.9 Bags
0.2% or 2000ppm1.0 Bag2.0 Bags3.8 Bags5.8 Bags
0.3% or 3000ppm1.5 Bags3.0 Bags5.8 Bags8.6 Bags
0.4% or 4000ppm2.0 Bags4.0 Bags7.7 Bags11.5 Bags
0.5% or 5000ppm2.4 Bags5.0 Bags9.6 Bags14.4 Bags
0.6% or 6000ppm3.0 Bags6.0 Bags11.5 Bags17.3 Bags

Note: You must follow your chlorinators salt level instruction.

Step 6

Turn the saltwater chlorinator back on, once the salt has fully dissolved.

Step 7

Test your pool’s salt levels again to confirm the level lies between 3,200-3,400 PPM and maintain it within this range. If the salt level falls below 3,000 PPM the efficiency of chlorine production by the chlorinator will be reduced. Similarly, if the salt level rises above 4,500 PPM, your salt cell life will also be reduced.

Pauls-pool-care-water-test

Additional pool chemical requirements

  • Add stabilised chlorine tablets to the skimmer/floating dispenser in your pool to maintain the correct chlorine level (1 tablet per 20,000L). Even though saltwater chlorinators produce sufficient chlorine, you’ll need to supplement extra stabilised chlorine to counterbalance chlorine loss from UV rays. Stabilised chlorine has stabiliser (cyanuric acid) added to it which protects the chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. Consider stabiliser as a “sunscreen” for chlorine.
  • Add 500 grams of stabilised chlorine to supplement your pool’s chlorine levels during periods of high pool usage and hot weather.

Handy Tips

  • When adding salt, withhold 10-20% of the calculated amount. After the initial dosage has fully dissolved, retest salt levels (Step 7). It’s far easier to add extra salt afterwards than to dilute salt levels if you have exceeded your target salt level.
  • By topping up your pool water prior to testing, you can get a true reading based on your pool’s rated capacity.
  • A quick rule of thumb – with every 10,000 L of water, 10kg of salt adds 1,000 PPM to your pool water.
  • These instructions can also be followed for Magnapool, Acquatherepe and Element pools.

How to lower your pool’s salt levels

If you’ve added too much salt, diluting your pool saltwater is the only way to reduce salt levels. That’s because salt does not break down or evaporate over time. So you’ll have to remove water and then refill it with fresh water, until the target salt level is reached.

Step 1

Test your pool’s salt level with test strips and determine your pool volume – according to Pre-steps 1 and 2 in the “How to increase your pool’s salt level” guide above.

Step 2

Calculate how much water to drain. To determine what volume of water to remove, divide your current salt level reading (e.g. 4,000 PPM) by the recommended reading (e.g. 3,400 PPM). In this example, 4,000 ÷ 3,400 = 1.18 (rounded to 2 decimal points).

Now, take the decimal value above 1 (e.g. .18) and multiply it by your pool’s volume (e.g. 50,000 L). In this example: 0.18 x 50,000L = 9,000L.

The answer you get for this equation is the volume of water that you will have to drain from your pool to reach your target salt level.

Step 3

Partially drain your pool water via a submersible pump designed for draining swimming pools or spas. We don’t recommend using your pool pump to drain large amounts of water because if the water level drops below skimmer levels, your pump may run dry and burn out and/or lose prime.

Submersible pumps operate by using water pressure from your garden hose and can drain 10,000 litres in approximately 3 hours.

Step 4

Refill your pool with fresh water and allow circulation for at least one full cycle and/or 24 hours.

Pauls-pool-care-lower-salt-level

Step 5

Retest your pool’s salt level. Your current salt level should be on par with your calculations. If you are a few hundred PPM off the mark, that’s ok. You can always add extra salt afterwards to get closer to your target salt level if it has gone too low.

Step 6

Recheck your saltwater pool’s chemical levels and balance accordingly. Since you have probably lost a significant proportion of pool chemicals along with the drained water, you will have to retest and rebalance.

Atlantis-pool-Shop-salt-water-test-strips

* If your initial pool water test was by our professional SpinTouch digital water test, you may not need to use strips test.