What Happens if There Is Too Much Salt in Your Pool?

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Saltwater pools are increasingly becoming a perfect medium of bridging swimming in the sea/ocean and drawing a salt bath at home. In addition to its easy maintenance, a saltwater pool offers an avalanche of beauty and health benefits. It warrants the superb body exercise you’d achieve while swimming and affords you the revitalizing mental and physical qualities associated with saltwater.

Saltwater creates a perfect room for you to ditch all the chlorine tablets you would otherwise use in your freshwater pool and, instead, switch to just one or two bags of salt per season. You’ll save yourself the extra money often associated with owning a chlorinated pool.

While a saltwater pool features several advantages, there are a few downsides that would be evident, especially if the salt level in your pool goes beyond the upper limit of 4,000 ppm.

What Happens When You Add Too Much Salt to Your Pool?

As a saltwater pool owner, you may inevitably find yourself in a position whereby your swimming pool has salt quantity above the acceptable optimum level. The higher-than-normal salt level in the pool will be problematic to metallic elements in your pool, including the chlorinator.

As saltwater generator manufacturers emphasize, the equipment can only work best within a specific salt range, mostly 3000-3800 ppm of salt. When salinity exceeds this range, the equipment will stop producing chlorine efficiently. As a result, a warning light might appear, and the generator’s control panel may go off immediately.

Having excess salt in your pool would cause a more-than-normal salty taste. The salty water will also be more corrosive in the pool. This would mean it wears down the metallic components, submerged lights, and ladders within the pool. It may also erode the base and lining of the pool if it’s metallic.  

Test your pool water salinity level regularly and adjust the levels accordingly to avoid encountering the above challenges associated with high salt levels.  

Correct Salt Level for Your Pool

Maintaining the correct salt level is crucial to a healthy pool. While a high salt level increases the risk of corrosion, a low salt level is not good either. It results in the inability of the saltwater generator to sanitize the pool properly. In addition to maintaining the correct salt levels, ensure that you run the saltwater generator for the recommended duration.

Finding the correct salt level for your pool depends on the saltwater generator.

Here are the most common SWG brands and their ideal salinity levels.

  • Pentair: 2,800-4,500 ppm
  • Hayward: 2,700-3,400 ppm
  • Jandy: 2,500-4,000 ppm
  • CircuPool: 3,000-4,000 ppm
  • Intex: 2,500-3,500 ppm

Common Saltwater Pool Maintenance Mistakes

Saltwater pool care is quite different from traditional pool maintenance. Although it doesn’t require adding many chemicals, you must care for your pool equipment and balance the pool water slightly.

So, what are the common saltwater pool maintenance mistakes, and how can you avoid them? Check below for great insight.

Forgetting To Inspect Your Salt Cell

Calcium may build up over time on a salt cell. Therefore,  inspect and clean your salt cell periodically. Be sure to do the same at the beginning and end of each pool season.

Opening and inspecting your saltwater cell will help you authenticate the scale deposits and build-ups. You can then use a high-pressure horse to flush off any existing deposits.

Allowing High Salt Levels to Break Down Your Pool Surfaces

Saltwater in an average concentration is harmless. However, if the salt builds up on pool surfaces or the salinity levels get too high, it may begin breaking your pool cover, pool liner, and pool equipment.

Use a pool lubricant to save your O-rings from breaking down. Also, consider rinsing your pool ladders and lights with a garden hose once a week.  

Forgetting to Shock Your Pool

Pool shocking is the process of adding an extra chlorine boost to raise your pool’s free chlorine levels. Regular pool shocking destroys bacteria, algae, and additional contaminants.

You can shock your saltwater pool manually by adding liquid chlorine or granular dichloride chlorine. Upon using stabilized chlorine, be sure to check your CYA levels.

Ways to Lower Your Pool’s Salt Level

There are two distinct ways to lower your pool’s salt level:

Partially Drain Your Pool Before Refilling It

If you’re getting a high salinity reading, it would be best to partially drain your pool before refilling it. However, you should note that this method requires exquisite pool knowledge and mathematical calculations to fill the correct amount of water and test your salinity levels.

Using this method, you may need to buy or hire a sump drain pump to help you fix your pool salinity level. Avoid using a pool pump if you intend to drain your pool below the skimmer.  

Refreshing the Pool With Water

A refresh is an excellent option to lower your pool’s salt if your pool water level drops naturally. The drop in water may result from water splashing out after heavy use or evaporation. When this happens, your pool’s salinity level may increase.

To help lower the salinity level, in this case, you should refill your pool with fresh water. Subsequently, let the water flow in the pool for some time.

After a few hours, collect a water sample from the pool and conduct a testing procedure. From there, you’ll be able to tell if the eventual salinity level is within the safe range.  

Bottom Line

Saltwater pools are a new trend, but they are steadily gaining popularity, especially among custom home buyers. The water feels fresher and smoother in a saltwater pool, and they come with notable advantages, thus making them gain the utmost preference among modern-day pool owners.

Maintaining the right salt levels in your pool improves the swimming experience and health benefits. The salinity above 4,000 ppm increases pool corrosion and wears off pool surfaces. As a pool owner, you should perform regular salinity tests to ensure a proper check and balance. 

The Pool Care Handbook & Video Course

by Swim University
This is an illustrated e-book with detailed videos and step-by-step instructions on how to best care for your swimming pool. 
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