How to Add Salt to Your Pool

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You've installed a new Salt Chlorine Generator to your pool and you've reached the point where you have to add salt. This guide tells you which salt to use, how much to add and how to add it.

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Things You'll Need

Video

Step by Step

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Step 1

First check your Salt Chlorine Generator Owner's Manual to determine what level of salt your Salt Chlorine Generator operates at. They generally operate at target levels between 3000 to 4000 ppm. For this example we will assume that your Salt Chlorine Generator operates at 3500 ppm. So, you will want to add enough salt to your pool to bring the salt concentration level to 3500 ppm.


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Step 2

Your next step is to determine the current level of salt in your pool. If you have just installed a new pool, your salt level will be 0 ppm. If you have an older pool and are converting from a standard chlorinator, your pool will have a low level of salt concentration, typically around 500 ppm.

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Step 3

Measure your pool's current level using a Salt Water Test Strip. Assuming you have an older pool, your reading will be around 2.0. The table on the back of the test strip container converts the reading of 2.0 to a salt level of 500 ppm. If you have a pool store nearby, we would also recommend taking a water sample to them to verify your measured salt level. This service is generally free and more accurate.

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Step 4

To determine how many pounds of salt you will need to bring your salt level to 3500 ppm, calculate the number of gallons in your pool and add salt according to the Salt Table. For our example, if your pool has 10,000 gallons of water and your current salt level is 500, you need to add 250 lbs of salt. If you don't know the number of gallons in your pool, see the first steps of How to Size a Pool Pump for instructions.

Step 5

Salt is typically packaged in 40-pound bags. So in our example, if you have to add 250 pounds of salt you will need to add about six bags. Use a salt that is at least 99.8% pure sodium chloride  (NaCl). The preferred salt is an evaporated, granulated, food quality, NON-iodized salt. Avoid using salt with anti-caking agents like sodium ferrocyanide, also known as Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS). These cause some discoloration of fittings and pool surface finishes. DO NOT use calcium chloride.

Step 6

Before adding salt to your pool, be sure to TURN OFF the Salt Chlorine Generator at the Control Unit. The generator should not be turned on until the salt has completely dissolved. Leave the PUMP ON to circulate the water and help dissolve the salt.

Step 7

When you add salt, DO NOT pour it directly into the skimmer. For best results empty the required salt into the shallow end of the pool and let it dissolve and circulate through the main drain. The salt may take about 24 hours to dissolve completely. Finer grades of salt will dissolve faster.

Step 8

After the salt has dissolved, turn on the salt chlorinator. Check to see that the salt level is around 3500 ppm. Your pool should be maintained at around this level. A low salt level (below 3000 ppm) reduces the efficiency of the salt generator which results in low chlorine production. A high salt level (above 4500 ppm) can rapidly reduce the life of the cell.

Step 9

A word of advice: if you think you need six bags according to your calculations, only add five bags at first. Let it dissolve and retest your salt level before adding your last bag. It's a lot easier to add another bag, if required, than to have to reduce the salt level if you've overshot your target salt level. If you do end up with too much salt in your pool, see our guide, How To Reduce the Salt Level In Your Pool, for instructions.


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Comments

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(1 to 40 of 202)

 Posted: 8/15/2020 

I shocked my salt water pool this evening, when can I add salt? I saw one article that said 20 min & another that said 24-48 hours HELP!
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/20/2020 

Is this a new installation? Or is this just adding salt because the control says low salt? Have you resurfaced your pool?You should be able o add salt 20-30 minutes after adding the shock. This time is just to allow the shock time to dissolve into solution.
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 Posted: 7/19/2020 

Hi, is it safe to swim during the 24 hour period after adding the salt to the water but before turning on the salt water filter and testing levels?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/9/2020 

You can swim, but if the water does not have any sanitization chemicals in it, there is a small chance of getting a bug. It is rare, but there is a chance.
 Reply

 Posted: 7/16/2020 

My salt level is around 2500 after adding salt to bring my salt to 3200 what percentage do I set the salt output percentage dail at 30%, 40%, 50% etc? Thanks.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/25/2020 

That is going to vary according to the pool size, cell size, and chlorine demand. I would start at 50%, let it run for a couple of days then test the chlorine levels. If the water is looking good, and the chlorine is higher than it needs to be, knock down the percentage to 40%. Vice versa if the chlorine is low.
 Reply

 Posted: 3/27/2020 

“Before adding salt to your pool, be sure to TURN OFF the Salt Chlorine Generator at the Control Unit.” No one told me this step. How do I do that? Oh and I’m reading this article after already adding three bags. Salt level was at 800 ppm and I installed a new salt cell today before I started adding the salt. Have I screwed up badly? Does that mean just unplug the salt cell from the board? Thank you.
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/31/2020 

Most salt chlorine generator control have a simple off switch. If the off switch can't be found, turn it off at the breaker.As long as you know your current salinity level, and follow the salt chart on how to get to the desired level, you should be fine.
 Reply

 Posted: 8/14/2019 

I have 5,310 gallons of water in my pool how much salt bags would i need
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/15/2019 

As Step 4 in the guide covers, a Salt Table can be used to determine the amount of salt needed to meet the desired ppm. The chart starts at 10,000 gallons, but you could reasonably presume if you half the number you would reach the amount of salt needed for your 5,000 gallon pool.
 Reply

Anonymous  Posted: 7/25/2019 

Got a new pool 3 weeks ago. Been using chlorine. About to do my saltwater startup. Guy said to add the salt today and turn on pentair intellichlor tomorrow. Is this right? Seems odd
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/31/2019 

The manufacturer recommends adding the salt and circulating for 24 hours before turning on the salt system.
 Reply

 Posted: 7/2/2019 

I have emptied my pool to start from scratch..its about 20,000 gal..can I test my faucet water for salt content so I know how many bags of salt to buy ahead of time?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/3/2019 

I guess you could do that; most tap water does not contain much salt. Or you could just wait until the pool is halfway filled or more and test it then. 
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 Posted: 6/9/2019 

I have a 14,000 gallon rectangular pool with 0 salt how many 40lb bags do I need? Thanks
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/13/2019 

As we cover in the article you need to know what ppm you are attempting to reach in order to know the required amount of salt. But once you figure out the desired ppm, you can take a look at this: Swimming Pool Salt Calculator
 Reply

 Posted: 5/23/2019 

Please help me calculate this, my gallon size isn’t on this chart and I am struggling with the math! I have a 1700 gallon pool. The salt level is at 0. How many lbs of salt do I add to a 1700 gallon pool?
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/23/2019 

Hello Elizabeth - Do you know what the ideal salt range is for your salt system? If not, let us know the make and model of the salt system.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/23/2019 

Between 2500-3500!
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/24/2019 

To get a salt level of 3000 ppm, you'll need to add 43 pounds of salt.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/24/2019 

THANK YOU!
 Reply

 Posted: 5/10/2019 

If bags of salt are solidified, do they need to be broken up before adding to the pool, or will they dissolve and be absorbed and distributed through the system
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/13/2019 

The salt is going to dissolve quicker in smaller pieces.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/13/2019 

Answers my question. Thanks. Have a 26,000 gallon in ground salt water pool with liner. Hard to find salt that is not Solidified.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/9/2019 

I have an above ground salt water pool that is green and the salt level is at minimum range. Do I get the salt level up before shocking or after shocking?
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InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/9/2019 

It depends on your filter; if you have a sand or DE filter which requires backwashing to clean the media, then you should wait. But if you have a cartridge filter that only requires a hosing off for cleaning, then you can add the salt now.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/2/2019 

I brought my pool water into the pool store. They said to add 8 bags of salt. I did this an hour and a half ago. My salt is now reading 6600. Should I be worried?
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/3/2019 

We would recommend waiting a day or two to see if the reading stabilizes. If it's still that high after a couple of days, take a sample in and test it again.
 Reply

 Posted: 5/2/2019 

Hi You say don't add salt to the skimmer ? My pool 44000 litres has no shallow end. I have added salt with the generator turned off for a couple of hours with the pump running until full dissolved... My pool man said the PPM reading should be about 4000......Is that too high? thanks jon
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/2/2019 

Most salt chlorine generator operates best between 3200 ppm - 3500 ppm; but, check your generator's owner's manual for the salinity level requirements. As for what your current salinity level is, the only way to know is to test your water.
 Reply

 Posted: 4/10/2019 

On step 4, can you please explain what calculations you need to do to know you need the 6 bags. I have a 47,000 pool! If you could help please
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/11/2019 

The step provides a link to the Salt Table that tells you exactly how many pounds needed to reach a specified salinity level in a pool size.
 Reply

 Posted: 10/14/2018 

I want to convert a 45000 - 48000 - freeform inground pool to salt water using Hayward products, but does this unit only handle pools up to 40000 gallons? Would it work for mine? Or do I need to consider other options?
 Reply

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/16/2018 

Hello John - if a salt system is rated for 40,000 gallons, that means the largest pool it can reliably chlorinate is 40,000 gallons. Any pool above that rating would need a larger unit like the Pureline Cyrstal Pure PL7703 or the Heavy Duty PL7704.
 Reply

Anonymous  Posted: 8/12/2018 

very helpful
 Reply

 Posted: 8/8/2018 

Hello Terry - You'll need to add more shock until it kills all of the algae and the pool turns a milky color. Check out our blog titled "How to Clean a Green Pool".
 Reply

 Posted: 8/8/2018 

I vacuum pool out, put 2 bags of shock 24,000 each, my pool is 40,000 gallons. I put five 40 gallons bags of salt in it but its still green.  what do I need to do?
 Reply

 Posted: 5/8/2018 

My pool is around 14000 gallons and it required about 400lbs of salt to get it going. 15x30 oval
 Reply

 Posted: 4/3/2018 

Hello Muenche - I haven't seen anyone put salt in a floater but I wouldn't think a floater would hold much salt. Usually you need more than a couple pounds. Salt by itself won't create chlorine. You need a salt chlorine generator. Salt chlorine generators can be used in conjunction with traditional chlorine systems.
 Reply

 Posted: 4/3/2018 

Is there danger to just put salt for pools into a floater that moves around the surface water of a 24x 54 round pool, while also utilizing my current chlorination system ?
 Reply