How to Add Salt to Your Pool

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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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.


Step by Step


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.

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. .

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.

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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Anonymous  Posted: 08/12/2018 16:40 PM 

very helpful

InyoPools  Posted: 08/08/2018 16:57 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

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".

Terry  Posted: 08/08/2018 12:52 PM 

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?

me  Posted: 05/08/2018 19:38 PM 

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

Inyopools  Posted: 04/03/2018 10:43 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

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.

Muenche  Posted: 04/03/2018 10:17 AM 

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 ?

Inyopools  Posted: 10/16/2017 16:16 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Anonymous (1000 gallon pool) - See the link to the "Salt Table" in Step 4. Assuming your pool's salt level is starting at 0 ppm and your salt generator operates at 3500 ppm, you would need 1/10 of the salt shown in the column for 10,000 gallons at 2500 ppm which is 28 lbs.

Anonymous  Posted: 10/15/2017 11:52 AM 

How much do I need for a 1000 gallon pool

Inyopools  Posted: 08/07/2017 15:34 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Shant - 14,000 liters = 3698 gallons of water
You would need 108 lbs (or 49 Kg) of salt to bring the salt level in a 3695 gallon pool up to 3500 ppm.

Inyopools  Posted: 08/07/2017 14:00 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Rose - I have several friends with salt water pool and dogs. Their dogs are in the pool every day and love it. No problems. And there is no brand or type of filter that I know of that is recommended especially for dogs. I would think the cartridge filter would be the easiest to clean effectively.

Shant  Posted: 08/06/2017 23:57 PM 

How much add pool sait in14oooliter

Rose  Posted: 08/06/2017 7:11 AM 

Hello- my question has two parts....

1.I am thinking of converting to a salt pool.Does anyone have experience with dogs in salt pools- I am a dog trainer and my four German Shepherds and a few client dogs spend the entire summer in the pool. They are in every day as soon as it opens.

2. Next... My sand filter needs to be repaired or replaced- probably due to massive amounts of dog hair accumulation. I there a brand or type that is recommended for this use ? or any other tips ? thanks!

Inyopools  Posted: 07/21/2017 14:04 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Steve - Your 45K gallon pool needs a total 1314 lbs of salt to function at a 3500 ppm salt level. I don't know how deep your returns are, but if you are draining a third of your water out to get 6" below your returns, you are taking about a third of your salt out which has to be replaced when you get your pool filled.

Steve  Posted: 07/20/2017 12:47 PM 

Every spring, I have to add about 13 (40 pound) bags of salt (500 lbs.) to my 45k gallon inground pool. How is this possible? I drain the pool about 6 inches below the return spouts. And the pool becomes filled with the rain and snow during the winter.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/12/2017 11:09 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Kwethe - Thank you very much for your feedback. I didn't know about solar salt, but it is definitely something to be aware of.

Kwethe  Posted: 07/12/2017 9:57 AM 

Ok guys, i found my problem. Checked my bags again and it's Morton's pool salt, but above that it says solar salt. After reading a few things I now know that solar salt dissolves slower and sure enough, checked today before adding more salt and the swg has kicked on and has enough salt! I'm sure this means in a few days I will have a high salt reading but at least now I know. Maybe same with anonymous poster before me?

Kwethe  Posted: 07/12/2017 0:55 AM 

Like a previous poster, we have an aboveground 15 x 48 round pool, approx 5,000 gallons. Newly filled it had 0 salt, added 5 40lb bags (1 diamond essence, 5 Morton's professional grade pool salt), ran filter and waited 24hrs, swg started but read low salt and cut off. Added 1 more bag Morton's, waited and same result. Added 2 more bags of Morton's, waited and took sample to pool store. They said needed another 1.5 bags. How is this possible after 7 bags? Is it bc we used Morton's like pool store claims?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/09/2017 16:47 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Toni - Occasionally, you will have to add salt to your pool. Whenever you vacuum water to waste and have to add fresh water, or if you get a good rain, the salt level in your pool is being diluted. To bring the salt level up to where it was, you have to add salt.

Toni  Posted: 07/07/2017 9:10 AM 

Do you ever need to add more salt to the pool or is salt just a one time thing? I had a bout of Algia that took a long time to clear up using regular algaecide and Mustard algaecide that had me vacuuming to waste.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/14/2017 0:01 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Anonymous (salt level) - If you have added 12 bags of salt in your pool and only have a salt level of 500 ppm, either your salt reading is not accurate or you have a pool much larger than 8403 gallons. I would recalculate your pool size.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/13/2017 14:32 PM 

We've added twelve 40lb bags of pool salt to are 8403 gallon pool and it still reads 500 ppm, we've even had it tested at two different pool stores, what is wrong with our pool. The pool store said everything is correct except the ph is a little high. We shocked it 2-3 days ago. We need major help.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/13/2017 12:49 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Lollie - Are you using pool salt? It comes now in regular and fast dissolving? I've used both and haven't seen large clumps that would not dissolve within an hour. It could be that the salt had picked up moisture in storage. Try lifting the pieces out with you debris net. Don't leave them in the pool for long. they will deteriorate your pool surface.

Lollie  Posted: 06/12/2017 7:31 AM 

How do you get the larger bits of salt to dissolve? Last year was my first year using salt, and I had big pieces of salt in the bottom that did not dissole and would not suck up in vacuum.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/30/2017 12:13 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Cheryl - Have the salt level of your pool measured independently to see how much salt is currently in your "fresh" water pool. They often start at about 500 ppm. Now, look at the Salt Table reference in Step 4 of this guide. In the column labeled 30,000 (gallons), you will see the salt requirements. Assuming that your current salt reading is 500 ppm and your system operates at 3500 ppm, you will need to add 751 lbs. of salt. That's a little less than 19 bags of 40# salt. Start with 17 bags and see if you need the other 2 after 24r hours. It's much easier to add salt than to reduce the salt level.

Cheryl  Posted: 05/28/2017 16:06 PM 

I'm converting 30k gallon pool from chlorine to salt. How many pounds of salt do I need?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/22/2017 22:22 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Butch - For a 45,000-gallon pool, you will need 1300 total lbs of salt. Look at the Salt Table referenced in Step 4 of this guide. Assuming your SCG requires a salt level of 3500 ppm and you are currently at 1500 ppm, you will have to add another 751 # of salt to get your salt level up to 3500. I would check your calculation for the number of gallons in your pool. For a rectangular pool, the formula is length x width x average depth x 7.5 gallons per cubic foot. For 45,000 gallons, your pool's average depth would have to be 7.5 feet. If your pool has a more standard average depth of 6’, your pool is only 36,000 gallons and you would then only need about 600 more lbs. of salt.

Butch  Posted: 05/21/2017 11:12 AM 

My pool is a trueL 20x40. Holds 45000 gal.Have put 400 lbs of salt. Shows ppm is 1500. Why is it still so low? No major rain. My pH is extremely high. Off the charts

Butch  Posted: 05/21/2017 11:11 AM 

My pool is a trueL 20x40. Holds 45000 gal.Have put 400 lbs of salt. Shows ppm is 1500. Why is it still so low? No major rain.

Inyopools  Posted: 05/19/2017 13:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dave - It's a precaution. You may be alright.

Dave  Posted: 05/18/2017 17:16 PM 

I added 2 bags of salt and then after an hour I remembered to turn off the system. Will that one hour throw off my calibration or damage the cell that fast?

Inyopools  Posted: 04/21/2017 16:28 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

CaliGirl - You actually have about 11,000 gallons of water in your pool and you will probably have some salt level in your freshwater. After you fill your pool, have it tested for salt. Assuming you start with 500 ppm, to get to a level of 3500 ppm, you will need about 275 # of salt or just under 7 bags of salt. I would put 6 bags in first and hold back on one. After 24 hours, test the water for salt again, then if you need another bag, add the 7th bag. It's much easier to add salt than to remove it. For an 11,000 gallon pool, 1 40# bag of salt increases the salt level about 425 ppm.

CaliGirl  Posted: 04/21/2017 6:51 AM 

Hi you guys! My pool is 22'x 52", 10,472 gal. This is newly setup, I haven't even added any water as yet, so I guess my salt level would be 0, right? So, how much salt am I going to need to for my pool for the ideal salt level?

Inyopools  Posted: 04/08/2017 12:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Stephm - If you don't know the history of your pool's maintenance, your salt generation cell may need to be cleaned. Try cleaning it first. See it that improves the salt reading. If not, I would add a bag of salt to see if that brings the reading up. Even if your store reading of 3000 is correct, your system can handle another bag of salt.

Stephm  Posted: 04/03/2017 18:45 PM 

We just purchased a home with an in ground sslt water pool. The monitor is showing low salt level, check system, 2300 ppm. I took a water sample in & the pool company said it read 3000 ppm, but they said their reading might be off. Their test showed the phosphate level at 2500, so I purchased a product to lower that. Should I try to add salt to try & raise level? I believe our pool is 15,000 gallons.

Inyopools  Posted: 08/13/2016 11:33 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Aquikine Cl2 - It could be a bad cell reading. As cells age (3-5 years depending on chemical maintenance) they deteriorate and lose capability to measure salt levels accurately.

Anonymous  Posted: 08/12/2016 18:01 PM 

My aquiline Cl2 generator reads low salt (shut down generation) but I know my salt levels are actually around 4000 ppm, a bit high (had it measured at a local store). This is even after cleaning the cell. Anybody have an idea what is going on? I plan on taking the cell to the local store to have them check it. It does generate for a short while but then shuts down due to low salt levels.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/19/2016 18:22 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

AL - One bag of salt (40#) should bring your salt level up to 3000 ppm for your 6670 gallon pool. A bag and a half will bring it up to ~3400 ppm. Add one bag first to see where your salt level actually is. Then add a partial bag after 48 hrs if you want to raise your salt level higher.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/19/2016 11:23 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Skg - The residue in your cleaner bag would not be salt unless you have several times the limit of salt for your pool. Any salt in your pool would dissolve in 24 hours. It's more likely a chemical like a Stabilizer or the result of adding a clarifier to precipitate small particles to the bottom of the pool. If there is a residue on the bottom of your pool, try vacuuming it out manually to the Waste line.

AL  Posted: 07/17/2016 9:43 AM 

I have a 18x48 pool. My salt reading is at 2490ppm. Should i just add one bag of salt. Thanks.

Skg  Posted: 07/15/2016 23:39 PM 

The cleaner bag in my saltwater pool is filled with what I think is salt now. I have to empty it every two days. Readings are normal. Problem?