A Beginner’s Guide to Saltwater Pool Maintenance

 In Pool Maintenance

It’s easy to automatically assume that any swimming pool will cost a pretty penny to maintain, not to mention time-consuming. Well, you’re mistaken! Saltwater swimming pool upkeep is rather simple and a more economically-savvy option than traditional pools. If you recently purchased your first saltwater swimming pool, you’re probably trying to rack your brain around how to maintain it. Read on to learn the ins and outs of proper saltwater pool maintenance and keep your luxury investment functioning for many years to come.

Sanitize Your Pool

No homeowner wants a pool that looks like a primordial swamp snatched from the Jurassic era. Sure, we’re overexaggerating a bit, but the threat remains the same: unclean pools are packed with harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Thus, your first step to saltwater pool maintenance involves proper and thorough sanitation. This critical stage ensures the water is completely clean and safe to enjoy.

Also, removing dirt and debris is beneficial for pool sanitation. It ensures to everyone who uses it that the water is clean and safe to swim in. Regardless of the pool type, proper sanitation includes using an oxidizer. Oxidizers use oxygen to consume nonbacterial waste; the product then converts the waste into a harmless gas that disperses safely into the atmosphere. Products that use Oxidizers include regular pool shock, non-chlorine shock, and hydrogen peroxide. Brands such as Clorox, Pool Essentials, Aqua Chem, In The Swim and DryTec make pool shocks that you can buy online or at a pool service location. You may purchase an Oxidizer in liquid or tablet form.

For saltwater pools, try using a salt-chlorine generator that fits your pool needs. Pools used seasonally may not require as much as a pool with year-round use. Using a salt chlorine generator provides the complete sanitation that your saltwater swimming pool needs.

Remember to Balance Your Pool Water

Next, keep an eye on the water level and make sure it stays balanced. Experts recommend testing your pool water at least once a week, but 2-3 times a week may prove more effective during the peak season. So, what do pool owners need to examine in the water? Simple; they will track chlorine, pH, stabilizer, and salinity levels.

Chlorine Levels

You should track your saltwater pool’s chlorine level weekly. The free chlorine level should range between 1-3 parts per million, ppm. By keeping the chlorine at this level, the water will retain its blue hue while preventing any pesky microorganisms from invading your saltwater pool. The key is getting the chlorine levels just right. When the free chlorine measure drops to lower levels, the algae will grow and engender the formation of invasive microorganisms. But when the chlorine level is too high, swimmers will start feeling discomfort or burning while the pool equipment slowly corrodes.

If you live in an area that normally sees heavy rain, or you plan on hosting a pool party, your saltwater pool may need a bit more sanitation. Try deploying your salt system’s “boost mode”, which will increase the chlorine level to oxidize any impurities. This should be active when there are a lot of swimmers in the pool. For testing your free chlorine levels, you can buy test strips or test kits.

pH Levels

By testing the water’s pH, you examine the acidic or alkalinity levels in your saltwater pool. As the foundation of pool chemistry, proper pH levels keep the other chemicals working as intended. The pH levels in the water should range anywhere between 7.2 to 7.8, but 7.6 is the ideal score. You should also brush up on external factors affecting the pH levels. For example, rainstorms, large debris, and heavy pool usage can cause an imbalance.

Bear in mind that first-time pool owners often set the pH levels too high. Not to worry because you can return to the ideal range by adding in muriatic acid. But if you need to raise the levels, then baking soda or sodium carbonate is definitely the way to go. Leaving water with unbalanced pH levels can cause scaling and corrosion to the pool and irritate the swimmer’s skin.

Cyanuric Acid Levels

Chlorine will gradually deplete due to excessive sunlight exposure. Luckily, cyanuric acid will slow down the process. The proper cyanuric acid level should range somewhere between 40-60 ppm. When the levels drop, the pure chlorine that your salt system produces will burn away due to the sun. Still confused about cyanuric acid? Think of the substance as sunscreen to chlorine. To prevent ineffective chlorine, switch to a saltwater pool and stop using traditional chlorine tabs.

Salinity Levels

If you expect to keep your luxury saltwater pool in top-of-the-line condition, make it your mission to check the salinity levels monthly. For your pool’s salt system to perform at its best and perform necessary sanitation work, the salt levels must fall between the standard 3000 ppm to 4500 ppm range for the pool’s salt system to perform the necessary sanitation. But depending on the specific salt system you purchased, the range could look slightly different.

All you need to do is check the salinity level after a rainstorm or recent pool drain. You won’t need to add any salt unless your pool drains empty. To test the salinity levels, you can purchase test strips or digital testers.

Keep Up with Water Circulation

Proper water circulation prevents any stagnation in the pool water, making it more difficult for contamination to spread. But saltwater pools with poor circulation will likely see damage accumulate. Remember to stay on the lookout for the initial signs of improper water circulation, which include the formation of algae and lower levels of pool sanitizer. When the pockets fail to move properly, the damage will become more apparent.

Try following these steps to ensure proper water circulation:

  • Make sure your pool pump runs long enough for the water to circulate through the pool filter 1-2 times a day.
  • Consider running your pump for an hour to monitor the water’s clarity. If you spot accumulated sediment, then you’ll need to run the pump some more.
  • Remove any pollution collected in your filter. If the pressure gauge rises to 8-10 PSI over the normal baseline, then you’ll need to clean it.

Keeping Up with Routine Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Like every piece of expensive outdoor equipment, routine maintenance must occur often. Maintenance tasks for saltwater pools are simple and won’t eat away at your relaxation time.

Check your pool pump and skimmer baskets for any kind of visible debris. You might see some leaves, twigs, bugs, and dirt which will clog the filtration system. Thus, the skimmer basket should be emptied several times a week. Most pool owners will use a skimming net to eliminate any unwanted items floating in the pool. Finally, try investing in a robotic pool cleaner (if you can afford one) to lessen the daily workload.

Clean and inspect your pool’s salt cell occasionally. To make sure it runs smoothly, you will want to examine it for any type of build-up or debris every 30 to 90 days; also, don’t forget to clean it once or twice per season. Also, you will need a replacement after 5 years, depending on the brand and how frequently you use it. To clean the cell, read the manual for the cleaning instructions or hire a professional.

Don’t forget to clean the area around your pool. Saltwater can splash out of the pool and cause salt build-up. Simply push these unwanted deposits back into the pool with a garden hose.

The Experts at Shoreline Pools Excel in Saltwater Pool Maintenance

While ongoing maintenance might initially seem expensive or nerve-wracking, saltwater pools don’t require the same level of care seen in normal swimming pools. Whether you’re considering renovating your current pool or want any more information, contact Shoreline Pools. Our pool experts are staying up to date on any new ways to improve your backyard pool. Call the Shoreline Pools servicing team at (203) 357-1544 to further discuss any saltwater pool concerns!

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