How to Convert Chlorine Pool to Salt Water Pool

Convert Chlorine Pool to Salt Water Pool

Salt water pools have grown in popularity in the recent years. This is because they are easy to maintain.  Additionally, salt water pools are healthy and gentler on your eyes, skin and hair than chlorine pools. There are many reasons why most pool owners are switching from chlorine pools. First, chlorinated water is known to be hard on the skin as it contains chemicals known as chloramines. Chloramines are created as a result of chlorine mixing with things like sweat and urine.

Chloramines cause irritation of the skin, lungs and eyes. When chloramines accumulate in the air within the pool, especially for indoor pools, they can cause coughing as well as trigger asthma .More exposure to chlorine causes some people to develop an allergy causing itchy skin, rashes and hives.

Why convert to Salt Water?

There are many benefits of converting a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool.  First, you will not have to buy any more chlorine tablets and shock the water again. With a saltwater pool, you will also avoid the effects of chlorine, such as smell, red eyes and itchy skin. While the process of converting chlorine pool to saltwater pool may sound complicated, it is an easy process that can be done over the weekend.  Here are some of the major aspects to consider during the saltwater conversion.

Salt water pools have water that feels soft and is gentle on your skin. The presence of salt in water reduces skin and eye irritation that can be experienced in a chorine pool. When chlorine levels are stabilized there’s no formation of chloramines hence the water salinity is closer to the salinity of your natural tear duct. Here are the critical steps to follow when converting a chlorine pool to a salt water pool.

Selecting a Saltwater System

A saltwater system is also known as a chlorinator. It is used to produce chlorine. Saltwater systems vary according to the pool sizes and can range anywhere from 10, 000 to 100, 000 gallons.  Your chlorinator should be big enough to fit your pool. The cost of a saltwater system ranges from $400 to $2,000. Fancy chlorinators come with digital read outs, self-cleaning and diagnostics. When choosing your chlorinator, consider how much it cost to replace the cell, as it can be very expensive.

Draining the Pool

If your pool uses an antibacterial agent, it is advisable that you drain the entire pool. Some antibacterial agents may not be compatible with chlorine. Alternatively, you can get rid of the antibacterial agent by using high amounts of chlorine.  With this method, you have to wait until the agent has dissipated before proceeding with the conversion.

Determine Where the Various Installations Will Be Done

For most in-ground swimming pools, you have to add the salt system to your existing plumbing. The installation should be done after the heater, filter and pump and within the proximity of the control panel and the power source. If you will be installing the cell in the previous system, be sure to install where the previous chlorine dispenser was located.

Add the Check Valve, Flow Switch and Plumbing

First, ensure the water flows smoothly into your pool. Avoid obstructions and sharp angles as these can cause back pressure on the system, increasing the work of the pump. More importantly, use couplings and elbows to make sure the water flows with least amount of resistance.

Second, install the flow switch after the cell in the plumbing system according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Check for directional arrows on the PVC casing that screws to it or the flow switch itself.

Third, install the check valve before installing the cell or after adding the heater or filter if you have one.  This prevents highly chlorinated water and chemicals from back flowing to the filter or heater.

Install an In-Line Zinc Anode

An in-line zinc anode helps to prevent corrosion of your pool hard water.  Consider installing the anode during the conversion as you work on the plumbing.  For added convenience, install the anode near your cell and be sure to add a grounding wire.

Mount the Power Supply and Control Panel

Mount the power supply and control panel in an accessible area. This can be within reach of the timer, switch or cell cord if necessary. Lastly, connect and switch on the main power supply. It is recommendable you hire an electrician if you do not know how to work with electricity.

Balance Your Pool Water

Before changing the chemistry of your pool water, you need to balance it.  To do this, test the water for levels of heavy metals, calcium hardness, stabilizer, pH, alkalinity and chlorine. Once you have balanced the water completely, you can add salt to the water.

Add Salt

The next step to completing your salt water pool conversion process is to add salt. The amount of salt added depends on your pool’s gallonage and salinity of the pool water.  The recommended salt range is 3,000 to 3,500ppm.

After balancing the water, start adding the salt to the pool. It is recommendable that you use non-iodized salt. The amount of salt you need to add depends on the size of your pool, though this is information is usually provided in the pool installation manual.   Wait for a several days for the salt to dissolve fully in water before proceeding to the next step.

These are the critical steps to follow when converting chlorine pool to salt water pool. Be sure to hire an experience swimming pool contractor, if you need any assistance.

Install the Chlorinator Controller and Salt Cell

In this stage, you need to add the chlorinator and wire it up. Consider installing your controller closer to the equipment pad. The wiring varies depending on the type of controller you are using.  Some have to be hooked up to the pool pump while others get straight from the circuit.

After installing your controller, you need to install the chlorinator cell. The installation should be done after the heater, filter and pump have been installed.  After installing the salt cell, make sure you connect it to the chlorinator controller.  You may need some plumbing skills to correctly install your chlorinator cell in place.


The final step to converting your chlorine pool to saltwater pool is testing. You need to be sure that all the various pool components are working properly.  Engage the pool pump and check if there are any leaks from the piping. Consider running the pump for a few hours to circulate the water and dissolve any salt.  Once you are certain that all parts are working correctly, switch the chlorinator cell on and start enjoying your saltwater pool.