How to Change to a Saltwater Pool. Love your backyard swimming pool but hate the idea of using all those chemicals to keep it clean and algae free? You'll be happy to hear that you now have an environmentally safe alternative to all those chemicals--plain old salt. That's right, you can keep your pool water sparkling clean by changing your chemically driven pool plumbing system to one that works with saltwater. Saltwater swimming pools have been around in other parts of the world for years. Now, because of both the environmental advantages and potential cost savings, saltwater swimming pools are becoming increasingly common in North America.
How Saltwater Pools Work
Add a chlorine generator to your pool's plumbing system. The generator works with salt added to the water to produce the active chlorine required to keep your pool water clean, so you don't need to continually add chlorine and other chemicals.
Start the conversion by adding salt to your pool water. The amount of salt your pool requires will depend on the size of your pool, however a working estimate is 50 pounds of salt per 1,200 gallons of capacity.
Install the chlorine generator system in your pool's water return lines (after the filter and heater) by cutting into the return lines and installing PVC piping to run water through the chlorine generator then back into the return line.
Run electrical power to the chlorine generator and wire it into the pool pump circuit so that the generator turns on and off at the same times as the pool pump.
Now turning on the pump circulates the salty water through the system, including the chlorine generator. Through an electrolysis process, the salt molecules (sodium chloride) are separated into sodium and chlorine. Concurrently, a hydrogen atom is freed from the water molecules.
Know that the hydrogen and chloride atoms combine to form sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) that actually purifies the water in your pool.
After sanitizing your pool water, the chlorine chemically recombines with sodium, turns back into salt, and the process begins all over again.
Taking Care of Your Saltwater Pool
Realize that maintaining chlorine generating systems is simple. Modern systems test for salt levels and have indicator lights to let you know if salt levels need to be adjusted.
Consider that many chlorine generating systems are self-cleaning as well, using a built-in polarity reversal function to clean themselves.
Test the salt level in your water periodically (using salt test strips available at pool supply stores).