How Much Does It Cost to Convert a Pool to Saltwater?

The lures of soft, silky water and a less corrosive swimming experience may be reason enough to convert from a traditional chlorinated swimming pool to a saltwater system. Economically speaking, switching to a saltwater system can help save money compared to chemical-based versions because you'll use less chlorine, tablets and other pool supplies.

Pre-conversion Factors

Different factors can affect how much you pay for your saltwater conversion. You might have to drain some or all the water currently in your pool if it doesn't meet the correct salt profile. If you do drain, contact your local government about meeting any requirements, such as processing the old water, before disposing it into the public waste system. You might have to:

  • undergo testing and inspection, which can take a long time
  • refill 15,000 liters or more of replacement water, which can be expensive

If you don't drain the water, you'll save on the above costs. A non-drain scenario is only possible if the old water has the appropriate pH and alkalinity before the addition of salt. You may have to pay for balancing chemicals to achieve the required salinity.

Equipment and Installation Costs

According to swimming pool building company American Pools & Spas, a salt water converter cost about $1,300 as of 2014. The company estimates that installation would take two hours and cost approximately $300.

Salt Specifications

The salt you use for your pool should be any non-iodized salt that you would eat yourself. Use the salt specified by your converter's manufacturer. It should not have any additives.

The amount of salt you have to buy depends on the amount of salt already in the water and the volume of water in your pool. Salt Water Pool and Spa website says you should aim for a salt concentration of 3,000 to 6,000 parts per million. For a pool that contains no salt to begin with, add about 30 pounds of salt per 1,000 gallons.

For a 20,000-gallon pool to reach 3,000 PPM, you would need 83 pounds of salt. As of 2015, a 40-pound bag of pool salt will typically cost $5 to $10, depending on your location.

Ongoing Maintenance

Notwithstanding these initial costs, you can reap savings in the long run by converting a traditional chlorinated pool system to a saltwater one. Because the salt water converter converts the salt and water into the disinfectant chemicals sodium chloride and hypochlorous acid, you do not need to buy chlorine. According to a 2014 article by the Asbury Park Press, residents in Gloucester County, N.J., could expect to see their annual pool maintenance costs fall to $100 from $500 by shifting to saltwater.