Pool Water Care Guide for Salt Water Pools
Written by Samuel Hinson
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 23:22
Initial Start-Up (per 10,000 gallons):
- Balance your water in the following order: Alkalinity, pH, and Calcium Hardness.
- Stabilize your pool with 3.5 lbs of Sun Conditioner (Cyanuric Acid). This is usually a one time dose.
- For above ground pools, broadcast on the surface and brush off all surfaces until fully dissolved.
- For in ground pools, add slowly to the skimmer. Do not back for 48 hours after adding.
Shock the pool with 4 lbs of Sun Granular (99%
- Add 200-250 lbs of Food Grade Pool Salt. Circulate for 24 hours and test salt levels, adding more bags as needed. Follow your Salt Generators recommendations for total amounts. This advice based upon an intial 3000 ppm of salt for 10,000 gallons.
- Add 12 oz. of Sun Algae Preventer or 6 oz. of Sun Algaecide 60.
- Add 4 oz. each of:
- Sun Tru Blue
- Sun Scale/Metal Control II. This additive cannot be skipped with a Salt Water pool.
- Proteam Power Enzyme
Things to do Weekly:
- Brush tile, waterline, steps, walls, and then floor towards the main drain (if you have one).
- Vacuum steps, walls, and then floor.
- Clean filter.
Sand - Backwash for 1 minute, Rinse for 30 seconds.
Cartridge - Remove cartridge and clean with approved chemicals or replace.
- DE - Rinse out & recharge filter.
- Check water level - Keep halfway up the skimmer mouth.
- Test and treat your water:
- Balance - Maintain the correct Alkalinity, pH, and Calcium Hardness levels.
- Add Food Grade Pool Salt as needed. Check your generator for recommendations.
- Shock with 1 lb of Sun Shock-n-Clear per 10,000 gallons. Broadcast across the pool.
- Add 4 oz. each of Sun Algae Preventer (or 2 oz. of Sun Algaecide 60), Sun Tru Blue, & Proteam Power Enzyme. Double your dosage during 90°+ weather.
Things to do Monthly:
- Use Sun Filter Cleaner to chemically clean your filter. Suntan lotions, body oils, and plant sap builds up on top of the sand and cannot be removed by backwashing & rinsing alone.
- Remove scum from waterline on tile, vinyl, or fiberglass with Sun Surface Cleaner. Build up can be reduced with a Scumball.
- Lubricate o-rings for your pump lid, chlorinator lid, and wall fittings with a Teflon-based lubricant like Magic Lube or Liberty Lube.
- Have Cyanuric Acid (stabilizer), Metals, and Phosphates tested by your local pool professional.
Balance you water in the following order: Alkalinity, pH, and Calcium Hardness.
- Alkalinity: For Salt Water Pools, the desired range is 125-150 ppm.
- Below 125 ppm: the acidic water will stain and corrode your pool and your chemicals will burn out quickly, increasing your chemical usage dramatically. Treat with Sun Alkalinity Plus.
- Above 150 ppm: the high alkalinity will create haze and scaling around the pool. Your chemicals will cease to function. Add Sun pH Minus or Muriatic Acid in small, frequent doses. You cannot lower alkalinity in one big step. You must treat it gradually.
- Adjusted Alkalinity: see Cyanuric Acid below.
- pH: For Salt Water Pools, the desired range is 7.2-7.6.
- Below 7.2: will have same effect as low Alkalinity. Treat with Sun pH Plus.
- Above 7.6: will have same effect as high Alkalinity. Treat with Sun pH Minus.
- Calcium Hardness: For Salt Water Pools the desired range is 175-225 ppm (vinyl & fiberglass) or 200-275 ppm (plaster & gunite).
- Below recommended levels: makes your water foam, corrodes metals, and leaves a soapy scum. Will prematurely dry rot liners. Add Sun Hardness Treatment.
- Above recommended levels: will create scaling, discoloration, and limes on heating elements and plumbing. Can be treated in several ways.
- i. TSP (trisodium phosphate) as per instructions.
- ii. Partially drain pool and add fresh water (only works if your source water is low in calcium).
- iii. Sun Scale & Metal Controll II as per instructions.
- Cyanuric Acid: Essential for a Salt Water pool, the ideal range is 30-50 ppm. Also known as stabilizer or conditioner.
- Below 30 ppm: Generated Chlorine will burn out of the pool. You will use significantly more chemical. Add cyanuric acid with Sun Conditioner as per instructions.
- Above 50 ppm: not harmful to the body or pool, per se; it will 'adjust' your alkalinity levels, as seen in the next step. The only way to lower it is to partially drain your pool and refill (only works if your source water is low in cyanuric acid).
- Adjusted Alkalinity: cyanuric acid will 'adjust' the alkalinity reading on your test strips. At 30 ppm of cyanuric acid, adjust your alkainity reading 7-10 ppm. In other words, if you have a cyanuric acid level of 30 and an alkainity reading of 160, you 'adjusted alkalinity' will be 150-153. The higher your stabilizer levels, the more it adjust your alklainity. A good rule of thumb is to take 25% of your cyanuric acid level and subtract it from your alkalinity reading. The formula would be Adjusted Alkalinity = Alkalinity - (Cyanuric Acid/4). Technically this rule is effected by pH, but most people will not need to take it into account. If you get over 200 ppm on your cyanuric acid, it becomes difficult (though not impossible) to maintain the correct water balance.
- Copper & Iron: For Chlorine, the desired range is 0 ppm for both metals. Can cause cloudiness and stains. Balance water, then treat with Sun Scale & Metal Control II. Add 1 qt for 10,000 gallons for every 1 ppm of copper or iron.
- Phosphates: For Chlorine, the desired range is under 200 ppb. Phosphates can interfere with chlorine effectiveness and are food for algae resulting in massive algae blooms. Use a Phosphate Remover to eliminate them.
There are two main components to your Chlorine Generator in your Salt Water Pool:the cell and the control board.
- The Cell The cell is the part of the system that actually convers Salt into Chlorine. Water passes through the cell and over the plates. These plates to titanium and coated with either ruthenium or iridium. An electric charge is sent through the plates and a process called electrolysis occurs which splits the Salt molecule. Eventually the coating on these plates will erode away, leaving your cell useless. Good maintenance will extend the life of your cell just as incorrect maintenance will shorten it. You can expect to replace the cell every 3-7 years at a cost of $700-1100. Often pool owners will choose to replace the entire generator as it is only a couple of hundred dollars more than just a news cell.
- The Control Board: The control board is a motherboard for your generator. It provides electricity to the the cell and allows the pool owner to to control how much chlorine is being generated, as wel as providing some diagnostic feedback. Since it is a circuit board, its life span can vary greatly. If all goes well, you could get 3-7 years from it with a replacement cost of $500-900. A power surge is a sure way to lose your control board.
- Maintenance Tips:
- Maintain a consistent Salt level: usually between 2700 and 3900 ppm.
- Clean the cell: this can easily be done at the end of the season. Submerge it in a Mild Acid Solution (1 part Muriatic Acid to 15 parts water). Keep it submerged until all scale has dissolved away.
- Avoid frequent cleaning: Try to keep cleanings to once a year. If you have very hard water or overdose on salt, you might need to clean it in the middle of the year.
- Beware Lightning Storms: power surges can prematurely damage your board or cell. Unplug the generator during bad storms to prevent any problems.
- Keep your Calcium at the right levels: the ideal range is 175-225 ppm (vinyl & fiberglass) or 200-275 ppm (plaster & gunite). Use Sun Scale & Metal control II if get past these ranges. See the Water Balance Section.
- Don't Skimp on the Generator: If you can get a Generator with Reverse Polarity, do so. This will help prevent scale build-up.1
Myths & Facts:
- Soothing to skin
- Helps to heal wounds
- Increases bouyancy, easier to float
- Salt is cheap per pound
- Feels like ocean water
- Generator is expensive
- Replacement equipment is also expensive
- Salt will corrode equipment and concrete
- Salt water will damage fresh water wildlife & plants
- Must have power and circulation to chlorinate
|Cost Analysis - Chlorine Tablets vs. Chlorine Generator
Over a Four Year Period, for a 15,000 gallon pool.
|50 lbs of Tabs
||Generator + Salt
|50 lbs of Tabs
|50 lbs of Tabs
|50 lbs of Tabs
||Replacement Parts + Salt
||$1,000 (or more)