Tips to Keep Your Salt Water Swimming Pool in Good Condition Year-Round
Whether you have a salt water swimming pool, or you’re looking to make the switch, there are unique steps to caring for these pools year-round. Although with salt water systems you never have to buy chlorine again and will save plenty of time and money on maintenance, these pools still need some maintenance to ensure that they are clean, functioning well, and safe to use. Keep in mind these necessary care instructions for salt water swimming pools in Ottawa so you can spend more time enjoying your pool during the warm weather:
While your pool is open, make sure to clean it daily by skimming for debris, clearing the skimmer, and emptying the pump basket. Keeping your pool and equipment clear of debris will ensure the water is flowing well and the salt water chlorinator can function properly.
Clean the sides and bottom of the pool weekly with a pool vacuum. Check the water level for an abrupt drop in volume—this could indicate a leak. Use test strips, or a drop test kit, to test the pool’s pH and Free Chlorine levels. The pH level should be 7.2 to 7.6. To lower the pH, add muriatic acid to the water. To raise the pH, add soda ash or sodium bicarbonate.
The Free Chlorine level should be at 1 to 3 ppm. You can adjust the chlorine output in the control box or cell. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Use test strips or a drop test kit to test the following levels in the pool water each month: Alkalinity, Calcium, Metals, Salinity (salt), Stabilizer, and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). While salt water chlorinators usually display a salt reading, it’s useful to know how to test salt levels manually in case the chlorinator is uncalibrated.
Inspect the cell of the salt water chlorinator every three months for debris and scale buildup. Use a high-pressure hose to clean off the deposits. For the hard-to-clean buildup, use a plastic or wooden (not metal) tool to scrape off deposits. And if this doesn’t work, use a mild acid wash as per the instructions in your owner’s manual. This is usually four parts water to one part muriatic acid, or one gallon of water to one quart of acid. Add the acid to the water (never water to acid) in a container where the solution level will cover the cell but not the cable. Let the cell soak for several minutes, rinse off with a hose, and reinstall.
If you use a zinc anode in your salt water pool system—to protect against damage to pool hardware—inspect this anode once a year to make sure it hasn’t completely degraded. And once the pool season has come to an end, use a pool closing kit to properly treat your water. Taking the necessary steps to close your pool will make pool opening much easier come spring.
During opening, you will need to clean and balance the water again, but the work may not be as time consuming if you closed your pool properly. You may also need to remove the salt cell and flow switch and store these parts inside your home for the winter. Replace the salt cell with a dummy cell for the cold season, and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for any additional tips about winterizing your salt water system.
Salt water systems are a great alternative to regular pools, requiring fewer chemicals and maintenance. But they still need some care, so don’t open your pool and forget about it. Keep these tips in mind so your salt water swimming pool will be in good condition all year long.