Chlorine Tips For Saltwater Pool Owner

Chlorine Tips For Saltwater Pool Owner

We’ve discussed this before but it’s worth mentioning again:

A saltwater pool is a chlorine pool. While your salt chlorinator will maintain the correct level of chlorine when set properly, there are occasions when you may need to manually add some chemical chlorine.

Commonly, you will add chemical chlorine when opening the pool in spring and perhaps at closing to give it an extra boost when you shut the chlorinator off. You might also manually add chlorine during the pool season when there is hot sunny weather and heavy pool usage.

Here are 10 frequently asked questions about manually adding chlorine to a saltwater pool.

Manually Adding Chlorine To A Saltwater Pool

  1. How do I add chlorine to my saltwater pool manually?
  • To add chlorine manually, first determine the amount of chlorine needed based on the volume of your pool. With time you’ll figure out how much to add as you familiarize yourself with how to keep chlorine in the 1 ppm – 3 ppm range at all times.
  • Choose your chlorine format. While you want to follow product instructions, here are general guidelines for each major option:
    • Liquid chlorine: Carefully pour the required amount into the water while walking around the perimeter of the pool in the deep end with the pump running.
    • Crystal chlorine powder: Dissolve the appropriate amount of chlorine granules in a bucket of water and mix into a slurry. Slowly pour the solution into the water around the perimeter of your pool while the filtration system is running.
    • Shock: Sprinkle the required amount in the water directly with the pump running.
    • Pucks: Put the required number of pucks into the side skimmer. They will slowly dissolve when the pump is running with the water flow.
  1. How much chlorine do I need to add to my saltwater pool?
  • The amount of chlorine needed will depend on the volume of your pool and the current chlorine levels. Generally, a saltwater pool should have a chlorine level of 1 ppm – 3 ppm (parts per million). Use a pool test kit to measure the current chlorine level and calculate the amount of chlorine needed to achieve the desired level.
  • You will require a larger amount of chemical chlorine at the beginning of the season when the chlorine level is most likely 0.
  • When closing the pool in autumn, sometimes adding chlorine in the same amount as in the spring can help to ward off algae if you suddenly get warm weather after the pool is shut down.
  1. How often do I need to add chlorine to my saltwater pool?
  • This will depend on the chlorine consumption rate of your pool, which can be affected by factors such as swimmer load, weather conditions, and pool usage.
  • As mentioned above, you might only need to add chlorine in the spring when opening the pool and perhaps at closing.
  • You may also need to add some during the season such as after heavy rain which dilutes chemicals in the water.
  1. Can I add too much chlorine to my saltwater pool?
  • Yes, adding too much chlorine can be harmful to swimmers and damage pool equipment. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and calculate the appropriate amount of chlorine needed for your pool.
  • You only add chlorine to your saltwater pool if and when necessary. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.
  1. Can I add chlorine directly to my saltwater pool?
  • Yes, depending on the format as mentioned above. Liquid chlorine and shock can be added directly to the water.
  • Powdered chlorine crystals should be dissolved in a bucket of water before being added to the water.
  • Chlorine pucks should not be dropped directly into the water as they are very concentrated and can stain the bottom of the pool where they land. That’s why placing them in the side skimmer to slowly dissolve is normally what the product recommends.
  1. How long do I need to wait to use my pool after adding chlorine?
  • This will depend on the type of chlorine used and the amount added. In general, it is safe to use the pool once the chlorine levels have returned to between 1 ppm – 3 ppm.
  • Product instructions may suggest waiting 30 minutes or longer with the pump running to properly circulate the chlorine before entering the water.
  • You can also get around this issue by adding chlorine in the evening after the sun has gone down and when you’re done swimming for the day.
  1. Can I use any type of chlorine in my saltwater pool?
  • Generally speaking, yes. Unless your pool company or chlorinator manufacturer says otherwise, any type of chlorine works.
  • The main thing to think about is to add the chlorine to the pool in the proper way. For example, you’d never want to sprinkle highly concentrated liquid chlorine or shock directly into the skimmer as this highly concentrated fluid goes into the salt cell which could damage it.
  1. What should I do if I add too much chlorine to my pool?
  • If you accidentally add too much chlorine, you can dilute the water by adding fresh water to the pool.
  • You can also wait for the chlorine levels to naturally decrease over time. Heavy pool usage and hot direct sun kills chlorine and chlorine will drop as a result on its own.
  • If needed, you can also shut the chlorinator off for a bit or reduce the percentage time that it operates to lessen chlorine production for a short period of time.
  1. What is the best time of day to add chlorine to my saltwater pool?
  • It is best to add chlorine in the evening or at night when the sun is down. This will give the chlorine time to fully dissolve and mix with the pool water before the direct sun starts to break it down.
  • Adding chlorine after you’re done using the pool for the day and keeping the pump running enables the water to fully circulate and spread the chlorine throughout.
  1. Can I swim in my saltwater pool while adding chlorine?
  • It is recommended to wait until the chlorine has fully dissolved and mixed with the pool water before swimming. This usually takes several hours with the pump running. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and any warning labels on the chlorine product.
  • It also depends how much chlorine you add. With a saltwater pool, you normally only add a large amount of chlorine to the water when the pool isn’t actually being used (pool opening day).
  • When adding a small amount of chlorine for maintenance, waiting 30 minutes or whatever the product recommends to swim again is normally reasonable.

Carl Mueller

I bought a home with a salt water pool in 2006 and soon realized the benefits over traditional chlorinated pools. On this website I'll discuss all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. I'll also help you troubleshoot various problems with pools in general and ones specific to salt water pools that I've experienced personally!

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