Maintaining A Saltwater Pool
Saltwater pools are generally considered better than regular chlorine pools because of a multiplicity of reasons. It is considered gentler on the pool and the water also has a softer feel to it. When it comes to maintaining a saltwater fibreglass pool, there are many things involved in the process, as it cannot be maintained the same way a regular chlorine pool is.
All pools require chlorine for sterilization, and saltwater pools are no different. While a chlorine pool requires one to maintain a level of chlorine in the water by adding it constantly, saltwater pools use a unique system for the purpose. This is known as the salt chlorine generator. When electricity is added to water and salt, it results in the production of hypochlorous acid and hydrogen gas. The hydrogen bubbles escape into the air, while the hypochlorous acid is what is used to sanitize the pool.
Saltwater Pool Maintenance
The best thing about saltwater fibreglass pools is that they do not require frequent chemical adjustments. Although these pools work for longer periods without any modifications, they do require some amount of maintenance to function properly. If not maintained properly, the salt can end up exceeding 6000 parts per million, which can be quite corrosive for the pool. Following are some of the things that must be kept in mind to maintain a saltwater fibreglass pool.
1. Maintain Pool Circulation
A proper pool circulation ensures that the saltwater concentration does not exceed in specific areas. It is very easy to maintain the circulation of the saltwater pools as one needs to only check that the water in the pool is rotating through the filters. Many devices can be used for this purpose, primary among which is a salt concentration detector. It checks the levels of salt concentration in various places in the water. If the numbers exceed at some places, it is indicative of poor circulation.
2. Regular Pool Cleaning
Regular pool cleaning is an important aspect of saltwater pool maintenance, and it is not quite the same as cleaning chlorine pools. There are specific devices designed for the purpose, as many of the common cleaning devices and tools are not durable in saltwater pools. It is important to regularly spray water on the outside of the pool liner, which can accumulate salt due to constant splashing. Hosing down the area pushes the salt back into the pool, and prevents the risk of build-up which can eventually damage the pool liner. It is important to also clean the pool pump, filter and skimmer and make sure that there are no crystals forming anywhere in the pool.
3. Maintaining Pool Chemistry
The pool chemistry of a saltwater pool is one of the trickiest parts to maintain. There are quite a few things involved in the process which need to be kept in mind.
- Salt Level Maintenance: Most saltwater pools use 3400 ppm of salt level, which can vary depending upon the manufacturer. One needs to adjust the optimum level of salt in the pool for the salt chlorine generators to function properly. This is because they require a minimum of 3000 ppm to work.
- Stabilizer Management: It is the stabilizers that prevent chlorine from evaporating out of the pool. Saltwater pools mostly use cyanuric acid for the purpose, as it bonds with chlorine so that it remains within the pool. The chlorine levels in the pool are stable when the stabilizer is at the correct level.
- Management of pH Levels: Saltwater pools require an ideal pH level of 7.4, which is quite close to the safe range for drinking water. This level generally fluctuates over time and continues to increase in the saltwater pools. One needs to manage the pH level in the pool by using the right tools.
- Regular Testing: A testing kit should be used to test the chlorine levels and the pH levels at regular intervals in order to ensure the proper functioning of the salt cell generator. Regular testing prevents the build of algae in the saltwater fibreglass pool
- Shock The Pool With Granular Chlorine: If the normal chlorine levels in the saltwater pools drop too low, one can always add granular chlorine, which can be used to burn up any organic material. It is important to keep in mind the instructions from the manufacturer whenever shocking your pool.
Maintenance Schedule For Saltwater Pools
The maintenance of saltwater fibreglass pools can be divided on the basis of daily, weekly monthly and quarterly tasks in the following ways.
Even though the saltwater pools are low maintenance, they do require a certain level of upkeep. It is important for you to keep the salt chlorine generator running and your pool clean at the beginning of the pool season and also at the end. Remember to perform the following tasks on a regular basis-
- Clearing the skimmer
- Emptying the pump basket
- Skimming any visible debris
The weekly tasks for pool maintenance should be scheduled on the same day every week. You should perform weekly tests to check whether the free chlorine levels in the pool are between 1 and 3 ppm, and also whether the pH level is maintained between 7.2 to 7.6. The output control on the cell or control box of the chlorine generator can be changed to adjust the levels of chlorine in the water.
Retesting the water levels should be done every day if the chlorine levels are off by a large degree. If the level of free chlorine is too low, then super chlorinate can be used to shock the pool. On the other hand, if the level is too high then it can be dialled back by changing the output setting on the chlorine generator. The pH levels can be adjusted with the help of sodium bicarbonate (for increasing) or with sodium carbonate or muriatic acid (for lowering).
The monthly tasks will involve the adjustment and balancing of the chemicals in the saltwater fibreglass pool. One would need to perform thorough tests for the levels of salinity and alkalinity in the pool and also check the levels of the Cyanuric acid stabilizer and calcium harness.
The salt cell generator of the saltwater fibreglass pool should be checked every three months to ensure that it is performing well. The unit should be checked for any kind of build-up or scaling, which would require thorough cleaning. Even if you don’t notice any scaling, it is a good idea to rinse the unit once. While the cleaning of the pool filter, pump and skimmer is more of a daily task, one should try to deep clean these elements every three months.