Saltwater Pool Systems… How do They Work? (Infographic)

A lot of people have been asking us lately how do saltwater pools work and how they’re different from chlorinated pools. These pools often smell better than chlorinated pools due to the lack of chloramines.

A saltwater pool generally works the same way as a chlorinated pool. The main difference between the two is that the saltwater pool has a salt generator–which is composed of a salt cell, a control box, and of course, salt. So, instead of adding chlorine tablets to your pool, the salt generator creates the chlorine for you.

But wait… I thought salt was supposed to be an alternative to chlorine? Well, let’s go back to the periodic table, shall we? Most of us learned in grade school that NaCl is the formula for salt. And what does NaCl stand for? Sodium Chloride. Therefore, salt has chlorine in it already. When the salt passes through the generator, it separates the sodium and chlorine and puts them back into your pool.

There are a lot of common misconceptions concerning saltwater pools. From our experience, we find that people often think you don’t have to add additional chemicals or shock your pool as often as a normal chlorinated pool. This is not true at all! It is necessary to maintain the appropriate pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Stabilizer levels. If these levels aren’t checked on a regular basis, you risk owning an unhealthy pool.

Shocking your pool is a different story. Sometimes salt generators come feature a “shock” option. However, you should test your pool to ensure the chlorine level of 12.0 ppm is reached. If not, you should still purchase shock treatments. Pool owners also must ensure their salt level is at about 3000 ppm. This is much lower than ocean water which contains about 20,000 ppm. As far as the chlorine level goes for saltwater pools, it is usually much lower than conventional levels for chlorine pools. It is recommend that the level is somewhere between 0.5 – 1.0 ppm.

So what’s so great about a saltwater pool? A lot of people note that the water is much softer compared to traditional pools because of the salt. Generally speaking, because the chlorine content is lower than normal pools, it can reduce some of the symptoms like itchy skin and red eyes.

For more information on saltwater pools, visit our website We have tech support available during normal business hours to trouble shoot any saltwater system. Call us at 480.607.1900 or email us!