On average, it costs between $1,500 and $2,500 to convert a pool to a saltwater system. On average, it costs between $1,500 and $2,500 to convert a pool to a saltwater system.
About half of all new swimming pool installations feature saltwater systems, industry experts say, and as they become more prevalent homeowners want to know their advantages, disadvantages and, most important, how much they cost.
A saltwater chlorination system costs between $1,500 and $2,500, depending on the size of the pool. That cost is the same whether you’re building a new pool (which averages $50,000 for a concrete, shotcrete or gunite pool) or converting a standard chlorinated pool.
Saltwater pools still contain chlorinated water.
“You pour salt into your pool; the salt goes through the generator, which produces chlorine,” says Chuck Burris, owner of Classic Pools Lubbock. “The cell — or generator — emits a charge that frees the chlorine from the salt molecule. It then reverts back to salt to be used again in the process.”
What are the benefits of a saltwater pool?
In addition to getting rid of the chlorine smell, salt water is gentler on your skin.
“The biggest advantage is health and maintenance,” says Damian Maroney, owner of Hydotech Pools in Naples, Florida. “Chlorine tablets contain harmful impurities, which some people react negatively to. Salt can alleviate this, as the pool owner can eliminate the use of chlorine tablets. There’s less of a need to shock the pool (which can cause dangerous chemical conditions) and less bleaching of bathing suits from super-high chlorine levels.”
Michael Steininger, owner of Everything 4 Pools & Solar in Orange City, Florida, says with a saltwater pool, his clients can save between $300 and $400 a year on chlorine.
What maintenance is required for a saltwater pool?
Kash Marzetti, owner of Marzetti Pools in Columbus, Ohio, said a 20,000-gallon pool might need 11 to 12 bags of salt after the installation of a new saltwater system.
“It costs around $6 a bag, and you won’t have to put any more salt in for two years,” he said. Salt might need to be added more frequently when pools are used year-round.
“The efficacy of a saltwater system in fighting bacteria relies on proper parameters of pH and alkalinity,” says Dave Cox, owner of Tamarack Pools in Carlsbad, California. “Weekly maintenance is important.”
Saltwater pool owners can add a muriatic acid, if necessary, to maintain the pH balance between 7.4 and 7.6.
Also, keep in mind that salt is a corrosive substance. When building a saltwater pool, avoid using soft stones such as limestone as coping or decking materials, as salt will erode the stone.