I want to credit the team @PoolCenter.com as one of the contributing resources for this blog post.  Read more at “Chlorine Generators” by +Rob Cox.

There are two reasons why you would need to add more salt to your pool. If you have drained the pool completely/partially OR your chlorinator control box indicates your levels are low.

The salt level required to maintain a safe, chlorinated pool is about 2500 to 4000 PPM (parts per million). The human body cannot taste salt until the PPM is around 5000. The amount of salt in the pool is not noticeable. Once the salt is added to the pool, there is no need to add salt on a yearly basis unless the pool is drained or a significant amount of water is removed. In order to determine the amount of salt to add to a pool, you must know how many gallons of water your pool/spa holds.

Plug in your dimensions to the following equations:
Gallons = area x average depth x 7.5
Average depth = (shallow end + deep end) / 2

Example: Pool is 50 feet long x 24 feet wide. The shallow end is 3.5 feet and the deep end is 8.5 feet.
Average depth = (3.5 feet + 8.5 feet) / 2 = 6 feet
Gallons = (50 feet x 24 feet) x 6 feet x 7.5
Gallons = 54,000 gallons

Where do I add the salt?


What is most important when adding salt is to brush it around until it is dissolved. This is accelerated by turning your pump on, opening the bottom drain and adding the salt over the drain, rather than walking around the perimeter while adding the salt. It is recommended that you continue to run the pump for 24 hours so the salt can spread evenly throughout the pool. With Granular salt, 60 – 70% will have dissolved before hitting bottom. The remaining salt can simply be brushed into the drain which will then complete dissolution. With all other forms of salt, it will take longer to dissolve but the same process will accelerate the dissolve rate. Simply brush the salt in a pyramid over the drain to increase dissolution.


How much salt do I add?


Enough for 4000 ppm (parts per million) as a starting point. So depending on the initial salt level of your water, you only add the amount needed to establish 4000 ppm. For new pools or freshly filled pools, the salt level will most likely be zero. In this case, 50lbs of salt per 2,000 gallons of water will establish 4000 ppm. For existing pools, the previous usage of chlorine bleach or tablets will have already introduced a level of salt into the water. Have the water tested first then add the appropriate amount to establish 4000 ppm.


What happens if I add too much salt?


Over-salting will not harm your chlorine generating system, but will lead to a salty tasting water. For some, this is not undesirable as it will more closely match our bodies natural salinity level, making it more comfortable to swim in. If it is too excessive (over 6000 ppm), you can sustain corrosion damage to metallic equipment such as stainless steel handrails, ladders and filters, light rings, or copper heat exchangers. To reduce the salt level, dilution is the solution. Drain some water and refill with fresh water.


How often will I need to add salt?


After the initial dosage of salt, you will only need to add salt when necessary. The most common ways salt is lost is through leaks, rainwater overflow, filter backwashing, and bather splash-out/carryout. Normal water evaporation does not lose salt, it increases the concentration. The make up water added to bring the water level back to normal will then reduce the salt concentration back to 4000 ppm. Most chlorine generator units have low salt indicators, with the Digital going further to provide the proper salt amount needed to reestablish 4000 ppm.


Do you have other questions?  Send us an email and we’ll  be happy to assist you.  

Vaughn Berger (Owner, Red Square Pools)


redsquarepools.com (Main Site)

About Red Square Pools

Thank you for checking out our blog...we appreciate you taking the time to read our posts. To be quite honest, our posts come from your questions. Red Square Pool's wants to clear up the confusion and frustration of maintaining your pool and spa. We simply want to make Pool Maintenance and Repair SIMPLIFIED!! Let us know what your thinking by dropping us an email at info@redsquarepools.com. Have a safe and happy swimming experience!

17 responses »

  1. melissa says:

    i put to much sait in my pool and i drain my pool and fill it up how long dose it take

    • Melissa,

      Depending on what your pool salt level is indicating will determine what course of action to take. In the end, if you’ve over salted your pool it will require draining your pool in order to add fresh water. Most chlorinators have an acceptable range of 2700 – 3600 ppm depending on the manufacture.

      Three things to keep in mind: (1) Test your water with a salt test kit (Cost $10) to confirm accuracy of salt level. Never trust the test results at the pool store. (2) Make sure your chlorinator is not giving you a false reading due to water temperature, a dirty chlorinator or an expired chlorinator (normally a chlorinator will last 3-6 years on average). (3) If you have a Goldline Chlorinator, take into a local pool supply store and have it tested. Take in a gallon of distilled water to get the most accurate reading. If you have a Pentair Intellichlor, unfortunately they cannot be tested. (4) After you’ve completed steps 1 -3 and have determined your pool equipment is working properly and salt levels are too high then proceed with draining pool. There are calculations to determine how much to drain, however in my experience simply starting the process over is far less of a headache. I’d recommend draining the pool atleast 3/4 of the way. Add 1/3 of the salt, run pumps for 48 hours, test water and carefully add a conservative amount to avoid over salting pool. Run pool another 48 hours and test water again. Process can take up to 1 week but taking your time will avoid over salting your pool. Hope this helps.

      Vaughn Berger (Owner. Red Square Pools)
      (702) 530-7331

  2. Karen Yacovelli says:

    Will too high a salt level ( 4400) lead to a cloudy pool? Can definitely see the bottom – but not that nice sparkly clear like prior…

    • Karen, great question! If your water is CLOUDY please consider the following questions:

      1. Have you tested your pool water chemical levels for pH, Chlorine and Alkalinity? Acceptable chemicals ranges below:
      a. pH: 7.2 – 7.6 (High pH can cause cloudy conditions)
      b. Chlorine: 1 – 3 (recently SHOCKED water can show signs of cloudy water)
      c. Alkalinity: 80 – 120 (High Alkalinity can cause cloudy conditions)
      2. Have you recently salted your pool water? Always run filtration for 24 – 48 hours to properly dissolve newly added salt…then re-test levels before adding additional salt.
      3. Does your chlorination equipment operate at 4400 ppm? Popular brands like Pentair (Intellichlor) or Hayward (AquaRite) operate in acceptable ranges of 2600- 3400 when the water is above 70 Degrees Fahrenheit.
      4. When was the last time you replaced you water? If water is unresponsive to chemicals or you seem to be OVER TREATING with chemicals…DUMP the WATER! Here in Las Vegas I suggest people replace water every 3 – 4 years depending on different conditions

      Vaughn Berger
      Red Square Pools
      (702) 530-7331

  3. Richard says:

    Adding salt to new water in my pool. How to open main drain for salt

    • if your adding salt to your pool (assuming your pool is full of water), pour salt as close as possible to main drains. Adjust main drain to a minimum of 75% suction. Use a brush to push salt mounds towards the drain allowing the main to draw the salt into the circulation. This will allow the salt to dissolve faster. If you have a floor cleaning system (pop-ups) this makes the process very easy as it disperses the salt into the system very quickly.

      NOTE: there is no need to remove main drain covers from the floor of the pool/spa. The reference to opening the main drain was inferring “increasing the draw or suction” from the pump by adjusting valves accordingly. Vaughn

  4. Diana says:

    i just bought and 18ft x 48 inch pool and i wanted to know how much salt does it need, i have tried google and everyting and no one seems to know?? could u help me plz and thank you.

    • renee says:

      i have a 18×48 if you are just starting the pool up we put 120lbs in ours and its still clear water today

  5. Diana says:

    oh and i forgot this. my salt filter hasnt arrived yet, but the kids want to play already. is it ok to start with the regular pump and put all the chemicals in first. then when the salt filter comes conect it and start adding salt?? or should i just wait for the salt filter to come so i dont mix so much chemicals.?

    • Diana,

      Thank you for your question. There’s no problem swimming in your pool, but you will need to add chemicals to balance the pool water. Use a test kit to determine pH, chlorine and alkalinity levels.

      pH: 7.2 – 7.8
      Chlorine: 2-3
      Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm

      Adding chemicals to water is no problem. Adding shock and tabs to the pool will help maintain chlorine levels until the salt system is properly installed. Muriatic acid will lower the pH if necessary (8-14oz. is sufficient if pH is above 7.8).

      Adding salt can be tricky and my best recommendation is to run through our blog for detailed How To’s. In the meantime, follow your manufactures directions on how many pounds of salt are necessary to begin chlorine production. Pool Salt is sold at your local pool retailer (avoid any other types of salt).

      1. Determine the gallons for your pool:

      FORMULA: Length x Width x Average Depth (Deep End/Ft. + Shalllow End/Ft. / 2 = Average Depth) x 7.8 (gallons in a cubic foot) = Total Gallons in Pool

      2. Read instructions on bag of Pool Salt to get an approximate # of bags required to raise salt levels to manufactures instructions.

      3. Add 2/3 of the salt and turn your pump on for 24 hours to get salt to dissolve.

      4. (After 24 hour period) Test Salt levels with a salt test kit.

      5. Try to avoid OVER SALTING pool as this may inhibit your chlorinator from producing chlorine. Hedge on the conservative as over salting will require emptying water from pool and adding fresh water.

  6. mandie says:

    Question. We just bought a house witha saltwater pool. I find myself having to add salt daily. I mean almost a full bag daily. What am I doing wrong? Pool company can’t make it out until next week.

    • Mandie,

      Chlorinators require a specific amount of salt to achieve optimum results. My first suggestion is consult your manufactures handbook or contact them directly to understand recommended salt levels. If you under-salt/over-salt your pool it will not produce sodium hypochlorite and likely damage the salt cell.

      Go to your local pool store and ask for a salt water test kit. Test your water to determine salt levels and compare to the chart in the owners manual. If you’ve over-salted your water you’ll likely need to drain the body of water anywhere from 50-100%.

      Salt does not evaporate and therefore you only need to add salt one time. In the case where you have excessive splash out or a leaks in the pool…than check salt levels and add accordingly. Be conservative when adding salt to avoid missing the manufactures recommended salt levels.

  7. Deb Bodnar says:

    What % of salt do I need for my 9400 gallon pool? Thanks.

  8. At some point, the acid breaks down, and a lot more chlorine should be added to
    the pool to maintain it bacteria free of charge.

    • Salt Water Pool Care thank you for comments. I believe what your trying to convey is in order to maintain safe levels of pH, it is necessary to add muriatic acid to lower.

      As far as the comment related to the addition of more chlorine, typically your salt chlorinator will continue to produce effective chlorine levels during daily pump circulation. If necessary to add “shock” it is always recommended to use sodium dichlor to preserve the inner-workings of your salt cell. Check out this article for additional information http://redsquarepools.com/what-type-of-shock-should-you-use-with-a-salt-water-pool/


  9. Reblogged this on Red Square Pools (702) 530-7331 and commented:

    Great information from Rob Cox and the pros at poolcenter.com!

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