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How to Fix Common Saltwater Pool Problems

Barack has expertise in pool chemistry and pool maintenance. He writes in-depth articles about how to maintain pools for optimal enjoyment.


How to Maintain a Trouble-Free Saltwater Swimming Pool

Maintaining a trouble-free saltwater swimming pool is not rocket science; it’s all about monitoring (testing) chemicals used in the pool regularly (at least weekly) and maintenance of chlorine via a regulating chlorine generator.

From my own experience with a saltwater pool for more than five years now, the major problems you will encounter in a saltwater pool are calcium buildups that come in your pool as white flakes, low chlorine levels that cause cloudiness, low salinity, salt chlorinator maintenance, and corrosion issues.

How to Balance Chemicals in a Saltwater Pool

In any swimming pool, you must begin with chemically balanced water. To accurately test and adjust important chemicals such as pH, free chlorine, combined chlorine, total chlorine, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and bromine, I use the LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 digital pool water test kit. It takes a very accurate measurement for all the chemicals at once.

1. Test and Adjust Salt Concentration (Salinity)

First things first: test the salt concentration (also known as the salinity) and adjust as needed. You should know that:

  • Saltwater pool systems operate efficiently only when salt is in the right concentration.
  • Different chlorine generators require different salinity levels. This is the first thing you need to take into consideration before adding or reducing salt in your pool.
  • Chlorine generators operate well with salinity levels between 2500 and 3500 ppm. You must either test the salinity level before adjusting it or use a chlorine generator that monitors and displays the salinity reading.
  • Cooler geographic regions will experience reduced water conductivity, and if you are taking the reading of salinity from the generator, you may get a much lower and inaccurate reading, so you need to be extra careful not to add too much salt.
  • Make sure that you don’t add too much salt into the pool. The only way to reduce salinity is by draining the water and refilling with fresh water.
  • Test for salinity every week. Keep in mind that salt levels will be recycled during the process of chlorine production, and you may not need to add more unless the level falls way below the recommended range.

2. Test and Adjust pH levels

An ideal pH level is necessary to enable chlorine to function effectively and kill harmful bacteria. High pH levels in a saltwater pool lead to the formation of calcium buildups, and you need to measure your pH regularly to avoid white flakes or calcium scaling.

  • To reduce pH levels: Use muriatic acid (liquid hydrochloric acid) or a dry acid such as sodium bisulphate.
  • To increase pH: Use alkali such as soda ash. Ensure that you add these substances slowly in increments and allow the water to circulate for 4-6 hours before swimming.

3. Assess Free Available Chlorine

Monitor free chlorine levels by testing and adjusting on a regular basis. The recommended free chlorine levels should always be between 2-5 ppm, depending on the level of cyanuric acid in the pool as indicated in this chlorine/CYA chart.

Low salinity levels reduce free chlorine. If your free chlorine falls below the recommended levels, you need to measure salinity and increase it if it is below the recommended levels before even thinking of adding chlorine shock in the pool.

Very low salinity levels may bring down your available free chlorine to 0 ppm, which will almost certainly encourage algae to thrive.

Apart from low salinity levels, low free chlorine can be caused by:

  • Calcium buildup on the salt cell
  • An expired cell
  • Excess stabilizer (cyanuric acid)
  • Poor circulation

If the salinity and everything mentioned above is just fine, but free chlorine is too low, this may be the result of heavy pool usage and you may need to add a small amount of regular chlorine (or adjust your chlorine generator to produce more chlorine).

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4. Monitor Total Alkalinity

Total alkalinity (TA) is as important as any other chemical reading in your water. TA should be kept between 80 and 120 ppm to help keep pH stable, especially during the rainy season.

Very low total alkalinity may lead to:

  • Corrosion
  • Metal staining
  • Calcium scaling
  • Algae

On the other hand, high TA will cause cloudy or murky pool water since the pH will also scale high as the Alkalinity rises, affecting free chlorine performance.

To raise total alkalinity in your pool, you can use sodium bicarbonate. However, you should be careful when adding sodium bicarbonate as it will also have the same effect on the pH. Use muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid to lower TA.

In most cases, balancing pH and TA in both saltwater and chlorine-based pools is tricky and the only way is by first reducing both chemicals using muriatic acid and then raising pH through aeration to get the correct balance.

5. Use a Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) Only If Necessary

If possible, always avoid stabilizers unless you have an outdoor pool in a hot and humid climate. Stabilizer (mainly cyanuric acid) is mainly used to help keep free chlorine stable by protecting it from exhaustion by sunlight and high water temperatures. The recommended levels of a stabilizer is between 40 and 80 ppm for saltwater pools.

The correct value of cyanuric may also differ with geographic locations, depending on temperature and how much sunlight is available during the day. This explains why a saltwater pool in Canada will need between 40 and 60 ppm and one in the USA may need up to 80 ppm of cyanuric acid during the summer. Also, the amount of cyanuric acid you need will depend on the amount of free available chlorine. Very high levels of cyanuric acid will reduce the levels of free chlorine; you can use the CYA/Chlorine chart linked above to determine the correct level to add at given level of free chlorine.

6. Determine Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

This is the most ignored aspect pool water chemistry: The TDS in your pool should not exceed 1500 ppm.

The levels of TDS increases as chemicals are added and as organic matter dissolves in the water. If it drifts to the higher side, TDS significantly affects free chlorine levels and other chemicals and may cause cloudiness in the water.

The only way to reduce excess TDS is to drain and replace the water. Alternatively, you can increase the frequency of backwashing and cleaning your pool filter.

How to Clear a Cloudy Saltwater Pool

Just like a chlorine-based pool, saltwater pools turn cloudy when chemicals are not balanced. You need to ensure that all chemicals are balanced all the time to avoid cloudy water and growth of algae. The major causes of cloudiness are chlorine, pH, Salinity, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and calcium hardness.

To get rid of cloudiness, you will have to do a liquid chlorine shock to raise the level of free chlorine (since the chlorine produced by the generator is not enough; a chlorine generator just assists you in maintaining the level of free chlorine). When the levels of chlorine and cyanuric acid are balanced and the water is clear, the chlorine generator will pick up from there and start producing chlorine to maintain the free chlorine levels.

How to Maintain a Saltwater Chlorine Generator (SWCG)

SWCG maintenance is all about cell cleaning and replacement, period: Chlorine production happens in the salt cell, and a defective cell will lead to less or no production of chlorine. You need to closely monitor the cell to ensure that there is no calcium buildup, which causes a low production of chlorine.

Ideally, even if there is no buildup, it is recommended to clean your cell at least every six to 12 months.

I use Hayward's AQR15 AquaRite Salt Chlorinator, which has a self-cleaning feature that makes it easy to clean any time. If you need more information, Hayward Chlorinators have a very thorough guide on how to clean salt chlorinator turbo cell.

Quick Guide: How to Clean a Chlorine Generator Cell

  1. Turn off all power.
  2. Remove the cell plugs.
  3. Use a screwdriver to remove the cell from the casing.
  4. Add sufficient muriatic acid to a bucket of water: Avoid too much acid, as it may reduce your cell life (about 6 oz of muriatic acid per quarter bucket of water is fine).
  5. Pour the solution into the cell and leave to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Dispose of the acid solution and rinse the cell with a garden hose.
  7. Reinstall the cell.

Note: An expired salt cell might be the problem. The average lifespan of a salt cell is three to five years in most SWCGs, after which you need to replace the old cell with a new one that will produce sufficient chlorine.

Setting Appropriate Percentage to Run SWCG

Basically, all chlorine generators have a percentage setting that controls how much chlorine they produce and how much time the pump runs to produce enough chlorine.

In some cases, you will be forced to increase the pump run time to allow for the production of sufficient chlorine when free chlorine is too low.

However, since the setting is a percentage of the pump runtime, you will have to readjust the percentage every time you change the pump runtime to get free chlorine from a low level to recommended levels.

Handling Corrosion/Metal Stains in Saltwater Pools

Saltwater often leads to faded surface and metal stains or corroded steel hardware parts.

Most salt chlorinator users, including myself, use zinc anode as part of the pool system to form stainless metal parts. Also known as a sacrificial zinc anode, it protects metals that come in contact with saltwater. Zinc anode also plays a very important role in preventing:

  • Plaster discoloration
  • Heater damage
  • Black stains

Zinc anode works by corroding or 'sacrificing' itself before any other metal part can be affected, like an underwater electrical system that can develop stains. You need to check on the anode at least once a year to ensure that it has not fully degraded.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do I get rid of cloudy water in a saltwater pool if all my chemicals are balanced?

Answer: If you are sure that all Chemicals are well balanced including Salinity and Calcium Hardness, you might be having particles and you may use pool flocculant and then vacuum the pool.

Question: My saltwater pool is not holding chlorine, what can we do?

Answer: Low free chlorine (FC) levels in a saltwater pool is caused by 4 main issues; the first one is low salinity levels, check again that Salinity level is between 2500 and 3500ppm depending on SWG recommendation all the time.

The second issue is Calcium buildup on the salt cell, make sure that your salt cell has no calcium building completely because this will impede the functioning of your cell in producing enough chlorine. Also, make sure your salt cell has not expired.

Thirdly, you might be having excess or less chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) in your water, which is always one of the major reasons free chlorine does not hold longer in any pool, the ideal range for Cyanuric acid in order for your FC to hold in saltwater pool is between 60 and 80 ppm but this also depends on the temperature around where you stay, very low temperatures like in Canada needs Cyanuric acid to be around 60 ppm.

Finally, check with your filter cartridges if they need backwashing or replacement because poor circulation will cause lots of chloramine in your water.

Question: How do I decrease the chlorine level in our salt water pool?

Answer: Chlorine depletes by itself and there is no need to add neutralizing chemicals which might cause more chemical problems in your pool. The best thing you can do if you can't wait for it to reduce by itself is to drain and refill a portion of your pool water. Also, make sure the salinity level is between 2500 and 3500ppm so that the right amount of chlorine is produced.

Question: I am using the Color Q Pro 11 tester in my pool. My FCL reading is 4.74 and TCL reading is 5.8. Are these levels too high? The CC is 1.14. What should I do? I am a new pool owner.

Answer: Your chlorine is too high. Free chlorine should be 3ppm, which should also be the value of total chlorine and that means your combined chlorine is always 0ppm for a well maintained swimming pool.

Question: We have tested the salt cell on our saltwater pool and it is working. As well, all chemical levels are good except chlorine is not staying. What can we do?

Answer: Low free chlorine (FC) levels in a saltwater pool is caused by 4 main issues; the first one is low salinity levels, check again that Salinity level is between 2500 and 3500ppm depending on SWG recommendation all the time.

The second issue is Calcium buildup on the salt cell, make sure that your salt cell has no calcium building completely because this will impede the functioning of your cell in producing enough chlorine. Also make sure your salt cell has not expired.

Thirdly, you might be having excess or less chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) in your water, which is always one of the major reasons free chlorine does not hold longer in any pool, the ideal range for Cyanuric acid in order for your FC to hold in saltwater pool is between 60 and 80 ppm but this also depends on the temperature around where you stay, very low temperatures like in Canada needs Cyanuric acid to be around 60 ppm.

Finally check with your filter cartridges if they need backwashing or replacement because poor circulation will cause lots of chloramine in your water.

Question: The salt level on my display says my pool is at 3900 ppm, and the stick is reading low free chlorine and total chlorine, as well as pH. What is going on?

Answer: Your salinity is a little higher than the recommended level which is between 2500 - 3500 ppm. Unfortunately, the only way to reduce salinity in a pool is by draining water partially, then refilling with fresh water. Chlorine might be reading low even though salinity is high because of a faulty or dirty salt cell that needs some repair or cleaning respectively. So, fix salinity first by draining and refilling pool water, then fix the pH by adding pH plus, then finally do some cleaning on your salt cell if you've not done so in a while and your chlorine production should just come back to recommended level. If free chlorine is still reading low after doing all the above, you might need to add a small amount of liquid chlorine to boost the levels.

Question: My Saltwater Chlorine Generator indicated low salt. I tested the water for salt content, and sure enough, it was low. Chlorine was still being produced on the other indicator, and the tested free chlorine number was good. I added salt and brought the salt number within the specs. The "low Salt light ' is still blinking. Do you have any thoughts?

Answer: You may need to clean your salt cell if you have not done so in a while. Soon, it may develop low chlorine problem is salt cell is not working efficiently.

Question: My salt cell is producing a very low chlorine free level. It is one year old. What should I do?

Answer: Check and ensure that the level of salinity in your pool is between 2500 - 3500 ppm for chlorine to be sufficient in your water. Also, try cleaning the salt cell, it might be dirty and therefore cannot produce enough chlorine.

Question: The salinity level of my saltwater pool goes from 3200ppm to as low as 2200ppm by the end of the day. It's a 38k gallon pool in a multifamily complex. The pool seems to be "eating" the salt. Any ideas?

Answer: Your salt cell might be dirty and may need cleaning to work efficiently. Try cleaning the salt cell and observe any change in the salinity reading. Also, make sure your chemicals in the pool are all balanced, especially pH, TA, and calcium hardness as these may affect salinity and free chlorine production levels.

Question: Why is my pool water clear when I scoop it out to test but looks like has a green tint while in the pool? The pool walls and floor are clean.

Answer: Green colour means two possible causes; green algae or copper metal stain. If sure your free chlorine level has been balanced and algae breakout is not possible, you may have copper metal in your pool and is being oxidized by Chlorine to produce green solution. To be sure, do Overnight Chlorine Loss Test by chlorinating the pool in the evening when the Sun is gone, and take free chlorine reading both in the evening and the following morning. If you lose lots of free chlorine i.e 1ppm and above, you have algae and you need to add chlorine in the pool. If you lose less than 1ppm free chlorine, that is copper stain and you need to add metal sequestrant in your water.

Question: Our pool became cloudy. We checked the system and found the water wasn’t circulating. We backwashed and it seemed to fix the problem. Will

Super Chlorinating be enough to take care of the cloudiness?

Answer: Super Chlorinating is necessary only when free or total chlorine is less than 3 ppm. Before adding chlorine ensure that it is less than 3ppm. The problem seems to be with the circulation system. Just make sure all the chemicals are balanced then leave the pool pump to run for at least 24 hours and all will be fine.

Question: I have a 20,000 gallon pool and salt reading should be between 2800 and 3200. It is at 4200 and all other tests are good. Do I need to drain and add water or is this ok?

Answer: 4200ppm for salinity is too high and this will affect FC and other chemicals if not reduced sooner. Yes, you need to drain the pool because no chemical can do that.

Don't drain a lot of water at once but slightly below the skimmer so that you don't interfere with your chemical levels with fresh water.

Refill with fresh water and test for salinity, repeat the process once or twice till you get your salinity within the range and balance your chemicals starting with pH and TA, then FC and Cyanuric acid then all other chemicals in your water.

Question: My grandchild pooped bubbles in our pool. Will this tear up our saltwater system?

Answer: No, just make sure all chemicals are balanced for salinity and leave the pump running. All will be fine.

Question: Our swg is new and we are having a huge problem with white calcium flakes coming out into the pool and spa! Pool guy says all the chemical level are correct, but the problem has been going on for over a month! Any ideas?

Answer: Calcium scales come as a result of high Calcium levels. For spa Calcium Hardness(CH) should be between 100 to 150ppm, start by measuring and balancing your calcium levels.

Question: The filtration system is not circulating water in our pool. It stopped randomly and red light on aqua rite illuminated on "no flow" last night performed our first backwash and rinse cycle and was well. What could be wrong?

Answer: Backwashing should fix the problem, if it does not work there could be a problem with your filter and it may need replacement.

Question: I have a few small rust spots in my fiberglass small saltwater pool. How can I safely remove them?

Answer: Rust spots might be iron metal stains formed when chlorine oxidizes the iron metal. Your fill water is probably having metal in it and apart from clearing the stain, you need to prevent further staining. Here is link on how to clear and prevent metal stains:

Question: My saltwater pool is making our hair green. We changed pool companies and they don’t put as much salt in as the former pool company. Could that be the problem? Does the type of salt affect water quality?

Answer: Nope, that is not salt. You probably have copper in your pool water. Copper mix with chlorine to form a green solution that will tint hair green. Copper can get into your pool if you use a Well fill water or tap water with copper for your pool, or using hair products with copper. Use metal removers like Metal Magic to remove copper through your pool filter. Alternatively, you can use head gears when swimming to protect your hair from getting the green tint.

Question: I need advice on alternatives for cyanuric acid, which is not available here in Burma. I got a saltwater pool system (8400 gallons). The average temperature outside: 90 degrees. Pool not exposed to direct sunlight. Also only minimally iodized salt available- 98% refined. Will we be able to run the system - I know it will reduce chlorinator's cell life? Alternative for cyanuric acid? Run without? Any recommendations?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no alternative to Cyanuric acid. Working without any chlorine stabilizer in a saltwater pool will overwork your salt generator since it will be working at a high percentage and pressure to keep correct levels of free chlorine in your pool water. You just have to find Cyanuric acid for your pool. Alternatively, you can shut your salt generator for some time and use tablet chlorine (has Cyanuric acid) to sanitize your pool, tablet chlorine will deposit Cyanuric acid into your pool then you can put your salt generator on after getting some Cyanuric acid level enough to stabilize your free chlorine. Remember to be very careful when using tablet chlorine since you can't lower the cyanuric acid level unless you drain and refill part of your swimming pool water.

Question: What should be done for a low calcium level of my pool?

Answer: Add calcium chloride carefully not to exceed the recommended level. The only way to correct high calcium hardness is to drain part of your pool water and then adding fresh water.

Question: How do I lower the chlorine level on my saltwater pool?

Answer: If you have high free chlorine level in your saltwater pool means the percentage setting in chlorine generator is too high, the higher you set the percentage setting in your chlorine generator the higher the production level of chlorine.

As such, to lower free chlorine level, reduce the percentage setting in your chlorine generator.

If the percentage setting is not abnormally high, check that the pump run-time is not set too high as this also affects the level of chlorine production.

Question: My Ph, alk, free chlorine, stabilizer, salt, calcium hardness, etc in salt water pool is correct but water is cloudy. What’s wrong or what do I need to do?

Answer: First of all, your filter could be clogged and needs a backwash. Secondly, your filter could be done and allows particles to pass through and needs a replacement if you have not done so in 3-5 years. If you sure all the chemical levels are okay, the problem could be your filter, check it out.

Question: Why would my cell indicate 100 ppm when I added 3 bags of salt? When do I add the chlorine to my pool?

Answer: Try measuring salinity level in your water using a test kit if you have one, it should read between 3500 to 4000ppm.

1 bag of salt should raise the salt level by 480ppm in a 10,000 gallons pool, three bags is still too low to raise salinity level up to a maximum of 4000ppm.

You don't need to add chlorine manually unless your chlorine generator cannot produce enough chlorine to maintain the recommended free chlorine level.

Question: Why is my saltwater pool's pH level always high even if I add pH reducer?

Answer: High pH may be caused with Calcium Hypochlorite(granular/powder chlorine) pool shock if used regularly to shock swimming pool.

Cal hypo comes with high pH and calcium and you are likely to fight high pH and calcium scaling if you use them. Do you have Saltwater pool? If it's chlorine pool avoid calcium hypochlorite shocks and use Sodium Hypochlorite(liquid chlorine) to sanitize your pool.

You can use borate to help stabilise pH instead of using alot of pH enhancers till you get your pH stable between 7.4 and 7.6.

Question: Do you know why a saltwater pool would cause skin and eye irritation and coughing in several different people?

Answer: Skin and eye irritation is commonly caused by low pH and TA levels. Start by making sure your pH and TA are within the recommended range all the time.

The second cause might be a lot of accumulated urine in your pool water. This can be reversed by reducing total dissolved materials in your pool. Another cause might be very high FC levels but this is unlikely because it can only be true in FCL of 10ppm and above.

Question: Salt water with fiberglass - how do we permanently remove brown staining?

Answer: -Lower chlorine to 0ppm and pH to 7.2

-Add polyquat 60algaecide to prevent algae

-Put your filter on circulation and Add ascorbic acid targeting stain-affected areas, if the stain is not all gone in 30 minutes, add more ascorbic acid, repeat until you see no more stains.

-Add sequestrant agent

-Raise pH and TA using baking sada, when TA is balanced but pH is still lower than 7.2, use borax to raise pH without affecting TA.

-Raise FC sodium hydrochlorite liquid chlorine to 2ppm and watch if more stains occur. Repeat until no stain is seen.

Question: My husband uses bath soap in the pool after working in the yard. Will this cause cloudiness?

Answer: Yes, that will cause cloudiness in the pool water. Also, this may result in more dissolved substances in the water and that may be very costly to correct.

Question: How do I increase the stabilizer level in a salt water pool?

Answer: Add Cyanuric acid in the water to increase stabiliser level to around 80ppm.

Question: We have a new saltwater pool and the pool company accidentally added too much salt. It is reading 25,000 ppm. Is it safe to swim? Is this going to damage the equipment? The pool company has not returned our call.

Answer: The recommended range for salinity level in a saltwater pool is between 25,000 ppm and 35,000 ppm on the higher side. Yes, it's safe to safe to swim since 25k ppm salinity level is still within the recommended range and on the lowest side, unless it reads above 35,000 ppm.

Question: Besides draining the pool what can be used to reduce high levels of cyanuric acid?

Answer: Currently, it's very unfortunate that there is no chemical to lower Cyanuric acid levels in your pool or spa apart from draining and refilling or at least refilling your pool with fresh water.

However, if the cost is not something to worry about, there are specialized Reverse Osmosis machine filters that can capture Cyanuric acid among other compounds and remove them from your pool water through reverse osmosis (RO).

These RO filters are expensive and I don't think it could be an option just to lower stabilizer level in your pool, however, it could be an option if you don't consider cost and you're unable to drain and refill your pool water for some reason.

To avoid escalating Cyanuric acid levels in your pool, avoid using stabilized chlorine-like dichlor and tablet chlorine to sanitize your pool, but use liquid chlorine(Sodium Hypochlorite).

Question: Our calcium level went from 250 60 days ago to over 650 today, there is residue all over the bottom of the pool. What could cause this?

Answer: Calcium levels are high, to reduce its level, drain and refill a portion of your pool water, maybe halfway. If it's saltwater pool this could be caused by high salinity level or excess Calcium Hardness Increaser.

Question: I have a continuous very high free chlorine level. All my other water chemistry is very well balanced. Turning off the chlorinator, additional swimtime by multiple people, as much direct sunlight as possible, and heating the pool don't seem to make a dent in reducing the high level. I have not yet tried hydrogen peroxide, chlorine neutralizer, or sodium thiosulfate. Any ideas why I'm generating so much free chlorine?

Answer: Seems your you have a high percentage settings in your Chlorine Generator, remember the higher than percentage setting in your chlorine generator the more chlorine it will produce and the higher your FC level will be in your saltwater pool. If possible, lower the percentage settings in your Chlorinator if it's too high.

Alternatively, your pump runtime might also be high and you may need to reduce your pumps runtime alongside percentage settings to lower chlorine production faster. The higher your pumps runtime the more chlorine will be produced in the Chlorine Generator and the higher your free chlorine level will be in your water.


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 30, 2020:

Use Sodium Bicarbonate only to raise Total Alkalinity and Sodium Chloride to raise salinity level in your Saltwater pool.

Aaron Owen on July 30, 2020:

Sodium bicarbonate instead of sodium chloride ?I can't find this answer anywhere on the internet

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 23, 2020:

Clorox Pool Salt is one of the best out there just to assure you that it's not causing bleach smell and bleaching out your garments. This could be the issue with your chlorine level. Low chlorine will cause chloramine which gives out a light bleach smell, test your Combined Chlorine level and make sure it's not higher than 0.5 ppm.

About clothes bleaching out could be caused by chlorine in your pool but it should be gradual. The sun could be also bleaching out your clothes and this depends so much on the colour of the clothes used. You can try using light coloured clothes for swimming as opposed to heavy coloured ones that bleach out easy when exposed to the Sun or more of chlorine.

Ralph D Ekonen on July 23, 2020:

My saltwater pool is crystal clear and running between 3100 and 3300. The only issue I have is a bleach like smell and a bleaching out of some article of clothing. I use Clorox Pool Salt from Sam's. Is the Clorox pool salt bad or am I missing something. Pool looks great. Smell is slight; no burning sensations but some clothes are bleached out.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 12, 2020:

Any level between 2500 - 3500ppm is ok.

Lisa Fechter on July 12, 2020:

My salt water is just 4000 gallons.Is it correct that it requires 3500 ppm of salt?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 29, 2020:

These could be calcium buildup coming up as a result of high Calcium or salinity levels in your pool water. You need to reduce calcium level by draining and refilling a portion of your pool water. Remember to keep your salinity between 2500 - 3500 ppm all the time to avoid Calcium scales.

Darrell Russell on May 29, 2020:

i have white flakes coming from the inlets. the cleaner picks them up but what causes them and how can i stop them

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on May 06, 2020:

The ideal range of salinity level for a saltwater pool is between 2500 and 3500 ppm. You need to add salt slowly by slowly while measuring your salinity level not to exceed the maximum level.

Be very careful when adding salt because the only way to lower salinity level in your pool is by draining and refilling a portion of your pool water.

Steve on May 06, 2020:

How much salt should I add to my saltwater I ground swimming pool?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 25, 2019:

Seems you have algae in your pool and you need to shut down your Saltwater Chlorine Generator(SWCG) and shock your pool manually using liquid chlorine.

After putting off your SWCG, scrub your pool and remove any debris you can spot in your water using large leaf net or hand skimmer.

Get liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) if you don't have one. You are going to add chlorine to raise your FCL to higher shock level and maintain the shock level until you get rid of all algae.

Before adding chlorine, get your Cyanuric acid level in water. The ideal range of cya is between 70 to 80ppm, but to avoid using a lot of chlorine, the idea level is 70ppm.

The ideal chlorine shock level when your Cya is 70ppm will be 28ppm, cya above this level will need higher shock levels and that can damage your pool parts. The harder you hit the algae in your first shock the better.

With Cya level at 70ppm, add enough liquid chlorine to raise your FC level to 28ppm. You need a test kit that can measure high FC levels like LaMotte ColorQ Pro series or Taylor Technologies test kit 2006 with FAS DPD.

The process of eliminating algae is not a one day venture, but can take longer depending how frequent you add chlorine. You will need to measure your FC level at least twice a day and add more chlorine to raise FC back to 28ppm when it drops until you see no algae and FCL is stable around 6ppm.

Raise your pH using any pH plus or 20 Mule Team Borax, and TA using alkalinity increaser. Borax is the best option if you need to raise pH level without affecting TA levels.

When all chemicals are balanced and FC stable between 4 - 6 ppm, put on your SWCG and reset recommended percentage setting to maintain ideal FCL.

Bill Jaramillo on July 25, 2019:

Hi Barack,

My above ground Saltwater pool (Kayak Pool) is turning green. When I tested the water my results were:

Free Chlorine and total alkalinity=0 - low

pH=6.2 - low

Appears to have green algae

What do I have to do to raise my Free Chlorine and total alkalinity levels as well as raisie my pH levels?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on July 20, 2019:

Turning down the nano CG is enough and should work in stabilizing your chlorine without having to shut it. Also make sure your salinity level is within the range because excess may result in high production of FC especially when above 75%.

Anthony Napoli on July 20, 2019:

Hi Barack

I am a new pool owner with a SWCG. My FCI seems to be running high- around 5 or a little above. My ph is 7.2 and my alkalinity is 80.

If I turn my nano CG down to 75% will that help reduce the fci or should I turn off the nano altogether until the fci stabilizes?

Thank you


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on June 02, 2019:

Dwight, are you sure the colour is blue and not green? I suspect this could be metal stain probably copper stain from Well water, the mineral cartridge, precipitated copper pool parts, or sources like copper algaecide.

Test for copper metal using reliable test kit like Lamotte ColorQ Pro 11 and take the steps necessary to prevent any more copper getting in the water by following instructions in this article:

Dwight on June 01, 2019:

Salt water pool filter cartridge and plastic parts of skimmers turning blue. What is the fix?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on April 06, 2019:

Hello Kings, I recommend using a better test kit like Taylor Technologies test kit or Lamotte ColorQ Pro test kit for more accurate readings and best results. Also, foam may be forming because of low calcium levels. Make sure your calcium hardness is between 200 and 400ppm and run your pump and foam should clear up.

Find more about pool foaming here:

Kings on April 03, 2019:

Thanks! This is helpful.The levels were way off when we checked with Clorox strips and we've tried everything to balance them out and nothing is working. What about foam? Now we're seeing foam gather as well. I would love to send some pictures of the pool and the test strip if possible.

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on April 02, 2019:

Cloudiness in any pool be it salt water or chlorine based pool is associated with low chlorine level. But also, stability of chlorine level will depend on readings of other chemicals especially the pH, Cyanuric acid, TA, and calcium hardness. So, the very first thing you need to do is to ensure that all your chemicals are balanced before considering free chlorine.

After balancing all Chemicals, you can add regular chlorine shock (1 pound per 10,000 gallons) then make sure free chlorine is reading between 3-5ppm and your pool should clear up soon. SWCG is there to maintain free chlorine levels and when free chloride is too low it won't help at all.

Finally, if you have done all Chemicals balancing and the pool still appears cloudy after 24 hours, your salt water cell may be faulty and not producing sufficient free chlorine to maintain your pool and you may need to clean your salt cell and make sure you adjust salinity level that is recommended for your SWCG so that enough chlorine is produced to keep cloudiness away and avoid algae growth.

Kings on April 02, 2019:

We opened our pool last week. It was clear when we removes the cover to raise water levels, however after our pool guy came over to officially "open" the pool and add the proper chemicals (along with salt for the 1st time since we got the pool only 6 months ago), its now super cloudy. We have tested the levels and added the recommended shock (clorine and none chlorine) but it still cloudy after 4 days. Please help!!! Could it be the pump or filtration causing the issue? It's driving us crazy!

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on March 28, 2019:

Hollo Larry, vomiting in kids after swimming is majorly caused by swallowing pool water that may cause recreational water illness and chlorine poisoning and all these may lead to digestive distress, such as abdominal cramping, vominting, and diarrhea.

Vomiting is normal for toddlers in many cases during swimming because they drink a lot of pool water. The only solution is to prevent them from drinking pool water. However, if they vomit lots of food, that may be food poisoning and you need to seek medical help.

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Larry Gross on March 27, 2019:

I'm looking for expert help. My children take swimming lessons at an indoor saltwater pool. Recently, my daughter has gotten ill (vomiting) a few hours after coming home from the pool - her most recent two visits. Another parent told me that her child was similarly ill, recently.

Coincidence? Possible causes?

Any thoughts on this?

Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on March 26, 2019:

Just like non saltwater pool, water will turn cloudy when free chlorine level is low. Since chlorine produced by the SWCG is low, it's always meant to maintain the level at the recommended levels. As such, you need to add chlorine shock manually to raise the level. Firstly, test for the pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium and note that they are all balanced, then add your chlorine shock, and let your salt chlorine generator maintain the shock level.

Darlene’s on March 26, 2019:

I just opened my pool and added the recommended salt and it turned cloudy and my sand filter has been running and is still cloudy do I need to check chemical balances or should I shock it sand filter hasn’t been running for 24 hours yet before I start up the salt system

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