What Happens If There Is Too Much Salt In Your Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
May 25, 2023

too much salt in a swimming pool

Whether you are a new saltwater pool owner or someone interested in installing one, one of the most important things to keep in mind is keeping track of and maintaining the ideal saltwater pool salinity. Pool experts often discuss the issues that may arise from putting too much chlorine in your pool. But for saltwater pool owners, what happens if you put in too much salt?

In this article, I will answer this and other frequently asked questions, like how much salt to add and how to lower the salt level. Let’s dive in.

Main Takeaways

  • If the salt levels are over 5000 to 6000 ppm, the pool water will be salty-tasting, your metal equipment may be in danger of corrosion, and your saltwater generator may not work properly.
  • The optimal salt range is between 2700 to 3400 ppm, and the ideal is 3200 ppm.
  • To lower the salt level in your pool, you have to dilute the water by draining the pool according to how high the salinity is and refilling it.

What Happens If You Put Too Much Salt In Your Pool?

New saltwater pool owners may inevitably find themselves in a position where the salt content in their pool is too high. Even seasoned saltwater pool owners might find themselves in this position, especially during cold winters when saltwater chlorinators may become unreliable and indicate lower salt levels.

Generally, if you put too much salt in your pool, there won’t be too much of an issue. The most obvious result would be having more salty-tasting water, but if this is not a problem for you, there is no need to worry. However, if you test the water with a salt testing kit and find salt levels at over 5000 to 6000 ppm, you will need to take action.

Your metal equipment is in danger of corrosion at those higher salt levels and may eventually break apart. Furthermore, some saltwater generators may not function properly at those levels.

To avoid these issues, you should regularly test your pool water salinity and adjust the levels accordingly.

How Much Salt Do You Need In Your Pool?

The optimal range of salt needed in a saltwater pool lies between 2700 to 3400 ppm, with the ideal amount being 3200 ppm. To get to this level, you must pour pure pool-grade salt into the water until you reach the optimal range. Salt chlorine generators usually take 4-12 hours to produce enough chlorine to sanitize a pool.

Essentially, for every 10,000 gallons of water, you should add about 200 lbs of salt. You should get your current salt level to calculate how much salt you need in the pool. Use a salt testing kit to determine how much salt you have in your pool. You can even take a sample to your local pool store to get it measured.

Once you’ve determined how much salt you currently have in the pool, you should get your pool water volume. Most backyard pools will lie somewhere between 10,000 to 20,000 gallons. For your average rectangular pool, calculate the volume with the equation: Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Volume (in gallons). I do all the calculations for you in my pool volume calculator linked above.

Finally, you need to find how much salt you need to add to the pool. The easiest option to calculate how much salt you’ll need is to consult a pool salt chart or a pool calculator. You can use my pool salt calculator to figure out how much salt you need.

How to Lower the Salt Level In Your Pool

I find that new saltwater pool owners often overestimate the size of their pool and end up putting too much salt into their pool. Although targeting around 3500 ppm, many pool owners may find that the levels are at 4000 ppm or even higher after testing the water. Thankfully, if you find that you have put too much salt in, you can easily fix this.

The only way to reduce the salt content is to dilute the water. If your pool is full, this means you will need to drain your pool so that you can add some fresh water. You will calculate how much water to drain depending on how high the salinity is.

For example, if you have a 10000-gallon pool at 4000 ppm, you will want to reduce your salt level by 500 ppm. One 40 lb bag of salt is 480 ppm, so this means you have just over 8 bags of salt (4000 / 480) when you should have around 7 bags (3500 / 480). Now, to extract that extra bag of salt, drain around 1/8th of your pool water. Then finally, fill up the pool to the top again and test it to ensure you are at the correct salt range.

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Bottom Line

A little bit of extra salt in your pool doesn’t generally result in any concerning issues. However, putting in excessive amounts of salt, resulting in salt levels of 5000 ppm or more, can lead to the corrosion of your metal pool equipment. Not to mention, too much salt will make the pool saltier. If you want to reduce the salt content in your pool, dilute the water by calculating how much water to drain and how much fresh water to add. This simple hack will bring your salt levels down to an optimal level.

Any more questions? Just shoot me a line; I’m happy to help!

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