Mastering Chlorine Levels: How to Safely Increase Chlorine in Your Saltwater Pool

Diving into a sparkling, clean pool is one of summer’s greatest pleasures. But what if your saltwater pool’s chlorine levels are dipping low? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Balancing the chlorine in a saltwater pool can be tricky, but we’re here to guide you through it.

Key Takeaways

  • Chlorine is critical in a saltwater pool for fighting harmful bacteria, fungi, and algae, ensuring a safe and clean swimming experience.
  • Saltwater pools generate chlorine through a process called electrolysis, conducted within the salt chlorine generator using the salt you add to the water.
  • To increase low chlorine levels in the pool, adjustments to the salt chlorinator settings should be made. A higher setting will yield more chlorine.
  • Pool chemistry plays a significant role in maintaining chlorine levels – regularly test the pH, salt, stabilizer, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. Ideal pH should be between 7.4-7.6 and salt level between 2700 to 3400 ppm.
  • Regular pool maintenance includes shock treatments, scrubbing pool walls, cleaning strainer baskets and filters, and covering the pool when not in use to protect chlorine from UV degradation.
  • Troubleshooting high chlorine demand involves conducting regular testing, applying shock treatments, and keeping the pool and its filters clean.
  • If the salt chlorinator isn’t performing optimally, check for signs of wear and tear or potential damage, verify settings, and clean the salt cell if required.

Understanding Salt Water Pools and Chlorine Levels

Before you tackle the challenge of increasing chlorine in your salt water pool, it helps to grasp why maintaining ideal chlorine levels is crucial, and how your pool generates this vital chemical.

Why Chlorine is Essential

Chlorine acts as the frontline defense against harmful bacteria, fungi, and algae in your pool. It goes beyond just keeping the water bright and inviting; it holds paramount significance concerning health and safety. When chlorine levels drop, the risk of infections and illnesses from microbes increases. You may experience mild symptoms like skin irritation and itchy eyes or more severe health impacts.

For example, Cryptosporidium – a chlorine-resistant parasite – may survive in improperly chlorinated pools, causing gastrointestinal distress if ingested.

Consider chlorine as the antibody, bravely battling out the unseen contaminants to ensure you enjoy a safe dip every time.

How Salt Water Pools Generate Chlorine

A salt water pool doesn’t infuse any external source of chlorine. Instead, it employs an impressive chemistry concept called electrolysis. Your pool contains a special device – the salt chlorine generator, which houses a cell containing metallic plates. When you add salt to the water, and it flows over these plates, the electrical charge from the generator breaks down the salt (sodium chloride) molecules.

This process generates chlorine gas, which dissolves in pool water, forming hypochlorous acid — responsible for killing microbes — and sodium hypochlorite commonly referred to as liquid bleach.

By understanding this process, you might appreciate the magic happening in your pool every day! And if it doesn’t seem enough, remember, you hold the power to tweak it.

Methods to Increase Chlorine in Salt Water Pools

Keeping your pool’s chlorine levels in the optimum range aids in maintaining a safe and enjoyable swimming environment. Here are some methods you can use to increase chlorine levels in your saltwater pool.

Adjusting the Salt Chlorinator Settings

The salt chlorinator, playing an instrumental role in chlorine production, presents a reasonable starting point. Adjusting this device’s settings represents an effective method to increase chlorine levels. For instance, if the salt chlorinator is currently set at 50%, increase it to 60% or 70% to boost chlorine production, making sure the levels are on the higher side in peak swimming seasons. Coupled with regular chlorinator checks, the adjustment could yield positive results within a week.

Checking and Balancing Pool Chemistry

Beyond the salt chlorinator, other aspects of pool chemistry significantly impact chlorine levels. Regularly test your pool water’s pH, salt, stabilizer, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. Kit tests, available at pool stores, provide detailed results. Strive for a pH level between 7.4-7.6, which, if accurately maintained, improves chlorine efficiency. Additionally, salt level considerations become paramount when operating saltwater pools, maintain a level between 2700 to 3400 ppm for optimal chlorinator performance.

Proper Pool Maintenance Tips

Consistent, proper maintenance of a saltwater pool contributes to elevated chlorine levels. Regular shock treatments, primarily following heavy pool usage or rains, assist in maintaining chlorination consistency. Scrubbing pool walls at least once a month discourages algae growth, a known chlorine depletion factor. On the filtering side of pool maintenance, clean the strainer baskets and filters regularly, ensuring optimal water circulation, a critical element in efficient chlorination. Lastly, cover your pool when it’s not in use; this practice protects chlorine from UV degradation.

By following these methods to increase chlorine in a saltwater pool, you’re ensuring a healthier and cleaner swimming environment, free of harmful bacteria and contaminants.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Addressing common issues while maintaining an appropriate chlorine level in a saltwater pool isn’t just beneficial, it’s crucial for providing a clean and safe swimming environment. You might encounter problems such as high chlorine demand or aberrations in chlorinator performance. Don’t fret, however, as these issues are manageable with a basic understanding and correct approach.

Dealing with High Chlorine Demand

High chlorine demand in your pool surfaces when there are too many contaminants or fungi present, exhausting the existing chlorine content. Higher chlorine demand results in lower chlorine levels, undermining the pool’s sanitation and safety.

First, conduct regular testing of your pool’s water to detect a spike in chlorine demand. Specific testing kits help determine the chlorine content in your pool, for example, the Taylor Technologies INC K-1766 Test Kit is renowned for its precision.

Next, tackle the situation by shock treating your pool water. Shock treatment involves adding significant amounts of chlorine (usually in the form of calcium hypochlorite) to your pool. A highly popular shock treatment product is the In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock – 24 x 1 Pound Bags. Make sure you distribute the shock evenly across your pool for optimal effectiveness.

Ultimately, maintain routine cleaning of your pool and its filters. This practice can minimise the accumulation of contaminants, thereby reducing high chlorine demand.

Addressing Chlorinator Performance Problems

A malfunctioning salt chlorinator could be another reason for low chlorine in your saltwater pool. Chlorinator problems could stem from an array of reasons, including equipment age, misconfiguration, or impurities clogging the salt cell.

Begin by checking your salt chlorinator for any signs of wear and tear or potential damage. Most chlorinators indicate a signal or an alert when there’s a performance issue, such as the Hayward Goldline AQR15 AquaRite Electronic Salt Chlorination System.

Next, verify your chlorinator settings. You might need to increase the run time or performance level of your chlorinator considering your pool size and the chlorine demand.

Lastly, clean the salt cell in the chlorinator. Accumulated debris or calcium deposits might hinder effective chlorine production. Use a specialized cleaner for this purpose like the Essential Values Swimming Pool & Spa Stain Remover and follow product instructions strictly.

By accurately troubleshooting these common issues, you can manage and sustain adequate chlorine levels in your saltwater pool, thus ensuring a healthy and enjoyable swimming experience.


You’ve now got the knowledge you need to keep your saltwater pool’s chlorine levels in check. Remember, it’s not just about adding more salt or cranking up the generator. It’s about understanding your pool’s unique chemistry and addressing issues that affect chlorine production. Regular testing is your best defense against imbalances. If you’re dealing with high chlorine demand, don’t shy away from a shock treatment. Keep an eye on your chlorinator settings and don’t forget to clean the salt cell regularly. With these tips in hand, you’re well-equipped to ensure your pool stays clean, safe, and ready for a refreshing dip anytime.

Regularly cleaning the salt cell and maintaining proper water chemistry, including pH and total alkalinity, will help maximize chlorine efficiency. For more detailed steps, check out the guide on Pool Supporter. If your chlorine levels are still low, you might need to manually add chlorine. It’s also important to monitor and adjust your pool’s cyanuric acid levels to protect chlorine from UV degradation. Detailed tips on maintaining chlorine levels can be found on Salt Water Pool Report.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of chlorine in a saltwater pool?

Chlorine maintains the cleanliness of a saltwater pool by eliminating bacteria and preventing algae growth. It is produced by salt chlorine generators using natural salt.

How do salt chlorine generators work?

A salt chlorine generator converts salt naturally dissolved into the water into chlorine. This continuous process keeps the water sanitized and safe for swimmers.

How can you increase the chlorine levels in the pool?

Chlorine levels can be increased by adjusting the settings of the salt chlorine generator, checking the pool chemistry regularly, and maintaining the cleanliness of the salt cell and entire pool area.

What should you do in case of high chlorine demand?

In the case of high chlorine demand, a shock treatment might be needed to quickly raise the chlorine levels. Regular testing can help identify this need early.

How can you solve chlorinator performance issues?

Frequent water testing, checking chlorinator settings regularly, and cleaning the salt cell regularly can help optimize the performance of a chlorinator.