How Many Bags of Salt Should I Put in My Pool? | Pool Knowledge (2023)

The number of bags of salt poured into a pool will influence its chemical balance. High salinity can result in the salt chlorinator shutting down and the water tasting too salty. A low salinity will reduce the salt chlorinator’s efficiency and cause low chlorine production.

How many bags of salt should I put in my pool?The number of bags varies depending on the size and salinity of your pool. Keep in mind that the ideal salt level ranges between 2,700 and 3,400 ppm, but 3,200 ppm is optimal.

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Read on and find out the steps in calculating the number of bags for pouring into your pool. We will also discuss a few tips in case you placed too much salt into it.

Check The Current Salinity Of The Pool

You should never pour bags of salt into your pool, no matter how tempting it may be. You may well end up with high salinity, and, unfortunately, it’s harder to decrease it than to increase it.

First off, you have to check the manual on your salt chlorine generator to determine the level of salt it operates. Most generators operate between 3,000 and 4,000 ppm, but it can be different for your salt chlorine generator.

Let’s assume that your unit operates at 3,500 ppm for illustration. In this case, your goal is to pour enough salt to your pool to achieve a 3,500 ppm-level.

Then, you should check the current salt level in your pool. The actual number will be different depending on its age and condition.

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A new pool will have zero ppm because water itself doesn’t have salt. But for an older pool being planned for conversion from a standard chlorinator, it’s typically at 500 ppm or so.

But don’t just make guesses or estimates either because these won’t work well! You have to measure your pool’s current salt level using a saltwater test strip. You may also take a water sample to a pool store for verification purposes, and it’s free and more accurate.

How Many Bags of Salt Should I Put in My Pool? | Pool Knowledge (1)

Calculate The Gallons Of Water And Pounds Of Salt

As previously mentioned, the saltwater level required to maintain the chemical balance in a saltwater chlorinated pool is 3,200 ppm. But it is allowed to be as high as 3,500 ppm depending on other factors, such as the weather and pool location.

We don’t suggest using your tongue and taste buds to determine whether your pool is salty enough or not. The human tongue can only taste salt in water until it’s close to 5,000 ppm. There’s also the fact that every person has a specific salt tolerance, so the tongue isn’t an objective measurement tool.

Instead, you should use the following formula to calculate the pool’s size and the amount of salt needed.

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  • Area of the pool (A) x Average depth of the pool (AD) x 7.48 = area of the pool in gallons (G)

To calculate for AD:

  • [Deep end (D) + shallow end (S)] / 2 = AD

The number of bags that should be added to achieve 3,500 ppm can be computed from these calculations. We suggest using the following table for reference purposes.

Pool Size In Gallons/Pounds Of Salt
Current Salt Level (ppm)10,00015,00020,00025,00030,00035,00040,000

(Source: INYO Pools)

Let’s assume your pool has 10,000 gallons of water, and its salt reading was 500 ppm. You should then add 250 pounds of salt. But if its salt level is at 3,250 ppm, it only needs 31 pounds of salt to get it to 3,500 ppm.

But don’t just pour any salt into your pool! You should only pour 99.8% pure sodium chloride for the best results. We strongly suggest using only food quality, granulated, evaporated, or non-iodized salt.

We don’t recommend using salt with sodium ferrocyanide, among other anti-caking agents, because it can cause discoloration. Avoid using calcium chloride in your pool, too.

Pool salt can be bought in hardware stores and online pool stores, too, even in Amazon when it’s in season. You can choose from different sizes – 20, 40, and 80 pounds – depending on your needs.

Tip: Choose pool salt with a finer texture since it will quickly dissolve in water. About 40 percent of granulated salt, poured into the pool, will dissolve before it reaches the bottom. If salt doesn’t dissolve well or doesn’t dissolve, it can cause discoloration on the pool’s lining.

Pour The Salt Into The Water

Many pool owners just pour the salt into the water and then wonder why things went wrong. The most common mistake is adding the salt into the water without turning off the salt chlorine generator. You have to turn it off first and then turn it on only when the salt has dissolved completely.

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You should, however, keep the pump on so that it will circulate the water. It will also aid in completely dissolving the salt so your next salt test will reflect accurate results.

You should also never pour the salt directly into your pool’s skimmer! Instead, you should pour the salt into the pool’s shallow end and allow it to dissolve. The salt will circulate through the pool’s main drain, too, allowing it to attain the right salinity level throughout.

But don’t pour all the recommended number of bags of salt into the pool! If, for example, the recommended number is ten bags, just pour nine bags first. Wait for an hour, retest the pool’s salt level, and decide whether to add the last bag.

Why? You will find it easier to add another bag of salt if your pool’s salinity is slightly below 3,500 ppm. In contrast, it’s more challenging to reduce its salinity level since salt has already dissolved.

Take note that it may take up to 24 hours for the salt to dissolve completely. But if you pour granulated salt with a finer quality, it won’t take as long.

After around 24 hours, then you can put the salt chlorine generator at the control unit. You should also test whether the pool’s salinity is now at the optimal 3,500 ppm-level. Again, use the saltwater testing strips for accurate results instead of, say, tasting the water.

Tips On Reducing Salinity Levels On A Pool

What happens if the pool’s salinity is well over 3,500 ppm? While it’s a somewhat time-consuming job to reverse it, it isn’t a disaster! Perhaps you overestimated the size of your pool or added one too many bags of salt.

The only effective way of decreasing the salt level is dilution. You have to drain your pool so that freshwater can be added to it. You will then be able to adjust its salt level.

Does it sound like a waste of water and a waste of your time? You may think that you can just wait for the water to be reduced through splashing or evaporation. You believe that with less water in the pool, it won’t be as salty as before.

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But it doesn’t work in that manner. The salt won’t evaporate from the water, so the salt level remains. The pool’s salinity will likely even increase! It is because the salt is still in the pool while the water evaporates.

Your next question is, “How much water should I drain?” Again, measures the salt level in your pool before making a decision. Let’s make a few assumptions for illustration purposes:

  • The pool’s salt level is at 4,000 ppm or 500 ppm above the ideal level.
  • The 40-pound bag of salt increases the salt level by 480 ppm for a 10,000-gallon pool.

In this case, you poured eight bags of salt instead of seven bags into your pool. You will then want to remove about one bag of salt from it. You should then drain 1/8 of the water in your pool.

How much is that in inches? Let’s go back to the computations on average depth (AD). Let’s say that your pool’s deep end is six feet, and its shallow end is three feet. So, 3’ + 6’ = 9’/2 is equals to 4.5 feet (or 54 inches).

Then, divide AD (in inches) by 8 to get the number of inches drained from your pool. In this case: 54 inches/8 = 6.75 inches. You can round it off to 7 inches.

It means you should drain off about 7 inches of water from your pool. Then, you can replace it with about the same amount of water to achieve the 3,500 ppm-level.


The importance of getting and maintaining the optimal salinity in your pool cannot be overemphasized! You shouldn’t make guesses and estimates since you will likely be wrong. Instead, you must use the right measuring tools and formulas to ensure that you’re getting the correct numbers.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with a too low or too high salt level in your pool. In either case, your pool and its equipment are at high risk of damage, including discoloration. Besides, you and your family members will not like swimming in it.


How Many Bags of Salt Should I Put in My Pool? | Pool Knowledge? ›

If you're converting to a salt water system for the first time, you'll need about six or seven 40-pound bags of pool salt (for a 10,000-gallon pool). On the other hand, if your salt levels are just low (around 1,000 PPM), you'll only need about four or five 40-pound bags of pool-grade salt.

How many bags of salt do you put in a saltwater pool? ›

Most saltwater pools need a salt level of between 2,500 and 3,500 ppm of salt. A regular 40 lb (20 kg) bag of pool salt will raise the pool salt level by 450 ppm for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. For a 10,000-gallon pool with no salt in it, you will need about 7 bags of salt to get 3,000 ppm of salt.

How much salt should I add to my pool? ›

How much salt to add to the pool? To reach the initial salt level recommended by the salt system manufacturer (usually 2,400–3,200 ppm), you will need to add about 200 pounds of pure pool grade salt (NaCl), per 10,000 gallons of water. This dosage will get you to approximately 2,400 ppm salinity.

How many bags of salt needed for 20,000 gallon pool? ›

Using our previous example, we would need to buy about 15 bags of salt for the 20,000 gallon pool.

How many 40lb bags of salt do I need for my pool? ›

If you're converting to a salt water system for the first time, you'll need about six or seven 40-pound bags of pool salt (for a 10,000-gallon pool). On the other hand, if your salt levels are just low (around 1,000 PPM), you'll only need about four or five 40-pound bags of pool-grade salt.

What happens if you put too much salt in a saltwater pool? ›

For safe swimming conditions, the ideal salt level is going to be between 2500 ppm and 4000 ppm. An overly salted pool will generally not be a major problem (aside from salty-tasting water), but at levels, over 6000 ppm there may be corrosion damage to some of the metallic equipment.

How do I know if my pool needs more salt? ›

An easy, affordable, and reliable option for assessing salt levels in a swimming pool or spa is to use a digital salt tester. These meters are quick and accurate requiring only periodic calibration and minimal maintenance.

Can I just pour salt in my pool? ›

To add salt, turn on your filter pump and add the salt directly to your pool water. Use a brush to help the salt dissolve and to prevent the salt from piling up on the bottom of your pool. Run your pump for 24 hours to help distribute the salt evenly throughout your pool.

How long after adding salt to pool can you swim? ›

Can you swim after adding salt to the pool? Experts say that you need to wait at least 20 minutes to 1 hour before going back to swimming, and it is to ensure that the salt is completely dissolved and has circulated. As you read on, you'll learn that super chlorination may take time to finish.

How long does salt last in a pool? ›

The answer really depends on the use conditions and how often you do maintenance on your pool. The safe answer is that they usually last for about five to seven years. Salt Cells cost between $200 and $900 to replace, depending on your chlorinator model.

What should my salt chlorinator be set at? ›

Salt Systems work best with approximately 3200 parts per million (ppm) of salt, which is roughly the equivalent to a teaspoon of salt per gallon. However, all Hayward Salt Systems are designed to operate with salt levels anywhere from 2700 ppm to 3400 ppm.

Do you add salt before or after shocking pool? ›

Before shocking the pool, you should turn off the saltwater chlorine generator, as the excess chlorine can easily damage your salt cell. The last thing you want is to have to replace the salt cell after shocking your pool!

How long does a 40lb bag of salt last? ›

While the average family will go through a 40 lb bag about once a month or so, your amount will vary. Another factor to consider is how often your water softener regenerates; if it's nightly, then the average family may go through a 40lb bag every 10 to 14 days.

How much salt do I need for a 12x24 pool? ›

Salt Reference Table
12' X 18'Oval5,000
12' X 20'Oval6,500
12' X 21'Oval6,500
12' X 24'Oval7,500
32 more rows

How much salt do I need for 8000 gallon pool? ›

Example: If you have a salt level of 0, in your 8,000-gallon pool, you'll need approximately 213 pounds of salt, or roughly (5) 40-pound bags of salt, to bring your water in the proper range.

What can ruin a salt water pool? ›

Corrosion is a common problem with saltwater pools. Saltwater systems pass salt through an electrolytic cell to produce chlorine. Pool water can become extremely over-chlorinated and corrosive if the sodium hypochlorite levels get too high.

Does salt raise chlorine level? ›

That's right: your saltwater pool is still a chlorine pool.

You're adding salt instead of chemicals to make that chlorine happen. As a result, your salt water generator also produces a steadier, lower chlorine level than a typical pool. That means the water is gentler on your skin and eyes.

Why do I need to keep adding salt to my saltwater pool? ›

Salt is usually needed due to loss because of backwashing the filter, bathing suit drag out, water splash out, leaks, or rainwater overflow.

How do I fix low salt in my pool? ›

How to increase your pool's salt levels
  1. If your pool's salt levels are too low, it's time to purchase bulk salt! ...
  2. Ensure your pool water is balanced (except for the salt level at this stage). ...
  3. Leave the water circulation PUMP ON and running to circulate the water and dissolve the salt (as per normal for 8 hours/day).

What temperature should a salt water pool be? ›

Water Temperature

In cold enough water, salt systems will shut off to protect themselves. Too much electricity can stress the system. We asked some of the major salt system manufacturers what their temperature minimum was, and most of them were between 55-59ºF.

Why does my salt level keep dropping? ›

Drinking excessive amounts of water can cause low sodium by overwhelming the kidneys' ability to excrete water. Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can also dilute the sodium content of your blood.

Can I vacuum pool after adding salt? ›

If you've already added chemicals to the pool you should run the water pump and filtration system and wait at least 24 hours before vacuuming again.

Why did my pool turn green when I added salt? ›

The most common reason pool water turns green is due to algae growing in the water. Algae can grow rapidly, particularly in hot weather, which is why it can surprise you overnight during the warmer months. This generally comes down to an imbalance or lack of chlorine in the water.

Are salt strips accurate? ›

Typically, you simply dip a strip in the water for one second and then remove it. You then compare the color on the strip to the color chart on the label. Industry and water quality experts report that test strips are comparable in accuracy to liquid kits.

Should I turn off chlorinator when adding salt? ›

When you are ready to begin, you will need to turn off the salt chlorinator before adding salt to the water. Don't turn it on again until the salt reaches the proper concentration; if the salt chlorinator is running before dissolving the salt, the pool will have uneven salt concentration.

How do I know if my salt chlorinator is working? ›

The easiest way to ascertain if the chlorinator is working is to make sure the cell is clean by checking the needle or production lights. Ensure there is enough salt in the pool. On the chlorinator box there should be a light or dial that indicates it is working.

How many hours should I run my pool pump? ›

Every pool should cycle through all of its water at least once a day, so most pool owners will want to run their pumps for at least 4-8 hours daily. But you don't have to run those 4-8 hours all at once so you can split the pump time up at different parts of the day to ease your energy budget.

Should you pour shock into skimmer? ›

Never pour pool shock into the skimmer. For vinyl liner pools, it's recommended to pre-dissolve your chlorine shock before adding to the water. When broadcasting shock across the surface, be mindful of the wind direction.

How many bags of salt do I need for a 15000 gallon pool? ›

How much salt do I add to a 15,000-gallon (56,800-liter) pool? If we have a 15,000-gallon pool containing only freshwater, we'll need to add about 400 lbs (180 kg) of salt, to achieve the recommended salt concentration of 3200 ppm.

What happens if you put shock in your skimmer? ›

Adding pool shock through your skimmer is dangerous. This is because combining pool shock and chlorine creates a deadly gas. If your filter system has an automatic chlorinator attached and you add shock to the skimmer, this means the chemicals are combining in a small, confined space.

Do you shock or brush pool first? ›

Before you start pouring shock in the pool, the first step is to brush the sides and floor of your pool to loosen all the algae. Doing this breaks the skin and allows the pool shock to more easily kill the algae.

What type of shock is best for salt water pool? ›

And if you have a saltwater pool, the best shock treatment is with either a dichlor shock or a non-chlorine shock. You can use cal-hypo shock for algae issues, but it can raise your calcium levels.

How often should you shock your pool? ›

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SHOCK MY POOL? Shocking your pool regularly will help to keep the water clean and free of contaminants. You should aim to shock your pool about once a week, with the additional shock after heavy use. Some tell-tale signs that your pool needs to be shocked are cloudy, foamy, green, or odourous water.

How many bags of salt do I need for a 15 000-gallon pool? ›

How much salt do I add to a 15,000-gallon (56,800-liter) pool? If we have a 15,000-gallon pool containing only freshwater, we'll need to add about 400 lbs (180 kg) of salt, to achieve the recommended salt concentration of 3200 ppm.

How many bags of salt do I need for a 30 foot pool? ›

Salt Reference Table
32 more rows

How much salt needed for 8000 gallon pool? ›

Example: If you have a salt level of 0, in your 8,000-gallon pool, you'll need approximately 213 pounds of salt, or roughly (5) 40-pound bags of salt, to bring your water in the proper range.

How much salt do I need to start a 25000 gallon pool? ›

Lbs of Salt Needed to Obtain 3500 ppm in a Pool
Pool Size in Gallons
Current Salt Level (ppm)10,00025,000
12 more rows

How much salt do I add to my pool after rain? ›

Over similar periods of rain, we've provided 20+ tonnes of salt to our shop customers and we find that on average most pools will need anywhere from 2 to 6 bags of salt to bring the level back up!

Why is chlorine low in salt water pool? ›

Low free chlorine levels can often be due to a clog in the saltwater chlorinator cell. Over time calcium deposits can build up on the chlorinator cell. As the buildup gets worse, the cell will produce less and less chlorine, which leads to a buildup of contaminants and a cloudy pool.

How much bleach do I put in a 8000 gallon pool? ›

Clorox itself recommends using between 100 and 200 ounces of regular-strength bleach per 10,000 gallons of pool water -- one gallon is 128 ounces, and many bottles of bleach are available in one-gallon or half-gallon sizes. Pool professionals tend to recommend more conservative amounts of bleach.


1. Swimming In Your Pool After Adding Salt To It |
(Pool Knowledge)
2. Starting a salt water system do I add salt and balance chemicals second?
3. Is Salt Water Damaging To Pools?
(Swimming Pool Steve)
4. How To Lower CHLORINE in Your POOL | Swim University
(Swim University)
5. Swimming Pool 101: A Crash Course for Rookies
(Swimming Pool Tips, Reviews & How To - SPL)
6. Calcium Flakes In Salt Water Pools | Rule Your Pool (Episode 34)
(Orenda Technologies)


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