How Many Bags of Salt for Pool Startup

As the weather warms up the summer pool season will be here before you know it if you have a saltwater pool or you are thinking of switching over like many other people have done over the last few years where would you start to get your Saltwater pool ready to rock n Roll?  How Many Bags of Salt for Pool Startup?

  • Converting to a Salt Water Pool add 6-7 40-lb bags of 99% Pure Salt per 10,000 gals.
  • Salt loss is minimal after that & won’t evaporate
  • if H2O or rain is added to the pool you may have to add more
  • Test weekly for optimal levels of 3,200 ppm.
  • Use Salt Addition Chart to raise level
  • Add H2O to lower level


Once you add the initial amount of salt to your water (either when you fill your pool or at the start of the season), you likely won’t need any additional salt. That’s because your salt water generator continuously uses the salt to generate chlorine (thanks to electrolysis). Then the chlorine sanitizes your pool.


How Many Bags of Salt for Pool Startup


Regardless of whatever treatment chemical or amount of water you are using for the start-up of the summer season, the first step is knowing the gallon capacity of your swimming pool.  Whether you use a sand filter with a chlorinated pool or a DE cartridge filter, if you decide to change to a Salt water pool, this article will help you determine how much pool salt you’re going to need at the start-up in the middle and right through till the end of the pool season.

The first step the pool owner must find out how big the volume of your swimming pool is. The salt target is 3200 ppm test results throughout the season. Most of the amount of salt is used at the beginning as a base. In most cases, a small amount is added after the initial dose.


Chlorinated Pool to Salt Water Pool Startup


Once you know how many gallons of water your pool holds it’s time to test your pool water. The amount of water in your pool will help determine how much of each chemical you’ll need to add after you’ve tested the water for it to be properly balanced.

These are the test parameters you’ll need to test for and their ideal range in your pool:

  • Alkalinity (80-120ppm) 
  • pH (7.2-7.6) 
  • Chlorine (1-3 ppm)
  • Cyanuric Acid (50-80 ppm)
  • Calcium Hardness (200-400 ppm)
  • Metals (0)
  • Salt level(per chlorinator’s manual, typically around 3200 ppm) 

Your pool water needs to be completely chemically balanced with all the ideal levels before turning the salt chlorinator on. An existing pool converting to chlorine will have a salt level presence already. you’ll want to know your start-up salt level after all the rest of your chemicals are balanced so you know how much salt to add in the next step.


Check the Volume of your Pool


The easiest way to figure out your pool volume is to check your pool construction specs if you have them. If not, you use the following equations depending on the shape of your pool. If your pool has a shallow and deep end, it’s probably best to use an online calculator to get the most accurate figure.

These equations tell you the total volume of water in your pool in gallons.

  • Rectangular pools: Average Depth x Length x Width x 7.5
  • Circular pools: Average Depth x Diameter x Diameter x 5.9
  • Oval pools: Average Depth x Length x Width x 6.7


Pool Salt System


Every salt chlorinator has suggested, but different ranges for salt so check your pool manual to make sure you have the best dose for your pool. The easier way is to use the average salt level required which of 3200 ppm. Make sure you are using the proper kind of salt for your pool, a Sodium Chloride Salt that is at the very least 99% pure.

While that 0.1% may not seem like much of a difference, when you have to add several bags of it to the pool it adds up. Use the below chart to see how many lbs of salt need to be added to your pool based on the current salt ppm and the gallons of water in your pool. Salt is typically sold in 40lbs bags. 


  • To add the salt, add a few bags directly into your pool at a time.
  • Then use your pool brush to move the water around and help mix up any salt sitting on the pool bottom to help dissolve the mixture.
  • Once you start getting close to the final number of bags recommended, go ahead and test your water’s salt levels.
  • You can always add more but the only to remove salt is to add more water.
  • If your salt levels are too high this could result in needing to drain your pool a few inches before filling it up again with fresh water.
  • Adding Salt should Start-up low to build your salt level.


If your salt levels are too low, add some pure pool salt, which is 99 – 100% pure sodium chloride (never use any other salt as it might contain additives you won’t want to add to your pool). Pour the salt into the pool around the edge of the perimeter and use a brush to help disperse it. 

To start adding salt to your pool, turn off your salt chlorine generator but keep your pump running. Then, pour the recommended amount of salt into the pool, but keep it away from the skimmer.



Pool Salt Calculator Chart


The salt level in your pool should usually fall between 2,700 and 3,400 ppm, which is for parts per million. The absolute sweet spot is 3,200 ppm, but you’re good to go as long as it falls within the listed range. Use the easy way to calculate how many pounds of salt you need to keep levels at a sweet spot disinfecting the pool and keeping it clean all season long.

How many bags of salt you need to keep a saltwater salt cell at an optimum level will depend on a few things like the amount of fresh water added or depleted from your swimming pool. The amount of bags of salt is minimal for the pool season after the initial startup. A few bags of pool salt per 10,000 gallons should do it.


Ideal Salt Water Pool Level


For example, certain brands work fine if the salt levels are between 1,500 to 4,500 ppm. When in doubt, read your generator’s manual for this information. Be sure to fill your pool to capacity before testing the salt levels. If your pool is low on water, add fresh water, allow it to recirculate for a day, and then take a reading. The last step to opening your saltwater pool is simply turning your salt system on


Pool Chemicals
            Pool Salt Calculator Chart


How Many Salt Bags Does a Salt Pool Use Per Month


The salt level in your pool matters because after you add the salt to your pool, your salt chlorine generator turns salt into chlorine. If you have too much salt in the water, you’ll notice a salty taste after swimming. Even though it’s a Salt Water pool, you shouldn’t taste any salt because our taste buds can’t detect it until the levels are at least 3,500 to 4,000 ppm

Too much salt can cause some serious damage to your pool and pool equipment. Metal parts are at risk of corrosion, like ladders, brackets, and heaters. Beyond that, high salt levels can wear away at your pool finishes like tile, flagstone, and concrete.

Check Salinity levels in your swimming pool with a pool test strip or a digital meter that is fairly cheap and sold online or at the Pool Supply Store. Check your Salt Generator manufacturer on where your salt levels should be.

On average, only a few bags of salt are needed per/season. There is no set timeframe for when you need to add salt to your pool. The only time you would add salt to your pool is when you add fresh water or after heavy rain that dilutes salinity levels.

If your pool has no salt, you need to add 30 lbs. of salt for every 1000 gallons of water. The signs that Salt levels are not right are similar to chlorine pools.

  • Cloudy pool water
  • Algae growth
  • The water taste salty
  • You spot corrosion on metal parts in the pool

Have a great Summer!



JimGalloway Author/Editor


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