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?

For a pool startup, you’ll typically need:

Converting to a Salt Water Pool on average 6-7 40-lb bags of 99% Pure Salt per 10,000 gals.
Calculate pool volume
Determine the desired salt level
Use a salt calculator
Divide the total salt needed by 40lbs
Start with slightly less
Run filter
Adjust salt as needed

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.

The amount of salt needed to start up a saltwater pool depends on the size of the pool and its initial salt concentration. Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Calculate Pool Volume: Measure the volume of your pool in gallons or liters.
  2. Determine Initial Salt Level: If you’re filling the pool with freshwater, you’ll start with zero salt. If it’s a conversion from a chlorine pool, you might already have some salt in the water.
  3. Determine Desired Salt Level: The ideal salt level for a saltwater pool is typically around 2,500 to 4,000 parts per million (ppm), although the specific recommendation can vary based on the manufacturer of your salt chlorinator system.
  4. Calculate Salt Needed: Use a salt calculator or consult your pool equipment manual to determine how much salt is needed to reach your desired salt level in your pool’s volume.

Once you have these numbers, you can calculate the amount of salt needed. Typically, pool salt is sold in 40-pound bags (18 kilograms). You’ll need to divide the total amount of salt needed by the weight of each bag to determine how many bags you require.

For example, if your calculation suggests you need 200 pounds of salt, you’d divide 200 by 40, which equals 5 bags of salt.

It’s always a good idea to start with a slightly lower amount of salt than the calculated value, as you can add more if needed. Additionally, be sure to run the pool’s filtration system for several hours to evenly distribute the salt throughout the water.


Chlorinated Pool to Salt Water Pool Startup


Converting a chlorinated pool to a saltwater pool involves several steps, including adjusting the salt level in the water. Here’s a general guide for the startup process:

  1. Check Pool Condition: Before starting the conversion, ensure your pool’s pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels are within the recommended ranges. Balance these levels as needed.
  2. Drain Some Water (Optional): Depending on the current salt and chemical levels in your pool, you may need to drain a portion of the water to achieve the desired starting point for your conversion.
  3. Calculate Salt Needed: Determine the volume of your pool and the current salt level. You can use a pool salt calculator to find out how much salt you need to reach the desired salt concentration for a saltwater pool. As mentioned earlier, this is typically between 2,500 to 4,000 parts per million (ppm).
  4. Add Salt: Spread the required amount of pool salt evenly around the edges of the pool. If possible, brush the pool floor to help dissolve the salt more quickly.
  5. Run the Pump and Filter: Turn on the pool pump and filtration system to circulate the water and dissolve the salt evenly. This helps to distribute the salt throughout the pool.
  6. Test Salt Level: After a few days of running the pump, use a salt test kit to measure the salt concentration in the water. Adjust the salt level as needed by adding more salt or diluting the water if the concentration is too high.
  7. Monitor and Adjust: Continue testing the salt level regularly, especially during the first few weeks after conversion. Make any necessary adjustments to maintain the recommended salt concentration.
  8. Install Salt Chlorinator: If you haven’t already, install a salt chlorinator system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This system will use the salt in the water to generate chlorine for sanitation.
  9. Balance Other Chemicals: Once the salt level is stable, continue to monitor and balance the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels as needed to maintain proper water chemistry.
  10. Enjoy Your Saltwater Pool: Once everything is balanced and the salt chlorinator is operational, you can start enjoying your saltwater pool.

Remember that the conversion process may vary depending on factors such as the size and condition of your pool, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional or refer to the instructions provided by your equipment manufacturer for specific guidance.

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

To check the volume of your pool, you’ll need to determine its dimensions and shape. Here’s how you can do it:

Rectangular or Square Pools:

  • Measure the length, width, and average depth of the pool in feet or meters.
  • Multiply the length by the width to find the surface area (in square feet or square meters).
  • Multiply the surface area by the average depth to find the volume (in cubic feet or cubic meters).

Circular Pools:

  • Measure the diameter (the distance across the pool through the center) in feet or meters.
  • Divide the diameter by 2 to find the radius (the distance from the center to the edge).
  • Square the radius (multiply it by itself), then multiply by π (pi, approximately 3.14) to find the surface area (in square feet or square meters).
  • Multiply the surface area by the average depth to find the volume (in cubic feet or cubic meters)

Irregularly Shaped Pools:

Break down the pool into sections of regular shapes (e.g., rectangles, circles) and calculate the volume of each section separately. Then, add the volumes together to find the total volume.
Once you have calculated the volume of your pool, you can use this information for various purposes, such as determining the amount of chemicals needed for treatment or calculating water flow rates for filtration systems. If you need further assistance with the calculations, feel free to provide the dimensions of your pool, and I can help you with the calculations.

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 is 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. 

A pool salt system, also known as a saltwater chlorinator or salt chlorination system, is a method of pool sanitation that uses dissolved salt in the water to generate chlorine. Instead of adding chlorine directly to the pool, which can cause skin and eye irritation in high concentrations, a salt chlorinator produces chlorine through a process called electrolysis.

Here’s how a typical pool salt system works:

  1. Salt Added to the Pool: You add pool-grade salt to the water, typically at a concentration of around 2,500 to 4,000 parts per million (ppm). This salt dissolves in the water, forming a saline solution.
  2. Salt Cell or Electrolytic Cell: The saltwater passes through a salt cell, also known as an electrolytic cell, installed in the pool’s plumbing system. Inside the cell, an electrical current is applied to the saline solution.
  3. Electrolysis: The electrical current breaks down the salt molecules (NaCl) into their component parts: sodium ions (Na+) and chlorine ions (Cl-).
  4. Chlorine Generation: The chlorine ions produced by the electrolysis process combine with the water to form hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ions (OCl-), which are effective sanitizers that kill bacteria, algae, and other contaminants in the pool water.
  5. Continuous Sanitation: The salt chlorinator continuously produces chlorine as long as the pump and filtration system are running, helping to maintain a consistent level of sanitation in the pool.

Benefits of a pool salt system include:

  • Reduced need to handle and store chlorine chemicals.
  • More stable and consistent chlorine levels.
  • Potentially lower long-term maintenance costs compared to traditional chlorine pools.
  • Softer water that can be gentler on the skin and eyes.

It’s essential to monitor the salt level, pH balance, and other water chemistry parameters regularly to ensure the system operates effectively and to prevent potential issues such as corrosion or scaling. Additionally, while a salt chlorinator produces chlorine, it may not eliminate the need for periodic shock treatments or other pool maintenance tasks.

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 add 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.

Pool Chemicals

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

How Many Salt Bags Does a Salt Pool Use Per Month

The amount of salt a saltwater pool uses per month can vary depending on several factors, including:

Pool Size: Larger pools generally require more salt to maintain the desired concentration levels.

Salt Loss: Salt can be lost from the pool through splash-out, backwashing, and evaporation.

Rainfall and Dilution: Heavy rainfall can dilute the salt concentration in the pool, requiring additional salt to be added.

Bather Load: Higher usage of the pool, such as more people swimming or increased debris, can impact the salt concentration and chlorine demand.

Temperature and Climate: Warmer temperatures and sun exposure can increase evaporation rates, potentially affecting the salt concentration.

Salt Chlorinator Efficiency: The efficiency of the salt chlorinator system can also affect salt consumption. Older or less efficient systems may require more salt to produce the same amount of chlorine.

As a rough estimate, many saltwater pool owners find that they need to add salt to their pool every 1-3 months to maintain the desired salt concentration. The amount of salt added can range from a few bags to several bags, depending on the factors mentioned above.

To get a more accurate estimate of how many bags of salt your specific pool might need per month, you can:

  1. Monitor the salt level regularly using a salt test kit.
  2. Keep track of how much salt you add each time you need to replenish the pool.
  3. Note any changes in pool usage, weather conditions, or other factors that might affect salt consumption.
  4. By keeping track of these factors over time, you can develop a better understanding of your pool’s salt consumption patterns and adjust accordingly.

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. You would only add salt to your pool 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 tastes salty
  • You spot corrosion on metal parts in the pool

Have a great Summer!

JimGalloway Author/Editor


Swim University-  How Much Salt to Add to Your Pool (Easy Pool Salt Calculation)


  1. How do I calculate the volume of my pool?  Measure length, width, and depth, then use a formula or online calculator.
  2. What’s the ideal salt level for a saltwater pool?  Generally 2,500 to 4,000 parts per million (ppm), but consult your system’s specifications.
  3. How do I add salt to my pool?  Spread pool-grade salt evenly around the edges and brush the pool floor.
  4. How long does it take for the salt to dissolve?  It may take a few days with the pump and filtration system running.
  5. How do I know if I’ve added enough salt?   Use a salt test kit to measure the concentration and adjust as needed.
  6. Can I use regular table salt?    No, use only pool-grade salt without additives or anti-caking agents.
  7. Do I need to drain my pool before adding salt?   It depends on the current water chemistry; consult a professional if unsure.
  8. Do I still need to shock my pool with a salt system?   Yes, periodically shocking your pool is still recommended for optimal sanitation.

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