2022 Saltwater Pool Conversion: How Much Does It Cost to Convert My Pool to Saltwater?

Kenneth Wilson

Are you thinking of switching from chlorine to a salt system to have a well-coveted saltwater pool? There are plenty of reasons why salt pools are growing in popularity - they have easy maintenance, the saltwater feels gentle on the eyes and the skin, and it doesn’t give off a strong chlorine odor.

So if you’re wondering, “How much will a saltwater pool conversion cost?” You’re looking at spending about $1,300 for an above-ground pool and $1,200 to $2,500 for an inground pool.

If you’re still on the fence about switching from a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool, let’s discuss the rough estimate of your expected costs.

Saltwater Pool Conversion Cost

Most homeowners can convert their in-ground pools to a saltwater system for $1,700 to $2,500. This doesn’t include the cost of the salt, though.

Important Note: A salt chlorine generator is not a one-time purchase. You will also need to regularly replace the cell and control board, which adds up to $1,200 to $2,000 every 3 to 7 years.

Saltwater Pool System Maintenance Costs

You’ll pay less than $100 a year for the necessary salt and chemicals for your saltwater swimming pool maintenance. In contrast, you are likely to spend anywhere between $350 to $900 (or more) to maintain a standard chlorine pool. (Related: How Much Would It Cost To Maintain a Pool?)

Every 3 to 5 years, you’ll need to consider an additional $250 to $800 for the salt cell replacement. The power required to run your saltwater system adds $40 to $50 to your annual utility bill.

Saltwater Pools: The Basics

Are you still wondering why saltwater pools are increasing in popularity? This is because this pool system requires fewer harsh chemicals and less maintenance than traditional chlorine pools.

So, if you make the switch to a saltwater pool, you won't need to buy (or add) chlorine regularly. This also protects you from possible skin irritation issues and the surprising occurrence of green hair. (Related: Understanding Your Pool Systems: Sanitation, Filter, and More!)

Saltwater Pool Conversion: Pros and Cons

Let’s discuss the pros and cons to consider if you convert your chlorine pool to a saltwater pool.

The Good

  • Easy maintenance ─ Saltwater pools are easier to maintain than traditional chlorine pools. The salt pool sanitation is considerably more manageable than the chlorine pool sanitation process, as long as you watch the chlorine levels from exceeding recommended levels.
  • Cheaper maintenance ─ Aside from easier maintenance, saltwater pools are also more affordable to maintain in the short term. Considering the annual maintenance costs will be lower than what you’d typically pay for a traditional chlorine pool upkeep.
  • Gentle on the eyes, skin, and hair ─ A saltwater pool is famous for being soft upon contact, so you won’t need to worry about skin irritation, eye redness, and hair damage.
  • Clear and smooth water ─ A saltwater pool feels smoother and clearer than the water in a traditional chlorine pool.
  • No chlorine smell ─ Many people aren’t big fans of the strong chlorine smell in standard pools, so you’re in for a treat when you convert to a salt pool!

The Bad

  • The metal pool parts may be prone to corrosion ─ If your pool has metal walls or an automatic pool cover with metal track parts, your new salt pool may cause corrosion, leading to significant damage.
  • May be more expensive than a chlorine pool in the long term ─ Over time, saltwater pools will cost you as much as traditional chlorine pools. In particular, replacing the equipment such as the control board compensates for the short-term savings you can expect.
  • May wear down pool plaster ─ Homeowners with a plaster surface on their concrete pool may be at risk of potential damage, with salt wearing it down quicker than usual. This may need you to refinish it more often (AKA more expenses).

Overall Verdict: Should You Convert Your Chlorine Pool to Saltwater?

The many benefits of making the switch to a saltwater pool are as clear as its pool water quality, but one important thing to note is how it's not for everyone. This means it may lead to more problems in the long run, especially if your pool is incompatible.

So, what makes it a bad idea to switch to a saltwater pool system? For starters, if your in-ground pool is designed with several metal parts or accessories, you will be better off avoiding frequent exposure to salt. That is unless you have a plaster surface. Also, most pools are designed to accommodate a chlorine system. In some cases, your existing pool equipment may not be compatible with a saltwater pool system. This will require you to install new equipment, increasing the total installation costs.

Lastly, most pool companies in the country cater and service standard chlorine pools exclusively. Since saltwater pools have a different process that needs specialized knowledge for maintenance, you will need to look for another conversion company in your area that also offers saltwater pool maintenance services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of a saltwater pool?

Having a saltwater pool provides several benefits:

  • Your swim would be therapeutic because saltwater contains bromide, which is beneficial to sore joints.
  • Salt softens the water in your pool, making it gentler on your skin.
  • The higher chlorine levels in a non-salt water pool cause irritation to the eyes or skin and green hair.
  • Traditionally chlorinated pools might be harmful to people who have respiratory issues.

What are saltwater pool health risks?

Saltwater pools are associated with relatively few health risks. The salt has no odor and has extremely little danger of allergic reactions since it produces fewer chloramines, which reduces eye irritation and chlorine odor.

Can you be allergic to saltwater pools?

Many people are allergic to chemical chlorine, although only a tiny percentage of the population is allergic to salt or the chlorine it produces. According to most people with chlorine allergies or sensitivity, saltwater eliminates their allergies.

How do saltwater pools work?

To function properly, a saltwater pool requires a saltwater chlorination system. An electrolyzer in the salt system produces chlorine from salt and water when the saltwater passes through an electrical current. The process produces fewer chloramines, which softens the water, relieves joint pain, and has no chlorine odor.

How much salt is in a saltwater pool?

You might be astonished to learn that the salt concentration is lower than your tears. It's also so low in concentration that you won't be able to detect it by taste or scent, but you will notice how gentle and refreshing it feels on your skin. A saltwater pool has a salt concentration of 2500 to 4500 ppm, whereas human tears have a salt concentration of 9,000 ppm. When you compare that to the 35,000 ppm found in the Pacific Ocean, you can see how low it is.

Is it just like swimming in the ocean?

Apart from the fact that they are both refreshing, they are very different. The salt content in the ocean is roughly 35,000 parts per million, while it is kept at around 3,000 parts per million in a saltwater swimming pool. The salt content is so low that it's still categorized as freshwater, and in a perfectly balanced pool, you can't taste or smell the salt.

Will my new saltwater pool require more maintenance?

Because saltwater is more stable and balanced, you will notice a significant reduction in the time spent balancing the water. Most salt systems have a built-in monitor that displays salt and stabilizer levels, minimizing the need for frequent testing. This means you'll save time and money on chemicals while spending more time enjoying your pool.

Kenneth Wilson
May 17, 2022
Cost Guides, Pool

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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