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More About Maintaining a Salt Water Pool

An Automated Chlorine Generator (ACG) requires a low concentration of sodium chloride (salt) in the pool water. Salt levels are generally below what most people could taste, but the pool water feels silkier and leaves hair and skin feeling smoother than with chemical chlorine products.

The ACG sanitizes the water by converting the salt to chlorine ions by electrolysis. The ions generated kill bacteria and algae in the pool, which are then removed by the pool filter. The chlorine then reconstitutes itself as sodium chloride and begins the process from the beginning, in a virtually unending cycle, resulting in rarely having to add chemical sanitizers to your pool. Salt is lost thru backwashing, splash out, or drainage, so salt replenishment is only periodically needed.

While the ACG automates the introduction of sanitizer to your pool, it is still very important you check and regularly maintain the chemical make up of your pool water.

You need to maintain:
2,500-4,000 ppm: Check Monthly
Borate Salt Support
50-80 ppm: Check Monthly
Free Chlorine
1.0 to 4.0 ppm: Check Weekly
7.2 to 7.6: Check Weekly
Total Alkalinity
80 to 100 ppm: Check Weekly/After Heavy Rains
Calcium Hardness
100 to 200 ppm: Check Weekly
Cyanuric Acid
60-80 ppm: Add once or twice a year
0 ppm: Check any time you add water
Micro Clarifier
Add 4 ounces per 10K gallons weekly
Salt Boost Oxidizer
Add 1 lb. per 10K gallons bi-weekly

Starting Up

There are five items you should add to the pool when you initially start up:

1. Mineral Remover

A sequestering agent that will remove any metals present in the pool.

2. Salt

To begin with, a large dose of salt needs to be added to the pool. You shouldn’t need to add but a few bags more throughout the summer to maintain proper salt levels. Pool salt is blended specifically for swimming pools and is free of sodium ferro-cyanides and yellow prussiated soda ashes that you will find in most other kinds of salt. Such impurities can cause the pool water to turn a reddish yellow color, and possible stain the pool surface.

3. Endure Borates

Since salt alone is extremely corrosive, Endure borates help preserve the pool equipment. Endure may turn the water in your pool blue for several days after dosing. A large initial dose is necessary, and then maintained monthly with smaller doses as needed. You will need a borate test to check and help maintain proper borate support levels. You should then add a top-off dose of borates any time you add additional salt to the pool, throughout the summer.

4. Shock

Running an ACG for 24 hours a day will produce 1.5 lbs. of chlorine. They are not meant to bring the chlorine level from 0 to 3 PPMs in short periods of time, and attempting to do so will certainly cut down the life expectancy of the cell. As such you should treat the pool with a regular dosage of shock upon starting up a generator for the first time, each year.

5. Chlorine Stabilizer

Helps maintain chlorine levels in hot and sunny weather.

Additionally, the generator cell needs to be cleaned twice a year by soaking it in Salt Cell Cleaner once or twice a season, minimally.

Recommended Initial Start-up Dosages

Pool Gallons Initial Salt Dose Initial Borate Initial Stabilizer
8,000 250 lbs. 20 lbs. 5.0 lbs.
10,000 335 lbs. 25 lbs. 6.5 lbs.
14,000 465 lbs. 35 lbs. 9.0 lbs.
18,000 600 lbs. 45 lbs. 12.0 lbs.
22,000 740 lbs. 55 lbs. 14.5 lbs.
26,000 875 lbs. 65 lbs. 17.0 lbs.
30,000 1,000 lbs. 75 lbs. 19.5 lbs.

Converting your pool from regular Chlorine.

Test your pool water for salt BEFORE ADDING SALT. Chlorine is also derived from salt, so there may be an existing salt level in your pool water. If you OVERDOSE the salt, the only way to decrease the level is by draining and refilling the pool. WE ALWAYS RECOMMEND YOU FULLY DISSOLVE 75% of the recommended salt at first and the re-test the salt level.

Converting your pool from Biguanides.

Test your pool water for its present biguanide level! We recommend you triple shock the pool with a dichlor shock (if your biguanide level is less than 20 ppm) or a mono-persulfate shock (if your biguanide level greater than 25 ppm). NOTE: If your level is greater than 25 ppm, it might take a week or two to fully “convert” the pool to salt.

Conversions in general.

Salt should always be fully dissolved before turning on the generator. Otherwise you risk clogging the cell with large pockets of salt, which is cumbersome to clean and will not be covered under warranty. We recommend a Mineral Remover so the reaction of minerals in the water with the blended pool salt does not stain the pool surface, or worse, coagulate inside the cell. Additionally, we recommend you have your water checked for PHOSPHATES (commonly used by municipalities in underground plumbing to extend the life of the plumbing) and NITRATES (commonly found in fertilizers). Both can lock the chlorine, and possibly create damage to the cell. If Nitrates or Phosphates are present we recommend using a PHOSPHATE REMOVER as directed BEFORE ADDING SALT.

Why you should periodically shock your pool.

Salt Water Generators are designed to maintain chlorine levels in the pool. Running a generator 24 hours a day will produce, in the right environment, 1.5#s of chlorine. In most pools, that is not enough during heavy bather loads. They are not meant to bring the chlorine level from 0 to 3 PPMs. As such, we always recommend you a regular dosage of shock treatment to your pool upon starting up a generator for the first time, each year. Additionally, if you expect a heavier than usual bather load, we recommend shocking the pool the night before and the night after this event.

Cell Life Expectancy.

Goldline ACG Cells have a 3 year warranty. The life expectancy under normal wear and tear is 5 to 7 years. Leaving a generator on 24 hours a day will cut down the life expectancy of the generator cell. Using a borate support system and adding shock instead of running the generator 24/7 should extend the life by 30%. Likewise, running a generator 24/7 and not using a borate support system will cut the life expectancy of the cell by 30%. This swing runs 3 years to 9 years. A replacement cell runs $500 to $700. That is why we suggest periodic shocking and using a borate support system!

A side note regarding in-ground Pool Railings.

Most In-Ground Pools have aluminum anchor sockets in the ground that hold the stair, ladder, slide or diving board railings in them. Salt Water Generators increase the likeliness that electrolysis will take place between the metal of the railing and the metal of the socket. If this happens, you may need a saw to get the railings out at the end of the year. As such, we recommend you rub a Teflon or silicone (not a petroleum) lubricant over the section of the rail that will go into the anchor socket, each year before you insert the railing into the anchor.


Foxboro, Route 1 South

Seasonal Specialty Stores
113 Washington Street
Foxboro, MA 02035

(508) 543-7112

Store Hours and Directions

Foxboro Store

Natick, Route 9 East

Seasonal Specialty Stores
1278 Worcester Street
Natick, MA 01760

(508) 655-5111

Store Hours and Directions

Natick Store