7 Essential Chemicals you Need to Open a Salt Water Pool

7 Essential Chemicals you Need to Open a Salt Water Pool

If you’ve decided to open a salt water pool there are 7 essential chemicals you should consider before the grand opening. Since saltwater is monitored through the use of the electrolyzer, maintenance is easier on these kinds of pools. However, without solidifying the essential chemicals your pool may not be ready for a swim.

Here are the 7 essential chemicals to keep in mind when opening a salt water pool:

Before you begin with your essential chemicals, be sure to test your water for free chlorine, pH, Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer), Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Metals, and Salt.

Once you’ve tested these levels add one more test by determining the salt levels with salt test strips. To avoid testing and monitoring chemicals on your own time, pHin does it for you by working 24 hours to ensure a perfect chemical balance and notifying you when you need to add chemicals, even going as far as providing exact dosing instructions for most brands!

After you’ve completed these tests you’re ready to adjust the essential chemicals for a safe swim.


Low or high alkalinity can affect the pH level which means it can throw off necessary adjustments for other chemicals. Low alkalinity requires additional sodium bicarbonate, whereas, high alkalinity needs additional muriatic acid.


Once you’ve covered the alkalinity levels, you’ll need to adjust the pH levels. The pH is the foundation for all other chemicals, so you should not skimp or rush this step. The normal pH level should be 7.2 to 7.6. If pH levels are low then add an increase of alkalinity and if the pH level is high add a pH decreaser.


After monitoring the pH levels, the next essential chemical is chlorine. Again the average level for chlorine in a salt water pool is 1 to 3 ppm. If chlorine is low add calcium hypochlorite or dichlor. If the chlorine is high you can lower by adding fresh water and draining 2” to 3”.

Cyanuric Acid

After you’ve adjusted the levels of chlorine you will need to add a protector because chlorine can often be diminished by the sun. Cyanuric Acid can protect chlorine levels from UV rays and keep chemical levels at a steady range. A normal level for Cyanuric Acid is 50 to 80. Adding stabilizer can raise Cyanuric Acid levels if they are too low. However, if levels are too high simply drain 2” to 3” and add fresh water.


When calcium levels aren’t steady it can cause pitting or etching on the surface. To avoid uneven calcium levels ensure you’re saltwater pool range 200 to 400 ppm. When calcium levels are too low balance the level by adding calcium hardness. If calcium is too high you can again drain the water 2” to 3” and add fresh water.


Metals should be nonexistent in your saltwater pool. Metals can cause staining on the surface of the pool. Be sure to control metals by using products to prevent the build-up of metals on salt cells and products that prevent staining.


Once you’ve ensured all the essential chemicals are monitored and at the right levels, you’re ready to add salt. All salt chlorinators have a suggested range for salt, however, the average typically runs between 2700 to 3500 ppm.

Be sure to adjust the 7 essential chemicals as needed, however, once chemicals are balanced you can turn on the salt water chlorinator. For more information about pool opening and chemical maintenance read, Pool Chemicals 101: What You Need to Know.

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