How To Convert Your Intex Pool To Saltwater And Avoid The Chlorine Shortage

Last Updated on October 17, 2021

The chlorine shortage is going to be a big problem for many Intex pool owners this summer. With so many people looking to fill their pools, it’s difficult to find enough of the essential chemical needed to keep swimming pools clean and usable.

The good news is there is an easy alternative to this – convert your freshwater Intex pool from chlorine-based chemistry to a saltwater pool. Converting your pool to a saltwater pool is more eco-friendly and requires less maintenance.

The question now is, how to convert your Intex pool to saltwater pool? 

Everything You Need To Know About Saltwater Intex Pools

It’s no secret that Intex pools are some of the most popular and affordable options on the market. But what you might not know is that they can be easily converted to become a saltwater Intex pool.

Switching from chlorine to saltwater can be a great choice for pool owners who have sensitivities or children with allergies and for those who don’t want to be caught up on the incoming chlorine shortage.

Intex 32' x 16' x 52" Ultra XTR Rectangular Outdoor Swimming Pool Set with Sand Filter Pump, Saltwater System, Pool Ladder, Ground Cloth, Pool Cover
  • Rectangular 32-foot by 16-foot by 52-inch above-ground pool set is an ideal addition to backyards with a safety pool ladder, ground cloth, sand filter, and pool cover
  • Built with a high-quality, galvanized steel frame with precision engineered locking system for ultimate durability to withstand hours of splashing fun
  • Combination sand filter pump and a salt-water system has a pump flow rate of 2,650 gallons per hour for easy maintenance with a stand that only needs routine backwashing and replacing every 5 years
  • Gray outer liner and blue tile-print inner liner provide a classic, clean look to your backyard and feature a simple setup process that is ready for water in 90 minutes with a 14,364-gallon water...

What Is A Saltwater Pool?

Saltwater pools are an alternative to the more traditional chlorine-based pools. A saltwater pool uses a salt and water solution that is circulated through the pool’s filtration system, which keeps the water clean and balanced. As water passes through your saltwater chlorination system, electrolysis happens.

Did you know that the chlorine in this type of pool comes from water and salt? When they combine, it creates hydrogen gas and hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid helps to keep germs away by killing them with its antibacterial properties. You’re still using chlorine for sanitizing purposes but in a different form.

Salt pool systems don’t use chlorine, so there’s no need to add it on a regular basis. Plus, salt doesn’t build up chloramines the way traditional pools do.

Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorinated Pools

Most people are used to the chlorine smell of a pool, but what about a saltwater pool? Saltwater pools have been around for several years, but they’re gaining popularity again. What’s different between these two types of pools and how do you know which one is right for you?

In traditional pools, water must be tested and balanced with chlorine. Alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness also need to be adjusted as well. In saltwater pools, there is not much use for chlorine, but you may have to shock it once in a while depending on your pool usage.

A saltwater pool gets cleaned using a filtering system called a salt chlorine generator. The system uses electricity to turn salt into chlorine, which cleans the pool. In contrast with chlorinated pools where you need to add physical tablets or granules on regular basis for cleaning purposes, this new technology only needs electrical power and does all of that automatically so there’s no worry about forgetting.

If you want to help keep your pool sanitized and the chemicals balanced, checking pH levels and alkalinity is an important step.

For a more detailed comparison between chlorine pools and saltwater pools, check out our post, Saltwater Pools vs Chlorine Pools.

Choosing A Salt Water Chlorination System

Pool owners have a lot of decisions to make when converting an Intex pool to a saltwater system. One of the most important, and often overlooked, is choosing a saltwater chlorine generator or saltwater chlorinator.

The generator breaks down the salt into hypochlorous acid and sodium chloride, the sanitizing agents used in chlorine-based pools. There are two primary parts to a saltwater chlorinator. The control board is where you can adjust how much chlorine the device will generate. The cell part of a salt chlorinator, meanwhile, provides electrolysis to create the necessary substance that keeps your pool clean and clear

When choosing a new saltwater chlorine generator, you need to keep these things in mind:

  • Size. You should choose the right size based on your Intex pool capacity in gallons. You can check the box that came with your pool to find its water capacity or go to the Intex official site and look for your pool model.
  • Features. Basic models allow you to adjust the amount of chlorine they release, while fancier saltwater chlorinators offer a variety of features such as digital readouts on how much salt is in your swimming pool and automatic cell cleaning procedures. These high-end units can also have freeze protection so if it drops below freezing outside then no need to worry about cold air damaging your equipment.
  • Price – The best way to keep your pool clean is by investing in a high-quality chlorinator. There are many different options available, but it’s important not to get fooled into buying one that isn’t as good just because of the lower price tag!

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Convert Your Intex Pool To Saltwater

Ready to convert your Intex pool into saltwater? It’s easier than you think. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Things You Will Need:

  • Saltwater chlorine generator
  • Saltwater pool filter
  • Salt
  • New handrails or other metal pieces (as needed)

Since Intex pool liners are made from vinyl, you don’t have to take any extra precautions since saltwater won’t negatively affect the liner.

  1. You must balance the pool water first before the conversion to saltwater. We don’t recommend draining your pool for this step to save time and money.
    Note: The only instance you need to drain your Intex pool when converting to saltwater is if you used a type of pool sanitizer with polyhexamethylene biguanide as one of its main ingredients. This chemical is not compatible with chlorine and may cause your saltwater chlorinator to fail in keeping your pool clean.
  2. Add the required amount of salt to your pool water. Salt quantity is based on how big your pool is, so make sure you know that before adding anything.
  3. Install your chosen saltwater chlorinator. Some pool owners can install their above ground salt system on their own while others may need to hire a pool professional. Based on our research, the average installation price for saltwater pool systems ranges from $300-$500.
  4. Make sure you connect the chlorinator cell to the chlorinator controller.
  5. Turn on your pool pump to circulate the water and dissolve the salt in your swimming pool.
  6. Turn on your salt chlorine generator and let it do its task in keeping your pool clean and safe to swim on.

Easy Saltwater Intex Pool Setup

If you want to save on installation costs, you can just purchase the Krystal Clear Saltwater System from Intex and get it set up on your pool on your own.

Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Saltwater pools may seem simpler than traditional chlorine pools because they have fewer chemicals needed for upkeep-but don’t let their simplicity fool you: They still require consistent care if you want them to work properly and for a long time.

You should regularly test, adjust, and prevent the pH levels from going too high or too low. Since you’re using a saltwater chlorine generator that can regulate the chlorine and salt levels for your pool then testing can be done less often compared to chlorinated pools, but it is still important to check from time to time.

After heavy storms, we recommend that you shock your swimming pool with chlorine to makes it safe again before anyone gets back into the water.

You should also scrub and drain your swimming pool monthly to prevent dirt and stains from building up on your pool’s interior.

To keep your pool running smoothly, it’s important to check the salt chlorine generator for buildup and clean it off every three months. You should also watch out for signs of deposits and erosion, as well as performing maintenance when needed to ensure that you always have a working saltwater chlorinator.

Pros and Cons of Having A Saltwater Intex Pool

Saltwater Intex pools are a great way to beat the heat and enjoy your backyard all year long! They’re also easy to maintain. But before you take the plunge, it’s good to know what are their known pros and cons.

Pros and Cons

Lower maintenance and operating costs.

More gentle on the skin and eyes than chlorine pools.

Easier to maintain.

Completely eliminates the smell of chlorine.

High initial setup costs.

More complicated than traditional pool configurations.


Starting a saltwater pool can be expensive. In addition to the initial cost of getting your Intex pool set up, you need to purchase generators that start at about $400 and may go up to around $1,000+ for installation.

Saltwater systems can be easy to use and cost-effective, but if they break down you’ll have to consult with a pool professional for assistance.

Corrosion is another downside to saltwater pools. To avoid corrosion, we recommend that you use special equipment like handrails and light covers designed for a saltwater pool; using zinc anodes helps as well.

FAQs About Saltwater Above Ground Pools

How much salt does my pool need?

The salt levels in your pool depend on the type of generator you have. Check for this information in your owner’s manual to be sure that it is correct.

Add more or less depending on how much water there is and what the current level already sits at, using a saltwater test kit which can tell you both these things clearly. This usually ranges anywhere between 3,000 to 4,000 ppm (parts per million).

How much do saltwater above ground pools cost?

The cost of a saltwater pool is initially more than that of chlorine pools. That’s because the installation and initial purchase for a saltwater chlorination system can be around $1,000 to $2,000 depending on your pool size. However, in time, it could save you money since you won’t have to buy chlorine tablets as often.

Will I need any additional equipment?

No need for extra equipment for your saltwater Intex pool. But if you’re worried about metals getting rusty in the water, then investing in a zinc anode is probably your best bet.

Are saltwater pools salty?

No, saltwater pools are not salty. For the most part, they taste just like regular water.

Are saltwater above ground pools worth it?

Saltwater pools are more expensive than traditional chlorine pools to set up, but the features they offer may make them worth it to you.

Saltwater pools are cleaner and safer to use than a traditional chlorine pool because you don’t have to rely on strong chemicals to keep your pool clean.

Another benefit of using saltwater instead of chlorine is that there’s no need for an automated chemical feeder. This means less maintenance for you as well as reduced energy consumption from your pump and filter system.

Final Thoughts About Saltwater Pool Conversion

If you’re looking for a pool that is easy to maintain and will last, then saltwater above ground pools are the way to go. With your saltwater chlorine generator which continuously creates chlorine from salt, you won’t have to do that many trips to your local pool store every time your swimming season starts up again!

The only maintenance necessary on these pools is adding water and occasionally replacing the salt in your saltwater pool system.

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